3/25/14 – 3/30/14

Sick! After a wonderful ride on Monday, I was down for the count, until about Saturday, when I decided it would be fun to try to summit Longs Peak again.

I can tell something’s not right with my body, when I’m riding around 5 mph, confused as to where I’m going, and what I’m doing. No sneezing or coughing for me, my body shuts down in slightly different ways, I guess. Better to hang ‘er up. Working is hard enough with such mental fuzziness. Probably for the best.

3/24/14 Boulder – Golden via Magnolia, HW72, Golden Gate Canyon

An absolute wonderful ride up Magnolia, starting a little before sunrise. Magnolia is known as perhaps the steepest road in Boulder County and indeed, it touches ~30% on some of the first switchbacks. I wasn’t going for any speed records for this ride – although I made good time historically speaking for myself – I just wanted a nice good ride to Golden.

Ride was manageable up Magnolia to Highway 72 (views aren’t bad, either!), and then down Golden Gate Canyon. Well, until I hit the inversion layer and snow flurries, and froze myself stiff. I brought warmer clothes to put on, but I guess I was too stubborn to actually stop riding, change, and thought, instead: “Well, coffee at the bottom will warm me up!” It did, to an extent, but I felt a little defeated from the cold the rest of the day. Winter may have ended at sea level a few days ago, but above 9,000 feet, it’s definitely still very much winter.  

Spent the rest of the day helping friends put together IKEA office cabinets and such for an office remodel. Most happy to be able to lend a hand to these wonderful people. And hey: lunch and dinner!

I hit the bouldering gym on Wednesday (SPOT) and Friday (Denver Bouldering Club) for some OK sessions. Wednesday was def. on the tale end of feeling less than ideal – it’s more than obvious the bike ride on Monday was a little too uncomfortable. I brought along my point and shoot camera to do some demo climbs to go for a… part in a commercial – one of the weird ways I try to scrape up money. If it sounds funny to go for acting parts: it is, but I’ve also gotten them before.

Here’s my little demo climbing reel – no real impressive climbs or anything (around V1/V2)- it was embarrassing enough to film this, so glad the gym was almost empty:

Friday was a little better – I like the problems Denver Bouldering Gym makes. A little strapped for time, or I’d be there all day. Got a ride back to Boulder to help move a claw foot bathtub down from the second floor. Having some upper body strength can help with these sorts of maneuvers. 

One stranger thing I’m dealing with is that my feet are currently swollen, making wearing climbing shoes a little impossible to put on – not that it stops me. The last half hour on Friday was done in approach shoes. Toes felt like sausages.

3/29/14 Longs Peak Duathlon Attempt (stopped at Keyhole)

The forecast called for 25 mph sustained winds, with 55 mph gusts – not too good looking for a summit attempt, but god-damn, you gotta try. With that forecast in the back of my mind and all the mistakes I made despite my last successful attempt, I decided to just work on polishing how I want to approach this challenge.

Unlike last time, I had a huge dinner beforehand and something akin to a balanced breakfast at 2:30 am, before shoving off. Even put on sunscreen before leaving, and snacked regularly on the ride up to the trail head, even brought more food to eat throughout the day. Took much less gear this time, starting with my smaller backpack, but remembered to take an extra pair of gloves (three in total) and another extra pair of socks (also three, in total) and an extra pair of sunglasses – old school ski glasses with extra dark lenses; brought just my trail running shoes, instead of my much heavier boots. Squeezed all this in – the temps were supposed to be low, so I wagered that anything I was wearing was going to be for the entire day.

My system worked fine, but the wind was simply too violent, gusts seemed to come from every direction knocking you around, from treeline to the end of the Boulderfield. Once reaching the Keyhole, it was painfully obvious that going any more forward was out of the question, the wind was just at a violent strength.

At the natural choke point of the Keyhole, you could literally see a vortex of wind and spindrift twisting right above your head. I dared to peek my head out towards the West side of Longs, but I might as well have had entered another world. The wind was at a hurricane force, hitting the entire West face, sweeping anything not actually rock and mountain clear off. Sweat on my face and beard instantly froze, as the windchill made it feel at least 30 degrees colder than in the relative safe cover just on the other side of the ridge. It wasn’t the biggest letdown, as I knew what the conditions would probably be, so I retreated without too much chagrin, leaving the Keyhole at around 11:30 am – much better time than last, which made a good consolation

Stumbled to the trail head in about 2 hours flat – again: much better than last. Decided to take the longer, harder way home via Highway 72 to Nederland, and then down Boulder Canyon. On tired legs, it was somewhat of a slog, but thought it wouldn’t be the worst to do to get ready for my race next weekend, the time off in the middle of the week was a little unplanned and not ideal. Riding down Boulder Canyon was a bit of different story – never again on a weekend – just too much crap traffic and you go about Mach 3 on a bike anyways. I have, of course, said this same thing several times, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from riding this road on a fixed gear, or with a trailer, so I don’t give myself too much of a chance of following it in the future.

