Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, 10/29/11 Basic Boulder Mountain 14.92 miler


14.92 miles/5,229 vert./3:20:45/avg. HR 154 Garmin Data

Another fun Basic in the books.  Every other year we seem to get a snowstorm preceding the event and this was one of those years which added a bit to the excitement.  A huge group started from 6th and Aurora a few minutes after 9am and we headed up through Chautauqua and up Flag at a casual/conversational pace, on our way to a Green/Bear/SoBo/Shadow/Mesa loop.

Tony and I led up Flag, chatting the whole time, with Johannes R, Scott J, Aaron K, Geoff R, Dakota J and a few others in tow, where we slowly and unintentionally got a little gap on the other groups behind.  At the top of Flag, those who had spikes put them on, while the rest of us peed, drank, ate, conversed or whatever. In the meantime, streams of people passed and then it was slow going in the icy track through the snow along Flag and up Green, where we all got spread out a bit and nobody seemed to be in a hurry. 

At the Greenman/Ranger jct., there was a little confusion as to which way to go. Peter B. and Mike P. insisted continuing on Greenman, while somebody pulled out a map and insisted on Ranger.  I had only glanced at the map before the start and thought Ranger was correct (as we later learned was incorrect), but I was fine with whichever way.  I was hoping to run hard, or at least harder than we were, but was OK with the pace, as I made the mistake of deciding to leave my Microspikes in the car and was slipping some.

We lingered a bit on the summit of Green, taking pictures and all the usual stuff, but I was starting to freeze in my thin shirt/shorts.  I knew I was going to be quite slow heading down the steep and iced over trail back to the 4-way, so I opted to keep moving, thinking they would quickly catch up.  I slowly and carefully made my way down the bobsled run of a trail without incident and was relieved to find better footing on Green/Bear below the 4-way (as it was largely untracked).  It was here where I met up with Eric, who I found out through conversation happens to know Homie and Bill and rode White Rim with them years ago.  Eric and I went pretty easy down Green/Bear and up Bear W. Ridge, talking and waiting while on the move so to speak, all the while expecting the group to catch up any minute.

Once the trail got a little steeper, Eric fell behind and I just kept moving, mainly to stay warm, as the wind was blowing and the temperature seemed to be dropping.  I tagged the summit of Bear and quickly started down, anxious to get back in the trees.  As I descended, I could see Johannes, Scott, Geoff, Dakota, Nick P and Aaron heading up the talus field and was glad they were close (still thinking they would soon catch me).  SoBo was slick and the summit rocks were tricky to negotiate in the snow and I again spent no time there.

Shadow Canyon was snowy and quite icy in many spots, so again, I just took it slow and careful.  While I was nitpicking my way through here, Peter and Mike caught up and passed me like I was standing still (they wisely had hobnails/Microspikes) and left me in the dust.  Once out of the canyon, I upped the tempo a little to catch back up with them, which I did by the Big Bluestem trail.  I passed them both, not pushing, just cruising and only Peter went with me.  We made a little small talk and he mentioned that we were to run up to the Slab and then down the lower section of Fern.  I did not recall seeing that on the map and it sounded a bit odd, so once at the intersection, we parted ways and I kept going on the Mesa Trail.

At this point, I was really just thinking of finishing up the run, so I could get home and get going with the busy day of family obligations ahead.  Once close to Chautauqua, I had an indecisive moment and debated whether or not to continue down Mesa, or head over Bluebell/Baird, so I opted for the latter, as I was almost sure that is what I saw on the map.

My little variation with the added distance/vertical allowed Peter to come really close to catching me by the end, as he took the correct (but shorter) route through Chautauqua.  A post run look at the map confirmed that Peter had indeed taken the correct route in it’s entirety, so even though I was ~30 seconds ahead, he was technically the first one to finish and probably the only one (along with Mike) to have completed the “correct” route.  I spent a few minutes chatting at the end, but unfortunately could not stick around to socialize, as I needed to head home.

Overall, a pretty mellow to moderate run with a great group (for a while at least) and was a great run over the peaks with the snow/ice/mud adding a bit to the challenge.  As always, my biggest regret was not having the opportunity to catch up more with many of the people out there, those whom I know well and those whom I hope to get to know better, but it was great to see everyone out there and at least say hi face to face, if only for a moment.  I'll also grab a map next time, as no matter how well I know the trails, my 5 second glimpse at the map failed me.  Oops.

Catching up before the start:  Shad, JT, Brandon

Can you spot the guy that looks a bit like someone we know?

