Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dec 7 - Dec 20

12/7, Monday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500'
Got out for a quick study break for a fun trip up the hill. I used spikes going up but I enjoy I nice sloppy downhill so I wore my worn and lug-less Salomon Ultra Sense Pro for a more exhilarating way down.

12/8 - 12/10 -  Finals
Minimal sleeping; maximal coding, writing and reading.

12/11, Friday - 2nd-1st-3rd-2nd Flatirons - 6 miles, 3700', 2:44
Snow was predicted for the evening so I felt even more compelled to scramble aside from not being outside for the last four days. Free for All on the 2nd, Direct on the 1st then the North side on the 3rd. I had planned on meeting Eric over at the Regency but his work lasted longer than expected. Instead, I went over to the 2nd and did a tempo effort up the Freeway. I clocked it at 7:12, 45 seconds off PR pace. Yikes!

12/12, Saturday - Green Mtn & Bear Pk - 14 miles, 4700', 3:11
From home (I've been biking to Chautauqua a lot lately) up the 1st/2nd trail to Green. While on my down Bear Canyon I slipped on some ice and fell on my back. The impact ended up destroying the water bottle I had in my back waistband, in effect detonating a water balloon in my trousers. Great, now I'm wet and thirsty. Coming off of Bear without traction was quite the spectacle, I fell probably 10 to 15 times, guiding my slide from hitting trees and rocks, fun stuff. Not wanting to freeze running home I picked up the pace (20:50 5k, which for me, is fast) which in the falling snow gathered quite the accumulation of ice on my eye-lashes and hair.

12/13, Sunday - Aborted Green - 6 miles, 1100', 1:02
Started heading up Saddle Rock feeling terribly so I turned around for a pleasant jog home. The day was brightened, however, by a fantastic session of bouldering in the evening.

Week Totals:
32 miles
12,000ft
8:09

Good grades or good training, some weeks you have to make a choice. Allegedly, I'll be a fully functioning human being after just one more semester of school. Terrifying.

12/14, Monday - AM: Quandary Pk - 7 miles, 3400', 2:47 || PM: Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:20
Got up to the high country in the morning with Ford and Jack for a blustery ascent in the high mountains.My gear choice was generally good, I would have liked poles for balance and a face covering in the 35-40mph winds but with a bit of perseverance we made the summit just fine. RMR Green in the evening to top things off.

A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on


12/15, Tuesday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 3000', 2:55
A mammoth dumping of snow fell over the night -- enough to cancel finals -- so I headed up to Green. I was breaking trail most of the way up in the knee deep snow, so the going was insanely slow. A few minutes after I got to the top Ryan showed up following my vaguely broken trail, so we enjoyed the sugary fall back down, but the snow still provided plenty of resistance even with gravity on our side.

A photo posted by Ryan Lassen (@rlassen) on

12/16, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 3100', 2:48
Surprisingly, conditions were worse than yesterday. The wind had destroyed any broken trail and replaced it with a crunchier more consolidated drift system that seemed to follow the trail. Somehow, even leaving at 9AM I was the first tracks again so I was swimming up and down again. I've learned to just take it easy with bad conditions like this though, there isn't much you can do to go faster.

12/17, Thursday - Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3000', 1:48
Looks like I'm stuck in this groove again. Good. The trench was a little better today, so I was able to make the climb in ~50min, as opposed to the miserable 1:20 it took the previous couple days. The improved conditions are most apparent comparing to yesterday's time! Went for a quick downhill, but didn't quite PR, nor get any closer to Jeff's CR down (I found out later from Jeff that TK went sub-14min pre-flood!). Snowy downhills bombs are too fun to pass up, though.

12/18, Friday - 4 x Green Mtn - 17 miles, 9300', 5:21
I started off pretty frustrated that the wind had destroyed yet another perfectly good trench and that it was I once again who first to arrive and do the dirty work (come on Boulder!). Anyways after the first lap a bunch more people came through and generally cleared things out. Also after lap one, I dropped my car key inside my spare tire on the back of my car, so I wasted a good 10 to 15 minutes delicately extracting the key with twig I fixed into a hook. On good pace vert-wise, hoping to top 10k', but I definitely didn't want to do a fifth lap nor did I care enough to do another 30 minute loop for the extra 700ft.

12/19, Saturday - 4 x Bear Pk - 17 miles, 10000', 5:41
Although I felt horrible on the first lap, it ended up being the fastest lap. The approach from Cragmoor is quite horrible being around 8% grade I feel compelled to run all of it, but its quite hard for me to maintain a run on that with tired legs. Today's fuel was a jar of nutella and a spoon I stashed at the bottom.

12/20, Sunday - 5 x Mt Sanitas - 15 miles, 6100', 4:19
Finished off a tough week with repeats on Sanitas until the BRC group run caught me on lap 5, then I finished off with them so I could get some free breakfast back at the store. Trails were pretty icy, but I still resisted wearing spikes. Only fell once -- which was before sunrise -- so I call that a success.

Week Totals:
92 miles
40,500ft
27:01

Well, that's 8 Green's, 4 Bear's, 6 Sanitas and 1 Quandary in a hard week. I'm pleased.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nov 30 - Dec 6

A few recovery days out, along with one slightly bigger day to bag a bunch of scrambling before the first big snow which would drape the flatirons in snow much of which will stay put for the season.

11/20, Friday - Third Flatiron - 4 miles, 1800', 1:48
Snow was predicted for this evening so Jack and I headed up for an easy scramble. Finding the true base of the 3rd on its south side far damp to gain traction, we skirted around to the standard east bench start and found a drier surface to ascend. Afterwards, we made a quick mounting of Tomato Rock.

A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on
11/22, Sunday - 4th Flatiron, Green Mtn, 2nd Flatiron - 5 miles, 2600', 2:51
The snow that did fall ended up being rather pathetic, so Jack and I set out for the 4th. Jack had never been up the 4th before and he was welcomed with rather treacherous conditions. The first piece was dry enough, but the entrance to the hanging garden on the second piece was guarded by veneer of ice. The third piece was essentially unclimbable, we ended up wallowing up a small trench on the north side filled with powdery snow. We finished up to Green and split for myself to downclimb the 2nd and Jack to take the trail.

A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on

A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on
11/25, Wednesday - Achean Pronouncement, Primal Rib, Regency, Royal Arch, Hammerhead, Third Flatiron, Chase the Sun, 2nd Flatiron - 9 miles, 4500', 4:40
Anton had told me a month or so ago that something was wrong with me since I said I didn't like Achean Pronouncement (AP) and Primal Rib (PR). Today I trialed his recommendation of switching the order to AP-PR. The start to AP is a bit tricky for me but the remaining scramble was pleasant. The main difference was the short connecting schwack to PR which made the sharp arete all the more enjoyable. Coming off PR I blindly followed Porch Alley out to the Mesa trail so rather than ascending Satan's Slab and the Fist I resigned to loop around to the main Flatirons rather than retrace my steps. The next scrambles of the Regency, Royal Arch, Hammerhead the temperature began to sharply drop; the final loop of the 3rd, Chase the Sun and a downclimb of the second was very cold.
A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on
11/28, Saturday - Flatiron Loop - 3 miles, 1500', 0:52
I met Kory at Chautauqua and he dragged me up to behind the 1st where I then lead then descent down to the Amphitheater. As is typical when I run with Kory, I'm displeased with focus on speed of ascent and he is displeased with the technicality and trail (or lack thereof) quality I select.

