1/13 – 1/19

1/13 – Up Green, via the back of the First. 

Total ice rink on the trail between the 1st and 2nd – not even joking. Would have been faster/saver to climb the 2nd itself.

1/15 – PR Attempt at Green Mountain via Bear Canyon/Green Bear – Success!


Working on the very arbitrary and tidy time of 45:00 from the Mesa Trail/Bear Canyon Trail Junction. Have to cut my time by ~2:30 to do that. We’ll see. The route is runnable for someone like me, who’s not much of a runner and I managed to keep running, till the very end, where it seemed power hiking and taking enormous steps was a faster way to go. Felt great on the run, a little peeved it wasn’t faster, but it was pretty damn fast enough, if I look at my historical times. My fitness in running, especially running up things is ripening. Not breaking any records when a course is flat – but that’s OK.

1/15 – Cragmore TH-ish to Eldorado State Park, to Eldorado Summit, to Getting Lost, to a long run home

I had some pretty high hopes for this day, and of course I got up about 4 hours too late too see them through – not that it stopped me from trying. Rode the bike to the TH on Leighigh, and ran Mesa to its southern terminus and then ran on an actual paved road to Eldorado State Park. My first time there – kind of an incredible place – too many things to take in, and it was an absolutely beautiful day. I had made a permit to hike Eldo Mt., starting from Rattlesnack Gultch, but the trail was closed – a big surprise.

Not to ruin my day, I decided it would be alright to go for the summit (had that permit, after all), if I just didn’t use the trail, so straight up I went! The first few hundred feet were some horribly loose choss, and I was sending rocks of large size down with every few meters I made. Finally reached a faint climbers trail, to a ridgeline, and thought, well, it’s climbing time and proceeded to go up the damn thing. This being my first time in Eldo, I didn’t quite understand the immensity of just, you know, free soloing one of the rock faces that sprout out of the area like weeds, in my minimal trail runners. Power hiking up steep choss, turned to scrambled, which turned to climbing with moves I couldn’t reverse pretty quickly – but somehow I gained the ridge – it was not a good idea, as the damage from the flood was pretty apparent: lots of loose chunky stuff everywhere. And everywhere it seemed I was on top it.

As luck would have it, I gained the exact ridge I was aiming for (Northeast), just was lower than I was planning to, and was able to cross the tracks on the ridge itself, while the tracks took a tunnel. Things were nice till the summit, as I could scramble what I wanted, and hiked when I didn’t. Just too many trees to grab things – I must have lost my hat a dozen times on a branch.

Summit was nice enough, but the radio towers and building next to it, sort of soured the mood, so time to go down. Plan was take the N. Ridge down, and – f-it, the closed trail down, as there was NO WAY I was going to reverse the way I went down. Suicide. I was pretty confident in my route finding, although feeling like I was actually on the North ridge never accrued and it was well into a gultch going way too far to the west where I realized I wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be. What to do.

Rather than what you’re supposed to, reverse your direction, I decided to climb out of a very steep gultch, up another steep, risky, loose cliff, basically, to gain another ridge, and figure out where I was. Where I was, was many drainages away from where I wanted to be. And this is why I practice climbing: I get myself into deep water like this. In reality, I was having an absolute hoot of a time, but really kids: this is how people spend very cold nights in the sticks after getting lost. Made my way east and ran into the closed trail. I took in the view and my next objective: Shirttail Peak, which someone says there’s a Class 3 way up from the Eldo Side of things, and a Class 2 way down into the Shadow Canyon side of things, but it was almost 4:00pm and unknown terrain – especially after my ordeal gaining the summit of Eldo, at night seemed a little – you know: risky. So I bailed on that, and ran the road back to the Mesa TH, and looked at the map to figure out a way back to my bike that didn’t involve 2,000+ feet of elevation gain. I was tired and I needed to get back to town.

Found one, and found the energy to kinda/sorta run it. Made it back in plenty of time to not be figuring out things in the dark, grab a slice, try some new rock shoes on, and support Brendan Leonard, as he was doing a slide show type deal for his new book, which you should all read, as it’s really great.

So, 18 miles later, a new mountain summited, many hilarious situations I got into myself in such a small amount of time: I’d say that was a pretty good day, in the semi-rad tradition of everyday mini epics.

1/18 Boulder to Longs Peak TH, Mount Lady Washington

The weather was SO nice, and I hadn’t been on a bike ride that was more than 5 miles for SO long, I thought that maybe I’d try, you know, to ride to the Longs Peak TH and see if I could maybe summit a mountain. There was a meetup group that was carpooling, and leaving at 6:00am near my house, but I thought: “naw”, and I just woke up an hour so earlier to bike there. The meetup group convoy passed me, while I was negotiating a steep section on HW-7, many miles from the Longs Peak TH, which is richly demoralizing. I think they got to the parking lot at around 7:00am – took me another 2 1/2 hours. Which: hey – that was actually kind of cool.  9:30 am, and I can start a hike. In Rocky Mountain National Park! leaving, from my house! By bike!

