Monday, April 3, 2017

March 13 - April 2

3/13, Monday - Green Mountain - 6 miles, 3000', 1:12
34:31 up, 14:42 down, 49:43 round-trip
Last year, Ryan Smith put up a time that I believe will stand as the fastest round-trip time for many years to come and he did it on an icy slick trail in microspikes. Ouch. I've never really been able to execute a proper Green lap of my own. My ascent time was lowly, my descent time was outdated, obselete and inferior and my sole round trip under an hour was logged within a bike ride on Strava so it basically never happened. Arriving at Chautauqua, Kyle was just locking up his bike heading off to scramble so my warm-up was jogging a bit with him until our paths diverged. With my body warm I started my watch and hastily scurried up the trail. I really couldn't believe I ran as much as I did on the ascent, I didn't hike a step until the ladder -- unusual for me! Above the Greenman junction I felt my effort and willingness to suffer fading and I hiked more than I should have but made sure to actually run the top switchbacks. I topped out in 34:31 and immediately began barreling back down. The physical abuse of the downhill  (14:42 down) enabled me to sneak just under 50min (49:43).

3/14, Tuesday - Mt Sanitas - 4 miles, 1700', 0:59
Warmed up from Abby's house over Red Rocks then started the tempo from the bottom at the shelter. I felt yesterday's effort but no too much, getting up in 19:04. I was confident I could push another quality downhill to equalize my round trip time. I was descending at a quality pace until I rolled my ankle quite severely only a bit from the TH. I had to sit down for a moment before limping back to the TH (10:40 down, 29:44 RT) then slowly back home. The worst part of this was that it ended my RMR "Hell Week" prematurely. The goal was to time trial each of the 5 prominent peaks in 5 days, but I had to end at 2.

3/15, Wednesday - Off
Ankle very bad.

3/16, Thursday - Bike: Sunset-Switz-Lefthand-Old Stage - 54 miles, 5300', 4:21
With the ankle feeling good enough (thanks to Ginna) I was able to get out on the bike. I tried heading towards Sawmill road via Sunset-Switzerland Trail but got a bit lost on the out-dated section of the Switzerland trail past Gold Hill Rd and ended up hike-a-biking a good bit over snow banks and back up to Sawmill Road up some miserably loose scree. Cruised back down Lefthand Canyon and over Old Stage to get back to Boulder.

Sub-optimal biking conditions.

3/17, Friday - Off

More ankle rest.

3/18, Saturday - 1st, 2nd (x2), 1st Flatirons - 3 miles, 2200', 1:59
I planned on getting in a run in the morning, but an inconvenient forest fire just down the street from Abby's apartment (where we were staying) changed those plans. We were on the very edge of the evacuation zone and were awoken around 4AM by the police. Luckily it was taken care of promptly and completely. Anyways, I then got out for a little thing in the evening instead. I held a descent effort up the first then downclimbed Free For All until I met Kyle and Jackson on the Freeway and headed up with them. Kyle then showed us Baker's Way on the 1st. Its a cool 5.4 route that basically skips the difficulties of the lower slab. Easy jogging back down for the ankle.

The fire from Abby's doorstep

The fire from Flagstaff Mtn

Kyle on the 2nd

Jackson on the First

3/19, Sunday - 1st, 2nd (x2) Flatirons - 3 miles, 2100', 2:08
Same as yesterday but met Abby on the Freeway and skipped out on Baker's Way. Starting to feel more efficient going down Free For All.

Abby back scrambling -- for the first time since like October!?

Yegch, rough week. Started off great but the ankle roll clearly ruffled my feathers and prevented anything real for the rest of the week. Luckily, I was able to get in a good ride which didn't at all mess with my ankle and then Ginna was able to work on my ankle literal hours before she got on a plane to Europe for two weeks!


3/20, Monday - AM: Streets - 4 miles, 0:32 || PM: Bastille Crack - 600', 1:59
Easy morning jog then picked up Nick to take him to Eldo. This being his first time outside, I wanted to do Calypso-Reggae but it was taken. Instead we just moved over to the Bastille Crack for a fun moderate route -- probably my favorite route in Eldo.

