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Showing posts from September, 2015

Bobcat 25K

I'd had my eye on this trail run through Palmer Park for several months. Kept debating signing up - I knew I'd be able to do the distance, but wasn't sure about the quality of my running at this point. Two weeks after Vapor? Was I nuts for even attempting? After doing my last longish run before Vapor on part of the course - the sections on Templeton and Edna Mae - I was even less sure that it was a good idea. That was one of my slowest runs in a while and I was a little freaked out. I know that the running in Palmer Park is hard to begin with and the race course was taking us on some of the hardest and most techy trails around. Actually, the race course was hitting nearly every system trail in the park!

While my legs were cycling tired after Vapor, I felt great running. Might as well - I was planning on running longish anyway. Instead of suffering alone, I could do it with some friends and have the support at the aid stations if I chose. Only problem - my old trail shoes w…

Testing the Limits - 2015 Vapor Trail 125

Like with most big races, I came into the 2015 Vapor Trail 125 with a plan. Time splits, light management, and food and water management. Would everything go according to plan? After a week of tapering and a day of sitting around getting nervous, it was finally time to find out.

Last year, when I lined up on the F Street Bridge in Salida, I had no clue what I was in for. This year, I knew what was coming and was eager to get started. That last four hours of waiting is the hardest. The sun sets, darkness envelops the town and finally, it's time to get ready for a long evening and day on the bike. It was warmer this year then last and I opted to dress lighter - knowing that if I was a little chilly on the climbs, it would be a good incentive to ride harder! No long-sleeved jersey - just wool tank undershirt and arm warmers and knee warmers with the standard kit. An old pair of booties over my hike-a-bike shoes, some warm wool socks and my mid-weight gloves with my rain jacket for t…

Saying Thanks - Vapor Trail 125 Volunteers

I did the same thing last year - writing about the volunteers of the Vapor Trail 125 before actually getting the race report finished. Why? Because without the volunteers, the race would near impossible to do except for the dedicated few self-support bikepackers in the group. So it is really the volunteers who deserve the kudos and congratulations for putting up with stressed out, mentally fatigued and possibly impaired riders at all stages of the race.

Cascade Aid - in some ways the easiest aid station but also the hardest. The volunteers have to be there, ready to help from midnight on. It's the shortest time period for an aid station in the race, but the riders are all clustered together still and it's dark - making it harder to help. Nick and I met one of the volunteers at that station before the race. She was visiting from Oklahoma and was helping out "because it sounded like fun and you guys are amazing." No affiliation with any of the racers - just wanted to …

Missing the moon

Last year, I wrote about the moon during the Vapor Trail 125 - the light of the nearly full moon illuminating the Colorado Trail as we started, creating ghost-like shadows on the Chalk Cliff and then vanishing behind the mountains as we climbed up towards Hancock. There was darkness in those trees - the total darkness a September night brings. And then the climb over the Continental Divide for the first time. The darkness was banished by the orange moon hanging low against the horizon. Truly surreal, combined with the tiny dots of lights across the valley. A moment that can only be experienced once and one that I was thrilled to be immersed in.

This year, there will be no moon. Perhaps, if I am lucky, the sliver of moon will appear as I climb up Granite Mountain. But otherwise, just the darkness of night and the chill of that darkness. Who know what lurks in the shadows of the backcountry? Without the moon, the noises will remain just a mystery - an incentive to pedal faster. If it i…

Taper time

I've always struggled with tapering. As a runner, a triathlete and a mountain biker - the taper just drives me nuts. I get so used to working hard and testing the limits of my tolerance to the training. Going to bed tired and then not being sure how I will respond once I start the next workout - I always love that. It's as much mental as physical at times, knowing when to push through and when to take a short break. And then comes the taper. Suddenly, it's time to recover and freshen the legs from all the hard work. Like most endurance athletes, not getting up to greet the sun is strange. I should be out running or something, not sleeping in. And after work, there should be another few hours on the bike - knocking out the intervals to make me faster. 
It's a common trap for endurance athletes. Instead of trusting the process and the rejuvenation that the taper provides, too many athletes sabotage it though maintaining volume or too much intensity. Some intensity is need…

Cottonwood...

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We opted for a campground Monday night. It seemed like a good base camp for the final day of freedom - both for running and riding. I got up early and decided to run before the ride. Should be an easy run, I figured - about six miles by looking at the map. Just run down the road from the campground to the CT, a short little jaunt on the CT and then back up the road. I told Nick my planned route and how long I figured it would take. Another good test of my Rev 1.5 - this time with a long sleeved shirt due to the pre-sunrise chill. I still need to trim the straps on the two chest bands, but want to make sure I have the fit dialed before I do that. About a mile into the run, I passed Cottonwood Lake. With the stillness in the air and the sun rising, it was too pretty not to stop and get some photos.

And then the road tipped downward. I knew I'd have run back up, but wasn't worried. It shouldn't be to much of a climb back - just a mile or so. But when I was over three miles an…