Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Along with cooler temperatures and yellow aspen leaves, fall brings to Evergreen bull elk and their harems.  Here's a collection of pics of a few of the herds I've spotted around town the last couple of weeks.

And, there's something primal and, at the same time, soothing about hearing the bugling call of bull elk during the rut.  That sound seems to echo through the hills up here.

Next door to the Evergreen Library 
At the entrance to my neighborhood.
At the Hiwan Homestead Museum
Same guy at the Hiwan Homestead Museum

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mt. Rosalie and the Weekend

With the great weather, and summer clinging on by its fingertips, I managed to get out for some fun in the local hills, including a nice tempo effort (and some bushwhacking/exploring) on North Table Mountain and a early morning jaunt up Mt. Rosalie (13,575) early Sunday morning.

First up was a loop around North Table Mountain. JeffCo Open Space all summer has been building new trails in this open space gem. The trails are all well-graded and solidly constructed, which lends them to speedy runs.

I opted to run from the west trailhead, up the steep access road. After a quarter mile up or so, I peeled off onto a well-trodden social trail I'd been eyeing for some time. The trail contours on a bench around the west and south sides of the mountain before ascending up through a break in the rocks that line the south side.

Up top, I continued east and descended down through a climbing area to the Access Fund's lot at the bottom near Highway 58. I was hoping for a decent social trail to take me over to a new section of the North Table Mountain loop. Alas, there was no trail, so I bushwhacked over.

From there, it was a speedy run on the North Table Mountain Loop Trail, up Cottonwood Canyon to the Mesa Top Trail, then back down to the North Table Mountain Loop Trail and back to the car.

8.6 miles.

Looking southwest from social trail on west side of North Table Mountain
Next up was an early Sunday morning hike/run up and down Mt. Rosalie, one of the 13'ers alongside Mt. Evans in the heart of the Mt. Evans Wilderness.

I started my day in the near dark at the Deer Creek Trailhead, heading up the Tanglewood Trail, which ascends four miles or so to a beautiful, grassy saddle that is the Park/Clear Creek County line.

The saddle on the Tanglewood Trail in the Mt. Evans Wilderness.
A lone post marks the pass, and serves as a handy marker for a place to hang a left for the cross-country, 1,600-foot climb to the rounded hump that is Rosalie's summit.

Mt. Rosalie summit marker.
The ascent is a straightforward grind up through open tundra, with a few rocky spots here and there. After one false summit, the climb eases and the summit quickly appears. While the views are great, and the terrain inspiring, Rosalie itself is not an impressive peak. Just a big globe-like hump. Mt. Epaulet, next door, is a much more impressive-looking mountain.

Looking west from the summit of Mt. Rosalie
Looking down the east flank of Mt. Rosalie toward saddle. 
Descending back down the Tanglewood Trail on newly constructed singletrack.
Bristlecone pine snag and younger tree.

Still some color left down low, near the trailhead.
 Setting aside my 'dissing of Rosalie, it really is a great hike/run, especially the section of the Tanglewood Trail through the bristlecone pine stand and the parts above treeline. Simply gorgeous.

10.7 (or so) miles.  (I neglected to turn off my watch during most of the drive home.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Interesting Leadville 100 Data

Andy over here at Pb Runner crunched some Leadville 100 data and provide me with my place numbers at each aid station. There's no hiding my meltdown from Twin Lakes to Winfield. 

MQ: 136th
Fish: 100th
Half Pipe: 88th
Twin: 90th
Hope: 148th
Winfield: 150th
Hope: 179th

Twin: 149th
Half Pipe: 144th
Fish: 140th
MQ: 119th
Finish: 102nd

As Andy noted when he posted this info, there's some minor discrepancies in the data (I actually finished in 104th place).

Using just this data, it appears I was holding my own up to Twin Lakes, getting there in 90th place. Then the super bonk happened on the climb up to Hopeless (I then laid down in the soft grass at Hopeless for a good bit). I lost a whopping 58 places, then two more on the descent down to Winfield. I then proceeded to sit in a chair (whining) for 45 minutes, losing another 25+ places.

I picked up a bunch of places on the jog back to Twin Lakes from Hopeless, but it was between Fish Hatchery and the finish where I started to claw back some places...from 140th to 102nd.

Thanks, Andy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Few More (inevitable) Leadville Thoughts

I've been noodling a bit on the whole Leadville 100 experience (probably a rookie thing). A few additional thoughts have been popping up now and then, so I thought I'd document 'em here.

1. Over the 100+ miles of the course and 26+ hours, I never fell down. I saw a bunch of guys and gals with bloody legs. I guess that's a benefit of moving relatively slowly.

2. I ran the whole race wearing the same pair of Hoka Stinson Evos. I stayed far away from these shoes for months and months, but finally decided to give them a try when I found a great deal. The shoes aren't perfect for me. They are a bit wide, but their plush ride was what sold me.

For a couple years, I've dealt with chronic plantar pain in my right heel. After that long run at Leadville, I had no pain. None. That's amazing given my past experience. My heel typically hurts after an easy six-mile run in my usual shoes (whatever pair they are).

During the race, the shoes felt fine. Never felt like I wished I had something else on.

That said, I had two problems.  First, I did get four blisters, three on different toes and one on my right forefoot. I distinctly remember feeling a couple of them pop during the race. Second, I still think they are incredibly dorky looking, especially on those of us blessed with skinny-ass legs.

Post-race, I'm back running in a pair of Saucony Peregrines. Haven't put the Hokas back on, but I will at some point soon.

3. Next time I run this race, I think I'll change socks after the water crossing just beyond Twin Lakes outbound and definitely change shoes after Twin Lakes in bound. I didn't make any shoe or sock changes this year. My feet suffered for it, at least I think that was the problem. No doubt the Hokas caused some issues, but the bottoms of my feet were pretty wrinkled and tender. Pretty sure that's due to running with wet feet.

4. Pacers are valuable. Leadville was my first experience using a pacer. I said a bunch in the race report about how important my two pacers were to me during the race. One thing I didn't mention is how valuable I think pacers are for safety reasons. I was thinking about that when Dave and I were ascending Powerline in the late night darkness.

Not too far from the top, we came across a woman without a pacer. She was struggling...moving slow and not looking too well. We walked with her for a bit, asked after her and encouraged her to move with us. She waved us on, but I was anxious for her. There wasn't much we could do for her at the time. She was plodding forward and probably doing just fine, but it was a reminder of how important a pacer can be to us novices (or anyone, really) should one get into trouble, especially in the wee hours of the night out there in the middle of nowhere.

4. Other runners can be annoying...way annoying. An hour or so after Steve and I broke out headlamps, somewhere on the Colorado Trail between the Mt. Elbert water stop and Treeline, we came across a woman pacing a male runner. The woman was counting out at the top of her lungs 20 running steps, then 15 walking steps for the guy...over and over. I was in powerhike mode, so they would move on ahead on the 20 running steps, but come back to us on the 15 walking steps.

So, there we were on a beautiful night, on a great trail moving from glow stick to glow stick, catching occasional glimpses of an amazing star-filled night sky, all to the soundtrack of this woman yelling out the numbers 1-20, then 1-15. It drove me crazy.

The good thing, though, is that it finally got bad enough that it got me running. I had to get away from that cacophony and back to some nighttime peace and quiet.

Sometimes its better to suffer in silence.