A somewhat lackluster week, what with a cold descending upon me.
I’ve fallen off of logging my “training”. One reason for this is that I have nothing to train for! Which can be dangerous: nothing to train for (no goals) so no real idea on what to do. I’m not one for structured training anyways – I like to think of what I do outside as, “play” and anything that has to do with getting better as, “practice”. Training sounds much too serious to me.
And well, this isn’t actually true, as there’s a file on my Macbook called something like, “2015 Outdoor misAdventure Goals” and it’s filled with all sorts of adventures, and maybe a real race or two.
But before all that, there’s one big goal coming in December: a 2300′, 23 pitch sport climb that goes up to 5.12a called TIME WAVE ZERO at El Potrero Chico, Mexico!
Until I indulge myself in plans for 2015, the goal for ending 2014 will be to top out on this route, around Christmas time.
As such, my time training – I mean, playing has been on vertical walls, learning this “Sports Climbing” thing, and seeing what I can get accomplished, in such a small amount of time. I’m about a month out from the trip itself, so there’s not much more time left to get with it. I’m still running and cycling, but I’ve made climbing somewhat my priority for the past few weeks, which has been a nice break.
Not to reveal all, but having the skill set to do Time Wave Zero sounds like a nice thing to have in the back of one’s pocket, if what you like to do is like up killer routes in the mountains.
- Total Hike Mileage: 387.9 miles (624.265 km)
- Total Hike Elevation: 154,727 feet (47,160.8 km)
- Total Bike Mileage: 1,609.1 miles (2,589.6 km)
- Total Bike Elevation: 151,335 feet (46,126.9 meters)
- Total Time: 34:12:26:57
Image (and beer!) provided by: 14er.com user, glenmiz
OK, time to begin!
Start time is scheduled for Friday @ 4:00am at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, CO – There’s a small chance I’ll start a little earlier depending on how my schedule works out. Trackleaders has been kind enough to take the time to put up a Tracker for this, so you may follow along:
I’ll be riding/climbing this as a self-supported individual time trial
– the goal is to ride to, and summit all the named and ranked 14ers in
CO (53, by my count, but it’s a given thatn I’ll do the other usual
suspects). Goal is to better a time set by Roy Benton in 1995 of 37
days, 12 hours – the last and fastest self-supported, self-powered time
I could find in my research. It works out to roughly 1.5 summits a day.
My rules are here. It’s a DIY thing.
projected route is shown on the Tracker, but there’s nothing to say I
won’t change my mind and take a different route – in fact, it’s a given. There’s no course really, so there’s no, “off course”, so don’t worry about that.
I’ll also try to post photos while I go and you may follow me on whatever you’d like:
hands – and feet are going to be pretty occupied, so if you spot me
while on your own hikes and take a photo please share them! It would mean a lot to me. It’s been great to meet people while on my training runs/hikes.
be easy to spot: big busy red beard and most likely a bright red,
“Salvagetti” bike jersey on and a tiny, gray casquette on my sunburned
I’ll look – and smell like a thru-hiker, but my pack will be
minuscule or non-existent. Hi-fives and smiles are definitely
appreciated if we cross paths, but please don’t meet up with me to
explicitly give me any sort of support, like food. Or whiskey.
Thanks goes out to a very long list of people: Salvagetti for being a wonderful bike shop to me for over a decade, Greg at Bolder Bikepacking
for making some amazing packs that have taken me across the country –
twice, and my lady for hanging in there, while I go out to do my /silly
things. And also for the belays at the crags, which I guess would also
fall under, “Hanging in there”. A few companies/individuals in those
companies have been helpful with gear. Thank you: Selle Anatomica for making literally the best saddle in existence, BOA Technology for having me on their product testing group, Ultimate Direction
for making some pretty sweet vests. I’ve gained much inspiration from
far too many individuals to count, really – I’d list them out, but I
don’t want to forget anyone.
I’m not doing this to raise money
for a non-profit or anything like that, but if what I’m hoping to do
inspires you, my suggestion would be to give to the 14ers.com CFI
fundraising effort (if that’s OK with you, Bill):
If you’re looking for a more humanitarian org., consider the Colorado Harm Reduction Action Center:
me luck! As it’s been shown, this type of challenge is TOUGH. I hope I
can myself make it back to Golden before all the Aspen leaves change.
An entirely epic week:
Monday, 6/9/14: Sub hour, Green Mountain; up Amphitheater/Saddle, down Gregory (Strava)
Saturday I was only a few minutes shy of going sub hour up and down Green Mountain. Perhaps par for the course for some, but the psychological barrier of going up and down Green Mountain in less than an hour was too tempting not to try, as soon as I was a bit rested. Besides, my run up Green on Saturday was after a dozen+ pitches of Flatiron scrambling. Tired legs, for sure.
Happy to come in under the mark, but certainly not as fast as I can go; felt sluggish on the up, although completely out of control going down.
Tuesday, 6/10/14: Boulder to Summit Lake, Mt Evans, back to Echo Lake, (Strava)
Rode the bike loaded up to Mt Evans, to do a bit of recon/training/whatever for the Mt, Evans Hill Ascent – something I signed up for, not really understanding why – I don’t like running on roads, I don’t even particularly want a road up a 14er, but what the heck. Considering I had a fast (for me) run on Mon, a 83 mile bike ride today, and what I had in store on Wed, it’s a wonder I was able to walk at all, come Saturday. Hoping for the summit for today, but it was 7:30pm, when I got to summit lake, and I needed to get some shuteye for the next day’s 1:00am wake up.
Wednesday, 6/11/14: Evans Egis (minus Rosalie) (Strava)
For whatever reason, the Evans Egis, “route” occupies my idle thoughts: 11? summits, two over 14,000 feet, a little over 25 miles. It’s a long day. Part of the allure is that the peaks you summit can all be seen from Denver on a clear day. Out on the trail at 1:45 am to severely windy conditions, but was expecting as much. Managed to do a pretty good job with summiting everything basically in sight, except missing out on Rosalie – just a route finding error on my part – the little peak I thought was Rosalie wasn’t – some of the sub peaks are a little odd. Made it back to the gate @ 9:01pm, late enough to miss getting any water from the Lodge, or any food. It was a weird night camping in the bushes. The next day (Thurs.) I rode back to Idaho Springs, to do some work (Strava)
Friday, 6/13/14: Clear Creek Canyon sport climbing
Out of character for myself, I met up with my Lady, who brought gear for the rest of my trip. I usually just carry everything, but there was literally too much gear to haul by bike – and I had a race the next day. Our plan was to actually do the 2nd Apron of Evans, but our moods and the weather did not make it seem like a likely goal. After some regroup, we decided to go down to Clear Creek Canyon to do some sport climbing, where my Lady excels and I am the one who is certainly the student.
We started with People’s Choice, 5.10d, 3 pitches, that she assured me was “only” seen as a 5.9+ by the local climbing community.
The overhanging dihedral, seen from below had me literally yelling out loud to her, for all to hear “I have no confidence that I can even attempt to follow this”. But she didn’t relent – and follow her: I certainly did. I even lead pitch 2 (5.5 – ha!), creating the anchor up top and belaying, actually being a first for me, on a multi-pitch route – I certainly am a beginner. Later, she confided that the position I had to be in (no ledge to sit/stand on, using a non-guide ATC to belay) was probably the most awkward way you can possibly belay. You see why I hang out with this one.
Somehow, I was again tricked into leading Ace in the Hole (5.10a), and Cracker Jack (5.9), until finally succumbing (whining) that I was too tired for anything else, I followed Deuces Wild (5.10a), which we did in one long pitch, and two raps.
Surprisingly, I stuck everything, and didn’t fall once. Whatever caused that, I have no idea (luck).
Saturday, 6/14/14 – Mt. Evans Ascent, Sawtooth to Bierstadt (Strava)
81st place or something! Woo! I wasn’t expecting much from this race – I already had a huge week on my feet and on the bike, and I’ve ran on a road, maybe once or twice this year, I just did this to do it. Got to about mile 12, before I succumbed to an asthma attack, and legs not really into running on hard pavement. Met up with my Lady at the summit and we hiked to Bierstadt via the Sawtooth, dodging a few storms along the way.
Sunday, 6/14/14 – Torreys via Keslo Ridge, Grays (Strava)
A wonderful camping outing at the summer trailhead, the night before and we were ready to do Keslo Ridge. Some interesting route finding lead us to some funny places, but we figured it out. It’s good to bring an actual climber with you, but they do seem to check every single solitary hold, grumbling at how many are exceptionally loose, which of course is the majority. Did a little impromptu “this is how you self-arrest with an ice axe, but please do not even get into that sort of problem” lesson, and we made the summit of Torreys – probably my 4th time doing Keslo.
Week total on my feet: 59.4 miles, 22,745 feet
Week total on the bike: 96.9 miles, 10,505 feet
Big week! A half marathon up a 14er, 6 14er summits in total, ~100 miles of fully loaded riding, and a nice sport climbing outing. Sitting here on Monday, I’m happy to report that I’m not totally crushed, but happy enough to take the day off.
