Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Greenland Weekend

I went into Greenland knowing that I wasn't going to set any records, but had thought that there was a chance to set a PR if I could just hold my training pace together given the flat nature of this course.  The Roost had set me up with a comp entry so I thought it was a good way to get another long run in at a place I typically wouldn't run.  My buddy Keith showed up to hang around the start and we caught up with Shad, Lucho, and Rob before the start.

First Turnaround (Photo: Rob Timko)
 Once we got going, I knew that I was going to be solid all day, but I haven't been doing ANY speedwork so my diesel engine just took its time to fire up and settle in.  I was a bit confused with the course as I hadn't really paid attention prior to the start, but the first and last laps are actually a good bit longer than the middle two laps.  I essentially just zoned out and ran for the next few hours with the occasional break to say hi to friends on the course.
Starting the 4th lap (Photo: Rob Timko)
 The only mistake I made was forgetting to grab gels at the start of the 4th lap.  I had eaten all mine and about 100 yards out of the aid I realized I really needed some calories.  That dragged my pace a bit until the last aid station and cost me a few minutes but nothing much to speak of.  I grabbed and downed 2 gels at the last aid station and went to work on the last rolling climbs back to the finish.
The view towards the first aid and Pikes (Photo: Rob Timko)

Backside of the loop (Photo: Ben Reeves)
I caught and passed 3 guys over the final 3-4 miles or so and held a fairly steady if unimpressive pace back to the finish.  I crossed in 4:10:45 (Full results) and went to go find my beer.  At the finish, I caught up with Matt, Scott, and Bryan for a while before collecting a tile I got for 2nd 20-29 and heading down to meet up with Keith.
Finishing (Photo: Rob Timko)
That afternoon I spent down at Fort Carson at the Spartan Race where my buddy Keith placed 3rd in the open out of over 2,500 people.  All that time in the Marines paid for itself there, eh?  Then we circled the wagons and loaded up the back of his '91 Tacoma and headed up to the Missouri Gulch Trailhead.  I overlooked that it is off the same road that goes to Winfield, so some nostalgia hit as we pulled in.  A quick dinner of gnocci and pesto followed by some apple crisp and we were off to bed.

The NW view from Belford
We slept in before grabbing some breakfast and headed up the gulch towards the summit.  Quickly we passed a few girls hiking in their snowboard boots with boards strapped on.  I admire the motivation, but their work was in vain unless they had plans to ride packed ice for a few hundred feet at a time or scree fields.  The route to Belford is actually pretty steep, gaining over 4500' in a touch over 3 miles.  Near 13,700' we crested the ridge and were hit with a strong freezing wind and began to move more quickly in our running shorts to gain the summit.

Keith, freezing on the summit
After warming up out of the wind, we began to run down the saddle.  However, as we approached the turn to begin the real work towards Oxford, a big group of nasty looking clouds began to form just off the peak and we decided to play it safe and bail as we were not prepared to deal with any moisture and we were already freezing.  I quickly stopped to slam a PBR on Belford for the 100 beers challenge (which I am way behind on) and then we headed back down to the truck.  After snacks, lunch, naps, and coffee we headed back to Colorado Springs.  That night I decided to bail on Pikes with more weather moving in, and instead head back home and bag some Boulder peaks.  

Monday morning I woke up late and gathered my things before heading up and began my run in the wet snow.  My route was Green via Gregory/Ranger/West Ridge, then on the saddle to Bear, SoBo, Bear, tagged Green again, down Bear Canyon, and Mesa back to the car.  Initially I had just planned on hiking the whole thing as my legs were barking from the vert the day before, but I felt better as I went and ended up running most of everything after Green the first time.  With all respect to Green, Bear and South Boulder are much more fun summits, Bear in particular.  So I'll vote Bear as best Boulder Peak, and Bear Canyon as the best trail in the Boulder Open Space.  There was a good amount of wet snow and I was in the thick of the clouds during the whole run which was awesome.  Gotta love the Spring storms in CO.  


Jim P. said...

Damn big weekend! I agree w/ you about the Boulder peaks. Bear is, by far, the most interesting and Bear Canyon is also my favorite trail in the Flatirons.

Mallory said...

What a weekend!!! Beautiful pictures. You make me want to trail run.