Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week Ending March 4

Monday - Noon: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Beautiful day out, which was hugely refreshing after the wind lashing we received last week. Jogged up to top of Horsetooth and spent some time lingering on the summit checking out the lay of the land, putting names to a few more peaks that until Sunday's peakbagging outing were nameless to me (Buckhorn, Leila and Ethel). Conditions up top are starting to get pretty sketchy on the ice front, but definitely seen it worse. Up Rock trail, down Audra/Southridge, home long. 
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Quick Falls loop before Dana took off for work.

Tues - AM: 10.5 miles intervals.
Cemetery workout with Jane's group: mile, 3x800 (on 20 sec rest), mile, 3x800 (on 20 sec rest), mile. Good conditions this morning, high 20s and no wind, so really tried to keep the effort honest the whole way around. First mile felt super smooth, last mile and second set of 800s I had to stay pretty focused. 5:17, (2:40, 2:38, 2:41), 5:14, (2:40, 2:41, 2:41), 5:15.
PM: 10.5 miles (1,500') easy. Milner loop, plus Redstone one mile O@B and neighborhood add-ons.

Weds - Noon: 9 miles (2,100') easy. Horsetooth summit (up Rock, down Audra/Southridge) then some meandering in the neighborhood. Wind was back and angry. Warm out though. 
PM: 6 miles (1,100') easy. Milner loop.

January: 330 miles (45,200')
February: 445 miles (58,500')
2012 Ranked Summits: 
Horsetooth (9)
Blue Mountain (Sth)
Green Mountain (7,335)
7,098' (Poll Mtn range)
Goat Hill
Reservoir Ridge
7,260 (Ziggy Point)
8,415 (Leila Peak)
Mount Ethel
Buckhorn Mountain
5,740' (1)
5,740' (2)

Thurs - AM: 15 miles (1,700') hill tempo. 5:30 start for this one, but it was light enough to see by 6:00. The longer days are starting to get me excited for spring, even if it looks like we're going to get an extended wind season this year. So anyway, the usual HTH5MO@B run for this morning, with Steph, Sarah, Celeste, Zig, Pete and Mike in attendance. Pretty big headwind coming out of the north, northwest for the way out, meaning a slower than usual warm-up, but potential for a zippy return. After a low-7 split following Mike's heels over the big north dam hill on the way back, I felt like a sub-30 might be on, so put it into 10k mode for the net uphill second and third miles to see if I could get there without having to beat myself up too badly on the descent over the last mile and a half. Needing just 5:40s for the last two miles, I took them just moderately hard and still came home in a big one-minute, but wind-aided, PR (7:05, 6:00, 5:36, 5:26, 5:03 = 29:11). After Tuesday's workout, which was noticeably better than a similar, but shorter, workout from the end of January, I'm starting to feel like I'm building some really good fitness here. Snagged a few on the front and back ends for a 15-mile morning. Good stuff.
PM: 6.5 miles easy with FCTR folk at Pineridge.

Friday - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long. Tired
PM: 5.5 miles (800') easy with Pete on the 'A' trail. Picked up 5,773' or 'Aggie Peak' along the way.

Saturday - AM: 18.5 miles (2,800') peakbaggery
. Decided against heading up to Laramie for the rescheduled Trudge (which sounded epic), choosing to check out the Red Mountain Open Space with Mike instead. Goal was three peaks and some quality trail miles, with a pop into Wyoming on the way; reality as usual with these peakbagging missions was a little different. The wind was absolutely howling and given the general lack of cover out in the Red Mountain area, that made for a fairly unpleasant start to the morning.
Northern slope of Table Mountain
By the time we'd bushwhacked our way to the top of Table Mountain (7,074') -- by way of the cactus-infested northern shoulder -- we were both a little wind-shocked. After almost being blown off our feet (quite literally) on the western cap of the summit bluff I pulled the plug on our intended descent route, deciding that the semi-technical nature of the down climb was too sketchy in the freezing cold and powerful swirling winds. Tail between legs, we headed off the gentler west side of Table and back to the trailhead (into a fierce headwind). The plan now was to salvage the day by knocking out a long run on the awesome network of trails in Redstone and Soapstone; wind be damned. However, we were seduced back on peakbagging track after rounding the north side of Table Mtn on the Bent Rock trail and seeing 7,178 to the southwest. Picking up a mix of ranch and game tracks for what we were pretty sure was our intended target, we made our way southwest. An hour later and we were on top enjoying the slightly less violent winds and awesome westerly and easterly views.     
 On top of a windy 7,178
Table Mtn from 7,178'
Southeast from 7,178' towards 6,740'

Retracing our steps from the summit, we cut back north, picking up a more westerly ranch track from the one we had been on heading south, which we hoped would get us close to 7,380' up on the Wyoming border. The approach to 7,380' came a little quicker than we had expected and essentially stopped us in our tracks. The southerly wall was imposing and there was no obvious way up. All of a sudden time was a factor and after scouting around a bit, we decided that we were going to have to come back and get this bad boy another day so we followed the drainage east out of the canyon and back towards Table Mountain and the Red Mountain trail network. The Boxelder drainage offered up some fine scrambling, awesome red rock cuts, the remnants of a lion's feast and all-around atypical northern Colorado scenery - all of which made up for the disappointment of failing on summit three. 

Northern side of the impressive Boxelder Creek.
Roaming around in lower Boxelder Creek; Table Mtn to the east.
There was a lot of game activity in Boxelder Canyon; this guy was dinner and pretty much picked clean.
Once out of Boxelder, we navigated back to the Red Mountain trails. While finishing up the Bent Rock loop we realized that the peak we had been looking at was in fact the wrong one as we had been one drainage too far to the south, so it would have been a wasted effort anyway had we taken a crack at. All in all, a fun morning in a unique corner of Colorado. There is plenty of unfinished peak-grabbing business up there, so I'll be back soon. 

Sunday - AM: 8.5 miles easy
. Setting up 12k T&H course. Beautiful morning out.
Noon: 2 miles easy with Alistair to Horsetooth Falls and back. Mud-fest hike/run plus some fun exploring down the creek from the falls.
PM: 7 miles (1,900') Horsetooth summit easy. Dropped Alistair back home and then took off for the peak. Killer weather, warm and sunny, with nary a breath of wind; so refreshing after the beating we've been taking from the wind all week. Peak was about as crowded as I've seen it (outside of an FCTR time trial).

Total: 116.5 miles (11,800')

Felt an odd mix of tired and strong this week. Failed to get the bigger weekend runs in that I was hoping for, but that's alright because I think it will leave me feeling a little fresher for the Salida Marathon next weekend, which I'm really looking forward to. Good people, good competition, fun town.