Rob, Laurie, Fred, Meghan, Eric

Me, Scott, Johannes, Tony Kendrick, Aaron, Brandon (photo swiped from Jeff Montgomery)

Me (should have kept the PFD with the spikes and windbreaker), Shad, JT (picture pilfered from Aaron Kennard)

Striking a pose just after I finished "hey, I just beat many of the top runners in the World!!".... "oh yeah, not so fast there sporty, it was not a race and they were just goofing off on a social run" ;). (photo 'rob'bed from Rob Timko)

Friday, 10/28/11 Local Baby Jogger Run

4.71 miles/167 vert./43:48/9:18 pace/115 avg. HR

Super easy run around Louisville with the girls. After my miserable run yesterday, I was sure to time my run today a little better and got out in the prime of the day. Enjoyed listening to a very funny installment of the Adam Carolla podcast which made the run go by really fast.

Thursday, 10/27/11 Local Baby Jogger Run

3 miles/190 vert./40 minutes/avg. HR 92

As I spent a fair bit of the day in the yard cleaning up branches that fell during the recent snowstorm, enjoying the warming sun, I was eager to get out for a run with the girls once they awoke from their afternoon nap. Their nap ran later than normal and by the time I wrestled them (despite their vocal protests) into their warm jackets, hats, mittens, etc.. and got them loaded in the Chariot, the setting sun, as if on cue, went behind a large cloud as soon as I rolled out of the garage. I tried to maintain a positive attitude, but as the temperature instantly dropped from a seemingly warm ~45+ to a very Winter like and cold ~32 with breeze (I was under dressed), I could not have been less enthused about being out for a run, but was determined to make the most of it after all the work to get ready. Sierra was apparently not into it either, so the entire run consisted of running hard enough to stay warm, then waiting on a reluctant dog to catch up as I froze. Went home and chowed on Boo Berry to make up for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, 10/26/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down front from Chautauqua
5.17 miles/2,479 vert./1:52:12 RT(1:07up)/avg. HR 133 Garmin Data

With a few upcoming days of baby juggling on the horizon, followed by 2 days of being unable to get outside and a fresh foot or so of snow tempting me (at the higher elevations at least), I could not accept the prospect of not being able to get outside to enjoy some time on the trails.

I called Homie and proposed a night lap of Green and he was in.  We met at Chautauqua and got going around 7:30pm, where there was enough light from town to illuminate the Flatirons, Flagstaff and made our headlamps somewhat unnecessary.  The sight of the Flatirons pasted in snow and lit up in the soft Winter (like) glow was hard to describe.  I was regretting not bringing my camera to at least try to capture it (guess you had to be there).  Microspikes helped on the lower sections of trail, but as soon as we got onto the Amphitheater trail, they were marginally helpful at best in the increasingly deep and unconsolidated snow.

We went pretty easy on the up and down, mainly dictated by the poor footing, trail breaking, conversation and waiting on Sierra.  She never got too far behind, but we always knew where she was, since I attached my red flashing bike light to her harness and worked amazingly well to keep track of her in the dark.

As always, I was grateful to have Homie along and it was great to see Sierra turn into a young pup in fresh snow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday, 10/23/11 Green PR

From Chautauqua
Up 3rd access/NE/Greenman
Down Greenman/NE/Saddle/Amphi
4.17 miles/2,446 vert./1:01:34 (38:50 up)/165 avg. HR Garmin Data

My legs were feeling heavy and sluggish and I was planning on taking a day off, but after leaving the office to grab some lunch and seeing what an amazingly perfect day it was, I figured I would get out for a casual hike/run on Green.

Started from Chautauqua, barely mustering up a run on the crowded and seemingly steep trail.  Once I hit the trail junction (~7 minutes even), I realized that I was moving better than I thought, just as I started to feel like I was getting into a groove and upped the tempo a bit.  ~8 at the next junction, 10 at the base of the 2nd, 20 to hit the social trail behind the 3rd and then I made good time and efficient route choices above on the way to the NE ridge.

Once I hit the NE ridge, I was able to keep a good running pace all the way to the summit, where I PR'ed for the route by 47 seconds at 38:50.

I started thinking about breaking 1:00 for the RT and even though I did not feel 100% as I started down, I figured I would fake it for as long as I could.  I was cruising fast down the NE ridge and I had the classic thought "OK, I am moving pretty decent" and then whoops, my foot slid out and I took a pretty good digger, probably the best yet, but was able to skip out of it with only minor scratches.  This stifled my confidence a bit and I had trouble regaining a good rhythm, but still made decent time.

