It was a blast but I’m also glad it’s over with. As some of you may know, this Sunday was the Colfax Marathon. I signed up for the half with Nate a few months ago when it was BOGO, and have been half-assedly getting ready for it. That, along with the ill-fated Rainier trip, kept me from getting to the mountains much for a while. I decided to go climb and ski Quandary the day before the race.
Friday night I got to sleep around 10:30, which was a little late given the 3am wakeup call Saturday had in store. Got up, loaded the car, met up with Hans, Mel, Owen, and Aaron at the Morrison Park ‘n’ Ride about 4:15 and we were off. It was raining in Denver, and we were hoping for better conditions in the mountains. We got them.
It was horrendously foggy on the mountain though, and as we approached this CMC group (who absolutely trashed the snowpack by glissading and postholing everywhere), we were getting drenched with sweat. High humidity in the Colorado mountains, especially on spring snow climbs, is exceptionally rare. It was fairly miserable, although it was surreal not being able to see very far around you.
The snow was extremely dusty, and got worse as the day went on due to accelerated melt. Total melt-off is going to be quick this year.
Once we were above the fog, the views were very cool. There was little to no breeze early, so it just sat in the valleys.
Even once we were largely out of the fog, occasional light breezes would push it above us.
Where are we, British Columbia?
A couple hours after starting, we topped out to a beautiful morning. While waiting for the snow to soften up, I took a nice nap. Very refreshing, and necessary for the ski that was about to come.
It turns out we waited too long. When the snow was nice on the summit, it was a horrible slushfest down low. I failed to lock the toe on my Dynafits, and a stationary jump turn resulted in one ski popping off and careening down the mountain a couple hundred feet. I’m told photos of that will be following. I didn’t get any ski photos because I was too busy either enjoying the snow, or being miserable and fighting through it. Having to cross multiple glissade tracks and countless trashed areas didn’t help (thanks a lot, CMC).
We finally made it back down to the car and headed in to Breckenridge for lunch. I had a massive calzone at Eric’s, and was still back to hungry by the time I got home. I cooked up a big plate of pasta and hit the sack at 6:30.
After an amazing evening’s sleep, the alarms went off, again, at 3am. I downed some extra strong coffee, cooked a solid breakfast, got my bag together, and biked down to City Park for the 6am start to the race. I had a strong start to the race, down under a 7:30 pace. I figured it was just excitement and I’d settle down to my 8:00 target, which would get me done just under 1:45. To my surprise, I kept it up through miles 3, 4, 5…soon I was 8.5 miles in with a 7:24 average pace. I kept it up and not much later I was finished, an hour and 38 minutes after starting. 13.1 miles is now my personal record distance, and to do it with 7:27 miles felt great.
After grabbing food and my bag, I went back to the finish to shout at Nate for his finish. He met his goal of sub-two hours, and it was off to the beer garden for some seemingly alcohol-free Michelob Ultra. Shortly thereafter, Amy picked me up for breakfast, and brought me a mini-cake with a great little flag. Thanks hon: