Wednesday, September 20, 2017

bike commute 65/accolade 15

Four miles to work, 12 miles home via Red Rock Canyon.  Also hit the gym in the evening.

On my way home, in Bear Creek Park, I saw a foot long snake carrying a dead six inch snake.  I'm not a snake expert, but I'm pretty sure the big snake was going to have the small snake for dinner.  Weird.  My phone was in my backpack and by the time I got it out the chance for a good pic had passed.  The original pic:

The pic, blown up as best I can on my phone.  You can kinda clearly see two snakes here.

After some extensive interweb research it turns out this meal isn't unheard of in the snake family.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

bike commute 64/CityRock 51

14 miles total on the bike, and a good trip to CityRock.

My office has moved back downtown, which I'm very happy about.  Taking this week pretty easy on the running front, both because I'm having minor issues with the cankles I want to put an end to, and to figure out what my new routine will be with the new office.

Awesome weekend I'll post about soon, until then here is a pic Nacheaux got of Stella (our van) headed up Independence Pass.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Elk Park

$100 is running the Lead King Loop this weekend.  She is in pretty good shape for it, having recently done the Ascent, plus all the loaded hiking at Rito Alto and Rampart.  But we got in one last decent long run up at Elk Park on Sunday.  As a bonus, not only did we have our dog, but we had Amanda's two dogs as well since she is physically unable to get them enough exercise.

Three hours down to Barr Camp and back, just shy of twelve miles.  Great day on the mountain.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

DeadPhish Orchestra

I had heard about DPO many many years ago while hanging out at Sancho's, but I had never seen them as they usually stick to the Denver/Boulder area.  But lo and behold last Friday they made their virgin trip to the Springs.  I got a ticket for $100 but she just kept rolling her eyes so I took Nacheaux instead.  Great show, loved the band, hope they come back often.  Yes, they play a mix of the Grateful Dead and Phish.  Do you really need anything else?

Despite starting our night at the Angry Pirate (formerly the Knob Hill Lounge) and visiting the Skybox, we had somewhat behaved ourselves.  But then we made the unwise decision to have the lyft driver drop us off at Shae's instead of the house.  We proceeded to drink a lot of cheap, shitty gin.

We even stopped at Alchemy after this.  Getting my liver in primo shape for the upcoming Vegas trip.

Friday, September 08, 2017

bike commute 61/run commute 45

Wednesday - Quick ride to work.  Then met $100 at Goat Patch Brewing before taking an awesome 14.5 mile route home through Bear Creek Park and Red Rock Canyon.

Thursday - Eleven miles on the day, both runs through Sonderman Park.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Ring The Peak

This trail has been sitting in my backyard since I moved here and for some reason I was never very motivated to try it.  But I saw Ring The Peak listed on the Colorado Endurance Series website and as the date got closer I was for some reason drawn to it.  So a few days before the start I cleared things with $100, and the night before I decided to give it a go.

Really glad I did it, but holy hell I was not prepared for a ten hour bike ride.

Beautiful loop, but it's definitely a grind on the bike.  Lots of climbing, lots of technical sections.  Very slow going.

Due to some trail closures we had to pedal to Manitou and head up highway 24.  Here I am just about to leave Mantiou for the highway.

I was pretty focused on riding, or at least pushing my bike, the whole time, so not many pictures.  I did stop at the weird but delicious spring water stop in Gillette, just outside of Victor to refill my osprey.

I finally allowed myself a break just after mile 50, when I realized the rest of the ride was downhill.

But shit, that downhill was technical and/or washed out gravel, so even that was hard.

Incredible scenery the entire way.  But I would have been better off, in my current state of fitness, doing this as a two day bikepack trip.  Or a credit card tour with a stay in Cripple Creek.  The last climb, on Gold Camp up and over the backside of Almagre/Baldy, really had me questioning my life choices over the past four decades.  I would have quit but at that point it's just easier to finish than to bail.  But as miserable as I was, now that the fatigue has worn off, I'll probably do this loop again sometime.  Such an awesome ride and I can start and finish at my house.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

run commute 44/CityRock 46

Ten easy miles on the day to and from work via Sonderman Park.

CityRock is closed this week for construction, so I got to check out Springs Climbing Center this evening.  Nice evening of bouldering.

Rampart Res

Awesome hike with $100, Amanda, and the dogs on Labor Day.  Headed up the pass to Rampart Reservoir and hiked the whole thing.  14.7 miles, with a 35 pound pack, in 5:41.  The dogs crushed the hike and loved every minute of it.  Rampart Res is one of my favorite trails in the area and I don't get up there enough.

Didn't take very many pictures but here is one of Amanda with her three favorite dogs:

Friday, September 01, 2017

Accolade 13

Been a while since I hit Accolade.  If fact, the last visit was April 25.  Will be heading to the gym a bit more now that Pikes is over.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rito Alto Four Pass Loop

I first heard about the Rito Alto Four Pass loop from an REI hiking app on my phone.  $100 and I had been exploring the Sangres outside of Westcliffe this summer, and this seemed like a great loop to do.  We finally got after it this past weekend.

We left the Springs on Friday at 5:30PM and got to the Comanche/Venable trailhead about two hours later.  The sun was setting, so we were only able to hike about half a mile to meet up with the Rainbow Trail before we had to set up camp.  Very chill night with a fire and a few PBRs.

Next morning we were up around 6AM and on the trail by seven.  You follow the Rainbow Trail for about four miles until you come to Hermit Pass road.

