Sunday, June 29, 2008

Leadville training camp

Quick update, as I just got home and hafta leave for Denver soon. I'll be up there 'till Wed for work.

Friday morning I met Ryan at the Missouri Gulch trailhead just south of Leadville. Actully, he overslept, by a lot, and I ended up meeting him on top of Mt. Belford. Which was fine by me, meant hanging out at 14000 feet for over an hour. When he finally caught up, we continued on over to Mt. Oxford. Here's a shot of us on Oxford:

Weather was perfect, so we chilled on Oxford for a while. While up there, we made friends with a local marmot. Marmots are one of my favorite animals, mostly because they're associated with Colorado mountain peaks. They are friendly and curious, but I've never had one just mosey right up to me.

All told I spent about six hours above 13,500 feet. Good times! I've now bagged 21 Colorado 14ers, and if you count repeats then Oxford was the 40th time I've summited a 14er.

Ended up camping Friday night at near the Treeline aid station on the Leadville course. Fittingly, I slept about a quarter mile from the actual place where I took a 30 minute nap during the race.

Saturday morning it was off to the Leadville gym to begin training camp. Sat's run was from May Queen, the first aid station during the 100 miler, out to Twin Lakes. This included Sugarloaf Pass and a few other pretty good hills. Even though I took it easy, taking a lot of pictures along the way and spending at least 5 minutes at each of the three aid stations, I did the 26 miles in five hours. That's a sub-20 Leadville pace for those keeping score at home. I don't think I'll run that fast, but I have a new goal brewing which I'll work on after Hardrock. Here's a shot of me and fellow CRUDer John G:

After refueling at Leadville's newest pub, Doc Holliday's, it was back to the campsite for a quick bath in the freezing cold Arkansas river followed by a big fire and lots of Pabst.

Sunday morning was supposed to be the dreaded Hope Pass double crossing, but the north side of the mountain was still covered in snow. So the new plan was to summit Hope from the ghost town of Winfield and return. Made it from Winfield to the summit in a not-too-pedestrian 76 minutes, then added some extra credit by bagging 13,461 ft Quail Mountain. Here's me on the Quail summit:

All in all a nearly perfect weekend. Really crammed one last shot of hard training in, and now it's time to let my body heal up for the big race in less than two weeks. Met a lot of ultrarunners I've seen at races, and it was nice to get to know them in a not-quite-so-competitive situation. Love the shirts too - has the stereotypical miners sitting around a tent picture, with Yoda standing by them saying my favorite Star Wars quote - "Do or do not. There is no try."

Took a ton of pics, all of which can be seen here.


Mt. Belford. Mt. Oxford. Drinking with Marmots. Rosie's. May Queen to Twin Lakes under 20 hour Leadville pace. Camping at Halfmoon. Bathing in the Arkansas. Hope Pass. Quail Mountain.

Helluva way to blow a Colorado weekend!

Pics and reports to follow soon.

And now the taper begins...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Garden beer check

A couple 'o pics that Stinky Fingers just dropped off. For those who didn't believe there was a beer check at the Garden 10 miler, please notice the pounder of Pabst I'm carrying in the top photo. The second pic is about 8.5 miles into the Garden run, and the bottom pic is the final 10 yards of San Juan.


Shaping up to be a killer weekend -

Fri: leaving Manitou around 5AM for the mountains. Off to the Missouri Gulch trailhead just south of Leadville. Some of my readers may remember this TH from last year, where we set off from here for the world's highest game of 3-Man on Mt. Belford. The plan is to bag at least Belford and Oxford. Missouri Mountain also looms, and if I'm feeling good and the weather holds out I'll get that one too. Even found this route on summit post, which would allow me to tag three 14ers and two centennials on the same 16 mile loop. This will be a solo trip so I may be able to move a little quicker than usual, so we'll see...

Fri night: camping, probably at the Halfmoon TH.

Sat: 6:30AM at the National Mining Hall of Fame. Running the Leadville course from May Queen to Twin Lakes, about 26 miles. Active rest will follow with a cookout at Twin Lakes before heading back to my campsite for some high altitude drinking practice, which will include a growler of Mt. Massive Malt Liquor from America's highest brewery.

Sun: 8AM begins the infamous Hope Pass double crossing, from Twin Lakes out to the ghost town of Winfield and back again. 21 miles, this will be the last time I run more than five miles before Hardrock.

