Monday, November 29, 2010

The 38th Parallel - When in Doubt, Go Higher

We drove across the 38th parallel on our way up to Gunnison and Crested Butte this last week.  I guess we always cross the 38th parallel when driving up that way but have never noticed it before. I did know that Baseline Rd. in Boulder got its name for being laid along the 40th parallel.  So there you go.

Myself, the Crestones, and cows
Well, on this drive we noticed this cool sign in the San Luis Valley marking the line and commemorating the Korean War and the dividing line of the two Koreas designated by the 1953 armistice.  I thought it was an interesting road-trip distraction especially considering the current events of the last week over on that side of the world. I also wanted to get out of the car and see if I could still name all the 14ers in the Valley by memory.  Sadly I have forgotten a few.  A small herd of cattle crossed over to the road to stare and mock and otherwise make light of my failure.

Christina and I were also reading a great feature in the Mountain Gazette about alien portals, cattle mutilations (perhaps not all that mysterious considering they can come off as a bunch of jackasses at roadside stops), and a bizarre UFO conference held right there in the San Luis Valley near Hooper, CO.  Didn't see any signs for Hooper but it doesn't surprise me that the Valley is a little kooky aside from the gems of the Sangre de Cristos, The Great Sand Dunes, Penitente Canyon, and the Adams State distance programs. When in doubt, go higher indeed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Las Campanas - Cycling

Riding west on Gov. Miles Rd
32mi Loop, 2hrs
Shoulders, bike lanes, light traffic

I hadn't been out on the roads all year until my leg crapped-out on me in October, but now I've been out several times because it's the only activity I can get out and do comfortably. Ticking off miles in the saddle I mostly think about how getting back into decent running shape is going to be painful. I also think about how being on the roads alongside cars is really freaking dangerous.

Roads are ridiculously dangerous even without the damn cars - there are tire swallowing cracks, potholes, debris, sand traps on corners, and goatheads seemingly everywhere (sudden flats). If concerns related to self-preservation and mortality can be successfully set aside, the benefits are many - miles and miles of new hills and trails and panoramic views, speed, and an other-worldly feeling of never growing tired.

The roads most free of cars are out in Las Campanas. Traveling through there at dusk, it's almost as though it's one large opulent ghost town.  Perfect for riding.  When traveling west to east the views of Tesuque and Baldy Peaks are magnificent.  With a near-full moon rising up over Picacho and Atalaya peaks just to the south, the experience makes you want to yelp and holler into the rushing wind like a coyote. I got to watch a cool gray and orange electrical storm over the peaks a couple weeks ago. I don't see these things when I'm watching my footfalls on a trail.

Ride-stopping sunset over the Jemez in Las Campanas

Riding west on the SF River Trail
Big loops and out-and-backs surround town but I keep heading out to Las Campanas. One large loop of about 32mi will take you from the Zia Rd railtrail T/H out to NM 599, up and through Las Campanas and along Tano Rd, returning on Old Taos Highway, through downtown, and back up the railtrail to the starting point. Shorter loops of 22mi-27mi can be had by cutting that loop short via Buckman Rd and Camino La Tierra or Camino de los Montoyas. I prefer to ride counter-clockwise, finishing up riding through downtown.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving.  I hear the snow is pretty nice up in southern Colorado this week - might need to go see for myself...

A happy red cloud that followed me around for an hr.

View SF Road Ride - 35mi in a larger map

Related Posts:
 - The Santa Fe Century & Gran Fondo
 - Cycling's Grand Tour comes to Colorado - US Pro Cycling Challenge

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spur Trail Out and Back - Santa Fe

Santa Fe Spur Trail
Terrain:  Hardpack dirt and sand
Elevation:  6800' at trailhead, 200 ft of net climbing
Distance:  6 miles round trip


Ran the Spur Trail on Saturday with Herman.  A beautiful afternoon but a little windy.  Herman was coming from a professional conference, on a weekend.  The guy is dedicated. I had spent most of my morning in the yard, moving firewood under the portal and emptying the rain barrels for the winter.

Herman with Tetilla Peak on the horizon
Naturally our conversation turned to football, notably, how Oregon has risen through the ranks to be the number one college football team in the country.  It's one thing that their running program has the backing of Nike and Phil Knight, but now their football program does too. A real spectacle. Oregon was Stanford's only loss of the year which is upsetting to Herman.  Stanford destroyed Notre Dame in South Bend last month which is upsetting to myself.  Oregon even stole coach Vin Lananna from Stanford's storied cross-country programs.  Unseemly.