Hermit Pass Road is definitely a road, if not one most people would take their vehicle on.  But it's easy to follow if you're hiking.  On a beautiful Saturday aftenooon we saw three other vehicles, a Jeep Wrangler and two other go-kart looking things.  Not very busy at all.

We were right at treeline around 11:30AM and there were some ominous clouds up higher, so we decided to break for lunch.  Ate some Mountain House grub, I think my first meal of dehydrated food since my Army days.

The standard for this loop is beautiful views no matter what direction you look.  A few more on our way up to the high point of the hike, Hermit Pass:

Here is $100 arriving at the top of the pass:

At the top of Hermit Pass you jump some big rocks placed there to prevent vehicles from going any farther.  The trail is fairly obvious as you drop in elevation pretty quickly.

After a mile or so of downhill, the trail kind of peters out and you need to do some cross country for another mile.  Not difficult, as you can see the pass you need to get to.

Somewhere between Hermit Pass and Eureka Pass is the second pass of this hike.  It's not far after Hermit, and it's fairly insignificant as I didn't even think about it until heading up to Eureka.

After a 16 mile day, over 8.5 hours, on pretty rough trail, we were all beat and staring up at the last pass, Venable Pass.  We had hoped to make it to Venable Lake to camp, but we knew that would mean another two hours of hiking just to set up camp in the dark.  So we decided to call it a day around 5PM.

I have been stalking Ted M on his blog as he and his wife have spent a lot of time in the Sangres, and when he is not trying to crush some KOM he does some more leisurely stuff, and he always has what he calls "happy hour" before turning in for the night.  Not my usual happy hour of seeing how much booze I can consume between 5PM and 6PM, but a nice relaxing end to the day.  We had our own happy hour as we brewed some coffee and had a few sips of whiskey.  And a tiny bit of fireball.  You can see our tent in these pics.

Sunday morning was another late-ish start (I'm usually up before 5AM on weekdays, here we slept past 6AM each day) and we headed up Venable Pass.  Took us just under an hour.

From Venable Pass it's roughly six miles back to the trailhead on easy to follow trail.  The trail intersects with the Comanche trail and we thought about taking that to add a few miles, but we decided not to press our luck.

Stopped for coffee and jerky at the last of three Venable Lakes.

A few waterfalls on the way back.  First a smaller one:

 This is the trail the last five or so miles of the loop.  Very easy to follow:

Venable falls.  Awesome place and this picture does not do it justice.

Overall this was a great hike I'd put up against most of the other more famous hikes in Colorado.  23.5 miles total, most of it at or above treeline.  We spent two nights outside, giving us a good chance to start figuring out what to carry for the Colorado Trail.  My pack was pushing 40 pounds when we started, and $100's was over 30.  The dog carried her own food the entire way, three pints of dog food per day plus various treats.  Would like to cut our pack weight down by five pounds each, gives me something to work on this winter.

The two days we took was fun, though that 16 mile day was pretty big for us.  Getting out there a bit earlier on Friday to get a few more miles in would have made things much easier.  Once I'm rich and famous and don't have to worry about a job I think the perfect schedule would be to camp towards treeline on Hermit Road, then below Eureka Pass, then at Venable Lake.

It would also be a great loop to run, though I would say it will take you longer than you think.  My guess is that it would take me a good eight hours of my usual not-walking-but-not-pushing-too-hard ultra pace.  Lots of water along the loop, but damn if you get into trouble out there between Hermit Pass and Venable Lake it's going to be tough to get help.  We did not see a single person on that part of the hike.  Although I did notice that with verizon I had good service for almost all of the entire loop.

No brewery in Westcliffe to celebrate at, so we hit Florence Brewing on the way home for some well deserved beers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

bike commute 59/CityRock 44

Good day on the bike.  Early ride over to CityRock before heading to the office.  Then a nice lap around Red Rock Canyon in the evening.

Hit 1400 miles running on the year yesterday.  Will go over 2000 miles on the bike next time I ride.

Monday, August 28, 2017

run commute 42

First run since Pikes.  Four miles to work, five miles home.  Very easy.

Also took the dog on a nice hike after work.  We explored some of the Garden we don't go to often, then ended up at the Buffalo Bicycle Lodge for a few brews.  2.3 miles.


Back from the Sangres and we had an excellent hike.  I'll post more stuff on that when I get time.  24 miles over two days.  The dog had the time of her life.

I spent quite a few long weekends down in Houston during my Texas time and still have a lot of friends down there.  So I'm pretty sad seeing all the flood pics.  Except for this one:

A friend who just crashed at my house last week was riding her bike on I-10, which is closed to traffic as a lot of it is under water, saw these guys playing beer pong.  Luckily she lives in one of the higher portions of Houston, the Heights, and her house hasn't been flooded.  Her husband has been out in his canoe moving folks from their houses to safer land.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rito Alto Loop or bust!

Heading down to Westcliffe to try to hike the Rito Alto Four Pass Loop.  Want to explore the area, and just as importantly we want to start getting out shit together for the Colorado Trail in '18.  Will leave the trailhead around 7PM on Friday and do a short hike before setting up camp, then do a big day on Saturday before crashing, then another few miles on Sunday morning.  23ish miles total.

The dog is super excited!


Great trip down to Salida on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Ate some Moonlight, visited Benson's, The Vic, Elevation, and Soulcraft, saw a pretty brutal fight outside of the Vic, and rode Monarch Crest.  Good times!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


I have listened to every show Gov't Mule has played this year, but nothing beats seeing them live.  So I sure wasn't going to miss them at Red Rocks.  Especially with Yonder opening up.  Such a great show!

Mule crushed it and was definitely the highlight of the evening, but I thought it was cool when Yonder covered Wild Side.