Saturday, May 15, 2010

Green Mountain TT

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.


  1. Have it on a Saturday!


  2. I second Brownie's request...
    Nice to meet you last night Nick!

  3. And apparently this is not the first time GZ has gotten impatient...

  4. yeah, I wussed out because of the rain. I had enough of the cold rainy running after a 5k tuesday night.

    I can't believe that someone told OSMP - at least they did nothing about it.

  5. I'll agree that the trails/terrain in Boulder takes some getting used to. Coming from Colorado Springs (where 12-15% on a nice gravel surface is considered steep), when I moved here last fall I pretty much hated the trails most of the first semester. I remember the first time I ever ran up Green, it was two years ago and I had only been running for about a week after coming off of two months of injury and Johannes Rudolph took me up the Frontside route in ~36min. I was flabbergasted a the steepness and I think I spent most of the climb wanting to walk/throw-up.

    Huge step-ups, retardedly steep, giant rocks all over the place. But, I think eventually you start developing some very specific muscle-motions for big steps like that and you get over it and get a lot more efficient at it. Now I really enjoy a lot of that stuff, if only because it makes Gregory-Ranger feel like a flat race-track and because it's the kind of terrain that Euros like Kilian don't bat an eyelash at...

  6. Anton - missed you last night. We half expected to see you waiting at the top. We also hypothesized you emailed the ranger ... just to take us out.

    Nick and croo - thanks for coming down. Looking forward to coming to your styx for something similar.

    Not a competition but for the sake of stats, I think Boulder comes in dead ass last for not showing up. 1-5 for Denver metro, and 3-4 for Fo Co. Not adding that up or anything but I am just saying.

  7. Sounds like a fun gathering overall, glad you got the troops rallied from the Fort. I hope to make Sheep/Round (I vote for a Wed or Thurs night).

  8. count me in for the time trial in a couple of weeks, especially if it is more "run-able"(and longer)....i have no power to speak of, and like i was bitching about earlier, i'm not so much in to power hiking like gz is:)!
    i vote for either jv or anton calling the ranger as they both were suspiciously absent, don't you think?

    nice to have met you all!

  9. Piling on! Thanks for coming down in wet conditions. I kept watching my phone all day for the cancellation but "we" made it happen. It wasn't so bad once you were out in it of course. Here's to drier trails to come!

  10. I am all for another non race non event non competition no race numbers no scoring thingie up Gregory Ranger. Or up Long. Or over to Bear from Green. Whatever. Bring it.

    And in fact, we have track meets where competition is allowed coming up in June.

  11. GZ - The Boulder crew definitely took a beating, No thanks to me though!

    By the way, what makes a "race" anyway. If there is no registration fee, no numbers, no official timing, no prizes seems pretty hard to call it a race...what you did is basically a group run where some people went faster . The BTR tuesday tempo run does this every week - they pick a route and everyone runs it as fast as they can. Yet no one is calling that a race.

  12. For the record, I would not even call it a time trial. I call it a self motivated getting up the mountain as fast as I can and there happen to be a few other people out here who are interested in doing the same thing and then for scientific purposes we share data points which include times and then smack talk.

    But I am a wordy SOB.

  13. JT/Lucho - weekend idea is sound. May 29-30 would be about the only one I could do for a while though.

    Anton - yeah I felt pretty worked today in places that I don't normally feel worked. Definitely a whole different muscle group at play. I guess a few more trips up Amp and the flow would start coming.

    GZ - wait, are you claiming Nederland (or wherever it is west of Boulder that Lucho lives) as Denver metro? Looking for a recount.

    Kerrie - nice meeting you too, and solid run after your however many hours on the bike pre-run. Jury still out on the narc, but we'll ferret 'em out.

    Brandon - Nice work representing the 'Mont, and good seeing you out there.

    Nick - to be honest, I think the ranger was expecting something significantly larger than what he actually encountered on the numbers front. Once he realized it was no more than a few friends headed out for a group run, he seemed satisfied with the whole situation.

  14. Lucho lives in Golden. They make Coors there so it is most definitely metro.

  15. Golden-ish... and Coors sucks. I'll take Zack Rabbit IPA ANY DAY over Coors. Now if we could just get GZ to make 50 million a year we could all be sponsored by him! I represented the back woods mountain hood. Bill Fanselow lives by me so we may be able to represent next time! I'm totally looking forward to the FoCo throw down. I'll be there for sure. Maybe bringing a tent to camp after the after party.