LooseCrew-JeffO

LooseCrew-JeffO

Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney

So this is my abandoned blog. Since I moved to my new blog, I decided this one would be stop being, necessarily, about running.
I heard that Whitney Houston died at 48yo. Somehow, this resonated with me. I was never a true fan of hers. Her whole career, I heard how poorly she treated those around her. But, man, she had so much talent! My god!!!
There are others who are pretty much the same. Brittany Spears comes to mind. Again - not a fan - but the few times I see her videos I'm blown away at the talent.
I've known lots of people who have thrown-it-all-away. I did a stint of missionary work many years ago, living on the streets with drug addicts and alcoholics. Really is phenomenal how many people wallow in self-pity and eventually commit suicide.
When I was a junior in High School, I accidentally overdosed twice. Since then, I've always said, "Drugs and alcohol are a coward's way of committing suicide. You're just begging for an accident, and you hope you don't feel it."
Oh well. Too bad. Her life belonged to her. She did with it as she chose. I'm not glad about her choices.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Elijah Lovejoy's Printing Press

Elijah Lovejoy was an abolitionist who was killed before the Civil War. He ran an abolitionist newspaper. This was his 4th newspaper, as he kept getting run-out of other states and towns. In Alton, Illinois, a mob came to burn down his house and shop, so he went out with a gun. Several shots were fired and one of them killed Elijah instantly. The mob dumped his printing press into the Mississippi river.

To give you some insight into my ADD brain, I'm a very slow reader. One reason is I can't read past stuff like this. I get "stuck" in constant diversions.

The dumped his printing press into the Mississippi. Did they really? Was it dumped underwater? Or in a thicket near the water? Did it sink into mud?
DID ANYONE EVER RECOVER IT?!

Wouldn't it be cool to find Elijah Lovejoy's printing press? If it was covered in ink, would that help preserve it from rust? Presses sure did get inky-dirty. Not to mention all the grease they had to slather on. And if it submerged into mud, that might have helped to preserve it. The Mississippi changes course as it meanders, and today it could be in the middle of someone's corn field. Or maybe it wasn't deep enough and someone found it, not knowing what it was, and hauled it off to another dump-site? Maybe a building is on top of it?

It's probably un-findable. But wouldn't it be cool? To find it and fix it up as best it's rusty remains might allow, and put into a museum?

I Googled this and can't find any info on anyone looking for or finding his press. They know where his house was, and you can't easily cart-off a heavy printing press, so it's bound to be close to the shortest distance from his house site to the river's bank, at that time.

See, this is why I have a stack of un-read books so high it keeps falling over. I can't seem to get through any of them. Everything i read sends me on constant diversions that are more interesting to me than the original text.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Auto show 2011

I just went to the auto show in Denver. Shocked that automakers are still cranking out low-MPG cars. I'm not talking about sports cars or SUVs, either. Basic sedans getting 16mpg. They really didn't seem to get the memo - gas has been expensive, and it isn't going to get cheaper. My very old Honda CRX got 49/54, but I once pegged 60-61mpg fully loaded with backpacking gear and two people going generally uphill from Wichita, KS to Colorado. No hybrid, just regular carburetor.
It was odd that most makes of vehicle, the smaller sedans got the same or only 1mpg better than the big honkin' SUVs. Just what exactly are they doing to destroy sedan economy?

I've been dismayed at my Subaru Forester XT's mileage of only 22mpg, but after looking at all the ratings for new cars, I'm glad to have my XT. It is WAY faster than most of the vehicles at the auto-show, and better economy.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Front Range Pix

Here are photos of Red Rocks Open Space Park...






In the photo above, you can see Green Mountain, which is really just a hill, on the other side of Dakota Ridge. Green looks tame from a distance, but the trails can be very rugged.

North and South Table Mountains are created by a cap of ancient lava. The main castle rock is on South Table Mountian overlooking Golden. The main Coors Brewing facility is between the two mesas. (They certainly are mesas, but no one ever calls them that.)



The National Renewable Energy Labs is at the base of the hill above.