A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on
Recovery had generally gone well, sleep deprivation long compensated for as well as energy. The only ailment I currently had was some tightness in my right knee where the quadriceps connect. I was planning on taking more time easy. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), I don't do well with time off nor following plans.

11/30, Monday - Green Mtn - 8 miles, 3,000', 1:45
RMR Green night and I decided to work harder on the up than my usual Monday effort. Downhills were perfect without spikes in the ice-free packed snow.

12/1, Tuesday - Off
Went bouldering at the rec, but felt like a sack of rocks so I headed home early.

12/2, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 7 miles, 3,600', 2:02
Planning on meeting Jack, Kory and Joe on Green, I opted to start early and bag more vert rather than lag behind the speedsters. Took the 1st/2nd trail up, descended to the Amphitheater, ascended Saddle Rock, descended EM Greenman then finished up Ranger where after one extra down and up repeat they joined me on top. Another fun descent.
A photo posted by Cordis Hall (@cordisimo) on
12/3, Thursday - 2 x Green Mtn - 10 miles, 4,800', 2:20
Two laps up and down Saddle Rock. An early start meant I was descending off lap 1 before the sun even rose. Second lap felt too hard.

12/4, Friday - Off

12/5, Saturday - 4 x Bear Pk - 21 miles, 11,100ft, 6:47
Parked at Cragmoor and ran/hiked 4 laps up and down Fern Canyon. I crossed paths with Bill and Mark and then a slew of RMR on the 1st lap. On the second I did the summit ridge with Simon which we hit way too hard for a long effort. The final two laps were a long blur only memorable by getting Ryan Smith's TNF50 update texts. Jack was heading to Bear and tried to convince me to do a 5th, but I was all out of food and quite tired. Definitely not in shape right now.

12/6, Sunday - Climbing
Went sport climbing in Boulder Canyon with Jack. Jack had been telling me about "The Young and the Rackless" for a while now and with him not training for a race, my ankles working and the weather prime, we took advantage of the rare opporunity. My arm strength (which isn't anything to be proud of normally) is terrible right now after betting a bit ambitious on a friendly monthly push-up challenge, so I was frustrated-ly stuck on the first crux, but otherwise made it through alright.
A photo posted by Jack Daly (@jdalyy) on

Week Totals:
45 miles
22,500ft
17:38

Slowly getting back to the rhythm of training. Time to move focus from present objectives to those many, many weeks away. I'll likely have a slightly lighter volume until after Christmas with family, finals and so forth; looking forward to get properly back in training mode. The more hard and terrible the winter the more glorious the summer. Hopefully, otherwise I'll be putting myself through a lot of unnecessary misery.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 2 - November 8

11/2, Monday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:22
Daylight savings meant that it was headlamps from the get-go. I much prefer using my headlamp in snow, especially with a big group so I can use not only my own light but all of the other lights reflected off of the crystals, the white should be here soon. Tonight also happened to be my 100th summit of the year, it was nice to get that with RMR friends who have been there for at 30 or so of them, and supplied much of the motivation of staying motivated all year.
Cool group a folks, not sure who it is that felt they needed to compensate for the moon not being in the picture! :)
11/3, Tuesday - Regency & Royal Arch - 8 miles, 2100', 1:51
Ran up to Four Pines and over to the Regency. The Regency is notorious for offering one 4th class route hidden among a web of dead-ends and higher difficulty scrambling. Today I suddenly found myself on a tapering flake which required a sloping mantle maneuver that I couldn't commit to, so I had to downclimb and traverse a bit. Next I went up the trivial east face of the royal arch and downclimbed the trickier 5.6 west face. I'd done this a couple times before, but never without sticky rubber, so it took some extra time. With all my slow scrambling I was forced to skip my planned ascent of the 5th.

11/4, Wednesday - Last Flatironette & Green Mtn - 9 miles, 2900', 1:41
Met Ford and Jack on campus and I huffed and puffed to keep up on the runnable terrain -- Jack has imposed a rule of no hiking east of the mesa trail. From the Woods Quarry we marched straight up and accidentally onto the Last Flatironette. I had no idea what slab we were on but the difficulty was easy (which was important for Ford, a relatively new but enthusiastic scrambler). The downclimb ended up being an easy hang-off. We finished up to Green and took an odd combination of trails back down to finish off a great outing. Pretty chilly, a few flakes up top!

11/5, Thursday - Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3000', 1:52
The precipitation that fell last night turned to snow around 6,500ft so I went up and down the  Amphitheater trail. Maybe 2 or 3 inches of snow on the summit and a slippery descent. I can tell I haven't dealt with cold temps in a while as I was way over dressed.

11/6, Friday - 1st Flatiron & Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3100', 1:58
On the run up I wasn't sure exactly my plan but I hadn't been on the 1st for a while and it looked free of snow. The scramble wasn't particularly fast without sticky rubber and 3 weeks absent from the rock, but all my cruxes felt fine. Finished up to Green and jogged back down. There was an unnerving amount of ice lingering on the upper 800ft of the mountain and a blanket of clouds obscuring all views, winter is here.

11/7, Saturday - Mt Lady Washington (13,281') - 9 miles, 3900', 3:10
Jack, Joe and I started at the Longs Peak trailhead and jog-slogged up to the Chasm Junction from which we began the steep hike up Mt Lady Washington. Perfect blue skies and surprisingly non-violent wind made for a perfect summit with the panoramic view of Longs' east face which Lady Washington is notorious for. I was surprised how well I was able to navigate my typical route in the trees with unbroken snow, though I definitely missed a few turns.
Longs looking as freakin' awesome as always
11/8 - Torreys Pk (14,267') & Grays Pk (14,270') - 14 miles, 5000', 5:07
Although the dirt road up to the trailhead was hardpacked snow with tire tracks, I decided not to push my luck and started running from the highway. First thing I see when I get to the actual trailhead was the same exact car I drove, nice. The overly popular and thus eroded standard trail had a layer of trodden snow which made the going much nicer up to the Kelso turnoff. Kelso Ridge proved to be an exciting ascent with all of the difficult class 3/4 sections getting a 5th class upgrade due to the snow. The final technical section had my usual holds covered in loose snow so I was forced into a sketchy crimp and edge. Amazingly, I never even put on my spikes the whole day. Getting over to Grays was a forced effort, but I can't pass up such an easy tick on a 14er summit. The descent was glorious, plowing through snow then bombing down that snowy, car-tire packed road back to the car. Weather was beautiful as well, comfortable in a t-shirt and clear skies enabled views from Pikes to Longs to the southern Sawatch.
Reasonably exposed
This short move from the leading man to where I took the picture stumped one of the guys in this party I passed, it was by far the technical crux of the day.
View of Kelso Ridge while descending Grays
Week Totals:
63 miles
22,500'
17:02

So that marks one week of trail running without any horrific ankle ligament destruction, which is good. Happy to getting back to schedule that feels consistent and sustainable.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October 12 - November 1

10/12, Monday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2600', 1:28
With RMR. Getting my heartrate up too high makes my teeth throb still, so I was really conservative. It doesn't cause damage (or so the doctor told me), but it can be quite painful so I kept it quite relaxed. On the bright-side, my ankle felt much stronger than it did a couple weeks ago.

10/13, Tuesday - Off
Teeth hurt a ton, school stuff, other crap.