This was a huge ride, in terms of elevation gain. Much of it coming before even hitting I-70. I was also loaded down for touring for the next week. Happy to have ended the day inside and warm, rather than outside and snowed upon.
Took 9 to basically Hartsel, and then cycled the last half of the Dirty Double Fondo Route (the harder part), before camping outside of town. Beautiful night, full moon, warm temps.
Basically a rest day, but I still had to get into town! Happily, my friend Em bumped into me, and offered to host me, which was a little more convenient than camping somewhere else outside of town!
Not a bad little go at this Gravel Grinder. 40 minutes back from first, and 40 minutes faster than third – it’s a wild world out there. Props to first place, that’s quite the go at the course. Of course, I had wanted to race this race pretty well rested up, rather than having 200+ loaded miles on my legs for the week, but watchagonnado, Mr. Car-Free Lifestyle?
A little slower than last year, much more wind, for sure. But felt great, nonetheless.
Sunday, May 18, 2014, Salida – Shavano Trailhead, 14.4 miles, 2,777 feet (Strava)
Much like last year, after the race, I high-tailed it to the Shavano Trailhead to camp and hike up Shavano the next day. The Angel was in, I had a few more days to use before I needed to get back, and it’s like, right there. No contest. This is also the first part of Salida’s Vapor Trail Race, a 125 mile CX mountain bike race, that starts at 10:00pm. Awesome race, and for me sadly, I barely made it to the finish, having what seemed be some sort of activity-educed asthma. Not cool. Still, a great, great course – almost a Colorado Trail Race, lite, but you get to start/finish at the same point.
Week total on my feet: 0
Week total on the bike: 368.9 miles, 33,526 feet
Not to state the obvious, but this was a huge week on my bike, especially since everything, except the race was done loaded down for touring. Happy it went so smoothly, as I haven’t ridden my bike as much as I historically do. Seems like running was a good enough supplement for the lack of riding. Happy to sleeping in the dirt again. Lots more of that to be done, this season.
For running/cycling, this was the only thing I did this week, but it comes after sumitting Longs on Friday, and taking 3 hours off the time to do that, so I’m pretty happy.
The rest of the week was comprised of climbing, including a trip out to Boulder Canyon,
and resting up for my trip that I was going on, later in the month.
One of my mini projects this year has been to ride to the Longs Peak Trail head, and summit it, via they Keyhole route. I’ve now done that three times (once, in Winter), having tried about six times to summit. My method to do this, as they say, is now pretty dialed. One direction to go from here is to see how fast you can do this as a personal challenge. Another goal to hit, is the fastest known time to complete.
The current FKT for this is fairly low – 10:31:00. The setter, Peter Bakwin readily admits this as a soft time, and sees it merely as a placeholder, until someone comes around and sets something a little stouter.
My current time from Tuesday is around 13 hours. Is it possible for me to shave off 2 1/2 hours? It seems like a stretch to say, “yeah“, but I’ve got high hopes:
Friday I did the Duathlon as well, with a time of around 16 hours. Between Friday and Tuesday, because of being a little better prepared, and having the conditions being a little better/faster, I shaved 3 hours off my time (was I really fully recovered?). When I originally did this in March, my time was 19 hours. Each time I go up, I’m taking off 3 hours. There’s obviously a limit to this and my downward time trajectory will stop being so exaggerated, but I haven’t hit it yet.
One free/cheap way to keep getting faster, is just to let the snow melt: I can leave my snow climbing gear (crampons, ice axe) at home, shaving off pounds off my load, as well as necessitating taking less gear for the cold conditions and the trail is going to be faster: slogging in snow is fun, but slow and energy zapping.
I could also borrow an actual road bike, with feather-light components – the road to the trail head is all paved and in fairly good condition. My bike right now tips the scale at 27 pounds.
Not to say I’m a weight weenie, but the trail head from Boulder is almost a vertical mile up in elevation. Take 15 pounds off your load, and anyone will go noticeably faster. Peter was nice enough to share his time splits – he notes that there was much lounging around at the trailhead/summit to well, lounge and to transition, so the total here only adds up to ~9:40:00 –
- 3h17m bike up
- 2h52m ascent
- 1h38m descent
- 1h45m bike back
My splits from Tue, look a little like this:
- 3h18m bike up
- 4h20m ascent
- 2h17m descent
- 1h59m bike back
Strangely, our transition times are somewhat equal, making comparing a little easier.
