Sunday, January 30, 2011

Climbing the Rocks

I made my first 2011 summit of Horsetooth early this morning, and added another summit of Arthurs Rock for good measure.  Another nice loop around Horsetooth and Lory Parks, taking full advantage of the excellent trail conditions for this time of year.  I guess we are in for another taste of winter tomorrow, so it was nice to enjoy the clear trails today.  With today's run, I pushed my January climbing up to 6 miles or about one Hardrock 100 race.  I'm getting very anxious for the Hardrock lottery later this week.

Today's course:
Southridge/Audra Culver/Horsetooth Rock (with Summit)/Wathen/Spring Creek/Mill Creek/Howard/Westridge(Lory)/Timber/Arthurs Rock (with Summit)/Valley/Sawmill/Stout/Spring Creek/Horsetooth Falls

20.54 miles and 4931 feet of climbing (GPS data here)

Wathen trail at sunrise.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Westridge Tree is Gone

For those who frequent the Horsetooth trails, or ran Chubby Cheeks last month, you know which tree I am talking about.  It's been 3 or 4 weeks since I passed through this trail, but sometime since then they finally put a chainsaw to it.  It was nice to get back into Horsetooth and Lory parks this morning after a few weeks running elsewhere.  Trail conditions were great.  Other than the typical lingering snow on Mill Creek and Westridge, all other trails were about 80 percent clear and dry.  Very runnable everywhere.  I did have to go pretty slow the first hour and a half or so.  Starting 2 hours before sunrise and having headlamp issues, I ended up running by the moonlight.  This was actually pretty awesome.

Moonlight run along Sawmill Trail.

I'm going to try to tag Arthurs and Horsetooth Rock summits more often than I did last year.  I got Arthurs today, but was a little short on time to tag Horsetooth.  Still got plenty of climbing this morning.

First light of the sun hitting Arthurs Rock.
The view from the top.
Some strong race performances to start the year by our Fort Collins Trail Runners.  Ashley Waddell was one of only about 30 finishers (over 100 started) at the HURT 100 in Hawaii.  Pretty impressive as this is obviously one of the toughest 100s out there.  Pete Stevenson with a great race (2nd overall) down in New Mexico at the GhostTown 38-miler.  Also, several FoCos finishing maybe the toughest Twin Mountain Trudge to date.  Great job guys (and gals)!

Today's Run:
Horsetooth Falls/Spring Creek/Herrington/Stout/Sawmill/Valley/Arthurs Rock (and summit)/Howard/Mill Creek/Westridge/Horsetooth Rock
Start/Finish at Horsetooth Mountain Trailhead.
18.79 miles, 4331 feet climbing (GPS data here)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Expecting plenty of slippery slop this morning back on the Fort Collins trails, I made the call to throw on some screws.  It was definitely the right call.  With all of the persistent deep snow last winter, I never bothered with extra traction.  I almost forgot how well the screws work.  I wish I had them in when I was skating down the Barr Trail ice rink on Saturday.  I ended up doing the same run I did 8 days ago from Coyote Ridge (just reversed directions on the loops) and I ran it 28 minutes faster today even with all of the ice.  I was trudging through a fair amount of snow last weekend.  Trail conditions today ranged from perfect along the high ridges to either ice, slush, or mud everywhere else.

Icy Blue Sky Trail south of Indian Summer.

All clear along the ridges toward Devil's Backbone.

I've added Pikes Peak Marathon to the projected schedule for 2011.  I'll probably just focus on the Marathon instead of "doubling" (Ascent and Marathon), hopefully posting a respectable time.  I was already thinking I should do it this year to keep my qualification current.  If I don't run it this year, then that will be 3 years in a row and I would probably have to run a road marathon to qualify again (no thanks).  I guess running down the Barr Trail on Saturday sealed the deal for me.

Huge congrats to Nick for coming in 4th in the voting for UltraRunning Magazine's Male Ultra Runner of the Year for 2010.  It was nice to see that his huge year did not go unnoticed.

