Sunday, December 23, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mt EdwardsWhite quartz

Wash Park boat house


Milky quartz with McClellan beyond.
From Edwards



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Aspen Golden Leaf 2012

I didn't bring my camera - sorry.
My peeps do this every year more as a weekend-long road-party than a race. Although some of us get kinda serious about the race, mostly we're serious about the swag. There's more swag giveaways than any other race I've ever heard of, plus the post-race lunch tends to be equaled only by the SJS50.

I had the luxury of starting in the first wave of six. With bibs going from "1" to over "1000", everyone had to be broken up in 5-minute-apart waves. I was grouped with the 170 runners in wave 1. Yikes! Lance Armstrong was there, as well as Scott Jurek and his girlfriend, Jenny Uehisa, and Karl Remsen (winner) from Leadville.
So now I can say I was only about 8 feet behind Lance Armstrong during a race. Yeah, that was only the first instant of the race, but when you get old and fat, you gotta take what you can, right?

I looked pathetic at the start, with all the elites running away from me, but my finish time was 2hr10m, which allowed me 155th place out of 782 finishers. And I just did a PR in a 51 mile race the weekend before and was limping at the start.
It seemed more people than ever before dropped or were carted away due to injuries. Lots of crashing-and-burning out there that day in spite of perfect weather and trail conditions. The RD warns everyone this is not a walker's race - you're expected to run it. I think the carnage shows that most do. It is a rugged course, actually. The gold and red aspen steal the show, so the ruggedness of the trail doesn't get mentioned. Sometimes you're trying to run in a trough, where your shoe keeps getting caught on the edge of the trough, there are countless tree roots jutting from the ground, and of course there' tons of rocks. There are stretches that are wide and free of hazards, and the last couple of miles is down in town. But if you're going full-tilt-boogie the whole way, there's a good chance of doing a spill.

As everyone knows, I'm not in good cardio condition, so I suck on the climbs. The downhills are what I do best, even through rocks. So this is the first and only time I've ever run Golden Leaf where I didn't lose 20 minutes trying to pass a multitude of people. This time, I passed about as many as passed me.

Fun trip, but my left foot has a new pain. My entire heel hurt, but it wasn't the plantar. I had to ice it in a creek, but that only got rid of the risidual soft tissue swelling around the heel. The root cause seems to be my cuboid bone, and ice and massage doesn't help. Its like a stress fracture. I haven't been doing much running, though, so I'm not sure what it is. Running aggravates it tremendously. It's not much pain. It just sucks.

Otherwise I'm a very happy camper enjoying the changing of the seasons, trying to anticipate my last pre-winter adventures.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Run Rabbit Run 50

No photos, sorry.
This year is the first year for the Run Rabbit 100, but I only ran the 50. I've been injured and getting fat, yet me and the bunny have been dueling and it seems I keep finishing long in the same several minute time-frame.
This year, I hardly trained at all. I used to do 40+ mile solo training runs. This year, nothing longer than a couple dozen miles. I used to break 100 mile in a week a couple times a year. This year I don't know if I broke 40.
Something bad has been brewing in my right foot for the past 11 months. It might be related to falling arches. The pain is at the top of the arch, where the bones are crunching together from arch failure (midtarsal fault or dorsal compression syndrome), I think. Or maybe its a ganglion cyst? Or nerve entrapment? Or gout? Any of the above aggravated by osteoarthritis? I know I have arthritis - it shows up in my x-rays over the past few years.
It's along the tarsometatarsal joint and it started last year when I wasn't running. Running aggravates it, but isn't the exact cause.
So not so much pounding like before.
I've been biking a couple hours or more each week to make up for it.

I wanted to beat my previous PR of 11:23 for Steamboat Run Rabbit Run 50, or RRR50. When I got to Steamboat, I discovered they'd lengthened the course by over half a mile. It's now 51 miles. That's an additional 7 minutes, if you average an 11:20 finish.

I used Vi Fuel for this entire race. Somehow, it seems to enable me to burn my own body fat better than any other fuel. I consumed about 80 calories per hour during the race. Trying to force more made my stomach turn.
I carried two 24oz handheld bottles and no pack. My Vi, salt caps, and everything was in my cargo pockets in my shorts.

It was perfect weather and a perfectly executed plan. As I told a fellow running, I felt appropriately delusional, and was counting on my delusions getting more severe as the race wore on.
I'm not in good cardio fitness, but I have muscle, no brakes, and an ability to run through rocks as if its flat ground. This equates to great downhilling. I was counting on reaching the top of the last steep descent with at least an hour left. I wasn't very fast, but managed 9-minute miles for the last 6.5 miles, which was enough to shave 6 minutes off and set a new PR at 11:17:14.