10/14, Wednesday - TdF #5: 1st Flatiron - 3 miles, 1600', 0:57
As I should expect for these things, this was another disaster on my part. Felt pretty tired from the beginning then I could easily tell I hadn't scrambled in a couple weeks when I got on the rock. I split ~14:30 on the face, 3:30 off PR pace. Downclimbed in 2:30, 1 minute off PR pace. Took 10 steps then rolled my ankle really badly, I heard pops. I was on enough Advil for my teeth that the pain didn't set in right away, but I knew the damage was done so I humbly walked back down. I would have been happier just scrambling up to the arete and watching Matthias obliterate the FKT by a full minute, 32:14.
Even a slow and disappointing day can still be quite thrilling on the 1st. Photo: Dan Mottinger
10/15, Thursday - Bike: SuperFlag - 20 miles, 500', 1:20
Since I'm back on the injury machine, I took a casual jaunt up the hill and ended up PR-ing the ascent (barely, but I did). Some nice autumn colors are showing in Boulder now, which made the ride a real pick me up from all the injury n' surgery annoyances.

10/16, Friday - Bike -Poorman Loop - 13 miles, 1200', 0:54
Easy cruise up the creek path and over Poorman Dr for a quick loop before dark. Comparing my splits from similar efforts from today and when I road this climb on my road bike is completely lopsided. Road bikes can just crank out miles so fast!

10/17, Saturday - Bike: North Boulder/Longmont - 34 miles, 1300', 1:41
Took the road bike out for a quicker loop out on the farm country northeast of Boulder. Tried to keep the pace somewhat tempo-ish, but since I'm still pretty new to this biking stuff, I'm not sure exactly what pacing is for me. Heading back into Boulder I thought I was moving alright at 22 mph on the flats, then some lady wheeled around me with ease! Only in Boulder!

10/18, Sunday - South Boulder - 15 miles, 500', 1:51
Met Jack on the creek path and we ran steady mile splits at 6:55 - 7:05 min/mi for the first 8 miles, then he wanted to throw in a faster 4 miles. He really broke away from me after the first 2 miles as he kept getting faster and I did the opposite. I circled back around (we were on a 2mi loop at this point), and met him on the backside after some recovery minutes and tried to hold on for dear life for another half mile or so before we ran an "easy" (for him) pace back to campus/home.

Week Totals: Running
24 miles
4,400ft
4:04

Week Totals: Cycling
61 miles
4,900ft
3:41

Has to be one of my lightest weeks in a long time. I've been averaging 17.5 hours cumulatively this year, so 7:45 is quite a step down. Then again, its reasonably warranted considering I had a surgery and an injury. I've also come to the realization that the short season of big alpine adventures is over, and the much longer season of grinding out miles, vert and workouts between homework is here. Its definitely the more miserable season, but I say that with endearment!

For the next week I rolled my right ankle on Monday prompting me to take a full week of rest and start really evaluating my downhill running technique as I'm obviously doing something wrong.

10/26, Monday - Treadmill/Track/Spin - 4 miles, 1:00
Messed around on the treadmill, indoor track and spin bike at the rec center for a couple hours. I wound up running about 4 miles. Good workout.

10/27, Tuesday -  AM & PM Creek Path - 10 miles, 500', 1:20
4 miles in the morning at a slow lethargic pace then 6 miles in the evening feeling much better, weirdly.

10/28, Wednesday - Boulder Resevoir - 7 miles, 300', 0:50
With Jack and Kory, we did a lap around Boulder Res. I was feeling very tired which was bad because Jack and Kory usually run ~6:30 pace and today I was struggling to stay at 7:00 pace. I may have got back to the car last, but it was a fun time complimented with breakfast at Einstein Bagels afterwards.

10/29, Thursday - Boulder Canyon - 8 miles, 500', 1:02
Good ol' creek path to its western terminus. I was surprised to not see Sage since he's running this path twice a day right now. I checked Strava when I got home and I actually did just narrowly miss seeing him. Effort felt much easier than yesterday, easily held 7:20 pace average.

10/30, Friday - Creek Path - 8 miles, 300', 1:04
Cruise on the South Boulder bike paths.

10/31, Saturday - 2nd Flatiron, Sunset Flatironette, Green Mtn, Bear Pk, South Boulder Pk - 15 miles, 5900', 3:59
I hadn't planned on returning to trails yet, but it was a holiday and I wanted to enjoy it. I didn't have a big plan, so I headed for the default 2nd Flatiron. I scrambled easy in 12 minutes then decided to tack on Chase the Sun before the march up to Green. I took Bear Canyon all the way down the Mesa Trail, which winds a relatively flat path down for dropping 2500ft. Next, I enjoyed the 3000ft climb up Fern Canyon to Bear Pk and bop to South Boulder Pk. Descended Shadow Canyon for the first time in a long while then took the Mesa Trail back to Chautauqua.
Clouds pouring over the Continental Divide, unfortunately my iPhone camera can't quite capture a lot of the expansive, but far away peaks.
11/1, Sunday - Challenger, Green Mtn, 2nd Flatiron, Chase the Sun, 2 x Green Mtn - 15 miles, 7500', 5:14
I started off heading up to Morning After, but after sitting at the 5.7 overhanging crux I couldn't find a sequence I felt comfortable doing without sticky rubber (I usually like wearing my re-soled shoes for anything over 5.4 excluding the 1st since I have every hold and sequence memorized). After a rather involved traverse back to dirt I romped up to Challenger which I scrambled before hiking up to Green. For the descent I chose Gregory Ridge a variant of the standard Gregory-Ranger route, which I essentially never go down since its so indirect. Up next I took on the Free for All route on the 2nd Flatiron, which although technically being 5.6, I've done enough times and the 5.6 is literally 5 or 8 feet long I felt fine in my running shoes. I tacked on Chase the Sun again, its a fun little addition after the 2nd. After summitting Green for the second time I was trying to convince myself to skip the 3rd lap, but I really was intent on getting to 99 summits of Green for 2015 today so I could do the 100th with my friends tomorrow night. So, after descending to the Amphitheater I did a u-turn and slowly hiked back up for summit number 99. I had almost forgotten how early sunset is with daylight savings last night, but I thankfully made it back to my bike before things really got dark.
I'm a big fan of Challenger
Looking to Bear on the hike from Challenger to Green
Mountains are looking white nowadays.
Week Totals:
68 miles
16,500'
14:31

Got some good distance throughout the week and capitalized on barely healthy enough ankles to enjoy the best Boulder has to offer on the weekend. Not even sure what I'm trying to do looking forwards, Nolans or something of the like is certainly the objective for next summer, but I'd like to put a race or other objective on the schedule for the period of February - April to maintain motivation in the coming cold and dark months. Currently I'm thinking about the Mississippi 50 or Behind the Rocks 50M/50k but I normally throw all my plans in the trash and do something else.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

September 21 - October 11

General lack of structure lately, but here is the coming and goings as of late.

9/21, Monday - AM: Bike: Flagstaff Mtn - 18 miles, 1900', 1:21 - PM: 1st Flatiron - 3 miles, 1900', 1:36
Opted for another morning ride up Flagstaff road, I'd really like to get faster at the climb, but this morning I was just enjoying the cool mountain breezes. For RMR Monday I decided to take a demo pair of Hoka's up the direct route on the 1st. The traction isn't so bad, but you cannot feel in any way if your foot is secure. Thus, it took me a lot longer than usual. Marched up to the ridge then down to Saddle Rock for some extra vert. Turned my ankle running back down, which I should have known would happen wearing Hoka's, ugh.

9/22. Tuesday - The Slab - 3 miles, 1400', 1:12
Met Eric at the Craigmoor trailhead to go scout tomorrow's route, Syzygy. the face itself is definitely a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing, lots of options ranging from 4th class to 5.5. I was practicing the downclimb a few times when Matthias practically leaped to the ground doing his run of the course early.

