Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday, 07/26/12 Boulder Creek Path

10.7 miles/500 vert./1:20/7:30 pace/160 avg. HR 

A run on the creek path is hardly worthy of mention, but I felt particularly good today.  Started from Potts Field a little later than I had hoped (a bit after 10am and it was already getting a bit hotter than I would have liked), headed West on the Boulder Creek Path and was immediately feeling good, so I started pushing a little bit.  The miles were clicking by surprisingly fast and the uphill gradient barely seemed noticeable for the most part.

Once the path turned to dirt West of town, I was as little surprised to get passed by a fit/fast looking runner (I was wearing headphones and did not hear him coming).  He gave me props for pushing the double baby jogger and shared that he too had been there before, just with a single jogger.

Even though I was already going what I thought to be a good pace, he sort of woke me up a bit and I upped the pace a notch, staying a few strides behind him all the way until he turned around, a mile or so later, a bit short of my turn around at the end of the path.  I was a little bummed, as I was enjoying the fast pacing and was looking forward to chasing (racing) him going back down.  This effort had my HR in the 180's, which is somewhat unusual for me nowadays, which felt awesome and surprisingly sustainable.  Getting passed was a very welcome thing, as it really made me push harder than I would have otherwise.

Kept a reasonably steady tempo on the descent, but was using the brakes at times to keep my speed in check once I got to the steeper cement sections.  I was starting to feel a bit cooked from the heat, but was able to maintain a respectable pace over the final few miles, knowing that it will come in handy next month on the lower section of Barr and Ruxton Ave.

7:30 pace is nothing to get fired up about, but considering I was pushing 97 lbs (24lbs per girl, then the Chariot loaded with essentials, like water, food, camera, wallet, keys, teddy bears, puppies, hats, sunglasses, sandbox toys, spare tubes, pump etc…), it was certainly one of my more solid runs in a while.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, 07/19/12 Green Mountain

3.13 miles/2,286 vert./49:54 (32:28 up)  Garmin Data

Had a great run despite the heat, blisters on my toes and generally feeling a little lethargic at first.  Was in a hurry to get over to Potts Field to see GZ duke it out with Brownie in the Steeple Chase which motivated me to go fast.  Was also testing a pair of NB 1010s that turned out to be pretty sweet.  Very light, agile, great traction and a touch more protection/cushion than the 110.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, 07/18/12 Mt. Bierstadt via Abyss Lake

17.51 miles/4,847 vert./8:40 (6:12 moving time) Garmin Data

We had an entire day to ourselves, so we got out for an awesome Tour de Bierstadt from the Abyss trailhead, up to Abyss Lake, to the summit of Bierstadt, then down the S. Ridge.  This was the first time the three of us have gotten out for a 14er in ~2.5 years, so it was like old times and we really had an amazing time.  Allison and Sierra did great on such a long day, especially considering neither of them had done anything like this in some time.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

Abyss Lake

Black Hawk searching for an overdue climber.  Unfortunately, they found him on the West side of the ridge, as he had taken a fatal fall off the Sawtooth.

Our descent involved what I was sure would be an easy bushwhack (I had been through there before), but was severely complicated by a massive blowdown that happened over the Winter and affected much of Colorado.  Getting back to the trail in the valley involved a lot of zig zagging and tree hopping.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday/Sunday July 14-15th, 2012 James Peak, Meadow Mountain, St. Vrain Mountain

Saturday, 07/14/12
James Peak 13,294 ft.
14 miles/4,635 vert./3:35 Garmin Data

On Friday, my in-laws called to ask if I would mind if they came up to visit the girls on Saturday.  Being in the middle of 3 long consecutive days of baby duty, this came as a very welcome relief.  With only 6 or so hours to work with, I needed to keep the drive short in order to maximize the run and opted for James Peak from the Moffatt tunnel. 

Headed up the trail toward Heart/Rogers Peak Lakes and was moving at a decent clip.  Once near tree line, I got off the trail and headed up the valley in a SW direction toward the N. slopes of James.  I was slowed a bit through this section, as I went out of my way to photograph the abundant wildflowers and the occasional waterfall which required some circuitous navigating through the willows and krummholz.

From the head of the valley, I made a pretty efficient beeline, up the fall line, 2,000 more vertical to the summit of James in about a half hour.  Spent a few minutes on top enjoying the view and then headed N. along the divide.  The initial ~1,000 feet dropping off the summit was like running down a steep golf course, just perfect grass and solid boulders.  I initially started off sticking to the ridgeline along the divide, but the talus hopping was a bit slower than I had time for, so I soon jumped on the well worn trail on the W. side of the ridge which made for some quick and efficient running.

Having already visited Heart Lake and Iceberg Lakes on previous trips (as recently as last week), I was hoping to check out Crater Lakes just to the North for something new.  Since the trail I was on was below the ridge line, I had to head back up to the divide proper and keep peeking over to gauge my progress and eventually found Crater Lakes.  Getting down to the lakes required heading East on a small ridge just South of the lake and then a really steep descent to the W. side of upper Crater.  Careful route finding kept me mostly on very steep grass, maybe some of the steepest I have ever been on, requiring the occasional hand dab.

The descent from the lakes was amazing, it was really wet (aided by the fact that it was starting to rain) and quite lush, just bursting with wildflowers and waterfalls and I again got caught up taking pictures of my favorite wildflower of all time, the Columbine.