Monday, September 10, 2012

San Juan Vacation 2012








I've done enough riding lately that my butt no longer needs bike pants. So when I rode my bike up to Clear Lake, and then back down, I discovered a better reason to wear bike pants. They keep your gnuts from slap-slap-slappin' the seat when you're flying down a rocky road.





























Ice lake is the most unreal color of blue I've ever seen. And it's fed by a river that coats the black rocks with white residue. Yet trout are growing happy as can be within the waters. At first, I thought it must be a hot springs up above, but the source was cold all the way up.










































On the Hardrock 100 course, I haven't been here in YEARS! I didn't plan to be there. My other plans didn't wash, so I made new ones. In the dark, I dead-reckoned my way in the moonless dark to the spot where the KT aid station gets set up. I parked and went to sleep.

















I made long days of hiking and biking. Four days to the Run Rabbit Run 50. I'm still old, fat, and slow, but my size has shrunken some (temporarily) right before the race. I weigh the same, but I've turned a lot of fat back into muscle.

video
video

Monday, September 3, 2012

Vacation

I'm taking a much needed vacation. This is both a relaxation and work-out vacation. Kind of convoluted, like most stuff I do.
Started by going camping with my son. Tested out my new ultra-light sleeping bags I bought for fast-packing/biking. Each weigh 1lbs. I figure one can be used as a ground pad on soft ground or sand, or if it gets too cold, I'll put one inside the other. The green-gray bag MtnHardware 800-fill. You can barely see the purple Western Mountaineering HighLite underneath. The spread blue bag is a cheap-ass Coleman type bag. No use wearing-out my flimsy bags if I don't have to.




Flowers near Kenosha Pass. I shot my black powder pistol here.

View of Denver from my friend Kim's rooftop deck.


I'm about to take off to find my two brothers in the San Juans near Lake City. Then I'll leave them for more gallivanting on my own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Training on Princeton & Antero

Plan A was to pace people at the Leadville 100, but as I got closer, I was not feeling in the mood for crowds, noise, etc. I realized I was too battle-worn from work and needed a stress-relieving weekend, not a stress-creating weekend.
So I left the Twin Lakes area and headed back to Buena Vista.
Saturday, climbed Princeton. Smoky scenery. Started too late, finished by flashlight.

Sunday, ran Antero.

Smoky scenery from forest fires.

Passed four 4x4's going down. The last guy was yelling at me but I couldn't understand. He didn't seem mad, just bewildered. Probably wondered how anyone could sprint down a road that's basically a steep pile of rock rubble. To tell the truth, I don't know how. It's freaky to see the road which totally looks un-runnable, and yet I really had no trouble. I guess the rocks were just loose enough to yield the way they needed, while not being too large. And the underlying dirt road was smooth and firm enough not to cause any ankle twisting. So it looked far more impossible than it was.
Quads got a good trashing, but not totally wasted.
Road my bike 2hrs Monday.
Road my bike 90min Tuesday.
Ran 5.5M Wed as fast as I could, but I was fairly worn-out. Going to sit on my ass a day or two to make sure I don't end up doing too much too soon. And injury would SUCK, at this point. My body is responding better than expected. It's starting to feel like the old days. Still over 3wks until Steamboat 50.
I found a black smudge on my inner thigh. I put some alcohol on a wash rag and tried to wash it off. It wouldn't. So I looked closer. It's a big ass bruise. Funny that it doesn't hurt much. I don't know how I managed to do it.
The knees hurt and my right foot and heel hurt, but nothing a couple days of rest shouldn't take care of.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

View from Nice Property

video

There's no water on this land, which makes it fairly worthless. No power, either. Still, 10 acres with a commanding view and they're asking $119,000.



I love this furniture! The carpet is tile laid in concrete. The couch, table, and footstool are tile on steel frame.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

G&T Training Run

Running Grays and Torreys from the I-70 parking lot is a 14 mile classic training run. Previously, I always ran this for a new PR, but this time I was more interested in not getting hurt, and spending a little more time higher up. Normally, I crash pretty hard once or twice, since the footing is treacherous. I'm sure a lot of flat-landers freak when they see someone running through jagged rocks, some anchored and some loose. How does he keep from falling?! He doesn't - he crashes and hopes not to break something. That's why I wear bike gloves when I trail-run. Only I forgot to bring my bike gloves. So another reason to simmer-down and get a good, safe workout. The whole point is to gain ground, not lose ground. I brought two Buffs, those tubes of stretchy, breathable fabric that are so versatile. I had a drinking bottle in one hand and a Buff wrapped in a figure-8 on the other. Not quite as good as bike gloves, but better than nothing.