Knew I was getting exceedingly tired from lack of sleep (waking up at 2:30 in the a.m. does that, as I started yelling at people on the roads and paths – mostly imperceptible babbling. Ahh, the wonderful little details of +12 hour days. Got home before the sun set – much better than my midnight arrival last time.

1/30/14 – Recovery Ride


Just a short ride to try and recover from the day before. I think, “recovery ride” is any ride that the single speed mountain biker riding on a paved road, wearing the cotton t-shirt absolutely wrecks you on. This had to be actually one of my most satisfying rides of the year – just had the most enjoyable time looking around at all the incredible rock formations around me, and how this is such a special place to be living near.

Week total on my feet: 9.2 miles, 3,810 feet (ONE hike)
Week total on the bike: 163.8 miles, 16,634 feet
Week total on the walls: 2x

I guess for being sick for 3 days, this wasn’t a bad week in the end – I’ll take a > 20,000 feet elevation gain week any week of the month, of any month of the year. Wish I could have gotten on the trail a few more times, but what can you do. .

On Saturday is the Anti Epic 160, so I get to relax a bit and attempt to taper a bit. I’m not sure what to expect from myself, but I think I’m going in to simply survive it, and possibly camp out that night and hike Pikes Peak after a good day’s rest. I’ll have to ride home after that, but I feel it’s best not to make too many crazy plans. On my TODO list this week is to rebuild the bike, as it’s currently just a cobbled mess of components I’ve had kicking around the parts bin. I brought it to the bike shop to get some new things and the mechanic’s diagnosis just repeated, “Yup: broken, yup, broken, yup – “, until we got through practically everything. Not the best idea to take something like that on a 160 mile race. 

Last year, I rode out to the race from Arvada, camped, raced the race, then rode back, all in two days – almost 300 miles. On a single speed. That seems like an overwhelming amount of riding to me, but maybe not. I’ll be riding out again, but I’ll probably start in Littleton and be mostly fresh for the race the next day. I’ll be camping, but most likely at a friend’s house, not too far from the race start. And I’ll have 2×10 speeds, rather than perhaps: two choices of gear selection.

Oh, we’re getting older, I guess (although last year I couldn’t run a mountain marathon, or climb 5.11b, and now: I can). I’m a little unclear where my cycling is at the moment, as I essentially stopped riding from October to well into February, and just focused on running. Not that running hasn’t benefited me, I just don’t know how much crossover there is – I guess we’ll find out. As cyclists like to say, I’m feeling, “good sensations” starting in my legs and what’s an 11 hour day riding to me, really?


3/17/14 – 3/24/14

This week saw a lot of consistent times out, with less rest days, as I start ramping up for my race on the 5th of April!

3/17/14 – Night time ride up Flagstaff

Starting the week off with an “easy” nighttime ride

1/18/14 – Sanitas Clockwise (PR)

Another lunch time sprint up and down Sanitas – better’d my time from last week, which is nice and was basically able to run the entire way up, which is awesome.

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After work, I rode up Lee Hill Road for the first time in forever. Missed my turn to make it a loop and found myself on top of a hill with only one not saying, “Dead End”: the way I came. Fairly chilling going down

1/19/14 Nightime on Green

Another night time activity – this time summiting Green. Some hilarious falls on some bulletproof ice – I’ve got the wounds to prove it.

Right after the run, I did another ride up Flaggstaff to the ampitheatre. Good times. Nice to be able to double-up something like that, so late at night, when you think the day might have been a writeoff.

1/20 – Boulder – Denver

Rode to Denver, from Boulder, using my usual route not through the mountains. Talked to my mates at Salvagetti about getting a new bike. Stay tuned. Only one small hill on the way, did alright.

1/22 – Sanitas, Flagstaff, Green

Managed to forget to lock my bike at Chautauqua (I mean, really: who does that?) and ran a good mile before I figured out that my pack was feeling a little heavier than usual, and it wasn’t just my head. Was trying on purpose to run this one slow, to see if that gave me some energy to keep going to Bear and Sobo, after Green. Ha, nope. One theory is that I wasn’t having the best day, another is that the weather (snow, freezing rain) just wasn’t helping making it happen. Another is that I fearing running out of food. But probably I was just tired and going slow wasn’t working for me. The jaunt to Sanitas from Chautauqua is like, an actual run, where you cover distance, and not just up and down, which is most likely what tired me out. I should probably run for distance one of these days, it could help things. Observe how lumpy my condition is.

Hoped this day was going to be a Skyline Traverse, but, oh well. My variation wasn’t going to be much of a traverse, but more a linkup of all 4 mountains, by first descending to what feels like a natural starting point, rather than taking the saddle from say, Green to Bear and then Bear to Sobo – the latter is just 300 feet of elevation gain, instead of close to 2,000 you get, by starting on the Mesa Trail. It’s a tidy little linkup and not to be taken too lightly. I certainly didn’t get it happenin’!

