Sunday, April 3, 2011

Week Ending April 3

Monday - PM: 14.5 miles (1,400') easy on the Red Rock 'Scenic Highway'. Didn't have much time, so chose to run the road route around the canyon. Still a great run with mind blowing rock structures and strata to check out. Legs were pretty achy towards the end, but held up well enough considering.

Tuesday - PM: 8 miles track. Met up with some folks from the Las Vegas Track Club and Shad from the Saturday Morning Ultra Team (SMUT) at a local high school track and jumped in with them on a 6 x kilo workout. I was able to put in a reasonably solid effort, although definitely some residual stuff still in the legs from Antelope Island: 3:20, 3:19, 3:20, 3:18, 3:16, 3:14. Killer pink fluffy cloud sunset behind the silhouetted Red Rock hills as we worked our way through the session. Felt awesome to be running comfortably in a singlet. The desert has really grown on me these last couple of years, but there's no way I could live in Vegas.

Weds - Noon: 11 miles (500') easy. 1:22. Ran on the Beltway Trail in windy 80 degree weather. The wind kills me out in CO, but in Vegas it's pleasant enough. The bike path, which runs parallel to the 215 Beltway, is not so pleasant however.

Thurs - 12 miles (1,500') easy with Josh on the Grand Circle trail at Red Rock Canyon.

January: 440.5 miles (45,850')
February: 304.5 miles (39,200')
March: 469.5 miles (67,100')

Total: 1,214.5 miles (152,150')
Avg: 405 miles (50,717')

Fri - Off. Driving all day from Vegas to The Fort.

Sat - AM: 10.5 miles. Poudre Rive Run 5k. 3 mile warm up 4+ mile cool down with Pete, Sam and Jenn.
PM: 4.5 miles (800'). Easy cruiser on the Falls loop. Legs felt like bricks.

Sun - AM: 3 miles easy setting up T&H 5k course.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,500'). To the top of Horsetooth to check out the fire situation in Redstone.

Total: 71 miles (5,700')

Things are starting to get a little crazy out here on the bone-dry Front Range. As most people who reside in the Front Range know, the potential for devastating wild fires is huge. There is abundant fuel, which is dry to the core, and the predictions are for another dry spring.

This weekend, it has been the turn of the Loveland/Fort Collins area, with what has been dubbed the 'Crystal (Mountain) Fire,' which is currently 5 percent contained but largely under control thanks to a couple hours of snow in the morning (we got lucky). I checked it out from the top of Horsetooth this afternoon and it looked to me like there was still potential for things to go up again with heavy winds. Last night it exploded from 30 acres to 4,500 acres after sustained 50 mph winds.

It isn't exactly clear what the extent of the burn area is, but the fire started on private property on the south side of Crystal Mountain toward the Dunraven Valley. It seems that last night's winds blew the fire east northeast into Buckhorn Canyon, over Stove Prairie and into Redstone Canyon. From my vantage this afternoon on top of Horsetooth, I could see pockets of smoke coming from areas on the west side of Redstone and large amounts of smoke billowing from Buckhorn. I know these areas well and there will assuredly be property damage. We'll see soon enough what the situation with the Forest land is, but judging from initial reports it seems there'll be significant burn down Buckhorn Canyon east from Crystal Mountain and also on the Dunraven side too, which is a huge bummer. Five or six years ago, Bobcat Ridge went up in flames too. Bobcat is five miles from my house and probably ten miles due south of the current burn area, so clearly the fire risk out here is high. Rain would be nice.

Crystal Mountain to the left, Lookout Mtn to the right (taken last year from Box Prairie/Buckhorn Canyon)

How it looked last night from the Carter Lake area near Loveand.

We got an hour or so of wet snow this morning, which helped the firefighting efforts considerably, but more importantly the wind was light all day. It has picked up here in the last few hours, but nothing crazy like last night. I took some footage from on top of Horsetooth at 6:00ish and there was still a lot of smoke, which means the fire still has potential to grow if the wind starts blowing again. Given that the nearest pockets of fire I could see were no more than four miles from my house, I'm pretty nervous going to bed tonight. However, the county lifted the evacuation order for all areas recently, which leads me to believe that the fire authorities on the scene are a little more confident of the situation than I am.

Vid of the burn areas from Horsetooth summit.

On the running side of things, I took things pretty easy and just ran as and when I felt like it/had time. I had a ton of work to get done while in Vegas, so was happy to run less and relax with the family. Got a couple of trips to Red Rock Canyon in, with a loop on the scenic drive and then a trip around on trail with Josh. Been feeling a bit lethargic for the most part, but hope to be ready to run well at American River. I'll be flying out there on Friday with Burch and Fast Eddie, we'll race on Saturday, and then we hope to run a few miles on the Western States course Sunday morning before our flight. Should be a fun weekend.


  1. Geez man, crazy up there. Hope the wind dies down for you.

  2. Thanks for the video. I hope they made some progress out there today getting it contained. Now get those legs ready for that 50-mile sprint.

  3. nick- sudden shift in weather, lookin to rain a little tomorrow, but still sunny for race day, just cooler temps in the 50's now. should be a cold start at 6am, see ya soon man.