Sun PM: The Hardrock taper officially begins at Acid Jazz.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

western is a no-go

It's official, this year's Western States 100 is cancelled. My heart really goes out to those athletes. They would have started the hard training around the same time as me, and to bust your hump for so long only to have your goal taken away so close to race day, I just can't imagine the heartbreak.

The letter that was sent out to the runners:

Dear Western States Runners,

It is with deep regret that we announce today that the 35th running of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run has been cancelled, due to the unprecedented amount of wildfires that have struck northern California in recent days and the health risks that have been associated with these wildfires. The Board of Trustees of the Western States Endurance Run has consulted with many of our local and state race partners, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, in coming to this decision. We apologize to our runners for any inconvenience this decision has created.

The race’s organizers are currently working on a revised schedule of runner activities for Thursday and Friday in Squaw Valley, and these details will be made available soon. Although there will be no race for the first time in our 35-year history, we still wish to make this experience as meaningful as possible for our runners. Activities will include annual events such as runner check-in for goodie bag pickup on Friday morning, the pre-race briefing and raffle on Friday afternoon, the showing of Western States documentaries on Friday night, and a special gathering of runners commemorating the race’s start on Saturday.

Since the beginning of more than 840 wildfires statewide, 312 wildfires in northern California and more than 3,200 lightning strikes in the Tahoe National Forest alone on June 21, the race’s organizers have worked closely with a variety local, county and state agencies in determining the best course of action for our race. It has become apparent that given our race’s paramount concern – the safety or our runners – holding this year’s race would pose too great a risk to our runners, to our aid station personnel and to our volunteers. Given the close proximity of at least two fires that are within two miles of our race course and a critical access road, as well as the deteriorating air quality stretching from our start in Squaw Valley to Auburn, Calif., the board has determined that cancellation, rather than postponement or the use of an alternative course, represents the safest and most prudent decision for our 2008 event.

Our decision was based on three factors:

1) Proximity of the fire to the race course, which has the potential to impact the safety of runners, aid station personnel and volunteers at any point during the race. Fire projections indicate that the Westville Fire has the potential to reach the Foresthill Divide Road by the weekend; in addition, the Peavine Fire could reach Last Chance and Mosquito Ridge Road, possibly compromising access in and out of these areas. In a statement, Jan Cutts, District Ranger for the American River Ranger District, said, “In addition to the potential direct impact by the fires, (the race’s cancellation) is based on safety concerns surrounding the increased number of vehicles on the road and congestion associated with the Run. We see hundreds of vehicles on the Foresthill Divide Road and Mosquito Ridge Road for this event each year. That’s just too many additional vehicles when we’ve got fire-fighting equipment and personnel using the same roads for fire suppression operations. … Safety is our overriding concern and we felt we could not provide a safe environment for this year’s Run because of the unprecedented fire activity in the area.”

2. Air quality deterioration. Placer County Air Pollution Control District officials have issued an air-quality advisory. Air quality specialists with Placer County are advising individuals to reduce their exposure to the unhealthy air, and that includes vigorous outdoor activities. Medical representatives from the Western States Board have consulted with several physicians regarding their expert opinion on running a 100-mile trail race through rugged country through such unhealthy air; the consensus has been that such an activity would not be recommended, with the potential for serious health risks – even for the most highly trained of athletes. As a point of reference, a high level of pollution is 35 micrograms of material; in Auburn on Wednesday the level was 10 times that amount, according to figures from Placer County. In addition, Placer County Air Pollution Control District officials have characterized the air conditions as extremely hazardous and the worst recordings the area has had in more than 10 years. In a statement, the Placer County Public Health Officer, Air Pollution Control Officer and Director of the Office of Emergency Services, all concurred with the decision to cancel this year’s run: “The current situation in Northern California with respect to poor air quality and active fire danger is unprecedented. Within Placer County there are three active fires burning in the American River watershed, two of which have potential to impact the Western States Trail directly. These fires, as well as ones burning outside of the American River watershed to the west and north are creating unhealthy smoke concentrations throughout the foothills. This has necessitated county public health officials to issue advisories recommending a curtailment of voluntary outdoor activities that include strenuous physical exertion. These recommendations include reducing exposure to smoke.” Added Tom Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Officer: “The widespread smoke throughout Northern California is forecasted to remain as long as the wildfires continue to burn and the weather conditions do not substantially change. The poor air quality conditions being experienced in Placer County are expected to persist through the weekend and impact elevations from the valley to Tahoe. High particulate matter concentrations affect respiratory and cardiovascular systems negatively, and I concur with the decision to cancel the Run from a public health perspective as we have been issuing health advisories recommending the limiting of outdoor physical exercise until conditions improve.”