Looking west from the Rail Trail
This brought us around to a brighter subject, both UNM Lobos teams ran to Mountain West Regional Championships that morning, beating powerhouse Colorado, BYU, and Northern Arizona teams.  The wins follow one week after sweeping both Conference team titles. This we determined, was freaking amazing.  Santa Fean Shawna Winnegar ran on the women's squad as their seventh runner Sat.  There are several area runners on the men's side, none of whom suited up Saturday (Pecos' Victor Ortiz, the Pittman bros from Los Alamos, and Santa Fe's Luis Chavez who was battling injury this fall in a walk-on attempt).  Both teams are currently ranked fifth nationally going into Monday's (11/22) NCAA Championship race. 

After discussing the finer points of collegiate racing we ran on across some truly beautiful early winter landscapes.  The Spur Trail is built like a giant one lane road of glorious singletrack, one can just cruise along for long periods taking it all in.  Views stretch unbroken from the Sangre de Cristos to the Cerrillos mtns to the Sandias.

Starting from Richards Ave., the trail is just over 3mi to the Rail Trail, or just over 6mi for the round trip. For longer routes it's less than 2mi north to the Rabbit Rd trailhead from the Rail Trail junction or about 2mi south to the Nine Mile Rd. trailhead. A beautiful trail I think I'll need to ski a few times this winter.

Related Posts:
  - The Santa Fe Rail Trail
  - Arroyo Hondo Open Space
  - La Tierra Trails

View Santa Fe Spur Trail in a larger map

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Santa Fe's First Snow

The view from our backyard this morning:

Nov 16, 2010

First snow in town for the season. One week before Thanksgiving. Hopefully there's much more on the way.

The view from the slopes
Ski Santa Fe
  - Use the scroll bars below and click through to view the current Ski Santa Fe snow cover

Crested Butte, CO
  - Use the scroll bars below to view the recent CButte snowfall view the PowCam

Related Posts:
  - Off Piste - Winter Trails
  - Treasures from the Ski Swap

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Treasure Hunting at the Ski Swap

An early visit to this weekend's Ski Swap this morning yielded two pairs of new poles, a helmet, and a pair of Rossignol cross country skis. The Missus walked away empty-handed, but I think I covered us both.

Seemed like all of Santa Fe was there.  Saw Judge Wechsler, Will and Rochelle, Josh and Rhonda, some Outside Magazine editors - and of course we were there.  I wish I could have ordered up some storm clouds.

We placed several bids in the silent auction for a chance at a bit more treasure.  I think a night in Taos was one, and a half-day river rafting was another. Word.

Colorado is receiving snow and has a few resorts up and running if only a few lifts.  Wolf Creek opened on an abbreviated schedule on Nov. 5th.  The resorts in Summit County are also open.  Crested Butte and Durango will open on Thanksgiving. 

Related Posts:
   Off Piste - Winter Trails 
   Nov. Events Calendar

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nov. Events Calendar

Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works is sponsoring another cool event, the 5th Annual Reel Rock Film Tour.  There will be a 730pm screening tonight (11/11) at the shop.  The production is a compilation of top bouldering and rock-climbing short films, produced and sponsored by Sender Films, Sangre de Cristo Mtn Works, the Santa Fe Climbing Center, and the Santa Fe Brewing Company.  Admission is $10, and SFBrewing will be supplying their new canned beers. 

Along similar lines is this week's Santa Fe Ski Swap, Fri-Sun at the Genoveva Chavez Center.  Admission is $25 on Friday, $2 Sat., and free on Sun.  I know I'm in the market for a helmet and some cross-touring gear this season.  I'm also in the market for a lot of cold white fluffy stuff, and one of those canned beers they'll be having at that Mtn Works event. 

Running related events include the upcoming Fowl Day Run 5K, on Sat. 11/20 at Fort Marcy Park.  The Girls on the Run crew will be there which is always fun. Like always, donations of food and clothing, or a contribution to the Salvation Army (on-site) are requested in lieu of registration fees - one of the reasons why this is such a great run.  The course is laid out a lot more like a tough cross-country race than a road run (another reason), and the prizes handed out include lots of pumpkin pies and donated gear from REI (yet another reason). Get me some of that.

The Atalaya Turkey Trot 5K is Thanksgiving morning (11/25).  This race may be the largest 5K run in the city, with a field of 400+ runners. Competition seemed particularly tight up-front last year.  They do a great job, it's a great event to see everyone you've raced against during the year, and the money raised all goes to the school.  This is the last large area run until January.

Weather reports for this week are calling for snow up above tree-line.  Homeys better have their story straight or I'm going to be severely disappointed. 