My hike/run times are much slower – almost twice as slow. I’m not going to get super fast in a month, but the conditions will get better and the course will be faster all by itself, so I’m not worried – if I compare myself to other runners around time on some of the time tested segments around Boulder, I’m up there (surprisingly).
My bike times are on par with Peter – only a little slower coming back. I’ll concede that Peter is much, much stronger a runner than I will ever be, and he’s very adept at technical terrain, but I’ll wager my cycling prowess any day. Given that I can better my ride times simply by riding a much lighter, faster bike (as I’ve explained), things are looking good for my next shot.
Another funny thing for me: I actually took two ~20 minute naps during my last go at it: Once at the trailhead, and once at the Agnes Vaille shelter at the Keyhole. That’s one way to take off 40 minutes, right there. I just have to get a better “night” sleep, beforehand. I also took around 20 minutes on the top to take dorky picture and look around – it’s simply an incredible place. But, there’s an hour. Now, I just have to find 1 1/2 hours to better. It starts to become very doable, very quickly. I’m stoked to try an actually go at this.
To play “what else is possible”, Bill Wright notes on his well-fleshed out, but sadly out-of-date site that Neal Beidleman and Kevin Cooney have done the Duathlon via the Cables Routes (more technical, but much shorter – by about 2 miles RT) in 7:28:00, which is 3 hours faster still! How they pulled that off, I don’t know, especially since their splits:
- 2hr37m bike up
- 3hr00m hrs total RT ascent/descent
- 1hr36m bike back
Show a pretty strong bike up/back. Perhaps they knew how to draft each other pretty well. Neal Beidleman has summited Everest as a guide (in 1996, no doubt) – no slouch. Cooney’s experiences also speak volumes:
- Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,450′); Marangu route – 42 mile round
trip, 13,000′ of elevation gain, in record 12:45 (uphill,7:11).[1993 w/ John Winsor]
- Bike-run-climb from Boulder to Long’s Peak
“Diamond” alpine wall (80 mile bike, 16 mile run, 1500′ climb (5.10) to 14,250′
elevation; (10:40 roundtrip) [1990 w/ Neal Beidleman]
- Bike-Run-Climb North Face Capital Peak, Aspen CO 
- Inca Trail (5:11), in the Peruvian Andes. [1985 – w/
- 2nd place, Soviet race up Mt. Elbrus, Russia
(18,560′) (spikes required!) 
- 1st place- course record, “Get High” 30
mile mountain run, Telluride, CO 
- 3rd place Doc Holiday 35-mile mountain run,
Glenwood Springs, CO 
- 1983-1984: Professional triathlete (Team Mizuno); numerous
victories in regional races, several top ten USTS finishes, twice qualifying for national
championships, and competed in Hawaii Ironman
According to this, Beidleman/Cooney have done the Diamond on Longs Peak, biking it from Boulder in 10:40:00 – pretty insane – only three hours slower than taking the much, much easier Cables route. I can’t touch these guys’ alpine experience, but I could probably outrun them. So, the Diamond: maybe another time, but the Keyhole Route, and maybe Cables afterwards, def. within my grasp, if I play it intelligently.
A pretty fantastic week in my life, I must say.
Monday, April 28, 2014, Green x2
My goal was just to run a pretty good time up Green, via Gregory. “Pretty Good Time” maybe just meant beating my own PR, but that seems to be set pretty low, as I don’t hit up this route all that much. Happy to accomplish that, and then I controlled-fell down the same route at a pace likened to a rabid antelope scared of heights. Or something like that.
Afterwards, I did Freeway, the West Face of the Second, and power-hiked up Green. A beautiful day.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 – Bear/Sobo/Bear from NCAR, Direct East Face, First Flatiron
Similar to Monday’s little challenge, it was time to better my PR up Fern Canyon to Bear, as it’s been awhile since I had used it as a test piece. Managed to whack off 5:30 off my time, which is… I dunno, amazing. My power-hiking-while-heavily-breathing skillz have little equal.
After hitting up Bear, I tagged Sobo, and went back to Bear, to try to control-fall down (like I do), back to the NCAR trail head. Perhaps, I thought, I could better may time on that, too? When I had last ran this route, I thought I pulled something out of thin air with my speed, so I was nervous, strangely, to see if I could even get close to my time of 50:09. It had been a year, so I guess anything was possible, but I was feeling the effort going up, as well as Monday. Felt, very, very slow on all the easy stuff, and very uncoordinated on all the technical stuff. Managed to fall down twice, skinning my knees and had to stop twice to retie my shoe.