3. Safety of our runners. For 35 years, the Western States 100 has been predicated on our runner’s safety. As stewards of the race, the Western States Board has always recognized that running 100 miles over snow, through high elevations, into infernal canyons and through the dark of night can pose great challenges for even the most skilled of runners. Couple the challenging nature of our run with the existing combination of close proximity of wildfire, potential volatile fire activity that could cut off key access points to the course as well as some of the most unhealthy air the region has seen this decade, and the decision was made in recognition of our preeminent goal – the safety of our runners.

For all of you, today’s news is disappointing. Since the lottery was held in December, you have trained with remarkable diligence and focus to get to this day. You have dreamed big and made countless personal sacrifices to prepare for one of the greatest days any trail runner can ever have. As a group, the Western States Board would like to commend you for your dedication and devotion not only to the preparation that is required for our race, but to the community of trail runners of which we are all a part. You are members of a special group, one that relishes challenge, constantly strives to improve the limits of what is believed possible, and seeks the special kindred spirits of others who revel in the beauty of our sport. We have been honored to have your name as part of our race’s start list this year.

We would be remiss if we did not publicly thank the men and women of the American River Ranger District, particularly Jan Cutts and Ed Moore, for their consultation and constant flow of updated information regarding this very challenging fire situation. The City of Auburn, City Manager Bob Richardson, and officials from Placer County, in particular Tom Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Control Officer, and Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Public Health Officer, have also been invaluable sources of information and advisement. Thanks to all of these trail partners.

In the coming days, we will announce details regarding entries for next year’s race, which will be determined in a fair and equitable manner. It should be noted that per our race rules, all race entries are non-refundable.

Thank you again for your participation and interest in the Western States 100. We hope that we will see you in 2009.

Tim Twietmeyer, Western States Board President
Greg Soderlund, Race Director

western cancelled?

I was licking my chops about this year's Western States 100 miler, which has a great field with the very real possibility of all of them getting their asses handed to 'em by a local Colorado guy. But now I'm hearing rumors that the race may be cancelled due to all the fires in California. Heartbreak city, as I know a lot of people have trained very hard over the past several months to get to the starting line. Here's hoping that somehow the fires allow the race to go on...


For some reason, Quandary Peak has a reputation for being a cakewalk. But it took me five tries to finally bag her, and every year I hear of crazy mountain rescues needing to be performed there. Like this one. Good reminder as the summer weather brings out the peakbaggers that you need to be careful up there.


Every year after San Juan I've said I was going to bag Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks, but until this year I was always too lazy.

The hike was a nice, though LONG, one. Sunshine is the lowest 14er out there, at 14,001 feet. It was number 20 for me.

Here's Katie doing her trademark snow angel. That's Handies Peak in the background, which I'll hopefully bag in three weeks as the Hardrock course goes up and over the summit.

Katie on the final approach to Redcloud. Notice the nice blue sky and fluffy white clouds:

PBR and a Philly blunt on top of Redcloud:

On the ridge over to Sunshine. Funny how clear the sky looks...

The top of Sunshine. A crazy storm blew in from nowhere. Snow, rain, lightning. We had to drop down from Sunshine, head a mile back over the ridge (all above 13800 feet), re-summit Redcloud, and then haul ass down to treeline. Good times! Of course, as soon as we hit treeline, the storm disappeared and the sun came out. Gotta love that Colorado weather.

Off this Friday to bag three more 14ers, two of which will be new ones for me. Think of me while you're slaving away at your desk, lackeys!

fear the hippies!

Damn, who woulda seen this coming? Right here in Manitou too. The big surprise is that the Manitou cops actually knew how to use their guns, they don't get much of that kind of action here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

san juan final thoughts...

-Really, really happy with the way I ran. Other than the two huge hills I ran almost the entire course, hard to do at this race. Led to a negative split and a course PR by over 90 minutes.

-Also happy I was able to finally meet EIB pace here. My 14:15 per mile is well under the allowed fifteen minutes. Hooah!

-Finishing in twelve hours and then drinking beer while watching everyone else finish is infinitely better than being out there for 16 hours.

-Kudos to the three runners who didn't meet the 16 hour cutoff time but completed the course. I watched them finish and you could tell they had bad days. The final finisher was probably the worst I've ever seen a runner look. Way to keep on keepin' on. Like I said above though, I'm glad I wasn't one of those guys this year.

-Thanks to Katie for crewing. Really helped me get in and out of the aid stations, and had Pabst on hand at all times. Hope she doesn't expect me to be so cheery at Hardrock.

