A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

Jun 22, 2016

Beat the heat

What to do when summer shows up in a hurry and big days are planned? We went from temperate and mild to record highs in just a few days and I know I wasn't ready for the planned long days. For me, it was leave early. Very early. Like I was going to work early...

Saturday's fun ride with Amber was already an early departure time, but after seeing the forecast, we moved it up a hour. Leaving at 6:15 and it was already toasty. We were both loaded down with food and water, ready for an easy pedal up Gold Camp (if such a thing exists.) The parking lots in both Stratton and High Drive were already full when we rolled through. Plenty of people had the same idea - get out and beat the heat. Once we got past St Mary's, the crowds vanished and it was a mostly solitary pedal up the road. Just a few other riders heading up and down. One snack break about halfway up the never ending grind and then we hit Old Stage. Old Stage is really one of my least favorite roads - plenty of rednecks hotroding on the dirt, not paying attention to anything. Surprising, the road was almost empty. Despite the crowds down below, the higher we got, the emptier the forest got. There weren't even any people up shooting - which is just bizzare now a days. Amber and I both donned our "superhero capes" - elbow and knee pads at the typical break point at Frosties. And of course, I'd taken a cue from Nick - nothing get the attention of the boys at the top of a climb like the phist-creaking of a can opening. I'd lugged that can of Coke all the way up that climb! And now it was time to enjoy it before the descent of Jones. I've honestly never done Jones without Nick before, so it was a new experience for me. Getting to set my pace instead of chasing the boys and figuring out my own lines was nice. I was able to enjoy the ride and look around a little. Not that much since Amber was right behind me! I never even had time to get my camera out for some photos! I could have pushed pace a little and maybe have gotten a couple, but it wasn't worth it. The goal was fun and riding smart - and if that meant no photos, so be it. We only saw a few other groups of riders, so our early start time had us ahead of the curve for sure. Even when we got onto Jacks to finish out the day, there weren't too many people around. I think the heat scared everyone inside after the morning!

Imaging a mountain biker floating down this ribbon of trail. A perfect day!

Bottom of 666 - starting the trek into the mountains.
On Sunday, I had originally planned on a 30 mile long run up into the mountains. Well, with Sunday supposed to be flirting with 100*, I knew that I couldn't leave early enough to come close to beating the heat! Not with a trail run. So I opted for the other tried and true ultra tactic - instead of one long run, I did the back to back method, with 21 miles Sunday and then 16 on Monday. On Sunday, I decided to make one big loop - from the house into to Bear Creek, then up 666. I used to hike that trail all the time when I was a kid. We called it raspberry trail because of all the raspberry bushes - enough fruit to make jam with! But I haven't run up it in forever. Last few long runs were coming down after climbing up Buckhorn. I set out at 6:00, with my Rev 6 loaded up with a full bladder and a spare bottle, as well as my small handheld. I also had the steripen with me, anticipating the need to treat water at least once. My legs were sluggish after the long ride and it took me a bit to get moving. Then I hit 666 and while I wanted (should have tried) to run more, it just wasn't happening. Between the fatigue and the heat, hiking was all I had. And it wasn't even power hiking! Thru Crankcase and finally I was able to start running a little more. I took the fartherest drop down into Seven Bridges, then back tracked a little to find a quiet spot to treat some water. I'd already finished the spare bottle and what I had in my hand held, as well as half of what was in my pack.

View from the top of Seven Bridges. The city seems so far away up there!
Then came the trek down Seven Bridges. And all of a sudden, people. Lots of people. It had been so nice and quiet for the first half of the run, but now, the trail was crowded. And nobody seemed to expect a runner coming down the trail at that hour in the morning.... I'd definitely beat the crowds on the start, but was a salmon swimming downstream for that little chunk. Met Nick on Gold Camp, he was out riding, also amazed by the numbers of people.  But everyone had the same idea - beat the heat and get outside for Fathers day. It was already hot and not even 9:00 in the morning. I took Columbine home to avoid the roads. The temperature was climbing as I descended, making it a great test run for my light weight wool shirt. After the melt down at Fairplay, I decided to try something new (old?). I'd used to wear a really light weight long sleeved shirt when it was hot out, but had gotten away from the practice. Finding the super light weight material that breathed and was comfortable was hard. But at Fairplay, in the tank top, I was melting from the sun beating down on me. So I'd gotten the lightest wool shirt I could to try wearing. And it was working - the long sleeves were drawing the sweat away from my body, but staying slightly damp so I was cooler. And I didn't have the sun issues.

Just some flowers - I love the contrast between the yellows, blues and purples
Just to test that theory, I wore a short sleeved shirt for my shorter run the next day. It was just as hot and I left almost at the same time, but I was definitely not as comfortable. I stayed low for that run, doing a short loop on Columbine and then meandering through Stratton. And I was happy for the shade, since it was toasty out. I'll be wearing my long sleeves for Sheep Mountain for sure!

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