LooseCrew-JeffO: Zane Gray 50 - Part III


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

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Zane Gray 50 - Part III

I'm having so much adventure, so close together, I can't keep my blog up-to-date. This weekend's Collegiate Peaks race is over, and I'm still following-up on last weekend.

I met Erin S. at the Leadville 100 Training Camp last year. From the start, she seemed like one of those people who just radiates positive energy. Non-stop inspiration and enthusiasm. Being around Erin is like standing around a big, roaring campfire. Everyone just wants to warm themselves by the fire.

Erin, and boyfriend Rafael, showed up at the finishline to pick me up. Larry King had sighted Angie B, but I couldn't find her.

The race crew gave us a really nice gray hoodie and a photo from mile 17, and a bowl of scorched soup.

After any 50+ race, I usually emanate a really profoundly horrible stench. This race was odd because I was just a bit stale and crusted in salt. A bottle of water was in my dropbag and I used it to rinse off and clean my legs. I'd even packed a towel.
I've never been so fresh after 50 miles. I wasn't at all hobbled. Which is strange. I sprained the same ankle twice during the race before I'd even reached the first aid station. And the course is so notoriously tough. But that is why I was okay - the obstacles kept me from running as much.

After retrieving my car from the start, I got a shower in Payson. We met up with Angie B from Tuscon, who just flew in from Canada to crew Olga. Small world - Angie knew Erin from a relay team from years earlier!
Then we headed for Scottsdale.
Erin had done a complete transformation in the drive down and was now looking ready to kill the town.
We stopped at Stingray's for sushi. (Okay, it has an obnoxious website.) I've eaten sushi at all of Denver's hottest-reviewed sushi restaurants from a few years ago. I know there's newer ones I need to check out, but after eating at Stingray's, I felt that Denver doesn't really have one single sushi place! Stingray's is THE BEST sushi EVER!!

The women in Scottsdale are all extremely beautiful, and (no doubt) the plastic surgeon industry must be BOOMING! Too bad those beautiful women are mostly not athletes, so as soon as their youth fades, they'll pudge and sag and end up spending a fortune getting perpetual nips and tucks until they look like a character in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. (Trail women RULE!)

Erin put me up for the night, and it was so funny getting a stack of towels, with matching set of shampoo, lotion, and soap, like a real hotel!

Erin, Rafael, and their roomie Mohinder, and I all went hiking at Camelback Mountain on Sunday. It is a short 2.2 mile round-trip, thigh-burning hike to a great overlook to the Phoenix metro-area. Saguaro cacti are all over the place! Coming from the mid-west, this was a new treat for me.
While the Phoenix are in general isn't an athletic place the way the Denver area is, if you want to see athletes, Camelback is the place. One old guy must've climbed Camelback 10 times while we were there.

A news helicopter flew very close around the summit as we waved back. I think they were significantly closer than FAA reg's allow, but no harm done.
While there, we did a little rock-scrambling, too.

My legs felt fine, and I even ran down some of the descent.

Then we headed to a REAL Mexican restaurant. Even most Mexican restaurants have a habit of selling a generic Americanized version of Mexican food - because it sells well. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was a really good one. We got seafood-based dishes. I ate octopus and squid for the first time. (It tasted mildly like fish, but had a gristly texture.)
As we were waiting for the main dishes, Erin got a phone call. They were supposed to be at a BBQ! So we got it to-go, and went over to Lee's apartment.
I'm probably mangling the spelling of all these names. Mohinder is Nigerian, but grew up all over mid to southern Africa. Lee (Li?) is Chinese. Her friend Iy (pronounced Eee) is a Chinese national. Rafael is from Mexico City.

Between sushi Saturday night, and seafood Mexican, and Chinese BBQ, I ended up eating either with my fingers or chopsticks all weekend long. We had quite an international conversation.

This was just about the funnest weekend I've ever had, with the best people I could ever meet. I've always felt like a hopelessly untamable, uncouth animal. I can pretend to be cultured and sophisticated, but in the end, it looks like I'm pretending. I've learned that if I don't pretend too hard, it's not as awkward, and the effort is appreciated. So I hope I balanced it out.

Finally it all ends, and goodbyes are hopefully until next time.

I had to pick up my dropbags from the race directors house before heading out of town. I spent the night 90 minutes from Flagstaff. Breakfast was in downtown old-town Flagstaff. Maybe I needed a guide - I was not very impressed, but it was nice to see it anyways, since it was on the way home.

Next stop: The Big Crater. This is private property. It's an incorrigible tourist-trap. I was hoping for a run around the crater, but they were short one employee, and I don't think they allow anyone out solo. Everyone was obese, or very frail-old, or a little kid, or a yapping fluffy dog. So there was no fast-moving human traffic. I just looked, took some photos, and left. In all, being from a geologist background, it was worth it to me. But for most people, read about it online and look at the pictures.

The view away from the rim was equally stunning!

There are some lava flows west of Albuquerque. They look very young, geologically. They've never been covered by dust. The source seems to be a volcano to the south.

All of this in six days!


Post a Comment

<< Home