 For a time-trial PR, it requires a strict strategy. All I bring is a large drink bottle, a hooded wind-shirt in a cargo pocket in my shorts, and a couple of Vi gel-paks. Before leaving, I drink a whole quart of Gatorade with a little extra salt added, and I eat a couple of trailbars for breakfast. Then I wait around about 15 minutes, stretching while this liquid bolus gets absorbed. Then I take off on a quick power-hike. Once warmed up, I start walking-jogging (wogging) up the road.
Skin absorbs water when you ascend. It puffs up like a sponge. You can't tell, but it's robbing your organs of fluids. That's another reason you have to drink extra fluids when in the mountains. However, when you descend, the process reverses. So when moving very quickly up and down, you can allow yourself to run very low on water on the ascent, and barely have enough to wet your throat on the descent. If I arrive at my car a little dehydrated, then another quart of Gatorade awaits.




This time, I didn't follow this strategy. I just loaded up with a 2 liter hydration bladder and a large water bottle, 1st-aid kit, wind-shirt, trailbars, gels, Buffs, phone (camera), and even still had my wallet. So a PR wasn't even planned. I think it took about 4:20, or something like that. My PR was exactly 3:45.

I ended up straining my left quad when putting on the brakes to avoid a civilian. (That's what I jokingly refer to as regular folks on the trail.) I figure normal people have right-of-way, especially if they have kids. I had to take Sunday completely off training to make sure my quad wasn't going to be a full-blown injury.
Tuesday, I ran barefoot on the asphalt around a couple of blocks in my neighborhood. Wash Park has so many geese and so much goose shit paving the roads and trails that I don't think it's safe to run barefoot. My neighborhood has fairly clean streets, and a pedestrian path a couple blocks away. The asphalt is just rough enough to allow some good toughening of the feet without ripping them up. Eventually, I hope to be able to do the 2-mile Harvard Gulch Park route completely barefoot. For some reason the geese haven't discovered that park.

A couple of days before, on Thursday, I road my bike at Bear Creek Lake Park. It looked like the sky would dump an ocean on me as I drove there, but it only sprinkled as I was parking and getting my bike out. That's another reason I ignore the weather. It lies all the time. Too many woulda-coulda-shoulda's. Now I just "do".



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Training High

Check out the low clouds nestled in the Dillon valley in the distance over my left shoulder.
video
Bierstadt was too short so we added Square Top. Then once on top of Square Top, we looked around and decided to make a grand-loop and went back the long way. 17.2 mile day

Silver Dollar trail and lake (right)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Paleolithic Stone

My brother, Joe, and I decided to do some metal-detecting in an area full of .30 cal, .50 cal, and other misc. blown up bits of WWII nostalgia. It ended up being really boring. We kept finding .50 cal bullets, only one dented brass casing, and a .30 cal bullet. We spent hours doing this.
Then on the way back to the car, I was looking down and noticed a rock that wasn't anything like the color of the surrounding dirt and rocks. Nearly everything was medium tan, light tan, or alkali light gray. So this stone stood out, being golden brown. I picked it up and examined it. I couldn't fathom a rock ending up quite like it without the aid of human hands.
I punched a waypoint on my GPS and called my brother over to look at it. He agreed, no way it got like that by accident.
I figured it was a normal Native American arrowhead, maybe a couple hundred years old.
Upon doing some research, I'd say it looks more like an Clovis or Paleo Indian point. It's in bad condition, so the tip and base are gone. It might have been as much as 9 inches long, or it might only have been a few inches.
A logical way it got broken is when it got lanced into a bison or mammoth, so in spite of it being in bad shape, it seems kind of even "cooler" than it might have been in one piece.
Maybe it isn't very old, but there's a chance it's nearly 10,000 years old.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't know where to go or who to ask. I'm not sure how hard it is to get something carbon-dated. It would be great if I could. I Googled some anthropologists and paleontologists, but they all seem to be dead or retired.

These are not live rounds, folks. Just cleaned-up and bullets shoved into the casings. You can see the rifling scars on the bullets if you look close enough.

The area we were looking in was used as a target practice range by airplanes and soldiers. The historical maps we found claimed the area was never inhabited, except to place targets. It was for airplanes to swoop down and shoot or bomb stationary targets. Yet we found plenty of evidence that ground troops had large camps and practiced maneuvers there. The .30 cal bullets were probably shot out of the old bolt-action Springfileds. M1 Garands were more likely sent tot he front lines. The .50 case and the link (found separately) were probably fired from a stationary Browning M2 mounted on a tripod.
There's also an interesting landing strip on the southern edge of the range that appears to be too short to be a landing strip. I measured it and discovered it's the exact same scale of an aircraft carrier. I don't know if they were bombing this with inert practice bombs or practicing short take-offs. Maybe both?
The range dates back to the 1930's, pre-WWII.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Changing Gears

My right foot has been schitzo. It started hurting last September. It wouldn't stop hurting even when I stopped running, but running certainly aggravated it. It's not a running injury. My guess is arthritis.
I've been doing more biking and hiking than previous years.