-Recovery is going well. I'm much less sore than I was after Collegiate Peaks. Backing off after Divide was the right thing to do.

-I have put myself in a good position for Hardrock. Trained my ass off, glad to see those pre-5AM Colorado winter runs are paying off. A lot can go wrong at a hundred, especially Hardrock, but I feel confident about my chances of finishing before the sun sets that second time. At the finish line, I felt I could have gone out and nailed San Juan again.

-Starting my taper. I'll do the Leadville training runs this weekend, but other than those back-to-back 25 milers at altitude all my runs will be easy five milers. I'll also do a lot of hiking, bag a few more 14ers and hit the Incline.

part 6 - Slum to Lake City

Leaving Slum is always fun because it reminds me of a hash - you travel across a road and down a short hill before having to go through some bushes, across a creek, and along a barely visible trail. But the fun is short lasted because soon the final climb greets you. Looking at the course profile, Vickers hill doesn't seem like much. It "only" climbs 2000 feet, about half the amount of the two big climbs. But the hill is like a punch right to the jaw, with it's steepness combined with the ten plus hours of mountain running I've already done really making life suck.

And though I've already decided against really pushing things, I still attack the hill. Pass a few more people here and continue to hike hard. Towards the top of the hill I see the RD for the Salida marathon, he's a terrific artist and he's drawing the beautiful view. I stop for a second to take the view in, nothing but wildflowers, aspen trees, and mountains. I love living in Colorado.

At the top of the hill I run a good pace along the flat singletrack to the Vickers aid station. I'm looking at a 3.5 mile downhill to the finish line and still feel real good. I leave Vickers quickly and realize I'll be under twelve hours, so I bag the final section. Even when two women pass me. But it was nice, the downhill section rolls through a sweet aspen grove and I was just making sure I didn't hurt myself on the technical stuff. Soon I was back in town and headed past the Packer Saloon to the finish line.

Official time - 11:52:40. 38th place out of 130 finishers. Last member of the Cannibal club.

part 5 - Divide to Slumgullion

After leaving the Divide aid station you climb for another mile and a half or so. I hike this section to give my stomach time to digest all the junk food I just ate. I begin running shortly before the top of the hill. Just before I get out of sight of the aid station, I see Rich trucking in. I don't think he saw me, which is good, as it may have motivated him to come after me a little harder.

The trail is muddy, just like last year when I fell down and just laid in the mud for about five minutes, too tired to get up. What a difference a year makes, as I run the rest of the downhill section to the Slumgullion aid station. Two strong runners do pass me on this section, and I don't go with them. Still, the fact that I'm still running and still feeling good at this point makes me smile. Would I have challenged the two had San Juan been my goal race? Probably. But in hindsight I may have made a good decision not to lay everything on the line.

Coming into Slum was a blast, thanks to all the CRUD support. Paul S was about half a mile out from the aid station, yelling for me. I told him to trip Rich, who I thought was right behind me. Cereta already had my bag waiting for me and Katie was there with a cold Pabst. My chugging of a PBR dropped the jaws of some of the aid station volunteers, pretty funny stuff. Jaws dropped even further when I told them it was my second one of the day.

Another great thing about the Slum aid station - they had popcicles! I fell in love with those at last years Slacker half marathon, and always crave one when the heat is making things rough. If you run and haven't tried this, you need to.

I dropped my camelbak here and went with a handheld water bottle. Nice to lose all that weight. Left Slum at 9:45, and even though I had one more rough climb I was confident I was gonna get that cannibal hat...


I'll be hiking three more 14ers this Friday if anyone can get off work...

Monday, June 23, 2008

part 4 - Carson to Divide

Leaving Carson it's still three miles to the high point of the course, Coney Peak. With some more of the terrifying snow crossings, though they're not so bad anymore since the sun had finally heated things up. I continue upward, still kicking ass on this huge climb.

Finally, after six hours of playing in the mountains, I reach the top of Coney. And I still feel real strong. I think back to last year, when I was basically dead in the water at this point of the race (it took me 15:47 to finish last year - 118th place out of 120 finishers). Feels real good that all the hard training I've been doing over the last several months is paying off - just in time.

I take a moment at Coney to check out the surroundings. It's a beautiful day and all I can see around me are more mountains. Life is good.

