Monday, November 30, 2015

Seasons Change, Books Out

Seasons Change, Books Out

Well, after competing in the US Skyrunning series and completing a satisfying 7th place overall (1st Master) I was a little lost in what to do next. There were not too many running related races or endeavors that seemed to fit with my schedule or budget, so I delved back into serious climbing training and started to work a bit on my speed. That was certainly a shocker, as my leg turnover was horrible initially, but soon started to come back after running on the roads early in the mornings prior to work and incorporating a few speed workouts here and there. I'm still not sure what to aim for right now - I did another M5 challenge in early November (just under 20 miles, 10,000' of climbing) and have been getting back into climbing and now skiing shape. I also ran my first ever 5K, jumping into the Beware of the Bear 5K trail race as I was there picking up shoes for One World Running. Never having run that fast and short of a race, and with no speed work and a summer of slogging in the mountains, I was happy to just finish without dying. The School of Mines XC team showed up and pretty much took the top 10 spots, but I finished 12th overall and 1st Master in 21:02 on a non-flat course.

Most of my goals currently are focused on spring and next summer, which leaves one a bit amiss as to what to do. I've got one fun project that I will attempt over the winter break as it involves a bit of bandit running, but the big news is that the end of October and all of November were consumed with the completion of two new books.

First off is another trail guide coming out next year that I had the honor to work on with Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs, which is pretty cool. I guess that makes me an authority of sorts as I will have authored the two guides in print for the area. The other one is the creation, writing, editing, layout, and production of the first ever Boulder Running Journal. I really have to give almost all of the credit on this to Todd Straka - he simply killed it with his design, layout, and production skills. Without him at the lead, it would not have happened. Sandrock was also involved, in the usual Sandrock fashion, as well as the contributions of many amazing people. We are pretty excited about it, and hope that everyone else is too. It just went to the printers, so now my plate is clean and it is time to relax, reassess, and get after it. If all goes as planned, we should have copies back and ready for people to view by mid-December.

So, here is a photo recap of the past month or so, since it's much cooler to just look at photos than to read words...

Arturo Barrios and Mike Sandrock sharing old stories of Boulder back in the day at the Boulder Track Club dinner.

Arturo telling us about his racing career, starting with a one-way ticket to Phoenix from Mexico and only $10 bucks in his pocket to becoming one of the best runners of all time. Amazing, humble man.
The Citadel - great class 3 peak in the summer, but two of the best ski colouirs around for spring.

Early season powder in the backcountry.

Climbing on an obscure line at an even more obscure location.

The trail to Eldo...

Riding switch early season at Loveland.
I love this photo I took of Joe Gray and Andy Wacker. It went all around the internet and on various feeds, and I think is going to be used in an ad or something.

This is another photo I took at Club Cross. Looking at the leg turnover, you can see that Joe is already ahead by one rotation, meaning that if anyone wanted to catch him, they would have to somehow double their cadence to catch him.
A black and white shot from the mountains.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Flagstaff Sky Race And US Skyrunning Series

Flagstaff Sky Race and US Skyrunning Series

Last week I raced in the US Skyrunning Championships held outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. The final race in the US Skyrunning Ultra Series, I was excited to try and race against some of the best runners in the country and check out some new mountains. I knew the course had some serious climbs, as well as a long running section which worried me, so I was not sure how I would do. My right foot and ankle had been wonky since the Tushar 93K race in Utah, and although it had been improving on a daily basis, I had basically only been able to speed hike since the beginning of August. No worries, hopefully I would make up all the time I knew I would lose on the rolling flat section on the big monster climbs - especially the Vertical K in the last 3 miles of the course.

So the week before, in an effort to "rest" as much as possible, I went bouldering, skateboarding, and read books - as well as worked a ton. 

 These are two poems I found in a book of Chinese Poetry published in 1919. These were written by Po Chu-i, who lived between 772-846. Although I'm not the biggest reader of poetry - or really any reader of poetry - they struck me when I read them. 

 Some bouldering up at Guanella Pass on the local granite. Good problems up there, with a wide diversity of grades. Love Matters Low (V8?) was a fun problem, although the amount of excavation work on the boulder is slightly disturbing. I'm psyched to go back when it is a tad cooler to try the slopy arete on the boulder below - looks hard and temperature dependent.

Blasting down a mountain road on the board - I need to get some better wheels and tighten up the back truck a bit. Still a great way to check out the aspens.

 Some of the topography around Flagstaff, Arizona.

 The start of the race. At 6am, the sun was just peaking above the horizon, so we didn't need headlamps, which was great, since I forgot to bring mine! I felt OK, but my legs really didn't seem to respond for the first couple miles which was frustrating.

 This is coming down off the second big climb. We ascended a peak, then dropped down off the backside to the valley floor before running around and then ascending it again via a different route. Two big climbs done in the first 13 miles - now for 15 miles of rolling, sandy Ponderosa forest running. I was still doing good here, but over the next 15 miles I once again became discourage and lacked the necessary energy to keep pace. I do really well when it is up-down-up-down, but throw in some rolling terrain, and I get dropped by those who can crank out 7:30ish miles. Of course, if I'm lucky, I catch back up on the next big climb... but not this time.

Still up high. The mountain in the background is where we were headed, and was the final climb up to 11,500' after 31 miles of running. It kicked pretty much everyone's ass.

 At the finish! I had to really fight on this race, as I was really discourage during the long rolling section about my place and overall performance. However, I just kept pushing and ended up finishing 19th overall, 2nd master. I was pretty happy with that, as I thought I was somewhere in the 30s in terms of place.

