Sunday, July 25, 2010

What are you training for now?

A lot of people on top of Horsetooth Rock this morning waiting for the sunrise.

I've been getting this question a lot lately. Especially after I raced back to back weekends in June, including my first 100 at Bighorn. I never know how to answer this question. There are no upcoming races scheduled for me, just lots of trails that I would like to explore. Maybe I could say that I am training for Hardrock which could be next year or five years from now and is currently the hardest event I envision trying to compete in. The most accurate answer to this question, however, is that I am training today so I can run up another mountain tomorrow (and enjoy it).

I kept it local for today's "training" run. No spectacular high mountain peaks, just a lot of beautiful, rugged singletrack in the Fort Collins foothills (Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park). Still able to rack up 4500 feet of vertical in just over 20 miles on these little mountains.

Today's Course

For those familiar with these trails:

Start and Finish at Horsetooth Mountain Trailhead

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Longs Before Sunrise

So how do you beat the crowds on the weekend at this popular mountain summit? You just get up there first. Kevin (my Bighorn pacer) and I summited the 14,255 foot Longs Peak a half an hour before sunrise, stayed at the top for nearly an hour, and had the entire peak to ourselves. The sunrise was spectacular! We took the popular Keyhole route from the Ranger Station trailhead which gets you to the summit in approximately 7 miles with 5000 feet of climbing. I was even able to avoid most of the steady stream of hikers coming up later by returning to the trailhead via the North Longs Peak/Boulder Brook/Storm Pass loop. This loop is one of my favorite trail runs in Rocky Mountain National Park.

GPS data for today

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Signal Mountain

When I need to satisfy my desire for some alpine tundra, Signal Mountain provides a quick fix. Just a 50 minute drive from Fort Collins to the Dunraven Trailhead by Glen Haven, and then about an hour and a half of running, hiking, or crawling and I am at treeline.

Approaching the summit of Signal Mountain (11,253ft) just above treeline.

It is 5.8 miles from the Dunraven Trailhead to the summit of Signal with about 3500 feet of climbing. If you prefer to "run" most of your trail run, then this one is probably not for you as there are several relentlessly long, rocky uphill grades. Also a good test of your downhill skills on the way back down. Today I tacked on an extra 1.5 miles out and back to Miller Fork near the end of the run. It is only about a 1000 feet down in less than a mile. Oh yeah, it is also 1000 feet back up (ouch).

The views from the top of Signal Mountain are hard to beat in this area.

Another view from the summit.

Number of other people seen over my three and a half hours on the trail = 0. Pretty surprising for a Sunday morning in the middle of the summer. Another reason I like this trail.

GPS data for today

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hardrock (my next 100?)

This year's Hardrock 100 is currently taking place, almost 39 hours into it and still plenty of runners on the course. Jared Campbell was the first to kiss the rock this morning (legendary at the finish line) with a winning time of 27 hours 18 minutes. Diana Finkel led for most of the race and finished as first woman and 2nd overall in 28 hours 32 minutes. With Darcy Africa in 4th, 2 of the top 4 were women. Nothing wrong with "running like a girl". This race is my ultimate goal, the hardest 100 that I know of (at least in the U.S.) in the beautiful San Juan mountains of Colorado. Since I am now "qualified" with my Bighorn finish, I'll put my name into the hat for next year's lottery. If I don't get in, then I will probably do Leadville. Congrats to Brownie for finishing just a short time ago and making it halfway to the Rocky Mountain Slam.