White Ranch Open Space Park is north of Golden, and affords good vistas of the metro-area...



Further north is the Mesa Trailhead. This is the southern trailhead to access the Boulder Flatirons.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dense, Wet Snow!

You know I love running in snow. Well it was coming down hard and fast, with a bit of wind added for extra credit.
Over the clouds rolled thunder. It was an erie sound, and I eventually figured it was wind, but then the news confirmed that the storm produced lots of thunder.

When I got back to my car, I started clearing it off. There had to have been at least 200lbs of snow on my car, in just the time I'd been parked there to go running 5.2 miles. How's that for "heavy"? By the time I got back into my car, it needed clearing off again!

I figured I'd better get photos, or no one would believe me.
John Crowther was the only other person brave enough to join me.

At the restaurant afterward, I'd mentioned to the waitress that I only eat at restaurants after running. She said, "You went running?" "Yeah." "You mean like outside running?" We were standing by the window and the blizzard was billowing under the street lights. I just thought, what other kind of running is there?
It was definitely a fun run.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cccccold!!!!

I can't go to Canada, but no worries - Canada has come to me! It's only 5F! Oh, wait, since Canada came here, that means it's -15C. At least it came with snow. I love snow!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Humpty-Dumpty

When I was about 20, I shattered my right fibula and ripped all the ligaments and cartilage that held my ankle together. After surgery, with a cast up to my hip, I was pretty well bed-ridden.
I had never been a patient in a hospital before. No one bothered to inform me that I was expected to use a bedpan. Hell, I'd heard of bedpans but didn't know what they looked like!
A bit more than a day after surgery, I had to crap. Lying in bed gave me all the time in the world - too much time. I was used to expeditions in the Colorado mountains, so I looked at going to the bathroom as an expedition. There wasn't anything else to do, right?
Looking around the room, there was a chair next to the bed, and the usual nightstand next to the bed. I carefully, slowly inched my way out of bed, onto the chair, down onto the floor, using the chair to elevate my leg. I rested often. I inched my way across the room, chair in-tow, did my business, and returned to bed.

Over the next couple of days, I did this each day. Finally, a nurse came in and tried to give me some Milk-of-magnesia. I didn't know what that was. She said it was to "help me void".
"What?"
"You haven't voided."
"What?"
"You've been here three days and haven't voided. We can't release you until you void."
"I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you saying 'void'?"
"Yes."
"Well what does that mean? That doesn't make any sense to me. It's like you're speaking a different language."
"You're constipated. This will help move your bowels."
"Oh, you mean I haven't crapped! Why didn't you just say that? No one's going to know what you're talking about if you're afraid to say it!"

So I told her about my expeditions, and she told me how that was against the rules. Well no one had told me the "rules", or told me to use a bedpan, or showed me what a bedpan looked like, or what the word "void" was supposed to mean, and that I couldn't go home until I'd crapped. I swear, hospitals can be so retarded sometimes. They think we all graduated from Hospital Patient 101? Get real!

Looking back, I laugh at the experience. I also am real thankful for my mobility. At the time, I had readjusted my horizons so that a successful trip across the room was epic. I've since gone on many more adventures in the mountains, in winter storms, done tons of remote ultra-races, etc. I'm a lucky guy. Not sure how sick everyone is of hearing me say that. I've just been repeatedly reminded of it throughout my life. My luck keeps staring me in the face.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trail Adventures Blog Move

I'm officially moving my outdoors adventures to my newer blog, Trail Bum.
My plantar faciitis has my ultra-running passion sidelined indefinitely, so it makes more sense for me to blog about my general outdoors adventures, than almost exclusively about training for the Leadville Trail 100.

This blog will switch to my more miscellaneous ramblings, but each blog may sometimes refer to the other. Who knows, maybe this one will become extinct?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Regina Kelly Story

Since I'm injured, and haven't raced or trained in two months, and this blog isn't named after trail running (like my new blog is), I feel compelled to mention this story...