Along with this, managed to hit up the climbing gym(s) 3x, Mon/Wed/Fri and both my climbing partner and I tagged a 5.11b. Small victories, I guess. Friday was a bouldering session – seems as if I could do every single V4 problem – sometimes racin’ up them, but couldn’t make much headway on anything V5 or over.  Hopefully, that’s not my wall.

Above is one of those projects that took me half a day to stumble up, and then I could walk up to it, and polish it off – looks so simple on video, but it was so hard to make those slopers work for me. Always a weird feeling.


Week total on my feet: 28.4 miles, 10,902 feet
Week total on the bike: 69.6 miles, 6,712 feet
Week total on the walls: 3x


3/10/14 – 3/16/14


These things that I destroy.


3/10/14 – Sanitas

Don’t laugh, but I’ve started working at a shared working space. It keeps me on task, most of the time. The weather forecast said 70 degrees this day, and staying inside sounded like hell, so I thought I’d try that thing where you go do something active on your lunch break… thing.

At around 1:00pm, I nonchalantly left my desk, with my running shorts in my hands, and made it to the bathroom to change. I left the office, and stuffed the rest of the clothes into my bag on my bike, and shuffled to Sanitas, which is like, a few blocks away (it’s sort of insane). Felt good, so I just thought, “well, let’s go!” with the goal of Not Dying, while trying to make it to the top. Did OK! Didn’t really pause at the top, and just let ‘er loose in one of those sort-of-in-control descents, all the way back to work.

Grabbed my clothes, changed again in the bathroom and made like nothing happened. Which would have worked, but the cycling cap I had been wearing was drenched with sweet. It was sort of nasty, until I finally took it off. Anyways, great time going up and down, and didn’t feel like I wasted a beautiful day



3/12/14 – Longs Peak Duathlon


3/16/14 – Full Moon Flagstaff

Longs Peak took it out of me – Thursday was sort of just this daze trying to recover mentally and physically, that I checked out for a few days, and just focused myself on my work – as, well I’m trying to save up for the Summer of Summers to End All Summers

Thought I’d take a quick spin up Flagstaff since it’s like: right there! And my first race this year looms over me. Put in a good time – def. feeling fitter and fitter at each go at the hill. A lot of this is just my legs remembering how to ride a bike, as I should in general be in awesome shape, and I weigh about 10lbs less than last year, at this time (thanks(?) running). My bike is still heavy as all hell, but I guess that’s a good thing, at the moment.

Week total on my feet: 17.0 miles, 6,628

feet

Week total on the bike: 113.5 miles, 11,743 feet

Finally reaching my goal of summiting Longs Peak in the winter, solo, with a bike approach (Duathlon!) was a good payoff for all the hard work of hiking and climbing and running and cycling I’ve put in. Great time riding up, but once I hit the trail, I felt like total and complete shit, which is a pity. I’m betting a lot of this was a function of not really eating a proper dinner the night before or breakfast the day of, and then just snacking on like peanuts and raisins throughout the day. After a 4 hour bike ride, glycogen stores are gonna be gone, gone, gone and the few handfuls of almonds I tossed in my mouth before shoving off wasn’t gonna make too much of a dent. Nerves, man. They’ll be other days.

Another moronic move was to not apply sunscreen – I got roasted. Even my (admittedly cheap) sunglasses helped little to ward off a serious altitude/hungry/sun exposure headache when up high. Nothing I haven’t experienced before, but I haven’t in a while, and it never gets funner. I’ve since bought a tiny bottle of the stuff, which I’ll keep on my bike, at all days.

Only went climbing once – on… Monday? Nothing too special to note, except I’ve started down climbing some of the routes after I’ve climbed them. Good for the ol’ endurance, which is sort of my Thing, so…

I’m a little bummed for taking 3 whole days off in a row, but the body needed rest, and the times on Sunday were good, meaning I’ve recovered. Would have been nice to sneak in a climbing session in there, but my middle finger isn’t doing too well – I believe it’s called, “Being Injured”?, so giving it a break seemed prudent as well. I dunno, I just wanna be moving 24/7.

This week – man, who cares, I’m just so happy to have bagged Longs. I could see myself doing a repeat of that, Knowing What I Know Now (it WAS my first time on the Keyhole route!), with a lighter kit and a more intelligent eating plan. I could see a quick trip up N. Arapahoe – riding my bike to the TH of course (Magnolia to Ned.!), as the hill looks not so much like a snowy avalanche of death waiting to happen. I also see a ton of cycling, as I try to get ready for a 160 mile bike ride on April 5th. It’ll be a casual affair as “races” go (wouldn’t have it any other way!), but I’d like to actually, I dunno: finish.

In one of my more genius strokes I signed myself up for a race the very next weekend, in Durango – no idea how I’m getting there yet, but if I get out there, I’d like to stay for a little more than just the race. How I’d get back afterwards – man: that is anyone’s guess.