9/23, Wednesday - TdF 2: The Slab - 4 miles, 1500', 0:36
Took the approach much more conservative this time, maybe too conservative. I was 4th to the rock, but immediately passed David on the scramble. Nearing the top, I was momentarily happy as I believed I was in front of Stefan, but then he appeared on the skyline taking whatever route he pleased. Such is the luxury when you can practically solo 5.11b! I came off the downclimb in 4th and timidly made my to the trail and maintained my place to the finish. Apparently I was only 15 seconds behind Stefan, but I never realized with the winding trail in the trees, otherwise I may have pushed a bit more. Then again, I was pretty satisfied to have finished without re-tweaking my ankle. Dang ankles have been made of glass for the past couple months!
Working my way up. Photo: Stuart Paul
9/24, Thursday - Bike: Gold Hill - 25 miles, 3000', 2:10
In an effort to get into the hills and heal my ankle I was back on the bike. I hurried up Boulder Canyon and hopped over to Sunshine Canyon via Poorman Dr. The climb up to Gold Hill ended up being way further than I thought, which wouldn't have been an issue had light not been waning. Coming down Fourmile Canyon, I was having some chain issues and ended up losing traction on a turn and flipping over the bars. I was wearing my helmet and proudly somersaulted across the dirt road, but still ended up with a good bit of road rash. I remember back when I used to skateboard a lot falling was a learned skill, however silly that sounds. I'm happy to have come out relatively unscathed. Overall though, it was an incredibly beautiful evening with yellowing aspens and subtly pink sunset and the wreck only composed a couple minutes of what otherwise was great ride.

9/25, Friday - Sick

9/26, Saturday - Sick

9/27, Sunday - Sick

9/28, Monday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 2900', 1:59
Standard RMR Monday. I was happy to have a headlamp for the jog home. That along with the weather forecast of ten inches of snow on Longs Friday night are depressing signs of summer's end.

9/29, Tuesday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 9 miles, 2900', 1:50
Kept the pace easy and steady. A light drizzle meant I was restricted to the Freeway, especially without sticky rubber. Hiked up to Green passing Hillary and Josh; tagged the summit and skipped down (only one ankle turn, its getting annoying) to catch up then finished back to the trailhead with them. Felt good to get a couple Green summits from home the last couple days, back to basics.

9/30, Wednesday - TdF 3: Regency, Royal Arch, 5th Flatiron - 4 miles, 1900', 1:14
Not necessarily a high placing today, but I had a good ascent topping out in 5th, which seems to be where I belong (now that Anton is back, I'm pushed out of 4th). Felt good on the Regency tailing Anton till he blitzed the downclimb faster than I could blink, he was gone. I managed to on-sight the downclimb on the west face of Royal Arch reasonable well, with only one quick pause to find a hold. I put some space between me and Darren on the 5th, but I downclimbed too far and had to reascend to the correct ledge. I took the downhill easy with Jason and we took the wrong trail down, and of course snuck in a little ankle roll farther down Skunk Canyon. I didn't really place too well but it was grand old time.
Figuring out the downclimb off the Royal Arch with Darren closing above. Photo: David Glennon
Nearing the top of the Regency, Eric Lee (who took this pic) has been getting some fantastic pictures thus far!
10/1, Thursday - 1st Flatiron - 7 miles, 2000', 1:30ish?
Jogged up to Chat feeling tired but that lack of energy double on the hike. Ended up spending some 37 minutes on the rock with stops and and so forth. My ankle felt extremely fragile so I walked most of the descent before jogging home. Elapsed time was 2hrs, but I spent so much time walking or flat out stopped I'm calling it 90min. Time to take a break from running.

10/2, Friday - Off
Spent the afternoon figuring out how to actually tune up my bike, which involved completely un-tuning both derailleurs.

10/3, Saturday - Bike: Sunshine-Sugarloaf - 37 miles, 5100', 3:21
Boulder was under a dense veil of clouds and I've learned how cold you can get on a bike so I donned tights and a long sleeve shirt to complement my usual lycra-lizard biking kit. I took Sunshine Canyon (with a little loop through Seven Hills) to Poorman where I could descend to Fourmile Canyon. I had planned on taking the trails of the Betasso Preserve to Sugarloaf, but I had forgotten its closed to bikers on Saturdays. So I continued up the canyon, finding Logan Mill Rd, which I'd seen Anton riding on his barely trail capable rig so I granny-geared up the steep climb. At this point I had fully risen above the clouds and was burning up in my tights and sleeves, I paused to strip down to shorts and a jersey. From the end of Logan Mill, it was a short climb up Sugarloaf before winding down the beautiful Switzerland trail to Sunset and back to Fourmile. I started climbing up to Gold Hill, but then decided I was done so I threw on a windbreaker and headed home.
Looking back to Boulder from the Switzerland Trail to Sunset
10/4, Sunday - Bike: Blue Sky Marathon Spectating - 28 miles, 3100', 3:20
I headed down to Fort Collins watch Jack run the Blue Sky Marathon and brought my bike along to get some biking in on their sweet trails

10/5 Monday - Bike: Ward-Nederland - 49 miles, 6100', 2:58
I took my usual "shortcut" over Lee-Hill and dispatched the the steep grades with surprising ease. The following climb to Ward felt unreasonably easy. Cranked right through Ward up to Peak to Peak HW which took me on a longer than expected but beautiful route to Nederland, yellow aspens all the way. I bombed down Boulder Canyon, passing Jack who was climbing near Boulder Falls and then Sage who was predictably running the creek path. I'm usually happy with a 16.5mph average for a flat ride, so I was ecstatic to maintain that on a hilly route that got up to 9000ft+.

10/6, Tuesday - Bike: Flagstaff + NCAR - 25 miles, 3400', 1:44
I was lazy with the route this morning and simply did out and backs on a couple local climbs, Super-Flagstaff then the much shorter and easier NCAR. NCAR is the cycling equivalent of the Freeway route, fun, short and relatively easy (or you can hammer the whole thing and get your heart rate to max out).

10/7, Wednesday - Bike: Flagstaff - Coal Creek Canyon - 38 miles, 4600', 2:39
Started off with Super-Flagstaff and descended the west side towards Gross Reservoir. I'm always for some reason surprised at just how pretty the 7000ft to 8000ft elevations can be and thus just how unappreciated they are. The road around the reservoir, I knew was dirt and road-bike-able, but after last nights rain, traction was especially tricky descending to South Boulder Creek. The subsequent climb up to Crescent however was a smooth and hardpacked delight even on the roadie. I had forgotten just how much elevation I had gained so the long and speedy ride out of Coal Creek Canyon was a blast on the wide curves. I'm not good at descending (specifically high-speed cornering), so I felt much better on the slight bends rather than the 180 degree hairpins down Flagstaff. Pushed the rollers on 93 to make it class on time. Got in some climbing with Jack in the afternoon, barely made it up (one fall at the crux on both attempts) "Twilight Time" a 5,10a or 5.9+ depending on where you look.

10/8, Thursday - Bike: 2 x Flagstaff - 21 miles, 3600', 1:40
Started off with a relatively relaxed climb of Super-Flag (38min), then did a loop around the Chautauqua parking lot before starting a hard lap up the Amphitheater. My chain fell off within the first minute, so the effort ended being just from Gregory Canyon to the Amphitheater turnoff, and with my tired legs I wasn't able to achieve much in the way of time.