Nick half way up the route

3/21, Tuesday - Hair City & Outer Space - 800', 2:21
Met Wade (who can climb about 4 or 5 times harder than I can) who lead everything. First up was Hair City a 5.9R with rather large 5.6-7 runnouts but protect-able when you want it. I felt fine and only had to hang once to get the rope un-stuck from a crack when my arms couldn't quite get it (just flopped on the rope with my body weight). Next was the -- or my, rather -- goal for the day, Outer Space is a 5.10b/c, just about my limit. Wade lead through the first two pitches of Bastille Crack only placing two pieces (draw on the bolted anchor then a draw on the old pin). We had to simul the lower bits but I was happy to have a proper belay for the try-hard first pitch of Outer Space. It was a tough stemming sequence that felt extremely steep; I was so happy to get it clean (barely) on my first time up, especially after still not cleaning Handcracker yet. We had to bail on the second pitch so he could catch a flight to Houston so we soloed the top 5.7 section of Hair City to top out quicker.

Wade romping up the Bastille Crack

3/22, Wednesday - Boulder Direct, Calypso, Wind Ridge, Zot/Rewritten - 1900', 3:44

Kyle got held up heading to Eldo so I did a fun scramble circuit before he arrived. We then headed for the Redgarden, a steep approach, I think. I lead up to the Red Ledge via the Great Zot in one long pitch with some simul climbing then Kyle lead the money pitches of Rewritten with again, some simul climbing. The main event took place jogging back down. Some Jerry looking fellows were off trail in the talus (its incredibly loose and steep), we asked them to stay on the trail then kept heading down. Not long after we heard rumblings and dove for cover; a rock the size of maybe a refrigerator was bouncing 20-30ft into the air going easily 30-40mph. With no warning shouts we were glad to have been out of harm's way but it was heading straight down switchbacks so we screamed out warnings. Thankfully no one was on the trail and it shot unimpeded into the creek like an artillery shell. Kyle shouted some "angry" words back at the guys who no doubt dislodged the ICBM of a rock then failed to say anything (not even sorry afterwards!), then we had to slowly walk back down since our legs were shaking!

3/23, Thursday - Bastille Crack - 600', 2:00
Another day in Eldo. Took Jackson up the Bastille for a wild ride. After leaving a cam he accidentally dropped his ATC at the belay of our second pitch. After some trials I figured out how to use the Munter-Hitch and was able to keep him safely still on belay to the top while he used my ATC.

3/24, Friday - Green Mtn - 7 miles, 2900', 1:19
Put in a tempo effort up the NE ridge of Green in 32:09, almost good enough to tie Kyle's PR up (but surely with 80 ascents thus far this year he should be good at it, right?). Jogged easy down the West Ridge-Long Canyon-Gregory Canyon route for more miles.

3/25, Saturday - 1st Flatiron, Green Mtn, Bear Pk, Green Mtn - 12 miles, 5400', 3:05
Started off with a casual ascent of the first -- lots of roped parties today -- then hiked up to Green. I continued straight over the top without stopping (the summit boulder has definitely become a hassle) and descended Bear Canyon to the drainage just NE of the Nebel Horn. The route up to the saddle is labeled "The Hardscrabble" in an old Boulder guidebook and I was excited to try it. It was a fantastically steep line, gaining 1800ft in just under a mile! I then had to endure the meandering route back over to Green with the Mesa Trail closure, which while annoying incurs a stronger running focus for the outing. Met Abby down at Chautauqua for a picnic dinner in the park!

The post-run scene at Chautauqua, preparing for the evening picnic at the park!

3/26, Sunday - Off

Week Totals:
59 miles

A generally easier week after letting my ankle recuperate but I was able to get in some descent efforts at the end of the week as the injury lessened.


3/27, Monday - Beark Pk, SoBo Pk, Walker Ranch, Green Mtn, Bear Pk - 17 miles, 7000', 4:12
This was a cool route. I started from the Cragmoor TH to ascend Bear and SoBo then descended straight west down SoBo's ridge to Walker Ranch where I could then connect via assorted and annoyingly only semi-legal routes to Flagstaff Rd. The ridge off of SoBo was wet in the shade and quite slippery at first, but I eventually identified an old and overgrown logging road where I could move much quicker. I descended Long Canyon then started up EMG for extra running before falling into a hike up Greenman to the summit of Green. Opted again for the re-routed Green-Bear trail for more running over to Bear Pk where I descended Fern Canyon back to my bike at the TH.

