RTW Ruminations: March 9 – 1503/19/2015
Mon – off.
After flying into Barcelona late last night, I had a much-needed day off from really any kind of activity today. Since the race on Saturday, I’ve had a hard time eating much food. Which is super frustrating, because I feel starving and ravenous most of the time, but then when I go to eat a solid meal, it doesn’t take long for me to become nauseous and lose my appetite. I’m not sure this has ever really happened to me after a race before.
After my truncated breakfast, I went for a long walk down through BCN’s Gothic District to the beach for some reading and journaling. This has generally become my default activity here in Barcelona over the years (this was my 7th trip to the city), and, if nothing else, it’s good for people watching and getting lost in the tiny streets.
Tue – Photo shoot in Puigcerda/Font-Romeu
Driving up to the Pyrenees today for the shoot with Buff, we passed through Berga and Baga, the start/finish village for the Cavalls del Vent 84K I ran a couple years ago (now the 103K Ultra Pirineu and this year’s Ultra Skyrunning Final). I’ll race either that or UTMB at the end of the summer, and I’m excited about either choice.
I was thoroughly surprised by the near-total lack of snow on the mountains. I guess there gets to be more snow over in Andorra and other points farther west, but we could’ve run probably 90% of the Cavalls course today without stepping in snow. Pretty nuts, especially since I’d always thought that Font-Romeu was supposed to be some kind of classy ski resort.
Wed – Barcelona Beach (0:46)
I got out for a little shuffle/jog down to the beach before spending the rest of the day at Montseny, finishing up the Buff photoshoot. My legs were predictably sluggish and dead, but I think (fingers crossed) they survived the race.
Thu – Barcelona Beach (0:53)
A reprisal of yesterday’s jog had my legs feeling a bit better. I spent the rest of the day in Igualada (45min outside of Barcelona) at Buff headquarters. Such a rad company; I feel really fortunate.
Fri – Montserrat Climbing w/ Nuria and Salva
I met Nuria and Salva in El Bruc (village at the foot of the mountain) for a casual climb of La Prenyada. I was super-excited to finally get out for a little bit of climbing at Montserrat. Salva referred to it as “Spain’s Yosemite” and the “spiritual center of Spain’s climbing culture”. It certainly is a gigantic wonderland of seemingly endless hoodoos and summits, all composed of a unique conglomerate sandstone with large cobbles. The route we ended up doing on Prenyada was five pitches, but quite moderate, starting with a pitch of maybe 5.7/8 with the rest feeling about 5.6-ish. Certainly the crux of the day was repeatedly squeezing my race-battered feet into my tight, still new-ish climbing shoes.
Afterwards, Nuria and I enjoyed a classic Catalan lunch (hearty salad, pale beer, fish and veggies main course) at the exact same bar that I’d eaten at almost three years ago when I’d gone for a nice run at Montserrat. The mountain really is a sprawling treasure of running, climbing, and scrambling. I’m looking forward to exploring it more in the future.
Sat – Barcelona Beach (1:01)
I got up early (5:30am) to get this jog in before catching a taxi to the airport. This was the second or third time that I’ve done a pre-dawn, weekend morning run in Barcelona, and this was no different in that there were many, many people still out on the town from the previous night. Reminded me of college. Nice catching the sunrise from the beach, though. Legs are feeling better every day; I’m excited to get back into a regular training routine.
My trip back was pretty rough. First, the flight from BCN to Miami was 10hr, which I found odd as Dallas to Madrid on the way over was only 8hr. I finished DJ Duncan’s The Brothers K (absolutely fantastic) earlier in the week, and have since been plugging through Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. It’s been really tough for some reason; something about his prose makes it very difficult for me to concentrate and remain engaged.
As such, after a brief attempt to do some reading I took advantage of American Airlines’ outstanding seat-back movie screens and binged on new releases: Foxcatcher (very good), St. Vincent (Bill Murray is always a riot), A Most Violent Year (unexpectedly outstanding; best movie I’ve seen since Birdman earlier this year), The Skeleton Twins (it was okay; my expectations were pretty low); and then, because once we landed we were stationary on the tarmac for another full hour, I very nearly got all the way through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This is the third time I’ve seen this movie, but I love David Fincher, Rooney Mara’s character is hyper-compelling, Trent Reznor’s score is perfect, and I’m a (albeit reluctant) fan of Daniel Craig.
Sun – 2 x Green Mt+Seal Rock (3:35, 6500′)
The last bus from DIA to Boulder on a Saturday night leaves at 11:19pm. My flight got in at about 12:45am last night, so I was left to try and snooze on the floor of the airport until the 4:25am bus. When I finally walked into my apartment at 5:30am, it felt more like noon to my body, so going to sleep was kinda tough, but I managed to get an hour or so before the sun was up at 7:00am, and I made a pot of coffee, excited for my first scrambling in exactly a month.
Side note: the coffee was stupendous this morning. These last two weeks were particularly disappointing/frustrating on the java front. Almost all of my first-thing-in-the-morning coffee consumption was via a hotel Nescafe-type-of-machine, and while this was a giant step up from the incredibly watered down drip goat piss that was served the first couple of days up at Garanon (seriously, the Lipton Green Tea seemed to have more kick and certainly offered more flavor), it was still frustratingly poor quality from that which I’ve grown accustomed.
The two exceptions were: 1) the one day I had time for a mid-morning cup at a shop around the corner from my hotel in Barcelona that Pau had recommended—True Artisan Cafe. But, they didn’t open until 9am. 2) The overall fantastic meal (and espresso shots) Joe and I had at the Nuria-recommended Dejate Llevar Cafe in Tejeda on Gran Canaria.
There were a couple other random acceptable cups, but overall it was a disastrous trip for java.
Anyways, I don’t know if it was the coffee, but I had a great run this morning despite all the travel. After biking up to Chautauqua, I had a glorious scramble of the First, followed by a march to the summit of Green itself. From there I descended Bear Canyon and tagged a lap on Seal Rock (up the south side and downclimbing the north side—an extra 1000′ of vert and 30min of time, Mesa-to-Mesa), before heading back to the summit of Green via Satan’s Slab and The Fist. On the descent I stopped off for a quick summit of the First Pinnacle in the Amphitheater. Awesome day out on the hill. Temps very near +80F after all the snow from February mean that the springs/creeks are finally running, and the trails are generally a muddy/slushy/sloppy mess. Spring is here!
A nice example of Segall’s ability to occasionally slow it down.