My goal heading into this race was to get a Cannibal hat - a blue rimmed finishers hat given to those who break twelve hours. The past two years I had gotten the green rimmed Survivor hat (finishing between 12 and 16 hours - in 2006 I ran 13:30 here) and I thought it was time to upgrade. And even though I would have to pull a negative split to reach that goal, I thought I had a good chance to do just that - I was feeling strong and the two biggest climbs of the race were behind me.

I took off running along the continental divide. You run for a few miles along the divide here before dropping down a big hill into the Divide aid station. Last year along the divide I was reduced to a slow walk through a bad lightning storm, not my proudest moment.

It struck me here that even though I was well above treeline, the high altitude was having no effect on me at all. Guess all those trips up Pikes Peak were worth it.

Finally hitting the Divide aid station, I force myself to eat. And I eat a ton - ham and cheese sandwiches, twix and snickers bars, chips, pickles, and wash it down with several cups of mountain dew. Yum yum.

part 3 - Williams Creek to Carson

Shot out of the WC aid station just behind Rich. It's about two miles along a jeep road to the next climb, the longest and steepest of the course. I ran those two miles pretty fast, passing quite a few people, including Rich.

But then the fun started. The climb up to the Divide starts about mile 17 and takes you from approx. 9300 feet back up over 13000 feet. In seven miles. It reminds me a lot of Longs Ranch Road here in Manitou, but much longer. I attack the hill hard, hiking as fast as I can. Picked up my iPod at WC and was listening to the Widespread Panic Red Rocks show I saw last year, and it was helping ease the pain of the climb.

Pass a few more people on the climb into the Carson aid station (22 miles). Carson is an abandoned mine city, with some of the buildings still standing. Once again, I'm in such a hurry to exit the aid station that I forget to eat.

part 2 - Alpine Gulch to Williams Creek

Didn't see the blow up doll they had at AG last year, so I didn't waste too much time there. Kept continuing up, up, up. The climb out of AG went another three miles and took me above 13000ft. Along the way we had to cross some sketchy snow/ice areas. A fall here would have meant some real bad news, with only some rocks several hundred feet below available to stop your slide. I didn't look down.

Kept moving at a pretty good clip. Rich M caught up to me here and we would spend the next few miles together. I had never beaten Rich before and thought today might be the day.

Finally at the top of the climb, I started gaining some feeling back in my feet and toes. I noticed that my shoes, a beaten up pair of La Sportiva Imogene, were literally falling apart. I had logged over 800 miles in them, probably more than 1000 miles if you include bumming around and hashing, and they weren't going to go much further. Not good when you're looking at a five mile technical descent that drops about 4000 feet.

Though the battered shoes slowed me down a bit, I still came into the Williams Creek aid station (15.7 miles) feeling strong. Katie was waiting here with a new pair of shoes, so I survived that possible disaster. In hindsight, one of my few mistakes was made at that aid station, as in my rush to get out ahead of Rich (and, unknown to us, a hard charging Gordo) I forgot to eat.

part 1 - Lake City to Alpine Gulch

Feeling great after a breakfast of cold Moonlight Pizza and a huge cup of joe from the Mocha Moose, I start a little quicker than usual. From all the warnings over the past ten days about the stream crossings, I assume that I'll die instantly upon getting wet and then my corpse will be violated by Pirate ships trolling the swollen Hensen Creek. But I don't want to be waiting in line for this, so I get out ahead of the main pack.

About 2.5 miles in, I hit the first stream crossing. It's thigh deep, flowing very fast, and well below freezing. My legs and feet are numb before I get across the first water crossing. Over the next mile or so we'll cross the creek about half a dozen times. The ropes put up by the awesome volunteers make things a lot easier. At one point early on my race almost ends, as the rope knocks off my beloved floppy hat and it lands in the water. It took a heroic leap to save my hat, but that got my balls and cotton gloves wet, making the while experience suck that much more.

After the creek crossings the course starts to climb. Normally this early in an ultra I would hike the hills, but I was so friggin' cold I continued running up the mountain, trying to generate some heat. It's a helluva climb too, going from 9000ft up to the Alpine Gulch aid station above 11000ft.

Lots of cool stuff to see along this stretch once the sun finally came up. The area shortly after the creek crossings had been blown up by a recent avalanche. Downed trees and debris everywhere, can't begin to imagine the power of that huge snowfall.

Alpine Gulch is my favorite aid station in the race. It's so isolated that the volunteers have to hump everything in the day before and camp out overnight. And it's obvious they spend the night drinking. About a mile before the aid station the course is marked with empty cans of Guinness and Pabst. The volunteers are drinking when I arrive, and they have a can of PBR for me! Can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning, and I had my first beer at approximately 6:45AM.