What really made it sweet, however, was that I ended up with 7th place overall for the series, and 1st master. I'm pretty happy with how it all worked out, and after only really running for 4 years (my first race ever was in 2012) I've come a long way. However, I know I can still improve, and that keeps my fire burning. The learning curve has been pretty steep when it comes to racing, running, and ultras, but it's starting to come around and I'm only going to keep working and improving (or so I tell myself ;))

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Flatirons Tour, Andrew's Amazing Summer, Sports Hall of Fame

Flatirons Tour, Andrew's Amazing Summer, Sports Hall of Fame

In an attempt to maximize page views, I'm going to drop a bunch of big names. No, not really, but over these last two weeks I've had the honor to write about and hang with some superstars.

I've written now for almost every type of publication. It took me about 5+ years before my academic writing stated to get published. That took a lot of work, research, and effort to figure out how to write in an academic setting. It paid off, however, as I now have publications in journals, books, encyclopedias and the like. About a year ago I started to try my hand at sports journalism, something I knew nothing about. With the help and guidance of Mike Sandrock, Todd Straka, and Brian Metzler, I'm pretty psyched to have finally started to get published in that world. It's been a long journey, and I've had to re-learn the art of writing, but it has been a great challenge and something that I have really enjoyed. I finally capped off that journey last week when two of my articles were published in Competitor - my biggest publication to date in the field of sports journalism. I wrote one article on the start of the Tour de Flatirons by Satan's Minions and another on Andrew Hamilton's amazing summer of 14er records. Thanks for the encouragement and help from everyone along the way!

 I made the above map for the article, but it was not included. It shows Andrew's splits on his Nolan's 14 run. All on two granola bars, a Subway sandwich, and a ton of powdered drink!

 This is a photo I took from the summit of Mt. Harvard, showing the southern half of the Nolan's line.

 Here is looking north from Mt. Harvard showing the northern half of the line.

Then, last night, after a lot of work on the part of many, many people, the 4th Annual Boulder Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place. Again, such an honor to be part of the event and to meet such amazing people.

Okay, time to drop some names (left to right): Frank Shorter, Steve Jones, Loraine Moller, Benji Durden, Tim DeBoom, Lynn Hill, Jim Erickson.

Attending the event last night really put into perspective just how many amazing people call Boulder home. There were probably another dozen Olympians, World Record holders, and the like in the audience. Small fish in a BIG pond indeed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oh Where Does The Time Go?

Oh Where Does The Time Go?

Lots has happened since my last post. Tara and I moved out of our VW Rabbit after living in it for 3 months and we are now living the American Dream as owners of a condo in Golden. I orchestrated a coup at work and got the owners to back off, which in turn made me an official manager. As a result, my work level increased, but not my pay. My right foot has developed some sort of wonky twinge that has been bothering me for a couple weeks now - it only hurts when I run, not when I power hike. So, if you notice my strava data, it is all power hikes up Mt. Morrison, Bergen Peak, Grays and Torreys and the like. I'm just now able to run again and get back into it. We will see how that goes as the US Skyrunning Championships in Flagstaff are Oct. 2-3 and I'm all ready to go. I am working on another trail running guidebook with Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs, so that has taken up a bunch of time writing up trails, taking photos, etc. It will be a complementary guidebook to my other one - The Best Front Range Trail Runs - as it will have different trails in it. Together, the two should cover just about every trail along the Front Range from Boulder to Colorado Springs. I continue to try and work on my journalism, writing up some articles here and there for Colorado Runner Magazine, but lately I have been too swamped to get much done. However, the real big deal is that I am in the midst of a project celebrating Boulder runners and Boulder running. It will be a full color magazine/book that will come out this January. If anyone wants to contribute photos, writing, art, poetry, or other items, please reach out to me. I've been reaching out to folks and getting content, etc., but I have not announced it to the world at large yet. It will probably consume most of Oct. and Nov. I was appointed Deputy Director of the Transpersonal Psychology Department at Akamai University, and as a result am now working a ton on revamping the program and sitting on two different Ph.D. committees. Oh, and I'm furiously trying to get into the mountains before the snow comes and the mountain running season ends.

So there it is, a major catch up in only one paragraph! As usual, I'm more frequent on Twitter, Facebook, and Strava, but I do like trying to keep this blog up. Hopefully I'll get some more time and keep it going.

 The haze from the western fires on my Nolan's soft attempt. Sadly, I'd develop a weird altitude/asthma thing after four peaks, at which point I had to bail because I could not breath. The haze from the fires has been pretty bad off and on - I'm praying for rain for the folks out west.

 Antero from Tabeguache - pretty straight forward drop from the saddle down to Browns Creek, around the western side of the lake and then straight up.

 Looking back at Shavano and Tabeguache from near the top of Antero.

 Princeton from Antero.

 The trail up Grouse.

 The sunset with all of the haze in the air - and my lungs!

 The old familiar - the Stevens Gulch road. I've been getting back into hitting up the Full Kelso route and doing Grays and Torreys. It is such a perfect line - 5,300' of elevation gain all on a nice, dramatic ridge with plenty of class 3. I'm trying to get a good FKT for the line - right now it is 4:01 roundtrip from Bakerville for the Full Kelso and G & T. Certainly can go faster, especially on the descent where I have to go a bit slow due to my wonky ankle.

 The start of the Full Kelso - just power hike straight up for a vertical K.

 Colors are going off right now up high.

 Another go at the Full Kelso FKT - still not happy with my time, but there was snow and ice up high this time, so it will have to wait until next year for a real fast attempt at this point.

Sunrise laps on Mt. Morrison - always worth it.