7 Weeks ’til Boston

It’s hard to believe, but Boston is coming up quick. Harder to believe is that Boston, formerly my A-race – and probably only race of the season – is essentially a warm up for what’s to come. Training is going well, hitting 50mpw consistently (if you count the miles from climbing and skiing Grays Peak a week ago) including a weekly 19+ mile run, along with a decent road ride each week and some light weights.

Last Saturday (Feb 18) I went up to Grays Peak for some exercise, and ran in to Chris Tomer on the summit. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years and have been trying to connect, so that was a fun surprise. Despite gigantic sastrugi, the skiing was very pleasant and even went continuous from summit to car.

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On the summit of Grays Peak Photo: Chris Tomer
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Mike skiing in front of a sun dog Photo: Chris Tomer
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Chris skiing on Grays Peak

Weather and life have made it difficult to keep consistent, and this coming week will probably be tougher.

I’ve settled on a couple gear decisions, the main one being bike choice – I’m going to stick with my FS trail bike, make a couple upgrades, and get some race tires. A new race bike would be nice but just isn’t in the budget. I’m still figuring out shoes, both run and bike. Beyond that, trying to schedule my spring/summer training around family, work, skiing, and races is my current focus on the Leadman front.

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A season of big ambitions

Four years ago, I ran the Leadville Trail Marathon, and swore off ever running ultras, ever. That same year, I paced someone for the last 25 miles of the Leadville 100, and doubled down on my commitment to never do ultras, and especially to never, ever run the LT100. Then some things changed.

This will likely be my last year with a good level of run fitness. I qualified for the Boston Marathon at Colfax last year, and am currently getting ready for that. Then I figured, “what the hell, I’ll do the Leadville Trail Marathon again, and see if I can pick up a qualifying spot for the LT100.” Then I saw that there were a few remaining spots for the Leadman competition, which, among other things, includes an entry to the LT100 run. And bike. And 50. And marathon. And because the organizers may be mildly sadistic, a 10km the day after the LT100 bike.

And so one of those days that seems to come along every few years, when I make a decision that I know I’ll regret before I ever even commit. Expect some snapshots and updates once in a while, along with some potentially-rambling thoughts about what I’ve gotten myself in to. I’ve got a big summer ahead, with lots of running, cyling, and big days in the mountains. In any given week for the next couple months, I’ll be trying to run about 50 miles, get in a decent bike ride or two, and spend a day in the mountains. Last week was a down week, with only 27 miles ran and a cold road ride.

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A ski flag, seen in Kerr Gulch yesterday.

Back to normal (?) this week, and hopefully weather this weekend will cooperate. It’s certainly been weird lately.

Horseshoe Mountain – Boudoir Couloir

It’s been a tough spring in Colorado for weekend warriors. It finally started snowing after a dry winter, but weekend storms have been pretty typical. We’re late in to the season and I’ve been trying to convince anyone I could to take advantage of expected weather windows. Fortunately, Jeff is on the same page, and was eager to get out. We agreed there was an early-morning weather window worth taking advantage of, so I packed, set my alarm for 1:30, and got ready for a quick morning in the mountains.

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Jeff skinning in the predawn light

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A Last-Minute Week at Sorcerer Lodge, Canada

Less than two weeks ago, Markus found himself in need of a cook with strong backcountry skiing abilities and the ability to cook for a group of 20 day-in and day-out, and who could leave the country and be out of cell and email range for a week on almost no notice. Miraculously, I was able to get out of work and other obligations last-minute and head to Canada. Unfortunately, the late booking meant I had to fly from Denver to Vancouver, spend the night, and fly to Calgary in the morning before shuttling out to Golden, B.C. Even worse, the Vancouver airport seems designed to discourage overnight stays, and this was where I settled in for the evening.

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After a very long travel day (including overloaded minivans, rockslide-induced highway delays, and a very slow dinner) we finally got to Golden, I caught a few hours of sleep, then it was time to pack up from the hotel.
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Haute Route, Spring 2015

Two months ago, today, Hans, Tracy, Markus, Lauren, and myself all gathered in Argentiere, just a short bus ride up the valley from Chamonix near the base of the Grand Montet ski area. Our goal: ski the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, by way of Verbier. It’s a trip we’ve all been thinking about for a long time, and this April it finally became a reality. All said and done, we spent a week in the alps, covering 42 miles and 20-something thousand feet of elevation gain. We came out with several hundred great photos; fortunately, Google just came out with a slick automatic story creator, which put this together:

April 2015 Haute Route

Enjoy!

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