10/9, Friday to 10/11, Sunday - Wisdom Teeth Surgery
Buncha days off for getting my wisdom teeth out. Hopefully, my ankle has gotten some good healing time from all the biking and days off. Then again, I'm on enough pain killers right now from the surgery that I can't tell if it is healed or not!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 7 - September 20

9/7, Monday - 1st Flatiron - 3 miles, 1400', 2:00
Scrambled the 1st with Rush and his friend from Chicago. Walking everything, 40 minute scramble, super easy. Definitely recovery mode.

9/8, Tuesday - Off

9/9, Wednesday - Off

9/10, Thursday - Anemone Ridge & Mt Sanitas - 11 miles, 2200', 1:37
With RMR, we first tackled the newly opened Anemone Ridge which was super fun, before zipping (past a bear, no less) up the backside of Sanitas. Three scoops of gelato for dinner afterwards. Great idea, but limiting myself to two is likely more sensible.

9/11, Friday - Climbing
Well, the streak of never using a rope is over. Jack took me up Boulder Canyon for some sport climbing. I first top roped a 5.8, Edges and Ledges, then lead a 5.9, Brand New Bosch. Awesome to climb something where falling is actually possible but death isn't. My mind still isn't quite all back from the sleep deprivation yet so I stupidly forgot my rock shoes and was wearing Jack's one size too small shoes. As a result, my toes were squeezed lifeless and on my last rappel down I was wincing with each bump into the rock.

9/12, Saturday - Flatiron Quinfecta, 5th Flatiron, 4th Flatiron - 7 miles, 6200', 3:58
Ugh. Set out to do the Double Quinfecta but made the mistake of bringing no water despite the hot temps. I made it through the trifecta in my usual hour, then my experimental line from the 3rd to the Royal Arch trail was a bust. I hopped on the Northeast Buttress on the 5th for a change and found it to be an amazing route with a couple super thin 5.5/6 sections in the typical 5.who-cares slab. I then found a way better downclimb off the south side of the 5th that shaves off several minutes, the 5th turned out to be the one highlight of the day. After finishing the 4th I had already eaten both the gels I brought and was feeling pretty dehydrated. Lap 2 on the 5th I perfected the line, but my split was nearly 14min (versus 9min on lap one). Things really started unraveling with a bunch of hip cramps and more slow movement on the 4th with a nearly 30min scramble. I started heading up to the 3rd but I was fading pretty badly and expecting a pretty miserable time for the last 3, so I called it and jogged back down. Still a good day on paper, just not what I was hoping for.

9/13 Sunday - Campus Loop
Slept through my alarm then found out I'll be doing a little scramble shindig on Wednesday so rather then battle the heat (again) I did an easy loop around campus.

Week Totals:
24 miles
10,000'
8:06

9/14, Monday - AM: 3rd Flatiron Tour - 5 miles, 2800', 2:21 - PM: Green Mtn + Dome Rappel - 6 miles, 2500', 1:30
In the morning I met Kendrick and Stuart for some scrambling, we did the 3rd Flatironette, then walked back down to the true bottom of the 3rd (standard start is 200' higher at the East Bench), then scrambled up to the "U" before I cut over and checked out the North side. Its more fun (difficult) but the rock is sort of crumbly and with the 50ft drop a few feet away I won't frequent it. RMR Green in the evening, followed by a quick session in Boulder Canyon learning how to rappel, just in case that skill comes in handy over the next few days.

9/15, Tuesday - Off
Boy, its hard getting into the groove of running and school again, super inconsistent.

9/16, Wednesday - Tour de Flatirons, Stage 1 (Freeway, 1st Flatiron, 3rd Flatiron) - 4 miles, 2600', 1:15
Eh, not sure how I felt about my performance, but it was pretty cool to compete against some guys I really look up to. My first mistake was running with Anton and Matthias way too hard to the 2nd (not like I kept up too well anyways), had I gone even 30 seconds slower here I think I could have held a much better pace later in the course. The big mishap was having my rope super tangled coming down the 3rd, which wasted 10 minutes and dropped me two places. I finished 7th.
Beginning the rappel of the 3rd. Photo: Eric Lee
Working my way up the face of the 3rd Flatiron, trying to hold onto my 5th place position.
9/17, Thursday - AM: Bike: 16 miles, 300', 0:50 - PM: Mt Sanitas - 9 miles, 1500', 1:20
Quick ride to pick up a circuit component for lab in the morning. RMR Sanitas in the evening.

9/18, Friday - Bike: Flagstaff Mtn - 14 miles, 2400', 1:07
I had biked Flag before, but never as just a standalone road bike ride, but its really fun! You gain a ton of elevation pretty quickly and are rewarded with some great views. Maybe the best part is not having to throw yourself down the mountain, but instead coasting down in the cool breeze without smashing your joints on rocks. Nice change of pace.

9/19, Saturday - Little-Bear Pk (14,037'), Blanca Pk (14,345'), Ellingwood Pt (14,042') - 15 miles, 6700', 5:24
Jack and I made the long haul across the near longitudinal length of the state and made it up to 8800' in his jeep. Lake Como Rd is one of the worst roads in America (like actually, its a thing). A more accurate description than "road" would be "Class 2 trail cars can drive on". We leisurely began at 7:30AM and hike/jogged the loose rubble road up to Lake Como, its not only a technical road its also steep. The standard route of Little Bear is the most dangerous standard route on a Colorado 14er due to rockfall. So instead we took the NW Face, a more technical route, but being mostly 3rd/4th and maybe one or two 5.easy moves it was the obvious choice (especially without helmets). The face turned out to be great fun on its own. We quickly darted out and back on the ridge to tag Little Bear before embarking on the greatest ridge run I can imagine. All of the rock was solid, and it mostly alternated between short 3rd/4th class and extended sections of 2ft (or less!) wide ridge that you could run across. The greatest. Blanca would be the high point of the day, and the views back to Little Bear with the backdrop of the San Luis Valley were near perfect. Last we dropped down and up to Ellingwood Point, our final summit. We descended a talus gully directly off the summit and made our way to the standard trail to Lake Como. Jack didn't want to re-re-re-re-sprain his ankle (its a vicious cycle), so I took the road much quicker slaloming between boulders and baby-heads to stay on dirt for a fun descent back to the heat of the valley. Might be the most fun route I've ever done, its a quintessential mountain run!
Jack standing high above the San Luis Valley, with the traverse from Little Bear dominating the view.
Charging to the first peak of the day, Little Bear, with the next two Blanca (right) and Ellingwood (left) 
Standing on the summit of Blanca looking back to Little Bear. Not sure why I'm frowning, I was loving it! Photo: Jack
9/20, Sunday - Tomato Rock, Hammerhead, Royal Arch, 5th Flatiron, Stairway to Heaven, Primal Rib, Achean Pronouncement, Satan's Slab, Fist, Green Mtn - 10 miles, 5600', 5:34
I finally tried scrambling with a pack and water. I hate to abandon UD (a local Boulder company), but the Salomon packs are on a whole other level in terms of comfort and utility. With a liter of water (in soft flasks, rather than bottles another great purchase) I jogged up to Tomato Rock and quickly mounted the 5.8 sphere. I followed a well defined trail up to the Hammerhead for Yodeling Moves then zipped over to the Royal Arch. The west face of the arch is rated 5.6, but it felt very easy -- I would be comfortable downclimbing it. Next was the south side of 5th, I hugged the far edge and found the climbing much more fun than my slightly less south route I've taken before. I shwacked over and then proceeded to downclimb (like a bumbling idiot) Stairway to Heaven. Being a virgin to the depths of Skunk Canyon it took me a bit to navigate the flood debris and hop on the razor sharp ridge of Primal Rib which uneventfully passed. I descended down in front of Achean Pronouncement to scout my downclimb then jogged all the way to the bottom. The first couple moves are 5.7, but it gradually eases in difficulty until the end is 4th class. Downclimbing was easy since I didn't finish to the 5.6 pinnacle. There were 2 groups on Satan's Slab (I've never seen anyone in Skunk Canyon before), but they were taking the 5.8 direct route. The bottom of the slab is so insanely polished it makes the 1st look quite featured. I eventually found a very thin fault in the rock which angled back left across the face directly to the 5.8 roof, then took a 5.5/6 slab route around the roof and romped up the slab. There were several bulges and notches that felt between 5.5 and 5.7, its a sustained route! I picked up a faint trail which lead me to the south edge of the Fist and followed ledges and fist cracks to the summit. The downclimb off the back isn't particularly hard but the holds are extremely thin, so it takes quite awhile to identify the route, especially on-site. Out of water, I finished up to Green and took a relaxed jaunt completely on trail back down.
The Norther Slabs of Skunk Canyon, From left, Mohling Arete, Angel's Way, Satan's Slab, Stairway to Heaven, Hillbilly Rock.
Looking back up the super crimpy downclimb off the Fist. Keep in mind this is at about 70 degrees!
Week Totals (Run):
48 miles
21,000'
17:57

