As a quick aside before the week update, last weekend the Quadrock 50 was canceled due to the torrential precipitation the Front Range received. With over half of the Rocky Mountain Runners signed up to race or volunteer, we scrambled to set up our own alternative. We decided on loops around Walker Ranch a nearby 7.5 mile loop with 1700' of climbing. I figured I join in the misery, but after nearly freezing on lap 1, I locked my keys in the car while retrieving some food and warmer clothes. So it was only one lap for me. Instead, I helped man our aid station for those that continued (after a quick trip back to Boulder to retrieve my spare key). Those that were initially signed up for the 50 were quite set on doing 50 miles at the beginning but after 5 laps and 38 miles, everyone bailed. On this day, I was thankful to quit, but the resent I felt from only managing 8 miles while others soared to 38 lit a fire to go out harder on Sunday. And then...oh, what the heck, all week!
5/10, Sunday - Green Mtn plus - 14 miles, 5300', 3:05
The rain and snow (in May!?) had stopped falling, but the trails were sodden at best; cascading falls of flood waters at worst. Upon seeing Gregory-Ranger was shut down due to flooding, I splashed up the Amphitheater, eventually breaking trail in ankle deep snow. Descended the same way before making a U-turn right back up. Apparently spectating in the freezing wind and rain had tired me out yesterday because even with a gel and water and only at 2 hours I felt terrible. So, at the saddle junction I turned back down, hoping OSMP was lazy and didn't close Gregory from the top. They did, so I figured they must have forgotten Crown Rock since no one hardly uses that anyways. It was closed too. I ran down a quarter-million switchbacks on Flagstaff before taking the streets home.
5/11, Monday - 1st Flatiron x 3, 2nd Flatiron x 2, Green Mtn - 13 miles, 6200', 4:45
Somehow essentially all of the 3 inches of snow disappeared by noon today, so I left the house super early hoping to get some extra before meeting RMR's for the group run up Green. Upon arriving at Chautauqua I couldn't help but notice the rocks looking exceptionally dry. Change of plans, up the 1st. That was fun, lets do it again. And again. At 4:45 I still had more time than I could kill by just running back down to meet the group. Downclimbing the 2nd Flatiron filled this time nicely. By a stroke of luck, a Cliff Bar rep was in the parking giving samples to a group planning to go up the 1st, so I was able to sneak in some extra calories aside from the gel I had brought. An RMR sub-group was planning on scrambling the 2nd; I ended up going up with them and then grunting up to Green with another guy (coincidentally, actually named Guy). Good day; able to keep all of the scrambles at good paces (1st in ~22min, down 2nd in ~10min), and to top it off, fantastic weather.
5/12, Tuesday - Green Mtn x 2 - 8 miles, 4700', 2:36
Biked to Chat before taking an all dirt route up the frontside. I slithered through a crowded summit boulder and tagged the pinnacle before dropping down to the Amphitheater (and all on trail!). I turned back up a little early so as to not have to romp through the flooded bottom and took the ridge which has some of the best relentlessly steep hiking I've found. Looks like it averages about 40% from my GPS.
5/13, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 5 miles, 2700', 2:00
I felt horrible immediately on the bike ride up, and after running the first 200ft I hoisted a white flag and decided to forgo my plans for another double and just do a single hike. I went up the North ridge and found an empty summit - my 100th lifetime summit of Green, 73rd of 2015. I sat up there for a while to enjoy the arbitrarily significant century mark. I descended down to behind the 1st and found some antiquated trail that lead me down to Saddle Rock. Neat, a new one to learn!
|100th time up this guy|
I met Kory early at Chautauqua, I was bogged down with some water and calories so it was even harder keeping up with the speedster than usual. Kory's PR is something in the 19 minute range which we easily shattered on both of the laps he joined me for. I proceeded to do the next 8 laps alone. Up until lap 6 I felt fine, then I began to get fried on rock which at this point was perfectly perpendicular to the solar projection. My pace fell back from ~12min ascents to ~16-17min. Thankfully, I didn't slow down from there, and was able to maintain constant progress aside from stopping at my stashed aid station at the base.
|Looking up the 2nd from the base.|
Biked up to Chat and briskly hiked to the base. It was all blue skies at this point and I had to wipe sweat off my hands a few times on the first lap which I lackadaisically bumbled up in 29min. On lap two I was dodging ropes for the first pitch, then ended up doing the rest with another soloist in a slightly better 22min. In typical Colorado style, the blue skies had transformed to an ominous grey, but I figured I could squeeze in one more lap. I felt a few sprinkles while on the face, then the spit turned to drops when I started the downclimb. It ended up being totally fine (but certainly would have been "not so good" 10 minutes later), I even PR'ed the face in 15:51 and immediately downclimbed in 2:49 (3sec behind my PR). Fun one.
|Dark clouds thundering in over Green|
I hadn't been up Fern Canyon at all this year, which is a huge shame. It is one of the finest climbs around, boasting 1700ft in just one mile. After running into Ryan and Ryan I had a short ascent to the base of Fern (one of which is returning from an injury and now has 5 weeks to prepare for WS100, where he was predicted to be a top 10 contender - yikes!). From there I tried to be very efficient by limiting stoppage time on the summits, conservative pacing and strategically planning my calorie and water timing. The whole outing went really well, until the last ~400ft on lap 3 where I started to really fall off pace. Ripped the final downhill (but felt just short of the CR a friend set this week, otherwise I would have gotten it!) then took a roundabout way back to the car to ensure I got to 35,000ft for the week. My friend Xiang messaged me right when I got home (he is just starting to run himself), so I joined him for what amounted to be an easy, and finally flat warmdown.
Well that got out of hand, in a good way. Lots of vert and lots of time (which doesn't include the 4x25min bike rides to and from the TH). I almost feel angry at myself for neglecting Fern Canyon all spring, its exactly the type of line I've been looking for on Green. I'm on pace for just under 1,000,000ft of climbing for the year, which would be a super cool objective to shoot for. With my current daily average I would get 961k; I would need to average about 2,800ft a day for the rest of the year for 1M - seems doable.