Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fortnight Ending December 8

Week Ending December 1 

Mon - 6.5 miles (1,700') easy. Horsetooth summit jog.

Tues - 6.5 miles (1,700') easy. No morning workout to rest up a bit for the T-Day 4 miler, so just jogged a lap on Horsetooth.

Weds - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Another jog to the top of Fort Collins.

Thurs - 10 miles w/ 4 mile race. Jogged a lap of the Fort Collins 4 mile Turkey Day course with Slusher, then raced some of the best road talent on the Front Range (of which there is no shortage). Averaged a 5:37 pace, which was probably about right given my current state of fitness, for 49th overall. Two very easy miles to cool down.

Fri - AM: 4 miles (1,200') baggery. Set out early and with a slight hangover to go get the two remaining Rist Canyon peaks on my Larimer County punch card. These are two that I've been dreading due to significant access issues. I felt like I had a decent plan to get them undetected though, parking at a small pull-off on Rist Canyon Road to the northwest of 8,037', the first planned peak of the morning. I hopped onto a lightly used ranch road heading southeast from Rist, noting that there'd been one, maybe two vehicles through since the snows came a few days before. It was a nice easy jog up to a slight saddle where there was a small storage facility and what looked like a little-used private camping area. From there it was an easy jog through a grazing field to the base of 8,037, which sits to the northwest of the Davis Ranch community and looks to have burned hard during the High Park fire. The slopes were heavily mulched to prevent erosion and the hoof to the summit was a quick one. The summit was full of burned out project vehicles and had a rough road coming up from the terminal of the main Davis Ranch Road. I could see 7,420' - my next target - from the top, but cringed at the number of properties that lay in my way. To cut a long story short, I gave it a go, but just didn't have the appetite for it after about a half mile of trying to sneak my line. Tail between my legs, I retraced and headed home. To get 8,037, I think my best course of action will be a very early morning attempt under cover of darkness, coming in from the Redstone Canyon side.
AM (2) 5 miles (1,500') easy. Still with some time left before I was due home, I grabbed a conciliatory Horsetooth summit on the way back.  

Sat - AM: 1.5 miles (1,300') baggery. I set out this morning to finish up the 25-peak Poudre Park quad, with a tag of 6,712' - a pesky hill with access issues and some pretty rough terrain to negotiate. I parked up at a very prominent bend in the river, just west of a small neighborhood on the flats to the north of the river. Not wanting to deal with private property issues, I chose not to use the bridge that services those houses, and instead waded the very cold Poudre up to about waist deep from a public parking area with picnic tables. From there, it was a really steep hoof up a brush-infested gully. This got tiresome quickly, so I gave up on the gully and headed directly for the peak up its steep and rugged west slopes. For a low-lying peak, this one is a pretty tough get, but the views from the open top were large and well worth it. Rather than battle the scrub coming back down, I chose to come down the fairly open southern ridgeline, cutting west back into the gully before hitting private property. From there, it was back across the river, in the car and home.
PM: 5 miles (1,500') easy. Got out in fading light for a quick trip up Horsetooth.

Sun - 13 miles (3,500') baggery. Hooked up with Burch for a go at some of the peaks in the Laramie Mountains off Deadman Road, west of Red Feather Lakes. This one turned into a mini-epic and netted zero ranked peaks, but did include a summit of Middle Bald, which tops out at just over 11,000 feet. We parked up at a small turnaround to the east of a seasonal gate that was scheduled for a December 1 closure. The gate was open, but given that it was December 1, we didn't want to drive the extra mile and a half to the Killpecker trailhead and then come back to find the gate closed on us. After running up the road and finding the TH, we started on our way for what we hopped would net us the Laramie Mountains High Point, South Bald and 10,884'. However, the northern aspect of the slope in addition to the heavy tree cover meant that we were instantly dealing with deep snow, but for the first mile or so it was fine as there had been traffic along the trail before us. For the next mile after that, we were following just one set of prints but soon lost those as they headed off trail in the direction of North Bald. And so the trudging began, getting deeper and deeper the higher we got to the point where we were consistently knee to waist deep and making really slow progress, producing little body heat and generally getting cold. On a slight saddle at about 10,500' we were able to make out a craggy summit through the trees, so decided to go for that and then call it a day. We had no clue which summit it was as they are tightly packed on the ridgeline, but it was easily the most aesthetically pleasing of the four that we could see once we gained its summit. I suspected it was unranked Middle Bald from its craggy nature, but with strong winds cutting into our wet clothing we had zero appetite to trudge on and get the nearby ranked boys. From the summit, we darted back into the trees to get out of the wind and then followed our tracks all the way back down the mountain, getting back to the car 4 hours after we started. I 'm already looking forward to a summer return to this lightly visited area, as it looks like an absolute gem with super runnable trails and lots of accessible peak action.