Related Posts:
  - The North Face Speaker Series
  - Oct. Events Calendar

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arroyo Hondo Open Space

Marching west
Arroyo Hondo County Open Space
Singletrack and hardpack
7,050-7,100 ft. elevation
5 miles of trails


I'm not getting in the running I'd hoped for with this beautiful late fall weather we've had, but I have had plenty of time to wander around on the trails nonetheless.  We drove out to the Arroyo Hondo Open Space on Saturday.  The last time we'd brought our dog Lucy out there the valley floor was flooded with snow melt.  This trail is a favorite of mine because there's zero traffic, unusual head-high willows and reeds to run through, and the buried ruins of an old Pueblo site. 

Luce ran around scouting all the suspect rocks and tree branches.  I pointed out all the visible landmarks and cool views as well as rocks and other obstacles that have laid me low in previous visits.
Down at the arroyo floor there is a permanent spring where we scared up a large amount of birds.  They made all types of sounds and noise as they moved through the willows. We thought for a minute there were a couple larger animals in there but it was just one large group of birds moving at once.

We made it back to the car before it got too dark.  Daylight savings gone until the Spring.  Lucy had a riot of a time.

Arroyo Hondo Pueblo site in the distance
Cat-tail and the reed forest
Luce and tree in silhouette

Related Posts:
  - Rail Trail Trestle Loop
  - La Tierra Trails
  - Museum Hill and Dale Ball Trail

View Arroyo Hondo Open Space, Trail Map - Santa Fe in a larger map

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Marathons - Athens and NYC

My determined ex-pat brother trained through the MidEastern summer heat to run last Sunday's Athens Marathon in Greece (10/31).  The race route literally traveled from Marathon to Athens, finishing in the Olympic stadium.  It's not a very old event (dating back to the 2004 Athens Olympics, a la Keflezighi and Kastor racing to the medal stand), however this running was the 2500th anniversary of the marathon itself, Pheidipiddes' run to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians. 

To the consternation of my parents, the family can add one more marathon finish to our growing tally.  Major Brennan came in at 3hrs 54min (3:57 start time) besting his previous and only other finishing time of 4hrs+ from the Rwanda Peace Marathon in Kigali, where he was soundly beaten by a one-legged land-mine survivor on handmade crutches.  He's come a long way since then but the first marathon is always the most difficult so it seems.  Clean pair of heels bro!
Sub four, son
Getting back to Mr. Keflezgihi, he's going to be out in the Five Boroughs this weekend defending his title at New York.  The other U.S. contender, Dathan Ritzenhein, had apparently been training in Albuquerque a few weeks back.  These two go up against the Emperor himself, world record holder Haile Gebrselassie in his first marathon on American soil.  There will be a contingent of fleet and relatively unknown east Africans there looking for these men to falter. 

Caroline Rotich of Santa Fe's AmeriKenyan-New Balance running club will be toeing the line in the elite women's field.  Battling Caroline will be American contender Shalane Flanagan, and several big names from overseas.  Caroline's only other attempt at the distance resulted in a late race victory at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll marathon last December, so with a good race she ought to be mixing it up in the lead pack.  

I know Marc Esposito is heading out there and plans to be in the wave start battling it out with Chilean miner Edison Pena.  Espo had a solid summer of training and I've got to believe he'll run Pena into the ground (take that, Oakley glasses man).  Surely I'm leaving out several other local names that will be in New York this weekend, add them to the comment field if you know of any.  Live athlete tracking can be found here.

UpdateArea results - Caroline Rotich finished the race eighth overall in 2hr 29min, 90sec off the winning time.  Marc crushed the Chilean miner with a 2:56 effort. Anilisa Sandoval ran 3:26, Maryann Kos 3:35, Talee Roberts 4:12.  If we're leaving anyone out please add them in the comments. 

Related Posts:
   - Chicago Marathon - Local Results
   - Duke City Marathon - Local Results

View New York City Marathon - Five Boroughs New York in a larger map

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Glorieta Mesa

John, Todd, and I rode up and along Glorieta Mesa on Sunday morning.  Nice morning for a ride considering it was the end of October.

Had a couple mechanicals but our repair gear won the day.  From a couple isolated overlooks we could see the south profile of the Truchas Peaks with Lake Peak and SF Baldy lined up just to the west.

Didn't see much wildlife, but we did see plenty of woodcutters filling their trucks with fresh cords of firewood.  Made the air smell like pine and cedar. 
Todd riding along the jeep track

Roundtrip:  2.5 hrs; 25mi

Related Posts:
   - Museum Hill and Dale Ball Trails on the Bike
   - La Tierra Trails

mechanical break

Truchas Overlook - The peaks are washed out of this photo

Hamilton Mesa

View Glorieta Mesa in a larger map


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