Once on the lower part of Amphitheater, I knew there was no way I could make it back in less than 2:30, but I pushed for all I was worth anyways and clocked a 1:01:34.  Not under an hour, but I was reasonably happy all things considered and felt like I worked for it pretty hard.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday, 10/22/11 Green via Cavernous Sinus/East Green

From Chautauqua
4.37 miles/2,792 vert./2:24 (1:54 up)/avg. HR 123
Up Royal Arch Trail to Sentinel Pass, Cavernous Sinus, East Slopes to East Green, Greenman
Down Greenman/NE/1st Access

Had an amazing outing with Homie today seeking out the infamous Cavernous Sinus, as described in Roach's Flatiron Classics book.  Homie has been in the area several times climbing nearby rock formations, but had yet to stumble across it, so today we went looking.

After some circuitous bushwhacking and a dead end or two, we ascended a gully with small cave at the end.  I crawled into the seemingly nothing of a cave and only saw a narrow vertical opening into who knows what up above between some massive chockstones (massive, like the size of a house), all seemingly supported by much smaller stones.  Homie took a look and then wormed his way up through the improbable looking hole, as I volunteered to go back down and around and meet him on the upper side.  I have done more challenging things in slot canyons, but I have become even more of a wimp over the years and just looking at that tight vertical opening made me feel claustrophobic.

Homie made it out the upper side with no problem and from there, we spent some time goofing around climbing on rocks and exploring all the cool formations.  Eventually, we ascended a harder than it looks from below chimney with some stretchy moves and then came out on top of this really cool knife edge formation with amazing views of Green, S. Green, Bear and SoBo.  From there it was an easy jaunt over to the Greenman trail and then to the very crowded summit, where we bumped into Rob and Lauri Timko.

This was certainly one of the more unique trips up Green and definitely one of the most fun.  Getting out with Homie is always a great time and the unique vantage of Green and the surrounding area from the sharp fin near East Green is unrivaled.

Now I am hoping to get back and complete the trip through the cavern, although I might wear pants and longsleeves.

Entrance to the top secret cavern

This is the hole Homie slithered up (I put my hat there for scale)

Homie on the other side

Up above the cavern, Homie explores some rugged terrain

Awesome vantage of the 3rd Flatiron and town.  The photos do not do it justice.


Zoom even more

Liken' the lichen

Tada!!  All of a sudden, there is the summit of Green as I have never seen it.

Bear, SoBo, S. Green

Green summit

Zoom of Green (you can see the crowd on top)

Our ascent gully (steeper than it looks)

Rob and Laurie Timko

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday, 10/21/11 Green Mountain

From Chautauqua
Up 3rd access/East slopes/Down East slopes/NE/1st access

3.83 miles/2,565 vert./1:47:07/126 avg. HR Garmin Data

Was planning a double baby carry with Aron today, but Allison ended up staying home from work sick, which opened up my options a bit.  I then figured I would just take Amelie, but after deciding on an afternoon trip to the zoo, I figured I should just head out there early and let the babies nap well before the big afternoon trip.

So, I figured I would mess around a bit on the front side as I have enjoyed doing so much as of late and make it a challenge to not use any real trail above the 3rd Flatiron.  I took the usual route, but then about a few hundred feet below the NE ridge, I started contouring left on intermittent and sporadic game trails.  I found some cool aspen groves at peak foliage and ended up doing some challenging bushwhacking, class 3 pine needles/cones and multiple bush belays.

I eventually ended up on the ridge above the log steps on upper Greenman and just made a bushy beeline for the summit.

Once there, Mike, who reads my blog recognized me and introduced himself and his wife.  I was a little surprised to be recognized, but flattered by his kind comments.  Nice to meet you Mike.

I backtracked some of my ascent route, but then took a much better way to the NE ridge (still staying off trail) and then took the usual route down the 1st/2nd Flatiron route.

This was mostly a hike, with a few short bursts of running and a lot of stopping to wait for Sierra, who was moving pretty slow today, but it was awesome to have her company and just enjoy yet another perfect Fall day and the vibrant colors.

Thursday, 10/20/11 Davidson Mesa

7.53 miles/245 vert./1:06/8:47 pace/135 avg. HR

Ran from home with the girls in the Chariot out to Harper Lake and Davidson Mesa.  Went pretty casual, just taking in the perfect warm Fall day, beautiful colors and most of all enjoying the company of my beautiful twin daughters who came home exactly one year ago, after spending 3 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, 10/19/11 Green Mountain

From Chautauqua
Up 3rd access/Down 1st access

4.27 miles/2,629 vert.