Total: 56.5 miles (13,900')

Week Ending December 8

Mon - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Horsetooth summit jog.

Tues - AM: 8 miles intervals. Workout was: mile, broken 1.5 (3x800, with 20 meter jog between each), broken 1.5, mile. Kinda going through the motions with Tuesday mornings right now and treating them more as tempo efforts. Splits were: 5:40, 2:51, 2:51, 2:54, 2:54, 2:50, 2:51, 5:37.
PM: 5 miles (1,500') easy. Snagged a late Horsetooth summit just as the snows were starting and the temps beginning to plummet.

Weds: 5 miles (1,500') slogging. Got out in the afternoon and put first tracks up on the summit. Cold one out there, but always fun to hit Horsetooth in the snow. Hung a few Chub flags along the way.

Thurs: 10 miles (1,400') easy. Met up with Marie, Katie, Lee, Andy and Sarah for a 6:00 AM start on Centennial in -10 degrees. Perhaps the coldest air temps I've ever run in, but with no wind and good layering it wasn't too bad. I've run in zero degrees with wind and been way more uncomfortable. Ran easy for the full 10 miles, rather than try and force things coming back the last five miles.
PM: 7 miles (1,700') easy. Managed to talk another six folks into running up Towers in slightly warmer conditions (-5, maybe), as I had to hang a few course markings for El Chubbo at the top of Towers. Again no wind, so pretty comfortable the whole time.

Fri - 6 miles (1,400') easy on lower Horsetooth trails hanging more flags and breaking tracks. Frigid again.

Sat - 21 miles (5,500) slogging. Ran the JV version of Chubby Cheeks, starting out with the 9:00 AM group of about 10 hardy souls. Temps were forecast to be a little better, but the sun never really got out, so it was freaking cold again, topping out somewhere in the low single digits. Slogged through snow the whole way, but had the benefit of 25 runners having gone before me, so it really wasn't that bad. Still took close to five hours to cover the ground. Ran much of it with Ryan from Boulder and then picked up Sam Malmberg for the last stretch on Towers - Westridge - Wathan - home. A couple of ugly looking toes among the list of finishers when it was all said and done, but no lasting damage. Just three runners completed the full course. Kudos. Results, pics and more from the day in an upcoming post. Horsetooth summit #145 on the year along the way.

Sun - AM: 2 miles setting up Spring Creek 6k T&H course. Cold as all get out again.

5 degrees at the start of the T&H, maybe. Pic: Felix Wong
Total: 69 miles (14,500')

Things are starting to warm up a touch here on the Front Range, but it was legitimately cold there for a few days this week. Had about 30 runners show up for the Chubster on Saturday, which was more than I was expecting given the conditions, but only three managed the full 50k. Fun times hanging out after the run as always. Cheeks and "Cojones Grandes" gets a mention in the local rag.

I still consider myself to be very much in the off season right now, but I am ramping the mileage just a touch so that I have some kind of fitness for the Coastal Challenge Stage Race out in Costa Rica in early February. Additionally, I'd like to have a decent run at the Boxing Day classic back in the UK in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to the mild British weather and some fun outings in the green hills of home over the Xmas period.
Coming Off Horsetooth during the early stages of the Chub. Pic: Erskine 
The sun tried, but never really made it. This and other two pics: Hinterberg 
The 'warm' waters of the Rez produced a nice set of low puffy clouds.
Not too many people made it to the top of Arthurs. John and Rocque  (pictured), along with Hinetrberg were the only 50k finishers.


  1. 7420:
    If one were to jog down Redstone Canyon Road to the end, it wouldn't be a problem because that's a county road. And if one were to momentarily lose their way navigating Redstone Canyon Road for not more than half a mile roundtrip, that probably won't be a big deal.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Nikolai. Good chance I might be loosing my way here in the next couple of days.