Several years ago, the Trek bike rep for eastern Colorado happened to be my next-door neighbor. I took advantage of that. We went biking a couple of times and he offered to build me a bike. He builds "demos" all the time, shows them for 1-3 months, then sells them cheap. So he built me a bike to my specs.
I told him, I'm not going to own 2-3 bikes, one for racing, one for training, and one for kicking-around. I want one bike that can do it all. I know I won't be winning any races on it, but I would like to be able to race it if I got addicted.
He built me a Trek Top-Fuel 8 with Fox from suspension, Manitou rear shock, and Juicy disc brakes. The wheels were tubeless, but to save me money, he sold it to me with tubes and regular tires.
I just dropped $900 on entire new wheel sets, including brakes and rear gear-cassette and chain. The old tires are trashed, but the old wheels are still good. Instead of owning two bikes, I'll own two sets of wheels. I need a different set of tires, unlike the new ones.
Old tires: 26"x2.1".
New tires: 26"x2.2".
The wider tires are very noticeable. Fro one thing, I thought for certain I'd be losing some weight, since I'd be losing the tubes! But the extra width and lack of worn-off rubber meant the new tires/wheels were each 1oz heavier. Damn! They sure ride smooth, though.

For the old wheels, all I need are the tires. That's a bunch cheaper than what I just paid. I'll go tubeless for the old wheels, too.
Apparently the new latex sealants, like Stan's Notubes, put True-goo and Slime to shame. There are Youtube videos of people hammering nails into their tires and they don't lose more than a few pounds of pressure. Here's a great one. Not only is the model hot, she does the work herself, all while posing and smiling at the camera. What awesome skills! (I think she's the Stepford bike-tech.) But you can skip to the end to watch her butcher the tires. Holes seal almost the instant the latex flows in. Since my area is infested with goathead burrs, that's awesome! I was always pumping-up my tubed tires.
Nearly all how-to's say to squirt sealants into tires after mounting. I chose to pour the sealant in when half-mounted. I never had much luck trying to force sealant into the tiny, threaded stem tube. (It's "sealant" after all!)
Between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, pointing north towards Longs Peak. You can see the hazy smoke from the High Park fire.
Fast-forward many years. I never raced, and in fact never got addicted. I always wanted to run. Well my body won't let me do that much anymore. My Mom's side of the family is plagued by arthritis and carpal-tunnel syndrome. My knees used to be wreaked, but proper running form allowed me to repair and rebuild my knees better than they've ever been in my life.
I wish I could say the same for my right foot.
I refuse to live on drugs the rest of my life, and natural/organic anti-inflammatories are pitifully incapable of remedying my problem. Even with insurance, drugs cost too much. With insurance, my asthma inhalers cost about $75. My antibiotic eye drops for an eye infection I recently had cost over $80. You want to know why healthcare costs more? Because people are choosing to spending more. It's their choice. In the past, people didn't spend money on so many remedies. They altered their lifestyles realistically to avoid the aggravation of injuries. Americans, and especially ultra-runners, aren't into realistic lifestyles. they are heavy users of drugs, from ibuprofen to, sometimes, steroids.

No, life is huge and there's no reason why I have to mentally/emotionally imprison myself into the mindset that running is all there is. If I stop running the Big Miles now, then I won't be crippled the rest of my life. I'll be normal, or still better than normal. Normal people think of 3 miles as pretty far. While that seems really bizarre to me now, there's nothing wrong with it. And if I can keep doing adventures via vehicle, bike, and hike, then I can only relish that and not dwell on the loss of big running miles.
 Other than biking, hiking, running, and going on desert vacations, I've been shooting. I recently visited Dragonman's museum and shooting range. He's legally licesned to own and shoot any kind of weapon, including miniguns, RPG's, silenced submachineguns, etc.
A tempest blowing in from the west at the Dragonman range near Colorado Springs

So how does Dragonman really feel?

OK, I concede - Dragonman's toys are much cooler than mine.

All Class 3 weapons. He has boxes of hand-grenades, mortar and RPG, and oodles of bullets. But no Phase Plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Maybe he has one on backorder?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Dinosaur June 9, 2012

I've been wanting to go to Dinosaur National Monument for years, but there seemed too little to see and not enough trails. But Paul, Markus, and I did a short scouting trip. Geez, there's a lot to do. The maps and info don't do it justice. There are petroglyphs EVERYWHERE!!! You can see two distinctly different types of petroglypghs, and they're often mixed together.