Saturday, June 14, 2014

G & T 43, Congressional Circuit, Training, New Races

G & T 43, Congressional Circuit, Training, New Races

Ran up G & T again yesterday. Now that the winter is over, it is time to hit up alternative routes to make it a bit more fun and to add to the challenge (but not take away). I've climbed Grays and Torreys from every direction and by every route, but one of my favorites I call "The Full Kelso." The route involves parking down at Bakersville (as part of my G & T challenge, all attempts have to start there or from another distant trailhead - the summer trailhead would make it too easy) and running up the road past the Stevens/Grizzly split. Continue up the Grays' road past the old mining cabin, and then immediately after taking the old closed mining road on the right across the creek and ascending the northeast ridge of Kelso Mountain (13,164'). The northeast ridge of Kelso is such a pleasure, providing spectacular views of Kelso's north face and Grizzly gulch, as well as Torrey's northeast face. There is a goat trail going up it, and with a few sections of class 2/3 it provides a fun way to hit up the peaks without encountering any people. From the top of Kelso, run down the west ridge of Kelso to the Kelso ridge saddle between Kelso and Torreys. From here, run up the Kelso Ridge of Torreys straight to the top. The run via this route is 6,500' of gain in 7 miles. Then tag Grays and head back down. With the snow melting, times are getting faster, and I ran this route in 4:08 rt with plenty of time for photos and a quick emptying of the shoes. I never really pushed, and despite the crazy wind, the run felt really solid - I got back to the car feeling very fresh. I guess the winter slogs might have paid off.

 Kelso's Northeast Ridge - you get on it via the far left of the photo.
 No hope for dry shoes - just pick a line and go - no reason to waste time looking for a bridge up or down stream.

Most of the line from I-70 to the top of Torreys.

Earlier I had re-run the Congressional Circuit from the previous week. I wanted to see if my time was any good, or if it was soft. I was able to do the 5 peaks in 3:05 and change at a fairly solid effort, so I think my time is OK, but I'm sure it can be beaten. I was planning on going all the way to Bard, but had to get back for work.

Speaking of the Congressional Circuit, there is a new 50K ultra that will go right near it. The Devil on the Divide looks to be a great run. I know the course really well, having run all of it (but never as it will be in the race). It will be one of the harder and more spectacular races in the state. It is on September 6, the same date as another new race, which also sounds cool. The Hermit Pass Marathon, out of Westcliffe. I'm running the Kite Lake Triple-Triple the following weekend, so I don't know how smart it will be to do either of these this year, plus I'm planning on a project attempt in late August, but it's nice to see some more mountain races being created.

This morning I did a nice shake out run at Bear Creek. I forgot how much this system of trails rolls, and I wandered around for 15 miles and 2,000'. I was happy to not really feel yesterday's G&T+, and really had a good time enjoying all of the wildflowers, shady and overgrown nooks and seasonal creeks. I found a bunch of unmarked trails that seem like they can be interlinked in various ways for some really solid miles.

 Nice view of Bergen Peak and Elk Meadow

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