I saw the movie, American Violet. They had this GORGEOUS woman playing the leading role. You know how Hollywood does things. You see the real-life person and it just isn't the same.
So I Googled. In the movie, it's Dee Roberts (played by Nicole Beharie, who is only slightly totally freakin' HOT) is the woman in the Hollywood version. In real life, the woman's name is Regina Kelly.
So I Googled Regina Kelly. Wow, the real-life woman is also totally hot.
Also, I've seen druggies. I've seen a lot of druggies. In high school, most of my friends were druggies. In later years, riding with my friend who was a cop, I got to see worse druggies. And here in Denver, I got to see more. How anyone could think for one minute that this civilized, articulate woman could be involved in drugs is beyond me. I've seen beautiful people who sell drugs, and they lose their beauty and they don't act civilized. I've even known rich druggies in so-called hi-society. They also act like druggies. You can doll it up but it still smells and looks the same.
Watch this and tell me if you could suspect this woman for very long of hanging with the wrong crowd doing the wrong things.

One reason I "fled" the Mid-west is that racism is rampant. Seriously, not to blow things out of proportion, most people don't hate. So I'm talking about a large enough percentage of the population to poison the pond. The Midwest sucks when it comes to racial harmony. In fact, it's not just race. There was a narrowness of mind/attitude that appalled me my whole life... from all races - not just whites.

I have lots of stories of racism, mostly white-on-Hispanic, in Texas, but also blacks against whites, blacks against blacks, and every race against every other race.
Aren't humans a swell bunch of folks, Wally?
I love Denver. It isn't the best melting pot, but there isn't one narrow-minded mainstream that overrides all the others. Like it or not, Denver is diverse. And I take refuge in it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nocturnal Running

This article about lighting for trail-runners has been worked on for years, and distributed to the Denver Trail Runners for several years, edited each year. The first copy was a 50/50 effort between Adam Feerst and myself.

Whether you’re running an ultra-event that goes through the night, or you just want to keep running through the short days of winter, you may be shopping for good lighting. Maybe you’re a gear-hog that already has plenty of different lights, but you may not be utilizing your gear optimally. During a race, there is no substitute for good lighting. If you’re running with insufficient light, you’ll probably either slow down for safety, or you’ll risk injury. If worried about weight, err on the side of too much weight/light than not enough. I've overheard too many elite runners complain that they had to slow down because they couldn't see. For these, a few more ounces of lighting would have more than paid for itself.

Some things to consider:
- Contrast gives you depth-perception
- Peripheral vision avoids vertigo and tunnel-vision
- Brightness gives you speed and confidence.
- Colored lenses
- Weight/bulk
- Battery life
- Cost

Contrast is created by having light away from your eyes where you can see some shadow to create depth perception. The more sources of light you have, from different angles, the better the contrasts will stand out. This is basic knowledge to any photographer wanting to make the subject stand-out.

Peripheral vision is aided by stray light. Reflectors try to block stray light and direct it forward for greater range. Since runners need the most effective light about 6 feet in front of them, reflectors are usually counter-productive. What's good for a camp light is not good for running a trail.
That is, unless you’re trying to follow reflective trail markers. In those cases, you’re not just trying to see for foot-placement, but also route-finding. Some headlamps have selective beams from long-range reflective to short-range dispersed.
Head lights leave your hands free and shine where you are looking. However, the light directly over your eyes can create glare, reducing contrast.
Hand lights can be easily directed and reduce glare. However, it takes practice to keep the light's direction from swinging while still using your arms.
Multiple lights can add depth-perception by countering shadows caused by a single light.

Brightness is determined by a combination of wattage, reflector, and the type of bulb you’re using. Incandescent bulbs are last century’s technology. They eat batteries and burn out, especially when dropped.
LEDs usually last forever. There are regular LEDs (less than 1 watt) and “super-bright” LEDs (more than 1 watt). The brighter LEDs are much better but use batteries faster.
There are, however, lights that utilize both LEDs and xenon or halogen. The battery-eating xenon/halogen is usually surrounded by a reflector that gives you a very bright projecting light. This gives you the best of both worlds. Depending on the unit model, you may have several switch settings that allow you to choose the brightness of light and longevity of your batteries. These hybrid gas/incandescent bulbs, used sparingly, are a luxury during moonless ultra-races through the night, especially races like the Hard Rock 100 where you’re above treeline looking for reflective markers a mile away.
Another option is to bring one Xenon or halogen flashlight with a button that can be depressed half-way for several seconds of reflector-controlled beam. This saves batteries and still allows superb long-distance lighting to pick out reflectors far away.

