Tuesday, April 21, 2020

2019 Review

I'm pretty late getting to a review of 2019, when it's April 21, 2020, but I didn't want last year to be forgotten.  Although I didn't complete any ultras in 2019, I did have many cool adventures and climbed a lot of new peaks (including several 14ers).

Of course, the main thing I log each year is my Horsetooth Rock summits, and I got 133 in 2019.  That's my 2nd best total (164 in 2013), but I should have gotten more since I was already at 100 by the end of June.

In my buildup for Hardrock, before it got cancelled, I was able to knock off a lot of crazy local bucket list challenges.  I believe I now have the first and only Round Mountain 6-pack (54 miles, 18,000 feet of vertical) and Crosier Quad (38 miles, 11,000 feet of vertical, adding Sullivan Gulch to the classic "Crosier Triple").  I also completed the Greyrock 6-pack (45 miles, 15,000 feet of vertical), which I don't believe had been done since Pete Stevenson completed the feat in 2011.  I couldn't beat Pete's time, so his OKT ("only known time") is now the FKT ("fastest known time").  The one challenge that is still eluding me, however, is Octarock (106 miles, 22,000 feet of vertical, Quadrock 50 x 2 with 4 Horsetooth Rock and 4 Arthurs Rock summits thrown in).  I gave it a go in late June but got denied at about 70 miles due to hypothermia and flooded trails.  At least it wasn't a blizzard like when I tried a few years ago.  I now have 3 DNFs at Octarock.

Greyrock 6-pack with Jaime

Crosier Quad with Brett

I still visited the San Juan mountains over Hardrock week with my Dad and two of my sisters.  I got to explore a lot of trails and peaks that I have never been on.  The options are just endless out there!  On the day we were supposed to run Hardrock, I joined up with a fun group of old and new friends for an out and back along the course from Silverton to Green Mountain.  Certainly a fun day!

Topping out Green Mountain with my Hardrock friends

Exploring the San Juan Mountains with Regina

August and September had me playing a lot in the Sawatch Range, exploring the Nolan's 14 line and pacing Alan for 50 miles at Leadville (my first time seeing the whole course).  Doing Nolan's self-supported, I learned a lot about gear choices and also realized I need to do it with support to ever come close to the 60-hour "finisher" cutoff.  I might be able to give it a supported shot in 2020.  My plans are to go NOBO (Shavano to Massive) since that's how I've been scouting it.

Following Alan over Hope Pass at the Leadville 100

Following the Nolan's line

Life in the Sawatch.  Fueling up for Princeton on the horizon.

When not travelling down to the Sawatch, I spent plenty of summer time closer to home in RMNP playing in the Mummies (did Mummy Mania twice) and around Longs Peak (3 Longs summits this year).

The Mummies

Longs Peak (14,255 feet, approximately)

I did take on some shorter local trail and road races in 2019, and found to have regained a good bit of my speed.  My longest race was the Lory State Park 12K and my shortest was the Mountain Avenue Mile, where I clocked a 5:39!  I was able to get my road 5K time back under 20 minutes as well.

Mountain Avenue Mile

Finally, in November, I couldn't resist the urge to take on a 100-mile race, so I made a road trip to Alabama for the Blood Rock 100.  I met up with my sister who flew down from Maine and we enjoyed camping in Oak Mountain State Park (the site of the race).  Absolutely beautiful country down there and I loved the rugged, rocky, and steep trails!  The race was challenging, with over 26,000 feet of vertical, and a lot of rain!  I wasn't committed to finishing and pulled out around Mile 60.  However, since the 2nd 50 miles was a repeat of the 1st 50, I still got to experience the whole course.  I was glad I made the trip!

Camping at Oak Mountain State Park

Along the Blood Rock course.  They even installed ropes.

So onward to 2020!  We're certainly experiencing some different times right now, and I don't know if there will be any races to run this year.  I'm in Hardrock (if it happens) and I'm on the waitlist for Bear (if it happens).  Even if all races get cancelled, I still have many trail running/hiking goals that I am excited about and would love to complete this year given the opportunity (Octarock, Nolans, Hills to Sea Trail, Colorado Trail, etc.).  I just appreciate that I can still enjoy my local mountains and trails for the time being.

A recent sunrise from atop Horsetooth Rock


  1. Good stuff, Rob. I’d still be up for pacing if I can make it work.

    PS: Nice stove

    PPS: I heard a rumor that a couple washed up NH trail runners were coveting your HMW FKT.

    1. Thanks Adam! I'd love to have you pace me at Hardrock, or just join me for any Rocky Mountain adventures if you can make it out this summer! That stove has seen some beautiful places! And please do get your butt up to HMW and lower that FKT. I need a reason to do it again. Take care!