Today's run:
Coyote Ridge/Indian Summer/Blue Sky/Laughing Horse Loop/Hunter Loop
16.2 miles, 2309 feet of climbing (GPS data here)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ponderous Posterior 50K (7:20:25)

Another great fat-ass event along the Front Range, this time graciously host by JT and the CRUD with a sweet loop (thanks Tony) around the Pikes Peak area trails.  I was really looking forward to experiencing most of these trails for the first time and it turned out to be just a gorgeous day.

We had quite a variety of terrain and trail conditions.  Running through the Garden of the Gods at sunrise was about enough to make the whole trip down from FoCo worth it.

Garden of the Gods at sunrise.
There was a fair bit of snow and ice to help keep the pace comfortably slow (as it should be at a fat-ass event).  I even clocked a blazing 29 minute mile (Mile 16) going up Longs Ranch Road through the snow (and nobody passed me in that mile either).

3-mile, 2000 foot climb up snowy Longs Ranch Road.

It was more than just a little bit cool to get caught at the top of the Longs Ranch Road climb by Mr. Pikes Peak himself (Matt Carpenter) and share the run back down to Manitou Springs through the Experimental Forest and Barr Trail with Matt.  Thanks for going slow today Matt!

Chasing Matt C through the snow.
The last 10 miles or so required the most navigational skills trying to get through the Intemann Trail to Red Rocks Open Space.  It didn't help that some of the locals disposed of some course markings.  As it turned out though, I got to get a couple of bonus miles of beautiful singletrack along the Intemann Trail.  I then realized that I should probably back track to the course if I wanted to get to Red Rocks.  Thanks to JT, Rick, Steve, and any others for the well-marked course otherwise.

As it turns out, since JT posted some results today, I was one of the slowest 50Kers on the day, but looking at the list of runners that were faster than me, I really don't feel ashamed one bit.  I think any "real" race would kill to have the quality field of runners that turned out for the Ponderous Posterior.  It was great to meet a lot of these guys for the first time.

Congrats and thanks to Fast Eddy (one of the unofficial "winners") for dishing out some nice PI gear after the race.  I'll take some pride in being I think one of only 3 to complete both 50K courses at Chubby Cheeks and Ponderous Posterior.  I know my CRUD friends Rick H and Steve B did as well.

Today's Data (according to Garmin):
32.48 miles, 6999 feet of climbing (GPS data here)

It turns out I ran an extra 1.4 miles, putting the course just about 50K on the money.  Also, the total climbing was almost identical to the Chubby Cheeks course from the Fort Collins fat-ass last month.

Many more pictures from the day can be seen here.
Steve Bremner's photos here.

Results here (at least from those who were willing to admit to a time).

Some local media coverage (with videos) here.

Running through the Garden.

Rampart Range Road.

Waldo Canyon.

Barr Trail.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let it snow

Another 4 to 6 inches of fresh powder this morning (and still accumulating) as I took another run from Coyote Ridge and went a little further down toward Devil's Backbone than I did last Sunday.  Breaking trail all the way as no other souls braved the storm (at least not where I was).  The fluffy snow hardly provided any resistance to running.  This run was more an exercise in agility as the many technical rocky sections along this route are a challenge even when you can actually see the rocks, which I couldn't.

Speaking of rocky terrain, congrats to Dave Mackey and Liza Howard for winning at the Bandera 100K this weekend in Texas.  I don't know the details yet, but it sounds like Nick's course record from last year went down hard.  Hopefully Dave will use his automatic qualifier for Western States to add to the already stacked field.

I'm looking forward to exploring some trails around Pikes Peak next weekend with the CRUD for the last installment of Front Range Fat Ass events (details here).

Today's run (on a beautiful morning): 16.2 miles, 2286 feet climbed, GPS data here

Devil's Backbone

Climbing back over Coyote Ridge

Dude, where's my car?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Season

Yes, it is looking and feeling like Winter.  A few inches of powdery fluff along Coyote Ridge and Blue Sky but still very runnable.  I was actually very surprised to be breaking trail along Blue Sky and Indian Summer but I guess the cold weather has deterred quite a few from getting out the last few days.

Today's run: 13.1 miles, 1956 feet climbed (GPS data here)

Breaking trail on Blue Sky