Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week Ending February 26

Mon - AM: 3. 5 miles (1,400') peakbaggery. Went back and did the ranked peak 5,740' by Eden Reservoir that I messed up the day before, after also knocking off one down the road north of Hwy 34 that also tops out at 5,740'. Drove between the two as I was short on time.

5,740' between Masonville Road and Eden Valley.
For the first one, I parked on the north side of Hwy 34 just west of the bikers' tourist store a mile or two before the Big Thompson Narrows in a small pull-off. Cut a line due north straight up the hillside, before cutting northwest around a cliff band and then due east to the summit on a nice ledgy section of the capstone. A quick tag, a look at the views and then hot-footed it down. Up and down in about 20 minutes. Jumped in the car and drove around to County Road 29, parked up near the bridge by the water filtration plant then ran the half mile to the south side of the reservoir. Decided to cut straight up the steep first hillside as I thought I saw a weakness in the cliff band that looked like it would be reasonably easy to negotiate, which it was.

View from first 5,740' of Eden Reservoir, Horsetooth, Milner and first line of hogbacks in front of second 5,740'.
Class three weakness in first cliff band.
Went up the hogback to the north of my target by mistake (went up the one to the south the day before), but quickly turned around when I breached the summit ridge and saw the quarry was in full swing. Ooops. I quickly rectified my error, headed for the small saddle, then stomped up through the snow to finally get 5,740' off my back (third time's a charm).

Hogback to north of 5,740'. Cairn is obscuring the flagstone quarry works.
Came down the west side, back down through the weakness in the cliff band above Eden Valley and back to the car. Just four ranked Larimer County 5'ers left to pick off and three of those are around Horsetooth Reservoir with the other one in Laporte, so I should have them in short order.  
PM: 3 mile hike (600') with the family. Falls loop.

Tuesday - AM: 10 miles intervals. With Jane's group at City Park. Had Chris and Mike to work with again for this one. Felt like we might have taken our foot off the gas a bit in places, but still a good workout on what was a good morning for running. Workout went: mile, 4 x 300 hard (cross country) w/200 medium, fartlek mile (3 x hard, 2 x medium), 1,200 hard, fartlek 1,000 (2 x hard, 1 x medium). Splits: 5:29 (1.04 mile), didn't time the cross country 300's, 5:19 (.98), 3:49 (5:07 pace), 3:15 (5:13)
PM: 7.5 miles (1,300') easy. Milner loop plus neighborhood add-ons.

Weds - Noon: 6.5 miles (1,100') easy. Milner long with neighborhood add-on. Warm and super breezy out. Nice and casual. 
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long. Temps in the high 50s and strong winds left a lot of slush and slop on the trails. Major melt today. Running was pretty crap as a result.

Thurs - AM: 11.5 miles (1,400') sketch. Met Celeste, Slush, Tim and Colin for 10 on the Centennial hills. Less than a mile in and it was apparent that this one would be about survival; all thoughts of the usual tempo effort back from the turnaround were dumped. A wet overnight powdering had left a nasty sheet of ice on the road. Skid tracks and busted up fender parts suggested that more than a couple of cars had plowed into the crash barriers on some of the tighter turns and hills. Tim gave up less than a mile in, which was probably a pretty sound decision, but the rest of us persevered. The road doesn't see a whole lot of traffic in the early morning, but for every car that went by I was stopped and either on the other side of the crash barriers or way off the road. Traction was terrible in places, but I was thankful to be running versus trying to maintain control of 5,000 pounds of steel. Back in just under 40 mins for a personal worst, but thankful to be done and in one piece.
PM: 9 miles (1,900') Towers. A mix of drifts, ice and generally crappy footing made this trip up Towers one of my less enjoyable ones, but by no means the worst. Up in 39 and change. Two mile warm up on Shoreline.

Fri - Noon: 9.5 miles (1,500') easy. Milner loop, plus Redstone one mile O@B and neighborhood add-ons.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Sat - AM: 22 miles easy (1,400'). Twin Mountain Trudge was postponed as the start area was inaccessible due to heavily drifted snow. This left me with two options: run solo around home or go join friends at sunrise for a Double Bacon Strip (Slush, Sarah, Al_Wesir, Kyle and Alex). Neither sounded that appealing to be honest, as I was ready to go trudge, but I opted for company even if the location left a little to be desired. The Bacon Strip is a ten-mile route east of I-25 (the plains for those not from the Front Range) on rolling dirt county roads. The Double Bacon is a Fort Collins staple among marathon runners, but not something I have ever partaken of before. I've done the Single Bacon a couple of times under race conditions; however, the double as a training run has always sounded miserable. Fortunately good company kept the clock ticking in real time and it turned out to be a fun morning under bluebird conditions. Aside from great mountain views, we were also treated to sightings of a bald eagle and a red tail hawk. Jogged the first lap and a half and then picked it up and ran mid sixes to high fives for the last five miles with Scott. Jogged a couple more at the end for good measure.

Sun - AM: ~ 9 miles sloggin' and peakbaggin' (3,000'). This one was intended as a 22 mile, 5-bag outing but the reality on the ground turned it into a 9-mile, 4-bag frozen slog-fest.

Mike and I started at the crack of dawn heading east up Rist Canyon Road from Stove Prairie Landing to the saddle between Buckhorn Mountain and unnamed peak 8,415'. For the summit, we took CO 41, followed by a short bushwhack to the top. As would be the case for the rest of the morning, the PBWF (Postholing Bushwhack Factor) was high, meaning very, very slow going. After hitting a wrong outcropping to the north of the true summit, it was a quick bop down to the small saddle and back up to the true Buckhorn Mountain summit, which was satisfyingly craggy with nice views to the west out towards the Old Flowers Road area of Roosevelt NF.

Mike on Buckhorn summit.
Unnamed Peak 9,166' (we guessed) to the west from top Buckhorn. That one was on the original agenda for the morning, but quickly dispatched after the slogging started in earnest.
We were quickly back down to Rist and then popped over the road to follow the fire road north for a half mile or so past a few cabins, before cutting northeast over a gully and then up towards the best peak of the morning (8,415'), which Mike is naming Leila (sister of Ethel, his grandmother (?)). The south-facing aspect of the slope left decent sections of rock for us to move over, and we were up in reasonably short order. Big views north and east out to the Poudre Canyon area (nice shot of Greyrock) and also to the west from the rocky summit, which sported a big stick of a marker.
Gaining 8,415'.
Mike, Nick & a big stick.
Mount Ethel (8,471') left, sub summit (8,430') right from top 8,415' (Leila).
8,415' descent.
Fom here things became slogworthy in the extreme. We chose the direct northerly route down a class-4 rockfall to get off the summit, while being whipped by the wind and generally freezing all extremities. I could see the sun on the Ethel side of the valley and desperately wanted to be over there, but first there was a long and super-cold session of postholing over rocks, deadfall and other unseen nastiness once we were off the boulders and moving through the trees. I don't think we went much deeper than crotch level all morning, but we were consistently up to our knees in snow.

Almost out of the woods and into the valley between 8,415' (in background) and Ethel. Mike sloggin'.
We finally got into the sun on the southern slope of Mount Ethel and then proceeded to head up the Ethel sub-summit to the right by mistake. From the top in the howling wind, Ethel's true summit looked frustratingly far away across the saddle and I was almost ready to throw in the towel, but we forged on - swimming through snow in places - before finally gaining the wind-blown summit.

Mike finally gaining the true Mount Ethel summit.
Ready to get off the mountain.
Lower Poudre Canyon from top Ethel.
We chose a poor descent route down the big drainage on the western slope of Ethel, which was covered in deadfall under the snow. The 1,400 foot descent was not a quick one, but to our surprise eventually popped us out on Stove Prairie Road, leaving a short mile and a bit back to the car, a good four and half hours after we started; a crankin' 30 minute per mile average.         

Total: 101.5 miles (15,600')

Didn't get a second long run in on Sunday, but I was sufficiently worked after the 4.5 hour slog-fest that it certainly felt like I got a good B2B weekend done. Thinking I'll try and push out another strong mileage week before taking the foot off the gas a bit in the week before the Salida Marathon, which I'll be running for the fourth time this year. Salida is always a great pre-season read on fitness, in addition to a fun all-around weekend. I think Brownie is getting a 45 minute handicap this year.

In the weekly Quad Rock update, we are now sold out, but if you get your name on the wait list there is still a strong chance you'll get in. In other news, Pete and I are super stoked to be bringing on board local craft brewers Pateros Creek as sponsors. Our hosts, Lory State Park, allow only 3.2 beer, so Pateros is complying by brewing us up something a little lighter than their normal fare. It was either that or Nattie Lite, so I think we're coming out ahead on this one.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you gave me 60 minutes this year?

    Why you running the course four times in two weeks? Don't be stingy with details on course conditions! Hopefully you can finally get a W down there this year.