Leadville Trail 100 Pacing

A couple weekends ago I got to do one of my favorite things – cover long distances in the mountains at night at a good pace. Several months ago, I received an email from a friend, who was passing on an email from a guy he knew, about someone else looking for a pacer (or something like that). The racer, Scott Loughney, was preparing for the Leadman competition – essentially racing all summer long in Leadville. Scott’s target time for the 100 was 24-25 hours, putting the last quarter of his race solidly in the overnight hours. Perfect.

Saturday night of the race, I headed up to the Fish Hatchery to take over pacing duties and found Scott’s brother Todd all set up and ready for Scott to come in.

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This was my first time at an ultramarathon, and it was quite the scene.

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Scott came in pacerless, having been too fast for his wife to keep up with.

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A few minutes of rehydrating and sorting new gear and we were off, me with two packs to ease the burden on Scott’s legs, which already had 76 miles in them.

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The evening was chilly, but keeping the pace up kept us both warm.

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There aren’t a whole lot of pictures because, well, it was night time and we had a pace to keep up. To my pleasant surprise, Scott had no major issues during the six and a half hours we were moving through the mountains. Temps dropped quite a bit in the last hour, but a good support crew came through with our warmer clothes just in time.

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Scott came in with a time of 24:31 (for a total Leadman time of 45:18, good for 14th in the series), plenty of time under the cutoff for the big belt buckle.

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It was a great time and I look forward to pacing again. I even came away with a valuable lesson – that I have little interest in ever doing a 100 mile race.

Congratulations Scott, and thanks for having me along for the ride!

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Leadville and Motivation

The Leadville Trail Marathon is now four weeks behind us. I signed up for it in memory of Rob Janssen, who passed in a climbing accident last year. My training was almost all-consuming leading up to it, as evidenced by my near-total lack of peak skiing this year, despite an excellent spring. The race was an amazing experience, but took it out of me in a way nothing has before. Motivation was nonexistent, energy levels through the floor, and recovery slower than molasses.

Things finally changed his week, thanks to the preseason Salvagetti/Happy Coffee Cyclocross team meeting. After a month of not wanting to do anything, I’m now to the point where I’m even looking forward to trainer workouts. It’s good to be back.

Because I need to get caught up on photos and such, below are two photos from the Bailey Hundo. The first is Christopher Jones blasting the end of Sandy Wash, the second Levi enjoying a free massage at the aid station.

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Belford and Oxford Ski

After skiing the Needle on Friday, Marc was down to only four peaks left to finish his 14er project. Thanks to some photos posted a week prior, we were fairly confident that Belford and Oxford would be in shape for a descent. Early Saturday afternoon Marc sent a text to let me know he was going for it, and I agreed to join him despite still being fatigued from Friday.

It was an early drive down to Winfield, and we were moving along the trail by 5:30am. Worried that the trail would be dry for a few miles, we carried flip flops until we hit mostly-continuous snow and stashed them in a tree.

IMG_0066Marc had some trouble with a pole, but was able to retrieve it thanks to his incredibly useful whippet. Continue reading

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Crestone Needle Ski Descent – Carl’s Finisher

Carl put together an outstanding video from the day, and it’s highly recommended viewing: Carl’s Crestone Needle video
He also posted a trip report over on 14ers.com: Carl’s 14ers.com TR
 

A few weeks later, more snow, and a fair amount of melting later and we were back, slogging up the snow-covered road to South Colony Lake at four in the morning. We came armed with ropes, slings, and plenty of gear this time, doing everything we could to ensure success.

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The “Classic” After-Work Bierstadt Ski

A few years ago I saw reports of people skiing Mt. Bierstadt as a quick after-work outing, and decided that was how I had to do it. My Friday began with an alpine start – but at my desk, rather than in the mountains. A full day of work later and I was dashing up towards Guanella Pass, skinning from the winter closure a mile and a half below the top of the pass.

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Crestone Needle Ski Attempt

Going in to this climb, the five of us (Carl, Eric, Marc, Matt, and myself) were aware of a not-too-pleasant weather forecast. Winds were expected to be bad, and we only had a few hour window when it would be less-than-terrible up high. The flip side of this is that NOAA’s wind forecasts often turn out to be entirely wrong, so staying home because of a wind forecast is often a good way to miss a beautiful day in the mountains. This was not such a day.

Friday night, we drove up the road towards South Colony Lake as far as the snow would allow. What does a 4Runner look like with climbing, skiing, and car camping gear for four look like, you may ask? Like a tick about to pop.

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FITS Sock Co. Sock Review

A couple months ago, I briefly mentioned FITS Sock Co. after talking to them at SIA. I’ve been using their Ultra Light Ski sock exclusively since then, and have become a big fan.

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For an “ultra light” sock, these look and feel relatively bulky – I assume because of the twisted pairs of wool they use, rather than weaving with single threads. This apparent bulk immediately disappeared, though, once I put my foot in to my too-narrow boots. There’ve been no signs of durability issues at all.

There are seven (seven!) patents on these socks between certain construction methods and the fit, and they all add up to one great sock. Most impressive to me was the sock staying up through entire days (thanks to the addition of nylon threads throughout the entire sock) in my low-cuff AT boots – my old standby, Smartwool Ultra Lights, would have sagged and bunched up from that. Best yet, the socks are made here right in the USA.

I was given these socks for free, but I wouldn’t hesitate to pay full retail for them.

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Cameron and Bross Sort-of Ski Descents

I sometimes wonder why I do this to myself. Out of bed at 2am. Driving at 2:45. Hiking at 5:20. Questionable snow conditions. Horrible winds, well above the forecast. I managed to convince Nate to come, while Marc and Eric actually wanted to go. Sophie will follow me to the ends of the earth, though I wouldn’t have brought her had I expected the ground blizzard she put up with.

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Dogs Playing in the Snow

The snow has finally been falling in Colorado, which makes the dogs (particularly Sophie) happy. There’s not a whole lot to say about these photos, so I won’t. Enjoy.

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A few shots from Aspen Highlands 2/24/2013

I made it up to Aspen Highlands on Sunday, and had one of my better days in the past couple seasons. Brought along the big camera too, so here’s a few shots from the bowl.

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