LooseCrew-JeffO: Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp 2008


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

Friday, July 04, 2008

Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp 2008

After work, I had to finish packing at home, so I left Denver late on Friday. I was extremely sleepy, having gone several weeks on 5-7 hours of sleep every night, except a couple at 3 hours, and lots of running, plus still trying to recover from SJS50. So with just under 10 miles to go, I pulled off the highway and crawled into the back of my CR-V and was instantly asleep.

I woke at 5:30am and drove into town. I couldn't wait for the breakfast to begin, so I grabbed a cup at the Provin' Grounds coffee shop.

It was nice to see familiar faces, but there weren't as many as I had expected. Didn't matter - I met lots more.

We loaded onto a bus and drove us to Mayqueen campground at the west end of Turquoise Lake (mile 13.5 of the LT100). We would run 26 miles to Twin Lakes (mile 39.5).

I dosed myself with nasal steroids to control the nasal symptoms. It seemed to open up everything above the lungs. It took a couple of hours for the full effect.
I took albuterol 30 minutes before. It takes an hour for the full effect of that. So we were halfway up Sugarloaf when I started feeling like Puff the Magic Dragon.

Anita F and Gayle were running together, so I hung out with them for several miles.

Coming down Sugarloaf, I saw a familiar rock. Of course, I have no idea if it was "the rock" I flicked up with my right toe and bashed with my left ankle last year at the LT100. All I know is it was at the right place and it was the right size and shape. So I ceremoniously kicked it, then picked it up and heaved it off the road. "So THERE! You rock, you!" Can you believe how foul my language was?

At Fish Hatchery aid station, I took the opportunity to chow down. Hey, I never get to do that in races, and I paid a lot for the Camp, so I intended to get my money's worth!

After FH is the boring part - a couple of miles of pavement, then a few miles of dusty dirt road with traffic.
This is where I met Erin and Joy. Erin invited me to run with them, so we pretty much hooked-up for the rest of the Camp, in one way or another. It was nice to have a couple of new, interesting people to talk to, so the miles went by effortlessly.

The weather was nice, and there was food and beer waiting for us when we finished. What more could you ask for?

Tim and Anita F invited me to use the spare bed in their motel room. I jumped at the chance and took a shower. We ate Mexican food a few blocks away, then went to bed early.

Sunday, at breakfast, I decked-out Erin's shoes with my red DFL skull gaiters. She was certainly looking like a rad ultra trail runner.

Instead of letting us run over Hope Pass to Winfield and back, they instead bused us to Winfield, insisting that the Pass was "blocked" by snow. I beg to differ, but they did have lots of folks to look after, and they went out of their way to let us get whatever workouts we wanted.
I chose to climb Hope Pass, then turn right and climb Quayle. I didn't go all the way to the summit, but to the highest point on the ridge that led to Quayle. I wasn't sure how much time we had, so I didn't go the extra mile to the summit.
Downhill! I love rocky downhills - but you probably know that. I sprinted through the rockiest parts, slowing only to make the turns. It was speed I wouldn't use during the race, but it was a good workout.

More food, more beer, but I lost Erin, Joy, and Anita. I took the first bus back to Leadville.

I then drove to Twin Lakes and hiked to the river. Wow. The river was 12-18" above normal. It was flooding it's banks by several inches. It was a raging torrent like I've never seen it. Exactly 3 weeks before, also in the midst of warm temps and high snow melt, the river was only a few inches above normal. Now it was flowing powerfully enough to wash away a bulldozer. That put an end to my aspirations to cross the river.

With time to spare, I went mountain biking among the mines and tailings east of town.

6am Monday morning, Phil and Kim from New York, and Mike from Tennessee, Erin from Phoenix, and I, ate junk food at the Country Store and drank bad coffee and headed for the trailhead.

It was funny how easy it was to go fast up that peak. The last time - and only time - I had ever climbed Elbert was back in 1982. It almost killed me from dehydration and exhaustion. I was clueless about the extreme hydration needs at that altitude. This time was a waltz. Even goofing off, the five of us were at the summit in about 2h30m. Erin was ecstatic! It was her first 14er and she took lots of photos and a video clip to show her friends.

We took a different, longer way back. It was nice to do this with ultra-runners who didn't argue the longer route at all. It seemed "better" to all of us to pad some more miles.

The night run! This is always fun. This time it started raining at the beginning, but then settled into intermittent sprinkles. In all, the weather was actually quite nice. Since I had to be at work at 8am Tuesday morning, and we'd end near midnight, I told my new friends that I was only going slow until my lungs were warmed up and then I was going to put the pedal down.

I'm so bad with names. There was this old guy in front of me who was SO fast! I thought I'd blow by him but I was just trying to keep up. There was a younger guy behind me, who likewise was just trying to keep up with me. Uphill we puffed. Once it leveled out, we settled into a great intermittent run, but the other two hesitated at all streams. I blew through them and across them without slowing, so I ended up in front. After several miles, it was just the younger guy and myself. I never got his name - I was pushing so hard to get back to Denver. Down the steep, rocky Colorado Trail I sprinted and pulled away by myself. We rejoined on Half Moon road and ran together for miles.

At the end of the run, there were burritos, hot cocoa, and beer. No way I was going to drink a beer with so little sleep and a two hour drive to Denver in the middle of the night.

I left Leadville at 12:04 but didn't make it home before I got so sleepy I pulled over at Red Rocks. Seconds after turning off my engine, I fell asleep sitting upright. Ten minutes later, I woke up and drove home. I hadn't had a bath since Sunday morning, and had run so many miles, so many times, and was covered with "trail". But I just crashed into bed without cleaning.

I was at work on time the next day, clean but not shaven.

Three days, five running excursions, 11 hours of sleep, multiple streams to cross, 63 miles. Life is good.


At 8:37 PM, Blogger Raymond said...

Hello JeffO,

I also was at training camp in 2008 (Ray Churgovich). I did not look at the results from 2008; did you finish? The guy Chris that is in your pictures went on to get the Leadman award. I have done a few different races with him. Erin asked be to come along to climb Elbert on Monday, but I had to work. Do you know why she did not come to Leadville to race? I'll be at camp again this year with my pacer.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger JeffO said...

Hi Ray!
Erin has a sick uncle. He died.
Erin asked Ken K to please transfer her registration to the next year, as this wasn't some irresponsible, whimsical bail-out. She knew there was "No refunds", but under the circumstances (he DIED afterall!) and she wasn't asking for her money back - just a transfer to next year.
I don't think she will ever give Ken K a penny ever again. EVER!
Too bad for the rest of us! She is one-of-a-kind and lives too far away for me to run into at any races! She's from Phoenix.


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