I still hadn’t met up with the Mesa trail after my second fall, which had me slightly limping a bit, before the adrenaline starting covering the pain. Glancing at my watch, I was only a half hour into the run back down, giving my a whole twenty minute to reach the trail head to match my last time. Surprisingly, I did it in 10 minutes flat.
Later that day, we climbed the First Flatiron! via the Direct East Face Route, using ropes and pro and all that. Well, until it get dark and we decided to finish up everything just free soloing it all, rapping down the back. Terribly rewarding, to finally tick that route off. Felt 100% solid on this easy route.
Friday, May 2, 2014 – Longs Peak Duathlon
After leaving at the rise-and-shine time of 12:30 in the a.m., I made my way to the Longs Peak TH, under pretty stiff winds. I wasn’t giving this attempt much of a chance, and made plans to just turn South at the HW72/HW7 junction and ride somewhere else for then rest of the day, but things seem to quiet enough down once up (and exposed), so I thought: why not.
Turned out to be a pretty perfect day – windy, for sure, but nothing that wanted to stop me in my tracks. Took a few cat naps, as I barely got 3 hours of sleep the night, “before”, but made it up and down, without too much bother, just didn’t eat enough throughout the day. Happy to feel as if I had the mountain to myself, as I saw no one until I got back to the trail head, but I think there were a few people milling about (it’s a big place!)
The ride back home wasn’t super fun, as my energy levels were about 0. I couldn’t even start down, without a 15 minute nap, and about 5 cookies mashed into my mouth. Life is good. That makes two sub 24 hour Longs Peak Duathlons for me, for the year. The hardest part of this is hitting the weather window. I made plans to do this only a day or two before heading out, checking the weather on multiple sites, every day. Exhausting!
Week total on my feet: 34.6 miles, 15,760 feet
Week total on the bike: 48.7 miles, 7,054 feet
Given that my feet are now extremely swollen, no doubt to the exertion (or eating too much bacon, dehydration, some unknown illness, forthcoming alien invasion), I foresee the next week being pretty mellow, as I’ve certainly peaked, or, or something, I have no idea. I’m looking at trail running races in the next few weeks and feeling competitive. This will lead to nothing good.
Lots of band practices this week, so not much on the feet, except a lot of climbing! including a small stint in Boulder Canyon to “lead” some 5.9 sport routes. Nice!
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Sobo/Bear
My goal was really to put in a good time on the Shadow Canyon segment, which I did! @ 23.58, the current CR for that segment. Only a minute + change faster than last weekend w/the Rocky Mountain Runners, but I felt I put in more than 20% more effort to go just that little bit faster. Most likely, I could play it smarter, and just go all out for the last 250 feet and get a better time, rather than redlining the whole segment. Running is really weird. Tagged Bear, by scrambling to the top of the first junction w/the West Ridge trail, cause I can do that sort of stuff. Rocketed down w/abandon.
Boulder – Denver
On my quest to find the most circuitous route from Boulder <-> Denver, I came up with this number:
Start in Boulder, and up Flagstaff, onto Coal Creek and continue down a bit and then up Gap Road, which takes you to Golden Gate Canyon SP. Hit some dirt for a while, until you’re on 119, and go through the gamblin’ towns, to Virginia Canyon, and then down more dirt on Oh My God Road to Idaho Springs. Stop for coffee (of course) and then head up to Echo Lake via the Mt. Evans Highway, and then scoot on over Squaw Pass to Everygreen and down into Morrison. Get through suburbia via bike paths and make it to band practice. Total: around 125 miles, 13,500+ feet of elevation. Not bad for a day’s work.
Freeway x4, West Face x4
Battery on the GPS died (looks like about halfway), but did the Freeway route on the 2nd 4x, as well as the quick, 30 foot 5.easy pitch up to the summit of the 2nd, via the West Face. Total sh*t show, with the throngs of hikers, most being fairly courteous – just SO MANY. I was finding whole families on the social climbing approach trails, completely lost.
Week total on my feet: ~13.5 miles, 9,391 feet
Week total on the bike: 124 miles, 12,515
Week total on the walls: 3x (at least)
Surprisingly a lot of climbing today – a hard night at the gym (sloppy 5.11d), closing it down after 3.5+ hours of climbing, as well as climbing outdoors in Boulder Canyon (5.9+ lead!), as well as scrambling outside for thousands of feet.
Surprisingly lot of total elevation gain (total ~ 22,000 feet), despite so few days on foot/bike. A nice century+ bike ride, with a ridiculous amount of climbing and a little dirt. I don’t think I can complain about this week – so much done in such a little bit of time!