Green up the front side is not so much running as it is climbing with a few steps of running thrown in every now and then. Typically I consider anything over 1,100' per mile to be borderline pointless for running, especially on trail. Green mountain up the front side fits that bill with 2,400' feet of climbing in just over two miles. However, the craziest thing about the Amphitheater route up Green is that the bulk of the 2,400' ascent is in the first mile, meaning the grades are beyond borderline stupid for running, and a powerhike is as good, if not better than a running cadence.
On this particular evening, we were greeted with slick rocks through the opening scramble due to the continuing rain, and then super slippery slush above, say, 7,000' where the trail became a little more reasonable and consistently runnable yet frustratingly slippery. To sum up, the conditions were terrible.
So anyway, we had a time trial going on ... in Boulder ... and the total number of Boulder residents that showed up? Zero. Apparently the Boulder folk don't play outside when it's wet.
In attendance, and awarded full man and woman points were: George Zack, Tim Waggoner (Lucho), Bob Sweeney, Brandon Fuller, Kerrie (?), myself, Eric Bergman, Pete Stevenson, Victoria Funk, Cat Speight, Alex Alvarez and a (very) late PittBrownie.
We had more than three people running together and we were ostensibly "trying to better each others' times," which according to the Boulder Open Space regulations constitutes a race. Somehow the rangers had caught wind of our gathering (from an anonymous email no less), and as I was unloading at Chautauqua from the drive down and chatting with George, a friendly ranger showed up and asked us if we had anything to do with a race that was going on.
"Race? No, just out for a run with a couple of friends."
The ranger of course new that we were lying through our teeth, but I don't think he had the heart to shut us down. He mumbled something about permits and then sheepishly headed back to his cabin. Soon thereafter, the group headed off in different directions to reconvene at the Gregory trailhead.
There had been some chatter about the route before we all got there. George was firmly in favor of taking the most direct route, while a few others - myself included - thought it might be nice to take the longer and mellower Ranger route so we could actually run. George was having none of it and, frustrated with the chatter, took off up the mountain with no notice. The run was on.
Lucho slipped in behind George - soon overtaking - and then I think it was Eric, myself and Bob. I tried to keep pace with Lucho through the opening few switchbacks, but soon gave up on that as I was clearly not firing particularly well. My breathing was super heavy and my thighs were on fire from all the big, immediate and unpredictable step-ups through the rocks. I just settled in and ran a comfortable pace. I say 'ran' but really it was no more than a token running cadence. At one point I did a shoulder check only to see Bob right behind me walking faster than I was running. I just gave up on running, trotting were possible, but basically hiked the lower section.
By the time we got to the snow and the more runnable stuff, Lucho was out of sight, Eric was being passed by Bob 10-20 seconds in front of me, and I was back to holding my own, although I still couldn't muster much of an effort. Eventually I started feeling a little more comfortable with the whole outing and my various system started operating at a comfortable level. I passed Eric with a few hundred feet of climbing to go, and then near the top started reeling in Bob, but it was too little too late.
Lucho was up in 32:xx, which given the conditions seems pretty fast to me. I got up a bit after Bob in a disappointing 36:02, followed by Eric - maybe a minute back - and Zack two back. I forget who was next, but I think it was Pete, Kerrie and Brandon. Easy going down via Ranger, then some Zack Rabbit IPAs in the parking lot, a little trash talking and we were on our way back home a little after 9:00.
So it turned out to be a fun evening, and we'll do it all over again in a few weeks in Fort Collins, well Loveland, on Round Mountain which is entirely runnable and a much more reasonable 3,000' over 4.7 miles.