me and st. charles

Fantastic snowshoe outing in the Wet Mountains today.

St. Charles Peak
(from trailhead on hwy 165 near Bishop’s Castle)
10.0 miles
+3,000 feet of vertical (~9,000’ to 11,800’ with a few down-and-ups)
>30 switchbacks
Pueblo to TH: 50 minutes

1/25/15
Lots of new snow on the trail today, but the sun was out and the temps were in the 50s. I had both the Microspikes and MSR snowshoes strapped onto the UD pack.

I’m officially in love with this trail. Last time, we were just getting to know each other but after today I’m smitten. Since last week’s snow (Wednesday) I’m guessing there have been three people (at most) on the trail. Just enough folks (with snowshoes) to create a trench to guide my way and make trail-finding easy except for one or two spots. The beauty of snowshoeing is that, if it’s your first time on a route, you’re almost sure to not get turned-around/lost if you simply follow your footprints home. (#duh)

Not a soul within probably 10 miles of me today. The trail reminded me a lot of the northside of Hope Pass on the LT100 course, steady and steep. I enjoyed the switchbacks through pine forests. The other great thing about St. Charles Peak is that only the last 100 yards or so are above treeline, making this an ideal winter outing—no worries of avalanche or too much wind. Great combo of solitude-climbing-altitude.

Used the Microspikes until about halfway-up, then strapped on the SSs for the rest of the day. The last ¼ mile up was a bit tricky, as the prints I followed went in three different directions, each taking a line that was quite steep. By that point though I was aware of which direction I needed to head, so followed the most logical line to the top.

All at once I was treated to an incredible view of the Sangres—the massive 14,000 foot wall guarding the Sand Dunes and the Valley below it. Pikes Peak was magnificent to the north.

I was only able to enjoy the view for a few minutes as the wind was howlin’. Got a few decent shots though. Made the ascent in a slow-ish 2 hours (took my time, stopped a lot) and cruised thru the powder on the descent, making it back to Larry in just a tad over an hour. 3:15 roundtrip, give’r take.

Definitely will return to this area—less than an hour from town and great trifecta opp (solitude-climbing-altitude). Great summer route I’m sure too.

sangre castle

sangre castle

the 30/30/30 november challenge

While recovering from this past weekend’s Rim-2-Rim adventure (R2R report coming shortly) with Mick, I was already plotting the next goal/adventure. What’s next? Over lunch yesterday, Kelsea and I came up with a plan…

Each year around the end of October, almost instinctively, Kels and I come-up with a personal/lifestyle challenge. This usually comes with a change in weather/seasons, when the colder days and nights put us into a more apathetic, lethargic state when it comes to healthy daily practices. So in an attempt to re-energize ourselves, we come up with a challenge. A couple years ago, along with my bro, we did the Elimination Diet, taking 6 weeks to figure out some of our dietary sensitivities and in the process felt lighter, brighter and healthier. This year, we came up with the 30/30/30 challenge. For the 30 days of November, we will attempt to spend 30 minutes each day doing the exercise of our choice (running, biking, walking, exercise videos, whatever) and 30 minutes in silence, in a spiritual/creative practice of our choosing (meditation, yoga, prayer, writing, playing the guitar, you get the idea). That’s it. Simple. Consistent.

Ideally, we will stick to the same two practices, focusing on consistency and building a solid base for future adventures/exploration when the month is through. November is shaping-up to be a potentially chaotic month for us, so having a solid, everyday practice will hopefully provide some grounding and structure. If you feel so moved, join us! Let us know what you’re doing. I started a facebook event for the month, with the hope that our friends/family/strangers will join us and put a re-energizing jolt into their late-fall lives. The challenge starts tomorrow morning!

week of july 21st thru july 27th, 2014 (mm 95)

The Bender, Week 4: the final throw-down

Monday & Tuesday

rested up after another big weekend in the PB

Wednesday

6 miles, 1:10,+800′ vert. Perch #60. sarah and duder joined me for a pleasant evening jaunt up to the usual spot. hung out for a few before a fast decent. put on the hoka cadillacs for this one to mix it up. legs felt peppy for both the ups and downs. great company too. i still love this route, even though i’ve done it close to 300 times in the last three years.

Thursday

Was going to run the Bacon Strip but was still feeling exhausted. I thought better of pushing it in favor of (hopefully) more energy this weekend.

Friday

11 miles, 2:30, +850′ vert. LT100 course, Start to Turquoise Lake. drove up to leadville this morning with bro and ran the beginning section of the course to turquoise lake and back. pouring rain and some really close lightning, but otherwise an enjoyable and informative outing. started the ‘pacers weekend’ off right. two and a half days of running and camping to finish out my training.

Saturday

26 miles, 7:15, +4500′ vert. got up early and ran miles 50 through 60 (Winfield to Twin Lakes) with Bro and Stubbs, then Twin Lakes to the Fish Hatchery with Jay and Jeff. Awesome day. the twin lakes/creek/swamp crossing was a bit of a (wet) mess but the section overall went great. Jay and Jeff met us in TL to cover the next section (Jay’s pacing section), which includes a very long, straight (boring?) descent toward Half Pipe and the FH. started feeling a dull-then-sharper pain on the outside of my right foot. Definitely never felt a foot pain like that before–quite concerning considering this is my last major training week (stress fracture?! plantar fascitis?! what the hell?!). I tried my best not to panic (fail…) and walked/jogged the last few miles of pavement to fish hatchery. See how it feels tomorrow…

Sunday

11 miles, 2:30, +1400′ vert. fish hatchery to may queen, LT100 course. last real day of training for the race. foot was feeling a bit better (though the pain is still present) after using jeff’s roller ball on it last night. started the section off slow (and tired, and sore) but warmed-up nicely while ascending the powerline climb with jeff. so appreciative of his knowledge and wisdom surrounding this event! felt really solid the last 3/4 of the outing and shaved about 20 minutes off my time from last week. feeling pretty well, if not a bit tired, and ready for the Great Tapering to begin. excellent weekend!

Weekly Totals

54 foot miles, 13.5 hours, +7550′ vert.  Last big week of training for the Leadville 100. Still seems strange that it’s almost August. Overall I’m feeling pretty good about this year’s training–sure, I could’ve done some more core stuff or speed training but considering I have no serious injuries to report, and I’m feeling pretty strong, I’ll take it. Will it be enough come race day?? I don’t know. But I’ll have a good shot. The LT100 has a 50% finish rate. Yep, half the people heading west on 6th street at 4am on August 16th will not make it to the finish. What’s more, rookies have a much smaller chance–something like 35%. That being said, I’m not feeling deterred. If I start slow, stay steady, can climb Hope Pass as if being chased by a ravenous grizzly, and employ the stubborn resolve that’s got me this far–I should have a chance. But for now…time to rest.