Week Totals (Bike):
48 miles
4,100'
3:39

Now there is a week of training I can be happy about. Even more, throw in a math test -- which I believe -- I did great on, and its an even better week.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nolan's 14 Pacing

When Logan asked if I wanted to help pace him during his Nolan's 14 attempt several weeks ago I was honored. If what I regularly do can be effective at preparing me for anything its marching up and down vert. I've never quite fully embraced the ultra long mindset like Logan has, so I figure I'd maybe do 10 to 15 hours (I've only been over 10 hours twice before) and then follow along from the sidelines.

Getting some calories in the trees below Yale.
A group of 8 or so, including Logan and his partner Adam started up Mt Shavano, the southernmost Sawatch 14er, Friday morning at 5AM. As I anxiously made it through my classes, they made it over Shavano, Tabaguache, Antero and Princeton. I was very thankful my schedule didn't allow me to start on Princeton, it is a very big mountain with lots loose rock. Its not uncommon to see refrigerator sized rock fall. The plan was to begin with him on Columbia in the middle of the night at the N. Cottonwood trailhead. Adam had to drop after Princeton though, so rather than sending Logan up Yale -- a 5,000ft climb on trail with a 5,000ft off trail descent with plenty of bush whacking -- alone, I threw together a pack. Logan refueled in the parking lot at Avalanche Gulch then we were daintily jogging the 3 miles of road up the Denny Creek trailhead.

The pace felt slow, but I had to remember that he had already been out for 16 hours. We moved steadily through the trees, but at treeline it was becoming obvious that he wasn't feeling well. He primarily was complaining that his headlamp was too tight and that his head was "one thousand degrees" even in the 40 degree air. I told him I had a pocket knife and I'd be okay cutting off his dreadlocks to cool his head down, that have surprised the crew at N. Cottonwood for sure! Halfway, up I turn around to look for him, and don't see his lamp, crap. I jog down a bit and find him resting head on hands on poles, we found a large boulder to get out of the wind and sit down for bit. Eventually, he decides to not nap and we finish up to the summit, gradually feeling better. The summit is completely entrenched in a cloud, occasional flakes of snow and drops rain are falling. We pass Julian and Jason (maybe) heading down a long descent over the northeastern ridge. Eventually back in the trees, we found ourselves on some absurdly steep dirt, 40-50 degrees I would say. "Heads up there is a rock coming your way!", Logan shouts. Unfortunately the long preface to the word "rock" mean that by the time I had processed it, the rock had already hit me in the back of the calf. There was a long bushwhack until we crossed a couple of creeks and found a trail. On the 2nd try, we headed the right direction and made it to the crew at North Cottonwood.
An unbelievably beautiful morning trudging up Columbia. Yale (covered in clouds) looks about how it felt a few hours before.
The long night's toll was then tabulated. Being suddenly sedintary left us shivering in a steady rain. Logan decided he wanted a quick nap, so I laid my head down too. I was instantly asleep. I was awoken 15 minutes later and with minimum motivation assembled our packs and stumbled out of camp. As if on cue, the rain faded away and the black sky began to lighten. By the time we had turned off the trail to Columbia's southwest slope the sky was blue and we were watching clouds pour over Mt Yale into Horn Fork Basin below us. Columbia is steep, looks like about 2,000ft in a mile to gain the ridge. Here we met a solo hiker who accompanied us to the summit. The traverse to Harvard started with a very long (longer than necessary perhaps?) into the drainage on the east side. We slowly made our way along to gain Harvard's southwest ridge which surprisingly very far away from the summit. Logan met me on the summit 6 hours after leaving N. Cottonwood.
Clouds gathering in Horn Fork Basin, Logan a few feet from gaining his 6th summit
Descending Harvard, our route finding went perfectly and Logan finally accepted the need to push downhills a bit. We made our way to Pine Creek in 90 minutes successful weaving through the swampland almost dry. The aid station at Pine Creek was next level cool -- it a 10 mile hike in there -- they had hot soup, chips, coke, candy, etc. We stayed just long enough to refuel then started up Oxford, but here was the beginning of the end for me. We set off up a scree field where Logan was sure we would quickly find a game trail and then some unmistakable lightning rod trees. Well, after a long bit of wandering, we found nothing and Logan was really against just wingin' it and heading up, so I obliged, it was his day. We made contact with Pine Creek over radio and found out that Julian and Jason were just getting into camp. Julian knew the route perfectly so we planned to team up with him. This time delay was exacerbated when we then had to wait out a subsequent storm, a hour later, we were marching up the Oxford, on route. About 600ft below the summit, by breathing started to get intensely labored and my heart rate quickened. Over the next 200ft I could tell things were going south fast instead of grabbing the easy summit of Oxford, I cut straight to the saddle and slowly ascended Belford. I laid down for a couple minutes behind natural talus wall which calmed my breathing but cooled my down.
Slowly making our way up Harvard, Rabbit Ridge can easily be seen on the ridgeline.
I was at a junction here, my pace had slowed to a crawl and I couldn't bare the thought of thwarting the great feats accompanying me so I made the tough decision to head down Missouri Gulch rather than over Missouri (the next summit) to the aid at Clohesy Lake. This did mean however, that from here on out, I would probably be alone. The switchbacks down Belford seemed to never end, this was compounded with what seemed to now be the cold/sickness Logan had 6 days before. I had to walk, even downhills. I would take 200 steps, then sit down and calm my heart rate and resist with everything I could not to fall asleep alone in the darkness. This pattern went on for maybe 2 hours, but it could have been far more or less, my clocks were all out of battery and time seemed to have lost all meaning. I reached the parking lot and collapsed behind the bathroom and fell asleep. I made sure to leave my headlamp on, just in case some crew came by, they wouldn't see me for a while though. I woke up "later", unsure of what time it was but certain sunrise must be soon. I made the uncalculated and irrational decision to trek and hitch-hike back to my car, 30 miles away.
Logan negotiating the talus a few feet below the summit of Harvard.
The only quantifiable progress I made walking was the 6 miles of dirt road out towards the highway. Emotions had huge pendulum swings from, "this is crazy fun" to honest crying and self pity. I finally got one of few (I saw maybe 5 over 3-4 hours) to stop, he was an ultra-runner and immediately understood what I was going through. He kindly got me to the Highway 24, but he had to meet people soon, so I let him on his way. His clock read 4:20AM, two hours to sunrise. The highway, that stupid god-damned highway from hell was a depressing few hours (I've tried hard to avoid cursing on this blog, but this situation is as deserving as any I can think of) . Cars were few and far between and in the massively oversized rain pants/coat Jason had generously given to me and my uncoordinated stumbling down the road I must have looked either insane, drunk or more likely, both. Just when the emotion was reaching a tipping point (more self pity and crying, not proud of it, but it happened), a car stopped for me. This ride brought me to the light in Buena Vista, I could almost taste the jar of Nutella in my car. I walked 2 miles up Cottonwood Pass, the sun now fully risen and my body finally warming up. A single lady stopped for me (didn't expect that to happen), her husband had run Hardrock -- and she used to work at Avalanche Pizza in Silverton! -- so she was really understanding and we had some good conversation on the remaining 5-6 miles to my car.