This run was incredibly satisfying, just to get out and see a variety of terrain and do a bit of exploring and not really thinking about time goals, training, Pikes, etc....  I pushed pretty hard at times and very easy at others, just completely absorbed in my surroundings and got lost taking pictures.  A great time.

The head of the valley before the 2,000 foot steep climb up James Peak

Looking toward Grays/Torreys (way off in the distance)

Looking back up at James from the divide

Heart Lake, where we hiked with the girls on 4th of July

Winter Park and threatening skies (it did eventually rain, but it felt good and there was no electricity)

Iceberg Lakes

Iceberg Lakes with James in the background

Upper Crater Lake (descended ridge in center of picture, R to L, then straight down pretty much)
The next lake (or pond) down

One of the two lower lakes.  Many great camping spots around the lake too (though not an original idea).

Sunday, 07/15/12
Meadow Mountain 11,632, St. Vrain Mountain 12,162
8.3 miles/3,633 vert./2:03  Garmin Data

There was a power outage at work, so I made the most of it with a quick trip up Meadow Mountain and St. Vrain.  Legs were a little heavy and I wore my Hoka Mafates, which really made me feel clumsy on the descents.  I think it was more a matter of me just having 2 left feet for the day.  Still a great little outing on the second consecutive day of unplanned mountain trips.

St. Vrain from Meadow


Copeland (Homie and I climbed this shortly after Pikes, 2006)

Looking SW along the divide.  Need to explore some of those peaks soon.

Met up with a guy named Johnny from Denver at the summit of St. Vrain, who was wearing a cotton 2006 PPA t-shirt (one which for some reason I do not own or remember?).  We chatted about PPA 2006 and 2008 and we exchanged taking photographs for one another.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday, 07/05/12 Green Mountain Middle Route PR and Bear Sighting

6.3 miles/2,301 vert./1:04:07 RT (38:08 up)/avg. HR 165 (173 for the ascent)

I was not sure I would even get out for a run today, as I was a bit sore this morning from a 9.2 mile hike yesterday carrying Isabelle and all the gear for the day up to ~11,300 ft. Heart Lake in the Indian Peaks.  We were also super busy all day today and the timing just seemed right for a day off.  However, Allison encouraged me to get out of the house a bit after 5pm and I could not resist the hall pass, especially since there was a bit of storming and rain to cool things off.

Got started around 6pm (had to go get an emissions test first) and was not sure what to expect, figured I would head up Gregory and maybe Long Canyon then to the summit of Green.  Once I got rolling though, I felt surprisingly good and although a bit warm now that the sun was starting to shine again, my splits were encouraging, yet it all felt somewhat easy (well not really easy, but it really felt good).

Once I got to the top of Gregory, I knew I had to stick to the back route or the middle route, as I was sure I had a pretty solid time in my legs.  I kept waffling, sure I was in range to PR on either and figured the middle would be fun.

Just after I stayed left on Greenman at the Ranger jct., I crested the knoll on the sweeping curve where the old (closed) trail comes in and spotted what I thought was a very large black dog right next to the trail.  A did a double take and realized that it was a black bear about 30 feet away.  I paused momentarily just as it noticed me and it sprinted a few paces before stopping to check me out.  I said a few nice words as I passed and quickly resumed my pace, now checking over my shoulder often for good measure.

The remainder of the way to the summit, I felt really solid (maybe not my best, but better than I have since May) and it was one of those runs where I just wanted the trail to continue upward for much longer, as it came way too soon.

On top, I hung out for a few to take in the views and then chatted with another runner named Von who showed up a few minutes after I, as we realized we had a few friends in common (2nd Von I have met on the peaks in 2 weeks who we have mutual friends, funny).  Backtracked down the way I came in hopes of spotting the bear again, but it was nowhere to be found.

Overall, a surprisingly good run and it felt great to PR by over a minute (1:06), especially on a day that started out as what felt like should be a rest day.  I think the humidity in the air really helped me a lot, as well as the cooler temperatures (though still probably in the 80's when I started).  The bear encounter also cost me some seconds too, so without that, I am positive I would have been sub 38, so I'll shoot for that next time.


1st bridge:  2:24
2nd bridge:  5:10
1mile/top of Gregory:  12:25
Cabin:  15:10
Greenman/Ranger Split:  18:46 (thought I was 18:41, but the Garmin says 18:46)
Bear encounter:  19:18-19:40 (or so, was paying closer attention to the bear than I was the watch)
Greenman/Saddle jct.:  23:50
Summit:  38:08

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday, 07/02/12 Green Mountain

I sprung out of bed this morning like a 6 year old on Christmas morning as I remembered that Green Mountain was to be re-opened today.  After seeing S. Boulder and Bear Peaks burn last week and even seeing a small fire on Green Mountain, I was a little concerned that Green would go up in flames too, so needless to say, myself and many other were relieved as well that it is safe, at least for the time being.

I think I was a little early though, as it was, well, early and I saw nobody out there, nor did I see one other footprint.  Kind of weird in a peaceful and tranquil sort of way.

Here are a few pictures of the burn area looking South.

Upper Bear looked singed, but as bad as I had feared.

S. Boulder looked a bit worse

There is still some smoke billowing, I am guessing from the backburn and efforts to contain

The West Ridge Trail looked especially worked over though, a real shame as it was one of the best rolling stretches of trail around.  I should improve the views though.