It’s better to have too much light than to have too little. Find the right level of brightness and weight, for the speeds and trails you want to run, and your own relative vision at night. Smooth paths may require no lights, while jagged, rocky trails with jutting tree roots require the max.
The closer your lighting is to your eyes – like a headlamp – the less the contrasts. This is because of the dancing shadows that give you a clue about how deep a hole is or how big a rock is. If the light is right next to your eyes, you’ll see no shadow. If the shadows are too dark, this may erode your confidence, making you slow down. Crisscrossing shadows give your eyes better perspectives.
Most headlamps can be converted to a waist or chest light.
If you’re only going to have one light, use it lower down for depth-perception. If you have a headlamp and a lower light, your headlamp should be the dimmer one to fill – but not obliterate – shadows created from your lower light(s).

Colored lenses severely diminish a bulb’s efficiency, but very bright-white light reduces the light-efficiency of your eyes (what’s called “night-vision”). Yellow, brown, and amber block blue light, which reduce haze and glare, and increase contrast making things clearer during speed sports. Red light is well-known for retaining night-vision.
Also consider weight and bulk. Some headlamps have the batteries integrated into the light, which is smaller and lighter with no wires, but tend to be front-heavy. Headlamps with separate battery packs are balanced, but are heavier overall and have wires which may end up getting mangled or worn-out.

Safety is another factor, mostly during training. Unfortunately many trail-runners do much of their training on roads. There are times you may not think you need any lighting, but consider there are times you want to be more visible to bikers and cars. Reflective clothing and a flashing tail-light can also be helpful. There's also the chance of meeting lions or bears on the trail. A flash of light in their eyes can blind them long enough to avoid an attack.

For short runs, rechargeable NiMH is great and saves plenty of money over the years.
Lithium is the other extreme, and is not rechargeable. It costs far more than any other battery but it runs longer too, and it’s immune to cold or going bad from sitting on the shelf. This may be a better choice for frigid winter runs. Lithium batteries have recently been found to damage LEDs from overheating. They are not recommended in moderate-to-hot weather. If you only have one LED bulb, only use them in the coldest environments where LEDs can’t reach critical temperatures, and you need the resilience of lithium. Overheated LEDs will become dimmer over time and will have to be replaced in order to return a flashlight to original brightness. However, if your light has multiple LEDs, then adding a little extra wattage won’t be able to damage them, even on warm nights. The more LEDs, the safer lithiums become.

Many lights are made from “aircraft-grade aluminum”, but this isn’t a good thing for runners. It’s heavier than plastic and far more durable than runners need. Some ads brag that you can drive over them with a tank or Humvee and they still work. I don’t anticipate any of my flashlights getting run over by anything, much less a military vehicle. Especially with regards ultra-running, every ounce counts.

Costs range from about $15 - $60. Headlamps tend to cost more than generic flashlights. The fancier features (LEDs+halogen reflector+4 switch settings) can send the price over $50.

When shopping, you’ll see ratings for candlepower and/or lumens. The term “watts” refers to power usage and doesn’t translate directly into brightness. Candlepower is a linear measurement equal to a birthday candle one foot away. A lumen is a square foot of light one foot away from the same candle.

Some packaging shows a silhouette of the beam. This can help you decide. Is the design for long range (better for hiking/camping) or for shorter range (better for runners)?

