RTW Ruminations: Mar 16 – 2903/31/2015
Mon – Dinosaur Mt+Fatiron+SoBo+Bear+Seal Rock+Green (5:04, 8000′)
Back from Spain, and I’m so psyched. It seemingly changed from winter to summer while I was gone (+10F and several feet of snow when I left two weeks ago, very nearly +80F today!). Tagged Dinosaur via AP-PR on the way over on the Mesa and then headed up Shadow Cyn/SoBo via the Fatiron. The Fatiron is one of Gerry Roach’s Top-10 Flatiron Classics, and in my opinion it’s made even more so by being logically positioned for a summit of either SoBo or Bear Peaks (or both, as I did today). After descending Fern Cyn, I looped over Seal Rock before heading back up Green via my usual Satan’s Fist scramble. For me, it just really doesn’t get any better than this kind of outing—lotsa vert, lotsa scrambling, several summits, all right in my back yard.
Tue – Allenspark Skiing (3:40, 6000′)
I’m determined to keep peppering in the skiing so as to treat my shin as kindly as possible, but snow conditions for my usual regimen (multiple 2k’ laps) have deteriorated rapidly. My remnant jet lag had me wide awake at 4am and skinning uphill by headlamp before 6am. Which I love. The quiet and calm of the mountains at night is a definite pleasure. After yesterday’s hot temps, though, skiing ice by headlamp is not so much of a pleasure. Thankfully, things were a bit softer by lap two and then frustratingly slushy/wet/sticky for the final lap. I mean, I was skiing in shirt-sleeves at sunrise, what did I expect? Still a worthwhile outing.
Wed – Fatiron+Bear+Seal Rock+Green (4:27, 7500′)
A minor variation on Monday’s loop of running and scrambling—today I skipped the Dino Mt action and the SoBo tag—but today I was reminded just how much easier endurance activity is when it’s not being performed under a blazing sun. This morning’s overcast conditions were perfect and despite the big vert and long session my energy never flagged.
Thu-AM: SoBo Creek Path Loop (2:08, 20mi, 300′)
There was a classic springtime drizzle/mist going on this morning, so I took to the creek paths for my first 20mi up-tempo run of the season. I tried to ease into things on the first half, reaching 10mi in 67min, but was able to gradually squeeze down the pace on the second half, hitting 61min for the second 10mi despite having to completely shut it down and jog in the last mile when my hamstring tweaked. Of course. These old pins constantly remind me that I’m not a spring chicken anymore. My watch tells me my fastest mile in there was a 5:43, which seems about right. Bumped into Timmy Olson at the very tail end of the run; he was in a similar mindset, getting warmed up for a session of uphill 3min intervals on Flagstaff Road.
Fri – AM: Allenspark Skiing: St Vrain Mt (3:23, 5500′)
To minimize the strain on my hamstring, I went back to the planks, heartened by the fact that yesterday’s rain down in Boulder promised to be some fresh fluff up high. The 3-4″ that fell up there on the existing crust made for some of the easiest turns I’ve ever carved. The day warmed up quickly, however, so after only one 2000′ lap I lit out for the summit of St Vrain Mt in particularly hideous skinning conditions—the clumping snow build-up on my skins was ridiculous. It was all well worth it, though, as the descent off the 12,000’+ summit was the most fun I’ve ever had on skis.
PM: 1st Flatiron+Green Mt (1:15, 3000′)
After this morning’s truncated session, I had to maximize the beautiful weather with an evening outing on the hill. Super fun, felt super on-point. I’m being reminded why spring/summer is so great. Hamstring had improved a great deal in only 24hr.
Sat – 1st Flatiron+Green+Fatiron+SoBo+Bear+Seal+Green+1st Flatiron (5:42, 10,000′)
I biked up to Chautauqua this morning to meet up with Scott and Rickey for a jog up the hill. Rickey was taking his new rig (a 1990s pre-Tacoma Toyota small-sized truck; I’m jealous) across the country for an appointment in Arizona, and stopping off to visit friends along the way. On the way up Green I couldn’t resist a scramble of the First while Rickey and Scott skirted it via the standard trail, and then at the summit of Green my curiosity about Scott’s UD vest (for such a relatively short outing) was answered when he procured a bottle of Sombra Mezcal. Rickey has always got some sort of trick up his sleeve.
After we’d passed the bottle until it was empty, we continued down Bear Canyon, where Scott and Rickey headed back to Chautauqua via the Mesa trail while I split off to the south for a full day of fantastic scrambling and peakbagging. I was psyched to get in such an unexpectedly productive session fueled only by two cups of coffee, two pieces of toast, and two shots of mezcal.
Sun – MA+GMP+Challenger+5th Flatiron+Fist+Green (2:27, 3500′)
I’d been hitting it pretty hard on both the volume and intensity fronts all week, so today was a necessary easier day. These are some of my favorite formations for scrambling in all the flatirons, and I was psyched to scamper up the 5.6 North Buttress route on the Fifth Flatiron—this essentially follows the north arete of the rock from its very toe all the way to its summit—one that I typically avoid due to its short but noticeable crux. Today it gave me no issues and I finished out the morning feeling like I had energy to spare.
Mon – Winter Park Skiing (2:45, 6000′)
I had big ambitions today—10 or 12k’ of vert, I figured—but once I was actually on the hill, my legs had a different script. I was skiing by 7:30am, and in these spring conditions, that meant I was skinning up ice. The corduroy made it surprisingly skiable on the way down, but on lap two I could tell that my legs just didn’t have it. By lap three the ice had turned to slush and now my skins were freezing up. Combined with the fatigue, it was easy to call it a day. I thought yesterday’s shorter outing would have me ready for more, but I obviously needed another day of recovery.