Great showing by Team CRUD down at San Juan. Had a couple of guys bike there from Colorado Springs, about 230 miles. Had a bunch of course PR's. Nobody had to put on their Incline Club shirt (i.e., no DNFs). Had a great crew. Drank a ton of beer after the race. And some of us even bagged some 14ers on Sunday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

good times!

Great weekend down in Lake City! Ran an awesome race at the San Juan Solstice, finishing in 11:53. Almost 100 minutes better than my previous best there. And I held a little something back for my race next month.

Had enough in my legs on Sunday morning to add two more 14ers to my list, Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks. I'm up to 20 now. Even got some good "crappy weather" training as a storm came in from nowhere while Katie and I were on Sunshine. We had to come down off Sunshine, traverse a mile long ridge, summit Redcloud, and then get back down to treeline while trying to avoid getting struck by lightening.

Even got to eat at Moonlight Pizza in Salida not once, but twice!

Woohoo! Colorado summer weekends rock!

More tomorrow, I should probably get some sleep before the week begins. Until then, you can see the pics here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

on-on... another great weekend in the mountains! Lake City or bust!

good luck!

Big weekend on the ultra scene with San Juan and the Bighorn 100. Lots of CRUD guys and HCTR members out there on the trails, good luck to all of 'em!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Silverton to Lake City?

Was looking at a map this morning, thinking of driving through Silverton (start/finish of Hardrock), since it's close to Lake City. Turns out the two towns are only 30 miles apart. However, since the San Juan mountains separate them, the dirt road is kind of sketchy. To get to Silverton via a paved road, it's over 130 miles.

Somebody on the Hardrock e-mail list was thinking about taking the mountain road with a 2WD vehicle. Prompted several responses, including this gem:

"They say the best offroad vehicle is a rental car. I say go for it. We need more good stories!"

more on San Juan

This just keeps getting better and better! Sure getting my moneys worth from this race. From the RD:

"Alpine Creek crossings will be high, fast and brutally cold in the early morning shadows of Alpine Gulch; we are roping the first 8 and will have crossing guards at each of those. Be patient, the moments you save by trying to jump around the runners using the rope may cost you the race or your life. You will not feel the sun's warming light until the Alpine Aid Station. Neoprene socks might be a good idea. Neoprene gaiters... anybody make those? Copious Vaseline or similar water-seal for your poor feet and lower legs HIGHLY recommended before putting on your socks that morning. Avoid being a contestant in the Ugly Feet Contest Sunday morning.
Steep snowfields will be encountered. EXPOSURE/ACROPHOBIA in Hardrock terms. Carrying a tent stake or two to Williams Aid Station may be worth consideration, otherwise grabbing a couple similarly sized and sturdy sticks before leaving timberline and carrying them until you decide if you need them or not will work just as well and grabbing a couple appropriate rocks ( if available) on one side of a snowfield and dropping them on the other side is not as effective in a self arrest but is the most efficient."

it's on like donkey kong!

From the folks who put on the San Juan Solstice:

"We will run the regular course. Snow levels will not be unusually high, BUT crews today describe Alpine Creek crossings as "epic". There will be volunteers at all crossings, but racers must be prepared for high, cold, rushing water early in the race."

Hell yeah! I love it when it sucks!

the streak... up to 12 days. Probably my highest ever.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

San Juan pics

Couple 'o pics I dug up on the San Juan website from 2007. I had a horrible race last year, barely beating the cutoff times at the last few aid stations and almost finishing in last place. While I'm always happy to finish a race like this one, I plan on having a much better showing this year.

I believe that's me leading the way in this top picture:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today marked ten straight days of running for me, haven't taken a rest day since before the Garden 10 miler. Averaging a cool 12.8 miles per day. Thinking of continuing the streak right in to July, resting only when I begin my taper for Hardrock...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Collegiate Peaks results

The optimists out at Buena Vista have finally posted the results for the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler. I finished 6th out of 43 finishers in a PR of 8:34:36. Full results can be seen here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Woohoo! My first ever 100 mile week! Struggled on tired legs over the Ute Pass/Waldo loop this afternoon, but finally finished with a well deserved ice bath in Fountain Creek. Real good week, with my big Pikes run yesterday and a 3+ hour run today. If I were beginning my taper for Hardrock today, I'd feel pretty good about my chances as I've been working my ass off since January. Luckily for me though, I have two more weeks of hard training - including the San Juan Solstice on Saturday, two 14ers on Sunday, and the Leadville training camp the weekend after that.

