Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I really went for it, for not really running that much lately, but everything just clicked. I really pushed it on the way up, running most of it and hiking as fast as I could on the rest. The summit was a bit crazy with high winds and lots of ice but the rest of the trail was in good shape, making for a fast descent once I got off the upper ridge. In fact, I don't know if I could go much faster on the descent as I was already borderline to fast (it is super rocky on the trail and it would be easy to face plant demanding total concentration). I think the only way for me to improve would be to move faster up hill. I think that I would need to be able to really "run" the up hill to break 2 hours. I have big time respect for people that do this trail fast because I am pushing it to my max and still coming in over 2 hours. Big time respect...
Just keep trying...maybe I'll break the elusive 2 hour barrier. It seems right there for the taking. Just run harder...
Monday, September 14, 2009
Part way along Bridal Veil Creek the trail started to get tricky. The road split in a few places and I had to guess on which ones to take (amazingly no signs along this section even though it is right next to town and pretty popular). Luckily, I chose to have a map with me that showed topography because following a map of just the trail would have been worthless for me through this section.
I kept guessing my way along jeep trails that got fainter and fainter until I was able to see the saddle that I was supposed to cross over. Perfect timing, as I would have been completely confused otherwise. The trail seemed to have almost completely disappeared at this point. I was following a faint depression in the tundra with a wood post in the ground every mile or so to tell you that you were on a trail (you wouldn't know what trail though because the posts didn't have any markings on them).
(Beautiful meadows and tundra)
Not long after I saw the saddle, I reached a much better trail and a much better sign that pointed to the saddle. I was much relieved as I knew now that I would get to the saddle. I wouldn't have to turn back early. I still had a chance at doing the whole loop (as long as I could find my way down the other side).
(13,000 + peak near trail)
(nearing the saddle-the saddle I crossed over is the right one in the photo)
Once I made it to the saddle I was psyched. Not only was it amazingly beautiful up there but I could see that the Wasatch Trail that leads down the other side and back to Telluride would be much easier to follow than what I had just done. I could see single track winding for miles down the hill. Only one thing still worried me...
I've never been one to be stopped by these kinds of things. I figured I would find another way down if the trail was closed and impassible (if I got on a ridge above the lower portion of the Wasatch Trail I could follow ski runs down the mountain to Telluride if I needed to escape). It should all workout, I thought.
I decided, while on the ridge, to go for it. I would much rather adventure down new terrain to town instead of backtrack the same trail I just followed. But, not until I summited the 13,000+ ft. peak right next to the saddle.
(summit poser shot)
(really nice single track down Wasatch Trail)
(early on in the closed section of the trail)
In the end the sign was nothing to worry about (at least on this day). There was no construction or dangers along the trail. In fact the trail was in great shape and I enjoyed running it thoroughly. Along the trail, tundra gave way to sparsely treed meadows, then to forest and creeks and then again to canyons with thick forest and finally to flat,wide trail, people and town.
Finish time: 11:30 am. So, it took me 4 hours to do the loop. Not bad, considering I stopped a bit to take photos, hang on the saddle and then again on the summit.
Excellent loop. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little adventure in their trail running. Stunning.
View a slideshow here of the run http://www.flickr.com/photos/33744037@N04/show/with/3918561382/
See the trail map bigger and better here.
Note: The next day we woke up and found that it had snowed all night in the mountains above town. Crazy that we were lucky enough to miss this dumping and had the excellent weather the day before.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Still came in with a decent time of 2 hrs and 30 minutes. I have found that as long as I power hike the tougher sections of the up hill and then run the flats and gradual up hill sections I get up to the summit in about 1 hr and 30 minutes. On the way down, if I run but don't push hard I get down in about an hour. So, most of my runs to the summit end up about the same now at about 2 1/2 hours, a good comfortable run.
I have pushed it a few times running most of the way up and then running as fast as I can without falling on my face on all the rocks and roots on the way down. I can come in just over 2 hours (my fastest time is 2 hrs and 7 minutes).
Maybe I will try to break 2 hours sometime this fall if I feel up for it. Not that much of a leap right now. I will just have to really want to try that hard. There is some serious elevation gain and loss and the trail is quite technical so it is hard to really push it. Running a bit on big climbs on the peaks and on the dry lake hills would help before I try hard on it again too.
More mountain running...
I will be in Telluride this weekend. I have friends running the famous Imogene Pass Run and I thought I would sneak a long trail run in too. Finally, a run in the San Juan mountains! I'll give a full report on the run next week.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I made a switch in the last few years back to sport climbing. I still boulder but I seem to be putting most of my effort into sport routes these days. There are many reasons for this... looking for a new and different challenge in climbing (I spent a ton of time bouldering, was getting a little bored with it and was looking for a change), I started dating Susan, who enjoys sport climbing, and while looking for new bouldering, I was accidentally finding some pretty sweet sport crags that could be developed.
It looks like this way of life will continue. My path is set. I suppose it could end someday as all things do but I feel that in the present this is "my way". To search, develop, search, develop and then do it some more...to keep looking around the next corner in the canyon...to "search for something."
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Here are a few shots from the day at Jacks.
(Susan on a nice warm up)
(Susan on a 5.11 at the end of the day)
The next day we were lucky enough to go to Josephine's for a very nice birthday dinner (thank you Bill and Laura Spizzirri). This was our first visit to this restaurant even though it is only a couple blocks from our house. Great food! Definitely worth the visit!