LooseCrew-JeffO: Training Camp: Hope Pass


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

Monday, July 02, 2007

Training Camp: Hope Pass

Yesterday's post was interrupted by closing-time at the Proving Grounds coffee shop. (Yes, I've gone over to the other side. The other side of the street and a couple blocks away from Cloud City Coffee.)
I was talking to a woman who lives in Leadville and I was hoping to score a shower and bed, but closing-time ruined that, right about when I thought she was about to offer! DANG!!!

Okay, Sunday's training run over Hope Pass...

Since I plan to cross the river in a single pair of socks, I wore my dual-layer Wright Socks, but since I already had a blister, I bummed a dollop of Vaseline and created a lubricating mess on my foot before donning my socks.
They did NOT let us do the river-crossing! The bus dropped us off at the bridge a couple miles upstream of where the trail crosses (the same bridge Trey Corken showed me on a map a week ago).
Immediately after crossing the bridge, and for the first five miles, there was a traffic-jam. Since I was such a mess Saturday, and wasn't sure how much depth Sunday's good feeling had, I resigned myself to my place in line.
Andy, from Collegiate Peaks, just happened to be right in front of me. Our pace is so very much the same, and he's a very good, steady runner. Also a very good trail-personality. I had told him how trashed I felt the day before. He responded that my run at Collegiate was strong, i ran ahead of him most of the way Saturday and only fell behind because of a blister, so he wasn't going to listen to me saying I'm not doing well anymore! My idea of not doing well is the same as his average.
That kind of set the stage for the day, too, because I was feeling pretty decent and the climbs over Hope didn't diminish anything. For some reason I just felt stronger and faster as the day wore on.
Altitude is my specialty. I power-hiked over Hope. The south side, which is so steep I had declared "un-runnable", was somehow quite runnable Sunday. I can't expect to run like that at LT100, and I don't plan to, but Sunday I ran down.

One bad story...
Halfway down the Winfield side of Hope Pass, a woman was going up the trail with her dog, Cody. Several runners ahead of me had already passed them, and Cody was freaking out. Terri should have had her dog on a leash, but didn't. I was trying to be polite. I came to a complete stop, which wasn't easy on a trail that steep. It wasn't a graceful stop but I managed. When I stepped to the side, there was some rotted wood that crunched. That "crunch" was the straw that broke the camel's back. Cody totally freaked and ran down the trail. Cody stopped barely in sight and looked back. I dropped to one knee and held out the back of my hand. This usually is universal dog-talk for "come sniff me and make friends". Instead, Cody freaked more and ran down out of sight. Terri yelled at me not to kneel down, "don't reach towards him, don't talk to him, don't even look at him!" Well, if she knew Cody was THAT skittish, WHY in HELL wasn't he on a leash?!?! So emotionally I feel guilty, but mentally I know it wasn't my fault.
So we couldn't all stop. A couple of people jammed behind me. We started running again. It was a full couple of minutes before I saw Cody again lower down. He was peering around the bend. The instant he saw me, he bolted - this time for good.
Nearly at the bottom, I passed another runner, so I know Cody abandoned the trail and either ran up or down the horribly steep mountain-side.
Cody acts like he was fresh from the dog-pound. I have Terri's cell number, but I'm probably the last person she wants to talk to, except to cuss me totally out and tell me what a horrible person I am. Anyway, I left her a message.

Continuing, I ran comfortable at a relaxed pace to Winfield, turned around, and headed back. It was very hot, like Saturday. Like the week before. The best thing is to get back UP! So I hiked hard. The higher I got, the more often I felt a breeze and the lower the temps. I passed lots of people. I felt better than ever.
I climbed with an empty hydration bladder. I brought my Ultimate-Direction hand-held bottle. Two-liter bladders are great for long-distances between aid, but hand-helds are better for shorter legs. Since there was no "Hopeless Aid Station" on the other side, I used the same stream as the week before to re-hydrate, but this time I didn't put any into my hydration bladder. I was moving too fast and wouldn't need more than a full bottle.

I finished in 5:40, I think. That's about 1:30 faster than I expect to do that leg during the race.
I grabbed an almost-empty bag of Guys potato chips, some more water, and sat in the ice-cold river for about 20 minutes.

I caught a ride to Twin Lakes for more food and beer.
I went to the office where Trey Corken had stayed the week before. The nice old lady there corrected my spelling of his name and gave me his sister's phone #. So maybe I can find him again.

Later that evening, at the pasta-feed, I met another woman who lives in Leadville. In short, I ended up not having to worry about bears and mosquitoes Sunday night.

I have photos from Saturday and Sunday, but these last few posts are obnoxiously long, even in abbreviated form. So photos will have to wait.


At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Meghan said...

Oh man, that totally lights my fire about that dog!

I also live in a place where people are obsessed with letting their dogs be "free." Like for some reason, dogs need to be off leash (And, thus, largely uncontrolled.) in order to be happy and healthy (Which is, by far, the miggest misnomer ever!). Resultingly, all the time there are lost dog signs up at trailheads and around town because of this. A few weeks ago, I ran into a guy on a trail who was obsessively calling for his dog, which had just run off into the woods on trail.

PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE: If your dog gets lost in the wilds, it will likely die a horrible death by either starvation or predation, both things that no domesticated creature knows how to counter.

My dog is a border collie, and she gets skittish out on trail sometimes. I know exactly when it is going to happen, though, when the weather is changing, when the wind blows hard, when I'm not sure where we're going, etceteras. I leash her up then so she stays with me. It would be my worst nightmare to lose her out there, knowing what kind of death she'd likely have.

Oh, I'm too fired up, I'll shut up now!

By the way, I'm glad you had a decent Sunday and that you felt good out there!



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