My goal for San Juan is to break 12 hours - this gets one the cannibal award (a different colored hat). My two previous San Juans have netted me the survivor award - finishing from 12 hours to 16 hours. I'm not tapering for this race and the course is going to be rough with all the snow, but I'm in much better shape than I have been since I moved to Colorado, so I'm gonna go for it.
Psyched about my run yesterday, a solid 8.5 hours "time on my feet" with a good chunk of altitude thrown in. If I can get 14 miles in today I'll break 100 miles for the week for the first time ever, not counting Leadville. The motivation just ain't there right now. Can't cheat and do a double either, too much music tonignt in Manitou.

My house to Barr Camp - 1:55

My house to the summit doughnut bucket - 4:07

Neil really turned this one around, pushed me a lot harder on the oil tunnel section than I would have gone alone. Hell, I probably would have hiked most of it had he not been along, instead it turned into a pretty quick section.
Real good news on the ankle front too. I twisted it pretty bad twice on the run (once at the timberline shelter - not a good place to get injured on Pikes Peak) but the cankle recovered really quickly. It'll never be 100% but it's healthy enough that I'm not worried about it anymore.
Oh yeah, the 37 miles were in brand new shoes! Got a new pair of La Sportiva Imogene, starting to break 'em in for San Juan, Hardrock and Leadville!
Posted a few more pics on my Pikes blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Got in a good 37 miles today! From my house, up Pikes Peak, back down to Barr Camp. At BC I was hurtin', and thinking of heading straight down, when I suggested to Neil that he accompany me out to the Oil Tunnel. Figured he'd have some lame excuse, but in about two seconds he had his shoes on and was ready to go. Fuck, couldn't back out of that one. We had a good run, which added ten miles on to the Barr Trail, and he pushed me a lot harder than I would have done by myself (had I done any of it). Ran a little extra down in Manitou to make it an even 37 miles. Over 8.5 hours of running, most of it above 10,000 feet! Woohoo! More later, I'm gonna go eat a cow now...

Pikes Peak or bust!

I'm off to the top of Pikes Peak via the Barr Trail, which should finally be cleared of snow. If there's no new post by this time Sunday, call search-and-rescue. Taking my camera, so I should have some good pics for my Pikes blog later on.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Latest news on the San Juan Solstice:

Scouts on the Divide today report better than expected conditions, and so we are fairly certain we will be running the regular course. Crews going up over the weekend to the Divide and Alpine will give us a definitive answer by Monday, but it looks good!


I'm constatntly looking for good news about caffeine, since I use so much of the stuff. And here is some more info on the benefits. Turns out taking caffeine after a workout may help speed up recovery. Though I don't like them bad-mouthing my current post-long run recovery drink, chocolate milk (and Pabst, of course).

Please note the part about caffeine not causing dehydration! In fact, here's the quote:

"Heat and hydration expert Larry Armstrong several years ago disproved the old notion that coffee/caffeine is a diuretic."

It's not even lunchtime, and I've had 1.5 pots of coffee already!

two years

Today marks two years that I've been in my current job. I was a dishwasher for three years in high school, a delivery guy/produce stud for the GreenGrocer my final two years in Pittsburgh, and spent just over six years as an Infantryman, but this is the longest I've ever held a real job. To celebrate, I think I'll bail on work early today to do the Incline.


As I've said before, it's no secret that I'm not a big Kobe Bryant fan. But he has some great quotes at the post-game press conference last night. Including these gems:

"Whine about it tonight, a lot of wine, a lot of beer, a couple shots, maybe like 20 of them, digest it, get back to work tomorrow. Nothing you can do."

His reaction to a question about the Celtics going in "for the kill" and how the Lakers reacted:

"Nothing. We just wet the bed. A nice big one, too, one of the ones you can't put a towel over. It was terrible."

Somebody send this guy a Kimchi shirt! Hell, he might have provided material for a future CKH3 shirt.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Just got my tix for the annual Blues Traveler show at Red Rocks on July 4! I've always been a huge Traveler fan and I used to dream of going to this show, now I've lucked out and get to go every year! Woohoo!

The 4th of July is shaping up to be pretty epic. The schedule so far:

10AM - Leadville parade
10:30AM - Firecracker 5K in Leadville
11:30AM - nine holes at the Mt. Massive golf course (highest golf course in North America)
1:30PM - lunch at Rosie's (highest brewpub in the country - they even make malt liquor!)
4PM - tailgating at Red Rocks
7PM - Live, Collective Soul, and Blues Traveler!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

i'm too sexy for my blog...

