Friday, August 24, 2012

Homie's Adventure

So, Homie is a guy I've met once and can't really say I know, as we've talked briefly for 30 minutes or so.  However, when you meet a guy like Homie, they leave quite an impression.  Right now he's attempting to take down a RIDICULOUS record. Like, stupid ridiculous: the CO 14er record (which is ALL 50+ peaks in succession).  He gets some basic assistance like being carted from trail head to trail head, but even with this, it is a 10+ day record.  So, basically, I'm just trying to shed some light on this insane attempt to do something that few people will actually follow or know about.  I'm pulling big time for Homie to get the record, and I can't think of someone more worthy or capable of holding the title.  Updates provided on his blog and his spot tracker.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Stinger Marathon and looking forward to RRR

Another week, another race in Steamboat.  This time I was able to gain access to the west side of town and Howelson Hill. The Stinger Marathon (as put on by Honey Stinger) was a fun and relatively fast course with plenty of single track.  Despite a somewhat contrived ending to the race (presumably to gain the necessary exact 26.2 distance) there were plenty of things that made this race worth doing:

1. Steamboat
2. Actual bathrooms at the Start/Finish
3. Finish is on the Yampa river
4. Pulled pork sandwiches
5. Ranger IPA on tap

As for my race against the man with one nut, it was a decent effort, but another reminder that I'm not fast.  I did decent work on the initial climb, not overdoing it, and tried to relax on the long downhill.  As the race essentially consisted of two climbs followed by two long descents, my plan was to hammer the back half climb.  At the start of the second climb I had to shepherd a gigantic heifer off the trail before really getting to work.  The climb was shallow and like the rest of the trail, non-technical.  I was working well, but couldn't find that extra gear.  Caught Luke just before the summit, and tried to make some ground on the 5th place guy.  About halfway down, I caught a glimpse of 5th and made an overly concerted effort to close the gap.  This was a mistake.

I've been pretty good lately in races about catching and passing without expending extra energy, but I discarded that here.  Just after the final aid station (3 to go) I was nearly in contact and in regular sight, but once the course opened up and the sun exposure took hold, it was clear that the effort I made to get close pushed me a bit over the line and I began to fade.  So, unfortunately, I fell back a bit and missed my pre-race goal of 3:30 by a solid 10 minutes.

Certainly the positives of the race were gaining course knowledge and familiarity with that side of town, as I'll be hitting it right around mile 23 of the 100 in 5 weeks.  The 100 takes a much more direct approach of Howelson Hill however, and removes all of the zig-zagging and sends you straight up the ski jumps before completing what appears to be the same middle half of the marathon course.

I'm feeling strong, and already recovered from the effort, which is a good sign.  However, I'm not harboring any ill-conceived ambitions of winning cash at RRR.  That will be an effort in survival and constant trudging, with this side of the course being the "easy" side I'll hope to get back to Long Lake for the 2nd of 3 times feeling comfortable before the real brutality of the course kicks in.  So, I'm about as familiar with the course as one could be without living and training in the area.  The only sections I'm unfamiliar with are the Fish Creek drop and climb and the Summit Lake loop (two admittedly important sections).  The good thing is that if I can make it back to Long Lake for the 3rd time I'll be able to taste the finish line and I'll know that section to the finish like the back of my hand, and it's gonna suck.  The last time I ran this section of trail (LL to Gondola Square via Storm Peak Rd), I passed out at the finish line.  Hopefully, this time I can make it standing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mt. Werner Classic

This past Friday, I picked up Donnie and headed for the one place you know will deliver quality results on race day:
Steamboat's Finest Chinese Buffet
After crashing at Donnie's friend's pad, and fighting our way out of our room which we locked ourselves into,  we managed to wander over to the start area.

mmmm... Steamboat
Surprisingly great was the Patagucci long sleeve race shirt, which served as a welcome buffer to the morning chill.  And after crashing the Sheraton's lounge for some pre-race comfort, we soon found ourselves heading up Mt. Werner.

I've got to say, this course's take on the whole climb/descent of the ski area kicks the Run Rabbit Run version's ass.  Instead of sticking on the service road to Storm Peak, we got a tour of the tree-lined single track all the way to the top, which coupled with the awesomeness of the trail to Long Lake made for some serious stokage (that's a word, I just made it up).  In any case, I was certainly not feeling chipper and by after the first 2,500' or so of climbing I knew that a great race just wasn't in the cards.  However, I focused on the one thing I had come for, sustained grinding effort.  I just kept the legs churning (if at an admittedly slow pace).  I was something like 8th at the turn and picked off a few guys on the way back.  When I got back to Storm Peak (right before the 4K plunge to the finish) I knew I could do either 1 of 2 things.  I could 1) demolish the downhill and break 5 hours... or 2) drink a beer and enjoy myself all the way down to the finish and not completely wreck my legs.  So, one beer, and a lovely jaunt down the to bottom later, I crossed the line in 5:07:57, good for 5th place, and about 7 minutes back of Donnie.

After a dip in the creek and a few awesome sandwiches later (seriously, the food at this race was unreal), Donnie, new friend Sean Meissner, and ladies champ Becca and I grabbed some adult beverages at Slopside, just a quick walk from the finish line.  Following the story swapping session, we managed to make it back for the awards/raffle where an incredible amount of schwag was dispersed.  In all, it was a phenomenal weekend, and a great, GREAT race.  All of the best parts of the RRR course (with a far superior opening/closing climb), albeit without the Rabbit Ears.  Another perfect day in the mountains, and I'll be back next year.  Next up, another trip to the boat this Sunday for the Stinger Marathon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back on track

Lots of fun last night up in Boulder.  I got crushed by a (really fast) girl in the 1500 and the 400 hurdles, but I didn't fall.  I'm perfectly set up to crush the steeple next go around.  Good times though, with Xavier running the 200 and 400, Rachel running the 1500 and 4X400 with Keith, Laurie, and Rob.  Trip up the middle route of green with Gunner afterwards was a perfect night cap.
Pure Class
The sad results:

As it turns out, there are more than 4 hurdles in the 400...