I happily unlocked the car, almost in disbelief at what had happened. Something I think is so cool is at the end of the day, no matter if it was a 4 mile walk or 36 hours of hell, you just get back to your car and your back in the civilized world like nothing happened. I charged my phone and texted my mom, hoping she hadn't filed a missing person report quite yet. I checked Logan's SPOT and saw he just made it up Huron, it was a tough night for those guys. After enough lounging I set off for Winfield to see him up La Plata, but after 20 minutes of driving I had to pull over and sleep for a bit. At 10AM Sunday, I had not slept aside from 15-20 minute naps since Friday morning at 7. I only slept for a couple hours before I felt rested enough to head to La Plata, he was past Winfield now and I would only be meeting him for the inevitable end at N. La Plata TH. I met up with the crew at the TH and shared my story and listened the stories of others who had started and dropped or crewed, it was fun. Jason came it first looking like he had just finished an easy 5K, followed an hour later by Logan who was mentally beat but physically alright. Julian came in happy to be done a few minutes later, all 3 finished 12 peaks in 60 hours, that is amazing.

Now days later, time away has dulled the pain. Was I just being a wimp on Oxford/Belford? Maybe I should have just hardened up and dealt, but maybe it was the right choice, I'll never know for sure. I do know that I should have hike to Clohesy Lake not back to my car, that would have spared me one the worst things I've ever experienced. What I did do was learn -- a lot. First, I'm trying all 14 next year. I learned a ton of the route this year, but I strongly believe there is better route in some spots. Aside from Princeton, Yale and Huron, the route is pretty easy to understand. I'm likening the experience to trying heroine, its not something you can just try and forget about. I want more, and I doubt I'll be able to push Nolans from my thoughts for a very long time. Labor Day 2016, I'll be ready at Fish Hatchery or Blanks Cabin, that my promise to myself.

Note: I haven't proofread this yet, and just wanted to publish it, sorry for any stupid remarks or grammatical errors, I'm still catching up on sleep!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

August 31 - Sept 6

8/31, Monday - Green Mtn + T-Zero - 6 miles, 2700', 1:30
Mondays are always fun, and somehow I felt really good cruising up without much effort despite some residual soreness in my quads from the LPT. Went and ticked a quick scramble of T-Zero going down, finishing the whole thing this time instead of dropping off after the initial handcrack; the final flake move engages a somewhat questionable piece of rock but I found a method to weight it pretty minimally.

9/1, Tuesday - Creek Path - 5 miles, 200', 0:44
Easy cruise with Jack, felt really sleepy the whole time.

9/2, Wednesday - Longs Peak - 11 miles, 5000', 2:35
Got up early to hammer a quick lap before class. The only route really doable as a pre-day-with-responsibilities is up and down Cables. Well, I take that back, just stay away from the Keyhole. I arrived at 6AM and set off with nothing but my shirt, shoes, shorts, hat and an energy gel just in case. I really hammered up through the trees, but while trotting up Jim's Grove I was exposed to a fierce headwind that definitely slowed me down and dampened the initiative I had taken earlier. I forced myself to run/hop through the Boulderfield, but again I think I could have been a smidge faster. I skipped past a party roping up for the North Face, I slapped the summit marker after 1:40:00 (I saw 1:39:59 between the touch and when I got the button though!). Without pause I turned right around and shot down towards Cables, the roped party had only placed one piece of gear in the time since I'd left on the bottom parallel cracks, I took the one he wasn't on and danced down the talus. Heading towards the trees the wind was equally fierce, but now at my back. I enjoyed the lift but had to concentrate heavily on balancing. I pushed as much as I felt safe to with my ankles in the trees and finished at 2:35:02 (0:55:03 descent). I was really hoping for sub-2:30, but apparently, today wasn't that day.

9/3, Thursday - Streets - 4 miles, 0:35
Felt really bad, avg pace was barely sub 9. Just wanted to move around a bit.

9/4-5, Friday/Saturday/Sunday - Nolans 14 Pacing - 43 miles, 15,100', 36:04
This was insane. I'll do a separate post later.

Week Totals:
69 miles
24,200'
41:26

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 24 - August 30

8/24, Monday - AM: Campus Loop - 4 miles, 0:32, 200' - PM: 4th Flatiron + Green Mtn - 5 miles, 2600', 1:30
Easy loop around campus in the morning. Instead of the usual Green, Logan showed me his weird route up the 4th that puts you in this leg-splits chimney on the 3rd piece. It looks freaky at first (especially when you're me and have little experience with chimneys), but when you step in its pretty easy and secure. We made a quick tag of Green and just missed catching back up to the group with my extensive knowledge of shortcuts.

8/25, Tuesday - Flagstaff Intervals - 12 miles, 1600', 1:36
Good hard workout with Guy, 6 x 3min with 1min rest up the road; just trying to get faster! Longest true run in a while had me feeling my calves a lot on the way home, but everything else seemed to be in good shape for this foreign movement.

8/26, Wednesday - Tomato Rock, T-Zero, The Slot, Juniper Crack - 4 miles, 1000', 2:00
My legs felt pretty tired today so I today a recovery triathlon of biking, run-hiking and climbing. I started off with Tomato Rock, a peculiar sphere of boulder tucked away in the trees. I found some finger pockets on the south side that I felt really comfortable. I went up and down it a few times to memorize the sequence. Next was T-Zero which felt ridiculously easy on the second round. Next was The Slot which is an off-width 5.6 chimney. It took a little bit for me to figure out each sequence, specifically entering and exiting the chimney. Last I ascended the entirety of the First Pinnacle via the East Bench dihedral, then stepped across onto the south face and traversed into the 5.6 Juniper Crack. This was one felt way easier than the slot, but was much more exposed.
The Slot chimney.
8/27, Thursday - Marshall Mesa - 15 miles, 900', 1:53
This run ended up being very fun, despite me not being too excited for it as it is long and generally flat. Jack and I woke up early and started off at a good clip for the first miles. At about 4 miles in we saw a rattlesnake! It was lurking in the grass and I would not have seen it had it not been pointed out to me. I'd never seen one before but I was ever vigilant for the remainder of the run. At about 6 miles I began feeling pretty good and rolled on a downhill and kept an up tempo pace for the remainder of the loop with Jack coming in a few minutes after me. This was cool because I never beat Jack on something pure running, but since he has taken so much time off from his ankle woes he wasn't in prime fitness. Average pace was 7:27, so I think that was PR half-marathon (1:38) for me; I'll take it. Stiff calves walking around campus again today.

8/28, Friday - Off

8/29, Longs Peak Triathlon - Bike: 84 miles, 8500', 6:09 (Part 1 | Part 2) - Run/Climb: 12 miles, 5300', 5:11
I am so happy to finish this! I had wanted to do it last year, but I also wanted it to count as a triathlon of biking, running and climbing so I had postponed until I learned a technical route (though the true triathlon is climbing the - gulp - Diamond). Today I chose Kieners which meant I would non-chalantly be riding my bike out of Boulder with an ice-axe at 3:30AM. The ride passed peacefully though not without effort in the dark. I find I feel neither past nor future in the dark, its like it doesn't even happen. Of course that changes when you hop off the bike and you have to waddle your sore cycling bum up a snowfield. The ice was worse than last week to the point where I don't think I'll take the route again until May or June. Upper Kieners dragged on a while especially when I tried skirting around a roped party to the South and ended up looking up a (later confirmed) pitch of 5.7 in the Notch, I had to downclimb back to the roped party then go around. I was hearing rockfall all over the Diamond and Loft (Bill Wright abandoned climbing the face entirely, it was apparently so bad!); thankfully there was only one other party on Kieners and they were moving slow enough that I doubt they could generate the momentum to move a rock. The summit was a mob, but I needed a short break so I chatted a bit.Cables was surprisingly dry-ish so I dispatched it with ease then jogged the trail in.. I was completely sure that the ride home would be the hardest part, and it didn't disappoint. There are several rolling hills to surmount before descending South St Vrain, and then the innumerable hills back to Boulder are always quite soul-crushing. I ran out of water and calories about 17 miles from home, and I had already been over-rationing the few I had brought. Times for this are measured from the "gentlemen's club" on the edge of town since it has the final traffic light before open road, so I suffered through the mounds then after passing my checkpoint bought a Dr. Pepper at the first gas station I could find, chugged it and finished off the last 5 miles feeling a lot better.
A long way from home and only a waterbottle of Tailwind left!
8/30, Sunday - Bike - 16 miles, 500', 1:21
Met mama for a ride around before ending at her place for some breakfast!

Week Totals:
54 miles running /  119 miles biking
12,700' running / 11,900' biking
14:07 running / 7:49 biking

So many activities! Road running, trail running, hiking, bouldering, rock climbing, snow climbing and road biking. These are the weeks I should work towards, I had good quality throughout the week, took rest days very easy and put in a good long effort on the weekend. That's what will work best with classes too.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 17 - August 23

8/17, Monday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2500', 1:15
The usual RMR shenanigans, always a good time.

8/18, Tuesday - Longs Pk (14,255') - 13 miles, 5300', 5:03
Up Kieners, down Cables with Kendrick. We made decent time up the forested trails and found an efficient way up the gully on glacier rib. Lambs Slide had a good 8 feet or so of solid ice to tip-toe around on some exposed rocks before engaging a very hard snowfield to Broadway -- axes mandatory, spikes did the trick but crampons would have been ideal. Cables was complete verglas, which made things a bit more interesting, I felt fine having done it in ice before but Kendrick found it a little tougher having not been on the route in a few years and now having to on-sight downclimb it. Nice and easy descent.
I found an exposed and sneaky step across to "Table Ledge", which tapers off to zero-width as it bisects the Diamond. This is the final ledge which the Casual route and Pervertical Sanctuary end on. Allegedly, the climbing above this ledge is all 5.11 and up to overcome those sinister roofs! Photo: Kendrick
8/19, Wednesday - AM: Flatiron Quinfecta, Takin' Care of Business, Challenger, Green Mtn, T-Zero - 9 miles, 5800', 3:51 - PM: 3rd Flatiron - 3 miles, 1700', 1:20
2-1-3-5-4, pushing just a smidge given the nice cool weather. I topped out on the 4th in 2:30 so I'm quite confident sub-3hrs would not be too hard for me on a Quinfecta. Next I spent a good while wriggling up the chimney on Green Mountain Pinnacle, "Takin' Care of Business" is a "Top 10 Classic", but I wasn't overly thrilled with it. After Challenger I hoofed up to Green and chatted with Justin a bit and happily consumed a couple twizzler chunks from him. I jogged easy down to the Amphitheater and after having to step down on my first try, sent the short but physical 5.6 hand crack of T-Zero. My friend Guy soloed this last week and his experience soloing in the flatirons is significantly less than mine, so I couldn't let him have this short but classic route over me! Went on an easy night scramble of the 3rd with Jason and Jeff, the downclimb took a bit more time in the dark, so I was on my own for the jog down since they zipped down on rappel.

8/20, Thursday - Grays (14,270') & Torreys (14,267') - 7 miles, 3600', 2:03
Nice cruise with Gociety folks. I started off running at a good clip but made a point to maintain a relaxed pace and keep my heartrate pretty low. I could definitely feel the last few big days in my legs.
Enjoying the only 20ft of good rock on Kelso Ridge. That haze is smoke all the way from Washington! Photo: Jason
Top of Torreys with Doug (who hammered the ascent!).  Photo: Jason
8/21, Friday - 5 x 1st Flatiron - 6 miles, 4600', 2:53
Five laps on the rock with a moderate effort each lap. I wanted to stay under 20min for each lap and split 18:58, 16:32, 16:52, 18:41 and 18:17. I also broke 2 minutes on the downclimb twice during this which is hugely encouraging. I kept a couple bottles of Tailwind stashed at the base to have some sips between each lap.

8/22, Saturday - 2nd Flatiron - 3 miles, 1400', 0:55
Took today easy by doing an easy lap on the Freeway with Kory and Joe. We finished with me showing Joe the route up the West Face of the 2nd and then briefly crossing paths with Timothy Olson!

8/23, Sunday - Flatiron Quinfecta - 6 miles, 4700', 2:33
Well, I went for it all today but came up short. Bill Briggs (who still has tons of records all over the greater Boulder area that have held for decades) set the FKT on the Quinfecta at 2:16:08 in 2001. He did ascend the order of 1-2-3-5-4; I go 2-1-3-5-4 so we should be on the 3rd around the same time, Briggs was at 0:52, I was at 1:00. I made up time time on the 5th, despite I route finding blunder which I believe added a couple minutes. The 4th is what shut me down, I ascended the entirety of the 4th Flatironette by mistake and had downclimb off of a notch to get onto the lower piece of the 4th. Granted, I didn't start from the true base, but it seems fair enough since the 100' I missed on the 4th is just as technical as 4th Flatironette. I worked steadily up the face, eventually passing a couple scrambling legends Buzz Burrell and Peter Bakwin near the summit. I snuck around Peter and Buzz -- clearly, seeing my exertion -- graciously let me pass. I topped out and laid seige to the dirt, deadfall and talus down to the trail. I blitzed down the Royal Arch trail trying at least to sneak under 2:30 with the FKT well out of reach. Even at ~5:20min/mi pace down Bluebell I couldn't quite come in under the mark though. Still, I was quite pleased with the outing, I PR'ed on Free For All (11:41), the 5th (7:53), the 1st downclimb (1:37) and the 3rd downclimb (5:48). I'll be trying this one again!

Week Totals:
53 miles
30,400'
20:34

And so ends the greatest summer of my life. What a fantastic summer vacation it was, so many great experiences. I accomplished maybe one fourth of what I planned on and the rest just sort of happened. The best part was that compared to last summer I was able to share so many fun days in the mountains with some great friends which really makes the experience several times more special. School starts tomorrow and it will likely necessitate a shift from sheer volume to some more quality (30,000ft/week sounds pretty hard to hit during school). I'd like to start doing some interval training to really get prepared for some flatirons FKTs, hopefully I can snag a few before Anton is healed and puts them completely out of reach!