Couple 'o race pics from the Garden ten miler. Still waiting for Paul to post the pic of me drinking Pabst, since nobody believes there was a beer check out there. Forgot to mention that my fastest two miles of the race were my final two, and I did my final half mile in 2:57, including outsprinting several runners over the final 100 meters. Provisional qualification to the Eugene track trials are pending...

creating a newsense

Woohoo! Their new album is out! And it's a live one, from Pine Gables up in Green Mountain Falls. I'll pick up a copy at their show at Benny's this Friday. It will be burned and mailed out soon after.

good day!

Before I arrived at work at 8AM, I had already ran for an hour (which included a summit of Red Mountain) and biked for 30 minutes! Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

more bike crap

Barack Obama peddlin' around the Chicago area this past weekend. He's also had his pic posted on my blog drinking Pabst. I'll put the rumors to rest now - we are not the same person. However, I can neither confirm nor deny any reports that he is considering me to be the next vice-president...

bike to work

June is "bike month" here in Colorado Springs and Wednesday, June 11, is the actual bike to work day. Excuses abound (wahhh, it's too far; wahhh, it makes me too tired; wahhh, I don't want to be sweaty; wahhh, I need to get in better shape first) but please take a second to remember that American troops are dying every day over oil. So if you can't or won't bike to work tomorrow, at least be considerate of those of us who will ride and give us some space on the road.

Monday, June 09, 2008

more Garden crap

I'd like to congratulate Cheyenne Mountain High School for winning the aid station challenge at the Garden of the Gods. I tried to write in the CRUD Pabst stop for best aid station, but when that wasn't allowed I cast my vote for CMHS, obviously because they were the best at handing out water.Also, not to be outdone by Ritz, I was on the newscast about the race. See it here. I'm about 1:20 into the segment, and you hafta look quick as it's a shot of me running!

Hardrock update

Hard to believe, but I'm barely a month away from Hardrock. Just finished up a low mileage week with the Garden run, and it's three more weeks of hard training before the big weekend. Highlights of the remaining time:

June 14-15 : this Saturday I'm gonna head up Pikes Peak via Barr Trail. On the way down I'll cut across to Elk Park and back. From my house and ending at Kinfolk's it's about a 38 mile run, a good chunk of which is above 10,000 feet. Sunday I'm gonna bug someone to drive me to the Crags trailhead, then run up and over Pikes Peak and back to Manitou, about 20 miles.

June 21-22 : headed out to Lake City for the San Juan Solstice 50 miler. My last big test before HR. Still some confusion as to whether or not the real course will be run due to all the snow. Sunday morning will be a hike to bag Redcloud and Sunshine, a twelve mile round trip that I've said I'd do the past two years and haven't. I mean it this time!

June 28-29 : off to Leadville for their training camp. Supported runs along the Leadville Trail 100 course, including the Hope Pass double crossing. Plus, drinking at the country's highest brewpub is always a great thing.

Still a lot of work to be done, and all this will leave me two full weeks to taper. Looking at cutting back my mileage during the week, but working on picking up the pace of those runs. A little less pounding on the body, but still working hard. I feel like my body is right on the edge of breaking down, if I can keep skirting that line for the next three weeks I should be good to go come race day.

front page

This picture was on the front page of today's sports section of the Gazette. See anyone who may need to drink for it?The accompanying article can be read here.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Garden pics

Didn't get too many pics at the ten miler this morning, here's the "best of" that I did capture:

BLOS, who finished in 1:13:04-

Former Pikes Peak hasher and sometimes current Boulder hasher, Bungholio (1:22:11) -

$100 Fuck, who kept whining about something lame all morning, finishing in 1:52:25 -

Boulder harriette Facial, wondering how I had time to finish, grab a PBR, change, and still meet her at the finish line to get this picture. She won some lame hardware for her 1:15:00 finish -

P2H4 wanker and full time Kimchi hater Midnite Stroker, finishing her very first competitive event ever (1:40:30) -

Ritz, finishing in a solid 1:47:13 -

NASCOCK, who took some time off from waging the war on terror via TDY trips to Hawaii to get his ass handed to him by a 50+ year old P2H3 harriette. MAJ Cock finished in 1:44:33 -

Can't remember the last time Hoover Damn was at a hash, but she showed up today and ran 1:52:01:

Think we all had a good time. Sorry to those hashers I didn't get a photo of, next time don't finish the race at the same time I'm opening another brew.