Monday, June 1, 2009

The Crosier Triple Bagger

I wanted to finish the break-the-body-down portion of this training cycle with a bang, before focusing on the final build-the-body-back-up phase. I did the double crossing of Crosier with Chad in the winter and we had talked about the triple, which entails out-and-backing from each of the three Crosier trailheads.

Chad was out vacationing with family, but I managed to round up Ryan Burch for company and we agreed on a 6:00am pick-up from my house. We both felt like it would be wise to take it easy (all things being relative) after a hard effort Saturday as we chatted on the 30-minute drive out to the Drake trailhead. We chose to start from this TH because it's the closest. In retrospect it was a great decision, as we would get the biggest climb of the morning done and out of the way before we really even knew we were running.

Loaded up and ready to go

We muled fuel supplies to the top on the first climb and got them stashed for the next two summits. The climb out of the Drake TH is 5 miles and 2,800 feet of climbing - a great workout by itself - but we had bigger plans for the day. I made up an arbitrary rule as we were about to hit the half mile, 500 foot scramble to the top for the first time: No Crosier treble is valid unless every step of the summit sections are run, with the last having to be the fastest of the day.

Crosier, just before you meet the spur to the top.

Summit #1 @ just over 9,000 feet

Easing back down to the middle trailhead, we started passing a few folks heading up. It was a beautiful morning out and many were taking advantage. We got to the parking lot, turned around and headed back up the mountain. The second climb is closer to 2,300 feet and 4 miles. There are some pretty steep sections on this leg and we hiked a few of them, and ran at a very moderate pace in a bid to replicate 100-mile pacing.

Two washed-up hippies sitting on a mountain!

At the top for the second time, Ryan told me about a trip he had up to Longs last year when he met a couple smoking a joint at the peak of the iconic 14'er. He recounted them saying that they were at 14,000 feet and ready to take it higher! Looking at the photo above, we look like we're both about ready to "take it higher".

Again, we took it easy descending to the Glen Haven trailhead. Coming back up, this third leg is probably the easiest of all the climbs. It is four miles again, with just under 2,000 feet of climbing.

Crosier on the way back up on the final leg

It was a relief to get to the top for the last time as it pretty much concluded my build up to Bighorn. We had someone snap a picture for us, and then set about returning to the car on the last five-mile descent of the day.

Good to be done climbing

There is a short 200 foot climb about halfway down this section. After we cleared that, Ryan bolted and danced through the rocks in record pace in a bid to get the run done in under five hours. We got back to the car right under five hours at 4:57. A great morning with great company on a fun mountain.

This was Ryan's last big run before he gets married next weekend. I'll be blogging and tweeting live from the event ... just kidding.

Ryan and Meagan have a mad summer lined up, which includes a run at Hardrock, followed by a month or two in New Zealand. I remember the days of being care free, footloose and a travelling fool. Definitely some of the best years of my life. I wish Ryan and Meagan all the best for the summer and the future. You probably couldn't find a better match.

Stats, if you're interested:

Miles: 25.5
Climb: 7,200 feet
First climb: 1:11:50 (8:45 summit half mile)
First descent: 34:17
Second climb: 53:47 (9:00 summit half mile)
Second descent: 36:54
Last climb: 54:01 (8:08 summit half mile)
Last descent: 46:26

Total: 4:57:16

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