I brought  a 30L backpack filled with warm clothes – I was getting ready to be in the jet stream for a few hours, as is the usual situation on the Longs massif during the winter. This stopped me from really running the trail, but didn’t stop me from power hiking straight up to basically the summit of M.L.W., ignoring most every switchback. Turned out to be a most beautiful day – slight breeze, but that’s it. I was down to my base layers for most of the hike, cursing bringing like snow pants and an extra coat. Kinda happy I didn’t bring an axe an crampons.

Surprisingly enough, not as soon as I crested to the top, I met up with that same meetup group, taking their summit shot! I had caught up with them, simple by hiking up faster. That was crazy. I left at the same time as everyone, but bounded back down – it was only 12:30pm, but daylight is still pretty scarce, and I wanted to get home before dark. Made it back to the trail head in like, an hour. Again: crazy. Three hours later, I was back in downtown Denver. So unreal.

Week total on my feet: 41.8 miles, 14,829 feet of elevation
Week total on the bike: 88.9 miles, 7,668 feet of elevation (one day of riding!)

Did a few days inside Bouldering, as well. Fun times. Great week for sure – can’t wait to try Longs itself, w/approach by bike from Boulder. Slim chance the weather will hold, but what’s not life without hope?

Watch Mike’s Colorado Trail Race Video!

Mike DeBernardo and I started on the Denver end of the trail this year on the Colorado Trail Race. Funnily, we found ourselves as the only two people starting out on the Denver end of the trail this year for the Grand Départ – everyone else – almost 75 people!  decided to start off on the Durango things for no other reason than to change things up. 

What that did afford both of us, was to meet practically everyone coming the other way!

 Mike had the foresight to bring along a camera to snap some footage of his time on the trail, and do some micro interviews with all the heavily sleep-deprived racers (while also himself being in similar conditions!). He’s finished editing everything together, and it’s ready to watch, below: 

You may see me in a few shots – there’s def. a “no hands!” to, “0 mph crash” courtesy of Yours Truly. Good job, Mike!

Colorado Trail Race, 2013

I’ve reported a finishing time of, 7 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes and 58 seconds. Happy to have just finished; a day past what I guessed for myself and two day past what I had hoped from myself. Story to be expanded, as my fingers heal enough, to allow me to type. Until then, I think the, “Before”: 


and, “After” photos tell an interesting-enough story. 


There’s a million people that helped out along the way to make something like this possible, but especially! especially, I’d like to thank all the wrenches and everyone else at Salvagetti, as well as Greg at Bolder Bikepacking for getting the bike and the gear ready for such a ride. Enjoy the beer hauled from Durango, fellas!

Star Crossed


Took a little spin on the Colorado Trail – admittedly, the first “mountain” bike ride I’ve taken since around April – not that I haven’t been riding bikes, or riding bikes in mountains, but somehow it’s all completely different to some that it’s bikes on dirt, rather than pavement. To me: not so much. That happens when your primary mode of transportation is your bike. 

Plan was to start from Downtown Denver, to Waterton Canyon (the start of the CO trail, proper), all the way to Camp Hale, then N. onto HW 24, left on Tigwon Road, all the way to the trailhead for Mount of the Holy Cross, where I’d meet up with H., who would have gear to do the snowclimb right up the Cross Couloir. In two days. Well, less. 

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Seven Peaks, Five Days

6/12/13 – 6/17/13


The trip’s itinerary was to hit up most all the 14ers in the path between Denver, CO and Alma, CO, taking the I-70 corridor to Breckenridge, and then HW 9 to Alma. Ambitious, as the routes picked weren’t the easiest, or shortest: Bierdtstat from the East Ridge, then over the Sawtooth to Evans, Torreys via Kelso Ridge – and then to Grays, Quandary via the West Ridge – and then a final  push to do Democrat, Lincoln, and Bross. All in five days – all ridden to on a bicycle.   

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Evans Egis Attempt

It’s getting warmer and I’m getting a little more comfortable with this
sort of travel. This next trip is without trailer, or racks/panniers: as
close to ultralight as I can in this dual-mode type of trip (cycling
to, climbing from).

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Attempt #4, Longs Peak

narrows.jpgClimbed on 6/1/13

Mountains can be easy to climb, or they can be hard. It usually has nothing to do with the rock and snow found on them. Only sometimes.

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Le Tour de Dirty Double Fondo

Step, step, PULL, Step, step, PULL. Step, step –

I’m not saying I’m always on the verge of feeling sick, but today – Monday, I’m there.

And I’m not ready, anyways. This surprisingly happens quite a bit: underestimating the time it takes to get gear together to make a trip happen. Even with my style of cobbling things together that, if you would talk to someone with bike know-how would raise an eyebrow, and let out an audible, “eeeehh…?”, I think I got things straight: 

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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.

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