3/28, Tuesday - AM: Bobo - 7 miles, 300', 1:00 || PM: Streets - 8.5 miles, 400' 0:58
Easy with Abby in the morning feeling tired in the gloomy weather. We ended up on a trail so muddy that we were easily collecting a couple pounds of mud on our shoes before we escaped to the sanctuary of pavement. In the afternoon with the rain in full force I headed out once more to find some proper life in my legs. The impromptu progression run left me with a healthy mileage for the day and happy to be healthy!

3/29, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 8 miles, 2900', 1:44
With Kory, we both felt quit tired and thus ascended slowly; though Kory much quicker than I. The mountain was rainy and misty down low with icy decorations adorning the pine needles above the clouds on top. This atmosphere made descending a long route through Long Canyon back down particularly pretty as well as a fantastic day to use my Gore-Tex Speedcross 4's!

Low clouds along the canyons.

Kory dropping back into the clouds at the top of Long Canyon.
3/30, Thursday - 3 x 2miles - 12 miles, 400', 1:26
Met Len at the CU XC course for a good workout. We got in a 2.5 mile warmup and figured out that the loop was exactly 2 miles, which was properly convenient! I split 11:39, 11:44 and 11:48 repectively for the 2 mile intervals with a 5 minute jog between each. I felt pretty controlled at the 5:40 pace and hopefully will be able to execute a PR 5 mile tempo in the near future. Always good to push and suffer a bit.

3/31, Friday - Mt Sanitas - 4 miles, 1600', 0:56
Easy early lap of the youth sized hill. Being inside of a cloud with a headlamp really limits your visibility putting your head basically inside a light bulb of glowing mist. Easy effort up the ridge and down the valley.

4/1, Saturday - 2 x Green Mtn - 8 miles, 4700', 1:49
I wanted to do some repeats on Bear Pk from the saddle to the summit via Fern Canyon, but I forgot my bike lock key so instead I rode to the far less populated and visible Gregory Canyon TH then rolled the bike into the trees a ways to keep it hidden. Starting up the Amphitheater trail I felt descent and the cool temperatures combined with spectacular snow pack on the upper half of the mountain made me decide to go for a Green double in under 2 hours. I ended up splitting near identical splits for each lap -- 37min up, 17min down, 54min RT, twice -- letting me slip just under 1:50! Pretty psyched to blow away that goal.

4/2, Sunday - Creek Path - 18 miles, 400', 2:01
Got up real early so I could also have time for breakfast before work; thus, the first five or so miles were by headlamp. The goal was to get in a long run where I actually ran -- meaning that it wasn't some long mountain outing with a bunch of hiking and that I didn't just slowly trot out the miles. The morning was beautiful, a clear sky in the east gave a clear visual passage for the sunrise while low lying clouds along the frosted peaks to the west provided a mystical backdrop. I went out for an hour averaging 6:48min/mi and was determined to negative split my way back home. This was a pretty easy to gauge goal as it just meant getting back to the doorstep before the watch rolled over 2 hours. I made it back home in ~58:30 then did a short out and back up the street to round the run to 2 hours total, plus a minute, I suppose.

Week Totals:
84 miles

Good week plus about 60 miles/2700ft/4:30 of total commuting time on my bike left me pretty tired, but I can feel the fitness gained. Going under 40min used to be really hard for me up Green, now I can manage it handily two times in a row. Such is the benefit of a lot practice! I've been using TrainingPeaks annual training plan this year which has been generally prescribing the intensity, volume and timing of my workouts; next week however its saying to take a down week. Although this is something I don't usually take part in, I'm realizing the positive effects it can have physically and mentally, plus I'll be biking in the desert half of the next week so it'll make sense anyways. Five weeks till the Quad Rock 25 (B/C race goal) then three weeks after that the Dirty 30 (A. race goal)!

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