Tue – Dinosaur Mt+Fatiron+SoBo+Bear+Green (4:17, 7500′)
After biking up to Chautauqua, I could feel that my energy was back, so I completed what is becoming my favorite way to tag Boulder’s three main 8000’+ peaks, i.e. via scramble-intensive routes. I had an early-afternoon physio appointment for my hamstring, however, so unfortunately chose to skip my usual 30min/1000′ Seal Rock addition between Bear and Green in order to be on time.
Wed – Green-Eldo-SoBo-Bear-Green-Flagstaff-Anemone-Sanitas (6:25, 12,000′)
When I woke up the clouds were already descending over the Flatirons and it was lightly drizzling. Before I got out the door it had alternately graupeled and snowed before reverting back to the drizzle, so obviously there would be no scrambling today. I felt due for a long run, however—especially with being in San Francisco the rest of the week—so I donned a light jacket and headed up the hill.
It was a truly outstanding day to be out running around in the mountains. The fresh snow made the previously icy trails tacky and cushioned and adorned the trees and rock formations in just the right amount of frosting so that when combined with the constantly swirling low clouds there was palpable magic in the air.
My route was basically a “Backside Loop” followed by a full “Boulder Skyline Traverse”. That is, I ran up Green Mt, rolled over and down to the Walker Ranch Ethel Harold Trailhead, and then took the Eldorado Canyon Trail (one of my favorites) down to Eldorado Springs before doing the Skyline Traverse over to Sanitas and back to my apartment. For the extra vertical it affords, however, I descended Fern Canyon off of Bear Peak and ran all the way up Bear Canyon back to the summit of Green and also made sure to tag the true summits of Flagstaff and Anemone (easy to skip without the requisite determination) before the final grunt up the uber-classic south ridge of Sanitas. I was definitely tired for those last 2000’+ of vertical (unsure of my route plans when I’d left the house, I’d only packed three gels), but they were good character-builders, and I’ve really missed these long days out just running trails (as opposed to the mix of running and scrambling that has become my default).
Thu – Green Mt (1:58, 2800′)
Phew, what a day. Due to not being packed before heading out to dinner with friends last night—and then wanting to get a real run in before hopping on a plane—I only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night. My stumble up Green in the morning was via headlamp, but the sunrise from the summit was magnificent. However, when I arrived in San Francisco mid-afternoon, I learned that the plan was to film all night, starting at midnight. Good god. Thankfully, we cut the session short and I was asleep by 4am, but ugh, that was rough. The main bummer about the day was not getting to ski the few inches of fresh snow that had fallen back home in Colorado, which is really what I would’ve preferred in order to be safe with my shin after yesterday’s long run.
Fri – San Francisco (0:40, 500′)
I tried to sleep in this morning, but could only make it to 9am. After a relaxed morning, I babied the shin with a short jog down along the Bay…Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, Crissy Field, etc. Beautiful day and the city seemed to be out en masse enjoying the Friday afternoon.
Sat – SF Run Co (0:40, 300′)
Another late night of filming was followed by an early morning so that we could catch the sunrise on the Golden Gate Bridge on our way into Marin. It was worth it as the channel was thankfully crystal clear, not clagged in with the apparently more typical fog.
The Stance Socks launch at SFRC was a good time—catching up with friends, meeting new ones, abundant sunshine, soft trails. As much as I wanted to join the guys up front for the full 2hr-ish tour of the Headlands, I decided to play it safe with my shin and just did a short jog down to Tennessee Valley with DBo and Russell. I’m trying to become more wise with age. As exhausting as this short trip to SF was, I feel like I gained an appreciation for the city that I didn’t have before. Like any truly international metropolis, it’s a hectic mess, but there’s definitely a certain vitality and beauty in that.
Sun – 1st Flatiron+2nd Flatiron (1:02, 1600′)
After a glorious and much-needed 11 hours of sleep, I worked into the day leisurely, spending an especially long time reading and drinking coffee before pedaling up to Chautauqua for an equally casual lap up the First Flatiron and down the Second. The shin is only minorly tweaked, I think, so hopefully today’s short, easy, nearly-all-hiking-and-scrambling outing will get it back to 100%.
I very nearly finished off Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay this morning, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. It’s the first I’ve read by him, and it is very good.
Example excerpt: “One of the sturdiest precepts of the study of human delusion is that every golden age is either past or in the offing. The months preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor offer a rare exception to this axiom. During 1941, in the wake of that outburst of gaudy hopefulness–the World’s Fair–a sizeable portion of the citizens of New York City had the odd experience of feeling for the time in which they were living, at the very moment they were living in it, that strange blend of optimism and nostalgia which is the usual hallmark of the aetataureate delusion. The rest of the world was busy feeding itself, country by country, to the furnace, but while the city’s newspapers and newsreels at the Trans-Lux were filled with ill portents, defeats, atrocities, and alarms, the general mentality of the New Yorker was not one of siege, panic or grim resignation to fate but rather the toe-wiggling, tea-sipping contentment of a woman curled on a sofa, reading in front of a fire with cold rain rattling against the windows.”
Chalk it up as reason #7487 of why I read fiction.
Tempest is also an award-winning poet in the UK: