Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Closing Out 2014

The view this morning looking southwest from the Aspen Mountain summit.
The new year is here tomorrow. So far, no huge plans for 2015 yet. I expect that to be firmed up in two to three weeks after the LT100 MTB lottery. I am not hugely invested on if I get in or not. If I get in, fine, if I don't, fine... I will have PLENTY to keep me busy.

Run Rabbit Run is starting to feel like a real A Goal race for me regardless of what happens. 

Ending my second week after being sick. Not much running but a lot of hiking, snow shoeing, and skiing uphill.  HUGE vertical focus. Between the three activities in the past nine days I have covered a total of 20.46 miles. 20,035 feet of gain in 11 hours and 28 minutes of time.

Next week I will start running more consistently and back off on the vertical a bit. I have just been having a lot of fun these past several days doing other things to work out instead of running. I have to say it has been a nice break.

Happy 2015 everyone.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Special Kind Of Special

The Gear
My plan Tuesday morning was to get up at 5:45, get ready and then snowshoe up Aspen Mountain. I rolled over and checked the outside temperature on my phone and it was -2 Fahrenheit here in town so it had to be even colder up on top. I turned off the alarm, milled around the apartment for a little bit until it really got too late to leave to go.

Melissa is off this week and wanted to ski Tuesday morning so I asked if I could hitch a ride with her to Midnight Mine Road, which is off of Castle Creek Road. The temps had warmed up a bit and I wanted to do something a little different which was to ski with climbing skins up the road to the summit instead of going up the front face.

I have only been dabbling again with back country skiing the past few years. Nothing like I used to do when I was in my 20's when I was out most weekends and was doing a lot of hut trips. But I prefer it to area skiing if for nothing else for the solitude.

The trip on Tuesday I will have to say was one of the best days out on BC skis that I can really ever remember. I saw elk tracks, moose tracks, and even fox tracks along the road for a bit. After about mile three I was breaking trail as no snowmobiles had gone through there yet. It was quiet and pretty out.
Looking back from breaking trail.
The trip up was 5.3 miles with 3100 feet of gain. It was challenging. It took me 2:55 to get up to the Sundeck after I started and when I got there I was beat down tired. But happy. Very happy.

I went into the Sundeck and hung out a bit. Actually I devoured my granola bar and my Larabar and drank the water in my Nalgene bottle, well after I broke through ice cap that had strangely formed on top. I contemplated skiing down but I was too pooped and decided to just ride the Gondola down.

I get a kick out of riding the gondola and Tuesday was no different. I was riding down and watching the carnage on the slopes below me and to be honest, it just looked damned cold out. It all just looked miserable to be honest.

Then it hit me... I am a special kind of special, you can figure out what that means on your own. I bet by skiing three hours up a damned mountain alone and riding the gondola down afterwards that I had a better time than most people out there. Or I just had a better time because I just do things differently than most. I don't know.

Anyway you cut it, I had a great time. I think will take the same route tomorrow up. Today I went up the front side and it was fun but it only took 1:38.  I want more time out there I guess.

I have pretty much decided that I am going to race the America's Uphill on March 14 and train exclusively for it until the race. So for the next couple of weeks I want to go up the mountain every day before I start getting focused on the training. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Finally Better

It was dumping all night on Sunday night.
The cold ended up being a total drag which lasted two weeks. One week with it in the head, one week in the lungs, with the second week being the worst of the two. I only got to run/workout twice in those two weeks, both times on the Thursday morning uphill. I felt better after this last Thursday but decided to give it until today to start pushing it again.

And that is what I did this morning. We have gotten about a foot of fresh snow in the past 48 hours, so I decided that it would be a snowshoe morning up Aspen Mountain. Moderate effort and I made it up in 1:37. It was so weird because there are usually other people either hiking or skinning up each morning but today I had it all to myself it seemed. Conditions near the top got a little epic with the wind blowing the snow all around but it was fun. What was more fun was the gondola ride down with the wind rocking it every which way.  It definitely felt like flying this morning riding down.

I still don't know why I get so geeked out over riding the gondola but it is one of my favorite things to do.

So... race goal number one for 2015 will be the America's Uphill on March 14th. My goal is to go under an hour. I plan to solely focus on that for the next 12 weeks.

I did put in for the LT100 MTB lottery. The nice thing is that I will know in mid-January as opposed to the first week of March this past year if I got in or not.

The San Juan Solstice is now a lottery? WTH?

From a work perspective things are on point. I had one of my blogs on picked up by yesterday and it drove traffic through the roof. That was kind of neat.  

No great plans for the holidays. Melissa is on break until the 5th and it is great to have her home and getting to do normal stuff together. Annie is coming up from Fort Collins on the 28th and staying until the second of January and we are really excited for her to visit.

I hope that everyone has a great Christmas/rest of Chanukah!  

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Nothing really to write about.  I am still breathing but not very well.  I've been fighting some strange cold thing since Monday and I still don't have a clue which direction it is going.  I feel better today but not sure if that will be the ongoing trend or will it be one of those things that lasts for weeks...

The Summit For Life went well for me.  I didn't raise as much as I wanted but then neither did anyone else for the most part.  The race itself went a lot better than I thought.  I made it up in 1:07:50 and had an average HR of 174.  Basically holding what would be my 5K effort for over an hour.  Sunday I was hurting.

No real plans for 2015 yet.  Usually after the thing on Saturday, I go through week or two of mixed emotions bouncing between relieved and disappointed. I guess after five years of bad luck it just goes straight to disappointment and stays there.  I am #45 on the wait-list so at least I got on that this year! :)

I have some ideas for next year but nothing has ignited a consuming fire within me yet. There is a long list of things that I DON'T want to do, Leadman #3 being one of them.  I figure it will be a couple weeks before things start coming to me that interest me.  The rough draft is LT100 Bike to ride on a team and help out (no PR attempt), pace the LT100 Run, and maybe, maybe RRR100 solo again.  Maybe.

The weather here in Aspen has been nuts.  Sunny and high 40's everyday the past two weeks.  Maybe a storm coming this weekend but so far there are no advisories and it isn't at watch or warning status so we probably won't get much.  I just thought for sure when the weather started coming in November that would be the norm until April.  So far it has been a very light winter.  Glad that I am not a big skier.  I think they are all pissed by now.  At the present rate if I was someone traveling here for the holidays to ski I wouldn't be too optimistic.  With all of the snow that is melting, consolidating, and refreezing every night, once we do start getting significant snowfall again, the avalanche danger is going to be extreme.

I've been on the snowshoes twice so far.  Meh... they are okay.  I mean for snowshoes I am sure they are fantastic as they are super light and I don't really know they are there.  But for me there really isn't any difference than going across snow with my Hokas and microspikes.   I am sure the more that I play with them and in different conditions I will grow to appreciate them.

Just over 14 weeks until Mexico.  Now that is something that I can get excited about.  I am also still considering a trip to Moab the 23rd of January to escape the X Games crowd.  I might make that a little longer than a weekend trip.