Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week Ending February 19

Mon - 7 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth summit, home long. Got up at the end of the day and the trench wasn't the best, being a bit soft and punchy near the bottom after a warmer day. Upper half was still solid. Took things easy.

Tues - AM: 10.5 miles intervals. Met Jane's group on the first decent Tuesday morning we've had in a while. Temps were in the high 20s and the City Park roads were largely clear of ice. 3.5 mile w-u. 1.5 mile c-d. On tap: mile, 1.5 lamp post fartlek, broken 2 mile (800 medium, 800 hard, repeat), mile. Mike H turned up this morning and pulled me and Chris around the first mile harder than we probably would have otherwise. Splits: 5:16, 8:16, 12:20 (with hard 800s at 2:40 & 2:32, and medium 800s at cop-out pace), 5:15.
PM: 11.5 miles (1,400') easy. Milner loop, plus out & back to 2 mile on Redstone, bench loop at Horsetooth and home long. Took this one nice and easy.

Weds - 11.5 miles (2,600') easy. Milner loop with summit of Horsetooth on the way back. Conditions in the trench are still pretty good for spiked traction, but look like they're about ready to break up with a couple of warmer days in the forecast.

Thurs - AM: 12 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Met up with Celeste, Ziggy, Tim H, and Mike at Maxwell at the appointed HTH5MO&B hour (0 dark & cold 30) and then got sucked into a conversation (and pace) with Tim heading up Spring Creek dam, which meant a slightly faster outbound leg than the usual jog fest (38:24). At the turnaround, I figured I'd notch the effort a bit but generally keep things sane; however, there's no accounting for male ego and Mike sitting on my shoulder the whole way back. Maintained a controlled effort up the north dam hill despite firey, tired quads, before settling into a tempo effort that inevitably started getting out of hand as the run progressed, and ended with a 4:45  last mile shootout with Mike (downhill). Not a return-leg PR (30:31 vs 30:20), but I think an overall PR (68:55) given the faster-than-usual outbound leg. Coming back: 7:24, 6:23, 6:13, 5:43, 4:45 (30:31). Mile w-u/c-d. 
PM: 7 miles easy on the Spring Creek trail with a small group from FCTR.

Fri - Noon: 6.5 miles (1,000') easy. Milner long.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Sat - AM: 21 miles (4,000) peakbaggery. Scott and I picked off Larimer County's two lowest ranked peaks as a warm up for lower Rist Canyon's peak 7,260' (aka 'Ziggy Point'), Larimer County's 217th highest ranked peak.

Reservoir Ridge is a very familiar rocky outcropping for anyone in Fort Collins who spends any kind of time out by the northern end of the reservoir. Scott and I run to the base of it most Thursday mornings as the turnaround point of our hill tempo efforts, but oddly enough neither of us had ever taken down the summit. That was remedied 11 minutes after we set off on our merry way from the Reservoir Ridge trailhead at the crack of dawn. So yeah, not a tough peak.

After backtracking, we headed north to Bellevue to take down Goat Hill, which despite being the lowest ranked peak in Larimer County is in fact a most impressive mound. It's a classic Northern Colorado hogback with a very impressive red rock cliff band along its upper west side. We approached from the east, off County Road 23E, and were able to summit without having to hop any fences or gates, or indeed pretend not to see signage. I'm not sure who owns the land, but was glad  to be able to summit hassle free. The way up was scrubby and rocky, but mostly runnable.
'Reservoir Ridge' (5,735') post-run.
Goat Hill (5,603') in October 2009. Larimer County's lowest ranked peak. Image: Dean McCollum (Lists of John)
A quick descent and then it was five miles up Rist Canyon to Pine something Road, which we ascended at a very sharp grade for the first three-quarters of a mile before it mellowed out a bit. Despite being a private road, we had an arrow of an excuse in our quiver if stopped. And about a mile in, Scott pulled out the arrow and fired after we were confronted by a burly-looking mountain man asking us what we were up to and who we were on our way to see.

"Why, Dave Thurlow at the end of the road," Scott said in a matter-of-fact manner.

Scott had apparently been up this road a decade ago to visit his friend's cabin, which at the time was just being framed. He hadn't seen him in years, but used him as our alibi anyway. It was good enough for the now less-zealous mountain man and we were soon on our way, but not before being warned to watch out for a pack of dogs a mile up the road.

The dogs chased us for about a quarter mile, but soon tired of the hunt after we started trudging through deep and crusty pow. We got a view from an outcropping at 7,000 feet and it was clear that our peak was a good ways up the ridge and around a deep gully. We quickly took stock and decided to push on and get it done, despite the apparent mile and a half of trudging and bushwhacking that would be required. On the way, we discussed possible names for our unnamed peak and quickly settled on 'Ziggy Point' after Ziggy the Wunderdog who was at home suffering from what Scott and Celeste believe is autoimmune disease. Hopefully that won't keep him from ascending his namesake mountain some time here in the near future, though.

Ziggy Peak (7,260') is the second forested peak from the right in bottom photo & second one from left in top pic.
The summit slog was ... well ... a slog: steep and slippery but thankfully short-lived at about 600 feet. The top was a fine one with views of upper Rist Canyon, Signal Peak, Stormy Peaks Pass and a Mummy or two to the west, and the other side of Rist Canyon to the south. We descended the 900 feet to the canyon floor in super short order thanks to the stellar snow conditions and then it was eight miles back down the canyon to the cars at Reservoir Ridge. A fine morning and a 100% success rate on the morning's peakbaggery goals. Awesome! 

Sun - AM: 19.5 miles (1,900') easy. Ran down to tag ranked summit 5,740', just east of the south end of Eden Reservoir, but got on the hogback to the south (5,620) by mistake. Doh. Kind of figured I was on the wrong one when I looked north to the correct hogback, but wasn't in the mood and didn't have the time to remedy the error by hoofing it over. What was pleasant however was the run down Eden Valley on County Road 29, which was a first. Ended up heading cross country in a southeasterly direction from the south end of the dam, climbed over a short cliff band on the rim of the first line of hogbacks (due east of the water filtration plant) and then continued southeast (should have been northeast) to the next hogback. Nice views west to Alexander Mountain and east to Devil's Backbone, but looking north it was quite apparent that I was on an inferior peak. Ah well, easily remedied another time. Continued down to the east, skirted someone's driveway and then picked up Masonville Road before cutting east to Glade Road and then north back up to 38e and home.   
Looking east from Alexander Mtn (7,105') to Eden Valley Reservoir with hogbacks directly behind to the east.
Total: 111.5 miles (15,300') 

Week three safely in the books. All systems seem to be firing quite well at the moment and my body appears to be adjusting well to the increased load. Pounded a fair bit of pavement this week, but that's okay. Obviously my preference is trail, but I think I'd rather run road in scenic surroundings than be slogging through slop, ice and drifts on the trails right now. My current weekend M.O. of running roads to fun and new peaks seems to be working well for the time being.

A quick shout out to training partner Sarah Hansen who picked up an impressive third place finish in the Red Hot 55k out in Moab this weekend in what was her first ultra. Looking forward to hearing the play by play on that one, along with all the other stories from the annual Fort Collins pilgrimage to Moab.

Three spots left in the Quad Rock 50 and then we're all sold out. Twin Mountain Trudge next weekend in the wilds of the Laramie High Plains. Brrr.


  1. thanks for the grand adventure, and Ziggy is doing much better. Count me in for more peakbaggeryish silliness!

  2. Trespassers! Hope you don't get shot before WS. Looks like The Beard did pretty well in Moab too. I think Sarah will probably kick all of our butts if she did more trail running.

  3. I prefer trails too, but running (anywhere) beats slogging through snow and ice. (I'll get out my snowshoes and slog up the trail after my run.)

  4. Have fun next weekend - hopefully the run-to-trudge ratio is high!

  5. Nick - looking like there will be major trudging this year. Any running will be considered a bonus.

  6. Yeah that is what I would have guessed. Have fun ;)