Monday, October 13, 2014

I have some kind of weird mental thing where I have no desire to compete in anything other than skimo races.

And all Im ever going to do in skimo races is get my butt kicked.

Weird. Anyway, so I like to just find new adventures and go after them. Its fun, pushes myself, its virtually free and there is no one to kick my butt for miles around! Perfect.

My friend JD who is a fast guy (unlike me). He finished in the top 50 on the Pikes Peak Marathon this year which is pretty impressive to a guy like me. The funny thing is he really doesnt like distance running. It turns out he uses his calf muscles for forward momentum. Interesting...

Anyway, he told me we should try and run out to Rio Grande Pyramid and back from a local trailhead, Poison Park. I did a quick map measurement and a follow up Google Earth estimate (the trails are not really on Earth) and guessed it was close to 30 miles. Im a wimp and that is about my limit for running so it sounded like a plan.

Then fall hit and it snowed. No big deal, stick to South facing slopes and we would be good. Then JD sprung the idea on me at the end of a normal week of workouts. I like to kind of lay off prior to a big run but not this time! I had 1 day to chill and eat stuff.

I actually spent a good chunk of it combing a ski slope for a guy's lost iPhone (in a white and grey case...) on silent. Something like fun but another story best told over a beer...

Soooo happy. Toooo happy for 6 AM...

JD and I got to the TH at about 6 AM and started by headlamp. The trail is neat in that is is pretty rolling. I walk all the hills on runs like this keeping my heart rate low or I pay in spades later on. It was fun to keep moving at a good clip. We basically did a rolling traverse into the Pine River drainage where I drooled over my first view of the Popes Nose while JD drooled over the apparent fisherman's dream come true that is the upper Pine River. To each their own. All streams were crossed by sketchy jumps and icy logs except the Pine which we had to wade.

 Gotta love fall colors!
 This is what I love about running!
 No, I actually have no idea how great this river would be to fish. But I believe you!

As we started the ascent to the Pyramid, we saw a bull moose which was neat. Then, after 6 hours on the go and nearing the 17.5 mile mark, we got to the plateau below the last 1000 ft of the mountain proper and with only 10 hours of food and kids to tuck in that evening, called it good. We had just slogged through a good bit of wet snow and everything was piling up to make a potential suckfest out of the trip.

 Crossing the Continental Divide
 The Pyramid- so close yet so far away...
 I told you I saw a moose!
 Scrambling to our high point.
 Another horrible day in the mountains!
 You are crazy if you don't spy the sweet looking ski line on the South face!
So, back we went. Super fun cruising but some inklings of too much downhill bashing towards the end. JD was low on fuel so I shared my last gels and sucked up the last hour with no food. He offered a spare hot dog but no thanks!

 Hot dog anyone? Uh, no thanks...
 Recrossing the Pine
I had been thinking about food as fuel all summer and in hot weather really like just plain water so no Tailwind till it gets cold for me. I ate Honey Stinger waffles the first half of the run and switched to caffeinated gels for the return which seemed to work out really well. I also had cheese, a honey mustard Kind bar and a little deli chicken every 3 hours which was the ticket. Mmmmm, savory food....

 Almost back...
I used a small Mountain Hardwear running vest with a 1.5L bladder that I filled from streams twice on the run. We ran with poles which was nice for stream crossings, snow slogging and when we got tired for stability. We ran with them just held in our hands most of the time.

Didnt see a soul and had fun with a good friend. And, there really wasnt much suffering. Super fun! I was definitely not ready to do something like this (36 miles, 7k vert) at the end of last summer so we will see if this has any impact on how badly I get my butt kicked in some skimo races this winter!

I hope your summers have been fun and that you are psyched for snow!

 JD: Why am I still breathing hard? I think I want to lie down.


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