Met up with Tony and Aron at Chautauqua a bit after 4pm and headed up Green behind the 3rd Flatiron.  It was my intent to work on dialing the route a bit, but I got so caught up yammering with those guys, I was not paying much attention and got off track a few times.  This was mostly just a fast walk, but as usual, once we hit Greenman, Tony turned on the jets and it was all I could do to keep him in sight as I alternated between hands on the knees hiking and running.

We headed down the NE ridge to the 1st access and spectated Bill and co. doing their not a race 1st Flatiron scramble and I got a bunch of photos.  Stefan of course blew the doors off of everyone and it was great fun to watch.

Tony and Aron

Stefan Griebel showing everyone how it is done

Newcomer Reid Pletcher.  Look out for this guy, he is super fast.

Bill Wright

Dan Mottinger

 Stefan cruising to yet another win

Dave Stewart, Tony, Homie

Bill breaking 40 minutes (way to go Bill!)

Dan finishing up

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, 10/18/11 Enchanted Mesa/Mesa Baby Jogger Run

4.52 miles/923 vert./48:14/137 avg. HR Garmin Data

Met up with Allison and the girls at Chautauqua and gave Allison and Sierra a chance to run Green, while the girls and I took a short run.  Headed up Enchanted Mesa to the Mesa Trail, back down and then up Mesa to the Bluebell shelter.  Super easy run.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, 10/17/11 Green Mountain via Bear Canyon

From the Bear Mountain Dr. TH

8.69 miles/2,456 vert./1:19:16 (47:59 up/31:16 down)/9:07 pace (11:04 up/7:10 down)/166 avg HR
Garmin Data

After hiking Bear Canyon with the family on Saturday (and understandably getting passed by a handful of runners while we were at), I was itching to go run the route and make it all the way to the summit, as we ran out of time and had to turn.  Not that it matters, but I hate leaving things incomplete.

This was probably the best I have felt on a run all year and I am almost certain was a PR for the up and down (especially considering the "new" switchbacks they added in Bear Canyon last year, thus increasing the distance a bit).  The most amazing thing though was that the run almost felt easy and I am sure I could have maintained that pace for twice as long without dropping the intensity back one bit (if I had the time, I would have done so for sure).

I started off with no particular intentions, aside from being in my normal bit of a rush in order to not get home too late.  I went out quick, but not really pushing and before I knew it, I was moving what I felt to be fast, with little effort.  My mind was focused on my immidiate surroundings and the trail underfoot, but never much on how I felt, or what was to come and I was shocked several times, to anticipate an upcoming steep section for instance and then realize that I had already passed it by without notice.

I tagged the summit, wishing for more, but needed to get back, so I cranked it back down the way I came, feet feeling very accurate and precise, like I could do no wrong (but tried not to think that at the time, as I would almost certainly trip).  I contemplated hitting up Bear/SoBo, but knew that would get me in trouble at home, so I reluctantly passed by the W. Ridge Trail.

Interestingly, my avg. HR for the descent was identical to the ascent, 166 for each.

This run was encouraging, as I have had so many runs this year where I have tried MUCH harder and yielded lesser performances and I have only felt good on a handful of runs,  but this run I felt great and it was a total surprise. 

In the grand scheme of things, it does not really matter, as I rarely race and do not have anything on the radar until next August at this point, but it just feels damn good to feel damn good.  I think it also helped that it was 54 degrees and overcast when I started and the trail was a bit tacky at times from the morning rain.  In my mind, these are absolutely ideal conditions and is almost like an added freebie level of fitness.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, 10/15/11 Bear Canyon

From Bear Mountain Dr.
6.45 miles/1,598 vert.

Had a nice hike with the family up Bear Canyon.  It was quite warm and even though we brought more water than usual, I was still pretty parched by the end.  I was wanting to summit something, but we did not bring any food for the girls, so we were limited on time and had to turn around near the Bear West Ridge jct..

On the way home, we stopped by the pumpkin patch, then once we got home, I quickly headed over to the Boulder Rez to check up on GZ who was running (and leading at mile 56) his first 100 mile race.  I rode my bike along side of him, making some small talk and took a few pictures, but otherwise was generally useless.  I felt bad that I could not be more helpful, but he seemed to have everything well covered.



Amelie, Allison, Isabelle

Amelie, Isabelle

GZ tearing it up on home soil

Coot Lake reflection