Indian Peaks from Near Green Summit. Photo: Eric Lee.
A severe snow dump stymied my plans to run the Basic Boulder Mountain Marathon last year. This year, by contrast, we had clear skies and a day in the 70s for the annual end-of-season cruise of the Boulder peaks. Given that half the trail running world has moved to the Front Range in the last year or two, this year's get together featured a field of runners that most race directors would have been licking their chops at.
While there wasn't any racing going on, there was certainly some good conversation, plentiful killer peaks, and expansive mountain views. I'm still not sold on the Boulder trails, but I guess they were okay too.
In addition to a slew of cheery Boulder Trail Runners, the group this morning included Scott Jurek (in a vintage WS half-cut top), Geoff Roes, Tony Krupicka, Dave Mackey, Joe Grant, Dakota Jones, Jeff Valliere, Darcy Africa, and Helen Cospolich. Off the top of my head, that list is good for 8 Western States wins, 5 Wasatch wins, 3 Leadville wins, 2 Badwater wins, 1 Hardrock win, 1 Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim fastest known time, 1 American 24 hour record plus a ton of other ultra wins and course records. Not your average group run then.
Scott Jurek as Scott Jurek circa 1990s.
Shoe talk: Joe G, me, J.V., Dave M. Tony K. Photos: Brandon Fuller.
Photo: Eric LeeThe proceedings started from Phil's house a few blocks east of Chautauqua with a very mellow trip up Flagstaff, before heading to Green for a short repose on top to soak in the awesome views on what was warming up to be a fantastically beautiful morning. From there it was down Green-Bear to the end of Mesa (I think) to some historic-looking stone building that marked the turn back west for the climb up Shadow Canyon to South Boulder Peak.
Coming down Green. Photo: Eric LeeAs with most ascents up the front side of the Boulder peaks, Shadow is a steep, steep bruiser. However, the South Boulder summit was a worthy reward. With not a lick of wind in the air and a warm sun, the group - which at this point included Tony, Dave, Geoff, Joe, Scott, Johannes Rudolph, Dakota, Ryan Cooper and a couple of others whose names I didn't catch - lingered on South Boulder Peak for quite some time.
Once we got moving again, it was just a short bop down and up to Bear Peak, before the decision was made to round out the morning with a second summit of Green. I was a bit wobbly coming down the front of Green, so I let Tony, Dakota and Joe take off, content to close out the morning with an easy descent in company with Johannes. As always in Boulder, the vert racked up ridiculously quickly, with something over 7,000 feet of vertical gained in not much more than 20 miles.
From Gregory, it was back to Phil's for a fantastic luncheon spread, that would put most post-race food efforts to shame, and a couple of beers before heading back north to FoCo with Pete, Ross and Frank. Good times.