Training: May 6th – May 12th

A fun week riding and running, mostly in Boulder!

Next week, I’m off starting Monday, schlepping along all the gear I’ll need to make it from Denver, to Salida by Saturday, where the Dirty Double Fondo race will take place – 200km of Gravel Grinding, with some nice elevation gain/loss built-in. My kind of race!

The course follows half of the GDMBR, so I’ll already be intimately familiar with Part #1, and I’ll be pre-riding Part #2, just to make sure there aren’t any surprises. Wind will pay a BIG factor in this race – if it’s windy, we’ll be at a standstill in the middle of South Park, all going 4mph. Hopefully. My race strategy, as always, will be to destroy the hills, and not stop for a resupply, although there’ll be TWO towns in the course. Unheard of. My guess is that I’ll be a lot less than fresh for the race, but I’ll grit it out and after being basically fully loaded for the first part of the week, the race will feel absolutely heavenly.

I’ll also be bringing along some winter climbing gear, as there’s about a dozen 14er’s between here and Salida, and I aim to get up to the top of at least a few of them, before the race, and then afterwards, before I need to get back home for – of all things, band practice. The day after the race, there’s plans to go mountain biking in the Gunnison area, as my teammate is thankfully, bringing my Kona with her, when she meets up with me to do the Dirty Double. Killer week, no?

I’ll even be bringing along my laptop, so when I’m not cycling, or climbing, I’ll be working! We’ll see how well this works out, because it if works out well, this’ll be me for the next couple of months. 

Rough Draft of my plan is to take a late start on Monday, and take dinner in Georgetown, find a place to tuck in for the night, right before the Loveland Pass climb and climb up that in the wee hours of the early morning. Stop at the top and… hike the ridgeline that makes up the Continental Divide to Torreys, then Grays (if I have time) and make it back to the pass, and fly down to Summit County – regroup and figure out the next move. The next move may be to tuck into Frisco and get up early to do another climb – maybe Peak 1/2/3, or ride to the base of Decalbron and do that the next day. Then, get to Harstel, and do Part #2 of the Dirty Double, to Salida and find a place to spend the night and have a nice off day, waiting for my teammate and eating all the food. We’ll see how it goes – the weather may finally start cooperating.

Monday – rest, as the weekend kicked my ass from performing. I
lost my voice screaming along with the kids at the underground music
venue thing I’m not allowed to talk too much about. Our show on Saturday
was also a success.

Tuesday – Had one hell of a fun time, where I, 

First rode the bike to Chautauqua, in Boulder,

traded my bike shoes, for trail running shoes, and ran up Green Mountain – the GPS flipped out, so I have no idea of my pace – and it looks like it cut out before even the summit – love you, technology!

Blew up early, as my pace was insane at the steepest part and my goal was to run the whole thing at all costs, which I did not accomplish. Did not lose consciousness either going completely anaerobic for a few minutes, so that’s a plus. Smart people simple power hike this part, but I am not smart, and it’s an insane challenge to attempt to run all of this route. Maybe one day. And perhaps it’s, in the end, good for me. Eh, probably not. 

After the run up Green Mountain, I ran down to the trailhead and,

hiked right back up, munching on a peanut butter-filled tortilla to the base of the Second Flatiron. I exchanged my trail running shoes for my rock shoes (an ancient, ancient pair of La Sportiva Mythos, vintage 1997), and tried my luck on-sighting the Freeway route up the Second Flatiron!

I’ve been sort of working up to this sort of, Cycle to Trail Run to Scramble/Climb routine, and this was truly the first time everything came together, with all the work I’ve put into being able to run after riding a bike, and all the time I’ve been climbing the bouldering projects indoors, on plastic walls, with plastic holes (which itself gets pretty boring).

Hell if I know what the actual Freeway route is, so I just sort of felt it out – I’m guessing I got fairly close and the route is pretty casual on what the path is – basically straight up the rock, and then to the right, once you get to the Pullman Car rock. It’d be nice to do this with someone else, to see their interpretation. Quite a thrilling few hundred feet. To be honest, I was about 75% on my way to being past my comfort level and into my, “Want to dry heave and freeze up” zone. But, I held it together, because, hey – it ain’t that hard of a route, especially when compared to the much more technical, overhanging, intermediate bouldering routes I’ve been working on. But, you know, it’s also few hundred feet between you and the ground, rather than 5, which is itself a skill to learn how to manage. Intermittent rain did threaten to cut short the climb, or possibly make
it less than ideal to even find a bailout point, but the precip. kept
it’s presence to a minimum, and I was able to finish up.

Took the trail between the First and Second Flatiron back down, after changing back into my running shoes, and back to the bike. Can’t wait to do something like this again, as I’ve just opened up a million new possibilities (personally), I can now do and trail running has now transformed into something much more interesting – Boulder is a unique place to allow this sort of misbehavior. The First – Fifth Flatiron all have potential routes I can free solo, with/without a rope/hardness to rappel off with, I’m not entirely sure. Would be hell of a help to find a partner to work with on this all. The Third Flatiron seems to be a possible next target, followed by the First, if I can figure out the proper route to take.

Hell of a collection of shoes to schlep for the day, I’ll tell you what. 

After the run/climb, I rode to Boulder Sports Recyclery, to see what sort of bike gear I could kvetch for not so much money, but they had closed a few hours early. It’d be nice to get some downtube shifters with indexing and a rear derailer, to reap technology developed 50 years ago, but I guess that shall wait.  It was my turn to cook tonight, so I bused it home. My bus route still leaves about 8 miles to ride from the busstop to the house, on  a crap rode for riding. Got accosted on the road by a driver who didn’t know what to do with a cyclist in the right side of the right lane (or two lanes to travel in), and started honking at me. They then try to pass really slowly, still in the lane I was riding in. And close. Close enough for me to put out my left hand, grab their side mirror and skitch for a bit, before they got the message that perhaps they could use the passing lane to pass. Crap road or no, it’s the only direct way back to my house (the bus stop and the house are this same street) and cycling amongst cars, even with a severely small minority of those drivers who don’t know what to do with bicycles on the road rates significantly low on the, “dangerous things I’ve done, today”, list. “I’m covered in chalk, I’ve got running and climbing shoes lashed to my pack with carabiners – what exactly you take me fo?!”, was sort of the monologue running in my head. Next time, I’ll bring an ice axe, just for visual appearance.

Wednesday – Tues. totally kicked my ass and my legs were pretty dead, so I just stayed indoors, as it rained yet more outside, working to make a little money for larger projects in the months ahead. Also surprised at how sore my arms were, especially my triceps. A lot of the arm work was simply holding my body against the rock, and sort of walking my hands up the route, rather than too much pulling my body up.

Happy for the precip – it still takes me by surprise we’re getting so much. It’s going to be a killer summer season this year, I’m guessing.

Thursday – Ass still kicked from Wed. – lots of soreness in the IT Band area, but nothing to really be worried about. Took the bike for a spin downtown and felt some good sensations in the legs, as the Euros say. Decided to devote the day to work anyways. Rain was threatening yet again and I – of course, forget a raincoat. Missed the storm by a few minutes. Still wish I could have gotten out.

Friday – spun up to Boulder  again, with the idea to redo Tuesday again, but instead of riding to Chautauqua, I was going to ride Baseline all the way to, “The Mailboxes” on Flaggstaff Road, and then descend to Chautauqua and start my run, and my climb. The ride up Flaggstaff was fun, and manageable until the turnoff to the summit (which I also took). The rest of the climb was pretty stout, especially spinning a 38 x 21 fixed gear setup. Got ‘er done, but the Garmin failed to record the progress. You’ll have to take my word for it. Hopefully the Garmin is fine, and just needs some fresh batteries. If not, I’ll be angry.

Wanted to stop by the Boulder Sports Recycler to pick up some bibs and bobs, and noting the time was getting late, I decided to bail on the run/climb for the time being and go to North Boulder to do that. Found some gear, which is good, and had the entire rest of the day to get back to Chautauqua, so I did just that.



 

Run was OK – tired from the climb, which was to be expected and I took the steep sections of the trail easy, hiking most of it, instead of going anaerobic like I usually do. According to the time, I was only a minute slower than my fastest time, giving me some confidence that power-hiking the steep stuff is the way to go, as it allows you to run the easier stuff faster (but what’s the best way to train?) and my body is really taking doing something like the Super Flaggstaff climb well, and recovering enough that my, “performance” trail running up Green isn’t incredibly impacted. Cramps again were killing me, making me go a lot slower up, especially as the breathing got heavy. Surprised it also hurt going down – I had to literally stop and let them subside before continuing. Maybe something I ate – feeling almost an onset of a cold, to be honest. Would not be happy with that. Anyways, no worries with a slower pace – good time to focus on technique – noticing that it’s much better to smooth out your “line” going down, using your legs as shocks, rather that bouncing/jumping up and over each obstacle, like you’re offroading on a bike, with tires pumped up w/too much air pressure. Easier on the body, too.



 

And – not that I wasn’t tired or sore, because after 50 miles in the saddle and then running up Green, I was done for the day. Rain was threatening the Flatirons, so I bailed on my climb. Didn’t feel too sharp mentally and rain + fatigue + lost IQ points in the forest doesn’t seem to be a good recipe for success. Another time – I may start doing climbs beforehand – before my runs, just to give myself some insurance on time/weather – I can run in the rain and in the dark if needed – climbing… not so much. The goal is to start linking up climbs with runs, but I don’t have the confidence or experience do the harder climbs the Flatirons offer, even though my technical climbing ability is leaps higher than say, 5.6. I just don’t know how the random ratings at the gym correspond to the ratings outside – and a Flatiron climb is not 50 easy bouldering problems stacked on top of each other. I’m singing praises to my old gym in Connecticut, that had an entire section devoted to friction climbing – all that experience is slowly being mentally recovered and dusted off.

Boulder itself was a madhouse – it must have be graduation weekend. It seems way too early for that – but things should quiet down a bit for the summer, until Fall semester. Not many people on the trail – think Ben from Mountainbike Radio passed me going up the trail, as I was going down. That you, Ben?

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38 x 21 is good enough.

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That’s a lotta footwear for a bike ride.

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Storm shuttin’ me out.

Saturday – joined a Happy Coffee CX teammate for something completely out of character for me: riding with someone else! Wasn’t going to get on the bike alone, and probably was just going to feel the ill effects of DOMS if I didn’t get out, so we did a quick spin up Lookout Mountain from the house, and back. We’re both signed up to do the Dirty Double Fondo next weekend, so for her, it was somewhat of a training ride, and for me, it was somewhat of a recovery ride, as we’ve did kid about. To be honest, my specific training for this race is basically nill, and my week at least on paper is going to be filled with FAR too many fun things outside to fully recover for a proper race, but I guess that’s how much these types of races really bear down on my psyche.