The most popular brands are Petzl, Black Diamond, Princeton Tec, Gerber, and Brinkman, but you may find others that are also very good.
One of my favorite flashlights is a 9-bulb Garrity that fits in the palm of my hand and runs lithium batteries without fear of degrading the bulbs. A lanyard is also a great feature on a hand-held light. The price is low enough to buy a couple for different drop-bags, while having an ideal weight/brightness ratio.
If I have to go with just one light, though, I'd choose a Tikka Plus. It probably has the best weight/brightness ratio available. I can wear it around my waist, or my head, or I can wrap the headband around my wrist and use it like a hand-held.

A partial list of stores and online dealers...
REI.com
REI Outlet
Sierra Trading Post
Campmor
Wilderness Exchange
Back Country
Adventure Racing Gear
Gear Zone
EMS
EMS Outlet
Bent Gate
Army/Navy Surplus, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, and at garage sales or Goodwill, ebay, amazon.


If you have any favorite places to shop, add a comment.

Lighting technology is taking leaps and bounds. Don't fixate on any specific model of light mentioned in this post. New models are coming out all the time, and new manufacturers, and old makes get new management (which overhaul the company). I think Petzl is clearly the best right now, but I reserve my loyalties because things are always changing.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Denver Magazine Article

This is woefully late, because I have a habit of not reading about running, or biking, or climbing, etc. Previously, I went to the Denver Magazine website and didn't see this article. Not knowing where to get a hard-copy, I never read it.
Until today. I plugged in "Denver Magazine", and my name, and voila!
I get all of one paragraph because the article was more about John Marini, and about ultra-running in general.
John Marini died during the Collegiate Peaks 50 in 2008.
Christian Toto wrote the piece. He has quite a few years at various newspapers and magazines across the country.
It's nice how it highlights our camaraderie and cooperation. One day I was at a bar watching Cyclo-cross racers, and they were talking about all the visceral hatred they have for each other. I couldn't help but think, "Those guys just don't get it."

Anyways, here it is.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SR71 Jocks

I was cleaning out old files on my computer when I found this awesome old story about two guys in an SR71 Blackbird hypersonic recon jet...

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe
flying this plane. Intense, maybe even cerebral.
But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie.
We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status.
Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plan in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: "November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground."

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the "Houston Center Voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston Center Controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that... and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.
Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed.

"Ah, Twin Beach: I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed."
Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren.
Then out of the blue, a Navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios.
"Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check."

Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it -- ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion:
"Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground."

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done -- in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now.

I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet.

Then, I heard it: the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: "Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?"

There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request:
"Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling.. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks. We're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money."

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center Voice, when L.A. came back with, "Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one."

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work.

We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

State of the Runner Address - again

I've been running about seven times since May. Yeah, I know, some of those runs were 50 miles or more, but still... Seven times in four months.

My plantar doesn't hurt as much as it used to. As far as I can tell, that's only because I haven't aggravated it much. It still hasn't healed at all.

The good news is I don't need ibuprofen to keep the swelling down, generally.

My CR-V is really decrepit. It has over 209,000 miles on it. The keyless locks don't work, the radiator leaks, there's a huge ding in the windshield from the Bandera drive, and other minor problems. After this last trip, the 4th cylinder stopped working. It sounded like an old Volkswagen Beetle. I started trying to find a shop to work on it late Friday, but apparently service centers stopped working on weekends because of the bad economy. (Seems odd to me because wouldn't more people want to repair old cars rather than buy new ones?) So I worked on my CR-V all weekend long and it is now fixed. It runs extremely well, but some time in the next year, I should replace it.

I have the money saved to plop down cash on another, but I also want lasik surgery. My astigmatism is so bad that I will probably still have to wear glasses, but it will be optional. I am SOOOO sick of bifocal glasses!! Not sure I can afford a car and lasik.
And I still have to save for my son's college. I need a money tree. I'm just glad I still have a job. Real glad.

Aspen and Capitol Peak

Since I'm injured, I obviously couldn't run the Vasque Golden Leaf Half Marathon. What an awesome race! I did get to party with friends, lounge in the hot tub and pool, and generally chill-out.

We met at Bentley's for beer and burgers. The poor waiter - we just kept coming! A dozen, 18, 22, 26! Yikes! He said we were like a virus! But he got 20-21% tip, so he was fine with that.

We totally took over the hotel! There was, like, 29 of us, all together.


Race day was gloriously fine. No wind and much warmer than the forecast. In fact, if anything was wrong, some people may have over-dressed a tad and cooked during the race.
I played taxi driver and gear-hauler. Since it's a point-to-point, taking the shuttle would be a hassle.

Lance kicked butt. Many years ago, he was FAT!!! He was the fastest one in the group on raceday. What a stud!

We ate dinner at an Italian place, and then the livelier ones went dancing afterward. I put this tired old man to bed. How pathetic, huh?


The next day, I had coffee with Kelly and Leah, then left town for Capitol Peak.

Again, the weather was awesome. I loaded up with full gear for the first time since I took my son backpacking below Holy Cross Peak last year. This time I wore my Montrail trail running shoes. I don't see how anyone can make a habit our of running in these - they really are boots. Several times, i stepped right on the point of some sharp rocks and nothing poked through. Protection is one thing, but with 50lbs or so of gear, and still can't tell I'm stepping on a rock, that's a bit excessive. But perfect for backpacking!! I will certainly be able to wear these shoes out.

I met six people on the trail, always in pairs. Two of them, in separate groups, proclaimed the peak "unclimbable".

I got up to the upper camp sites just before the sun dipped below the ridges. Being a Sunday night, there were only two other people in the valley, and they were out of sight and sound.

With such dismal reviews from the other climbers, I didn't take the next day's climb that seriously. I got out of bed late, had a luxurious breakfast, and finally left camp at 9:10am.

I wasn't sure what the route was, except that I was supposed to climb up Daly Pass. So I did. Then I was surprised to see that I had to climb down a very steep gully into a serious rock-pile. The snow made figuring out safe places to step really hard. Add to that, I had to figure out what the proper route was. It was slow.


It was okay - it's what I came for, I guess. Beautiful scenery above treeline. I just took it easy - no rush - be careful.

The weather was just unreal, how comfortable it was. The only concern was the scalding high-altitude sun.

video

When I got to K2, I saw there was snow, and I wasn't certain ab out which way to continue, but it looked completely climbable to me. Except for two important things... I'm chicken, and I left way too late. It was 12:30pm and still hours worth of Knife Edge ridge between me and the summit.

Every time I looked at Capitol from a near distance, I kept thinking, what a chunk of ROCK! It is such a huge, jutting ridge of almost solid rock.

I got out in the nick of time. The wind began to blow before I got over Daly Pass coming back. It never let up, either. It just got worse over night. I had half considered climbing the next day, but there was NO WAY I was going to go over the Knife Edge in gusting winds, rain, and snow.

I drove over Independence Pass to eat dinner in Leadville, slept east of town in my CR-V, then drove in the rain to do breakfast at the Provin' Grounds.
It was wind and rain most of the way home. Glad I was a day ahead of schedule, because I wouldn't have gotten as far on Capitol otherwise.

This is the first real vacation I've had in a couple of years. It was nice.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Steamboat Springs 50 - aid station

I volunteered at the Steamboat 50 instead of running it. It was lots of fun and i have a few new friends in Steamboat, now.

I got to see Tim Hoppin and Meghan Burch finish their first 50M race! Tim totally killed it too. Can you believe this? He kills his first 50M? Someone forgot to give him the memo that says you have to build up to elite status.



Oh yea! I almost forgot! That curly-haired guy next to Mrs. Burch trashed the old course record. This years course is harder and slower, so the new record certainly overshadows any older record. Great job, Ryan!
7hr, 26min
That's crazy, I'm tellin' ya!

I still got to eat all the pizza and drink all the beer I wanted. I had four pieces and two beers. Great pizza!!!

I got some good mountain biking in too.

My plantar isn't hurting as bad. Too early to tell if it's starting to heal, or more probably simply been a long time since I've aggravated it. Whatever, I walked two miles on Tuesday, and again on Thursday.

Now I'm off to Aspen with friends, followed by some solo climbing in the area.