Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review - Running Log

My ride, rockin' the new snow
I made it into work on Wednesday by bike.  It was a little cold and a little wet, but I'm tough - and that's what showers and washing machines are for anyhow.  Wednesday's ride was significant because it meant that I had rode into work at least once every week since the beautiful bygone summer days of June.  By my best estimates I figure I logged at least 300 total commuter miles this year and saved about 15-20gal of gas.  I don't reckon I saved any money in this endeavor since I was busy buying up an extra bike lock, an upgraded bike pump (the new ones work really well), a needed tune-up and a new derailleur, new brake-pads and chain, and a high-grade light.  I can say with experience now that it's a lot more fun buying up stuff for your bike(s) then for your truck, and it's a lot more fun arriving at work after a morning ride than being pissed off from traffic and being held up at the short-timed traffic lights. 

Running log (mi) - Peaks for Boston, then kinda falls off a cliff
A lot of the riding and commuting I put in since October was really just a substitute for being off my feet, recuperating from an overuse injury and being really bored.  Up until this point, I had had a great year of running.  My best ever really, although with the lingering caveat that I spent the last three months of the year laid-up due to all the awesomeness.  Looking at my tally, I rang up 1500mi on the trails - or for the 9.5 months I was on my feet - an average of roughly 35-40mi p/wk.  This is almost double my mileage for all of 2009.  And while some of this increase is surely due to bigger goals and a greater depth of experience, a lot of it is due to the gradual but necessary build up of strength and resistance that came from the 20mi weeks the year before.  The results were best times in every race I ran over 5K. A seven minute drop in the marathon. Five minute drops in most races I had run in previous years.  Best times on favorite training runs that I'd run-out dozens of times over the years. I actually won one of the races I ran this year - a very foreign and out-of-body feeling to have.  Damnit, that was really awesome.  For the 5K distance and shorter (track workouts basically), I ran my quickest times since high school days, and noted the obvious, that my speed could use a lot of work in comparison to the strength and endurance I'd built up.  

Biking log (mi) - Lots of unrecorded riding during the summer
The lesson I learned from this year's work isn't that mileage necessarily builds improvement, but rather it is consistency that really adds to increased fitness and performance.  I think mileage is a metric that needs to be looked at as a measure of consistency.  My mileage the last few months is for all purposes zero, which reflects a substantial flaw in my training and long term consistency.  The success during the remainder of the year reflects a lot of work and preparation that was done well, but was fundamentally incomplete.  A regimen of stretching and balance will need to be added to stay on the trails and out of the pool. 
Swim log (hrs) - Also known as the injury log

Happy New Years!  Run well, drink local, enjoy the trails, and don't swim (b/c it is the opposite of fun). 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of Year Notes

A few quick thoughts I had before the New Year:

Snow Shoe Bling
  • It’s snowing like crazy outside.  Colorado is getting crushed, New Mexico slopes could use a bit more.  Either way, the course should be set for next weekend’s Snow Shoe Classic 5K/10K up at Norski.  I just happen to have a sneak peak of the hardware on the line for this year’s races.  I won’t be running but I’m bringing my cowbell.  Snow shoe rentals will be available at registration courtesy of REI.  If you're not signed up yet you need to clear your schedule and get moving on this.  
  • Swimming is a horrible sport.  Swimming in goggles that leak scrapes the barrel of things that suck.  From what I can tell, swim workouts are not done for fun and enjoyment but rather from a well of pure spite.  
  • I missed the once-in-500yrs lunar eclipse last week.  I should have set my alarm in retrospect and am having remorse.
  • Tracked my Holiday miles and spending at - A site that tracks credit card points and travel points.  It's the new start-up of my running/climbing buddy Mike Komarnitzky of fame.  Go register and track your stuff people.  
    • There are a lot of trails in Seattle, and I ran on none of them while visiting.  Worse, our plane flew right past Mt. Rainier – twice – and because of clouds and/or darkness we saw it zero times.
    • Thankfully Seattle and the Northwest has lots of good beer.  I had plenty from Washington but none were as good as the three below.  Suggestions are welcome in the comments if I’m missing out.  The top three from the trip:    1. Winter Solstice Ale, Anderson Valley Brew Co., CA.  Really good.  Really, really good.    2. Full Sail Amber, OR    3. Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes Brewery, OR
    • Santa Fe Brewing closed its bar and grill out on NM 14 last week.  The brewery and tap room are still open, and a new tap room has opened out in Eldorado.  It’s possible now to run/bike the railtrail from the Rail Yard out to Eldorado, stopping three times for a cold pint. This is a fine and welcome development.

    Three Pint Thirteen Miler - Clickable map below:

    View Three Pint Half Marathon - Santa Fe Rail Trail in a larger map

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    Discovery Park - Seattle, WA

    Park Overlook and Puget Sound
    Wandered through Discovery Park, Seattle's largest park on Christmas Day with Christina, sister-in-law Theresa, and her boyfriend Tiago.  The park was a well trafficked area to be sure, but I enjoyed the forest canopy above, the moss and lichen that had taken root on every surface, and especially the overlook of Puget Sound and the snow-capped Cascades Olympic peaks towering to the northwest.

    We followed the South Beach Trail (bit of a misnomer) out to an old lighthouse.  The last section that rolled along the beach was fantastic.  Black sand, dark black foreboding water, weathered bits of driftwood, an old rustic lighthouse, and giant freaking mountain crags blasting up into the clouds on the other side of the Sound. That part of Discovery Park is a lot like the setting of Chronicles of Narnia.  They ought to write that description into their trail maps probably.

    It wants me to run on it, but my will is resolute
    Christina with distant snow-caps

    I maybe didn't get the full trail experience since we weren't running the thing, but it of course was very different from the solitude and reflection of the Dale Ball Trails, or La Tierra, or really any trail in New Mexico since Seattle-metro holds more people than our entire state (nearly twice as many).  However, I did see people running and they seemed to be having a fine time albeit dodging and side-stepping the queues of hikers and leashed animals.  I liked that the trails weren't really all that muddy even though rain had been falling for several days.  Rather than mud there was a soft soggy covering of loam and leafy bits and probably remnants of rotting wood from the trees that surrounded us.

    Steven Segal not welcome here
    I daydreamed myself running along through some of the tighter faster sections of trail, and recklessly stepping on a damp wooden step or a tangle of tree root, slipping sideways like a shot and into the thick underbrush.  What's in all that thick underbrush and dense forest anyhow?  I'm pretty sure it's a bunch of careless runners from drier parts of the Mountain West.

    Christina, family, and our awesome Christmas Day.
    Related Posts:
      - When in Doubt Go Higher
      - Arroyo Hondo Preserve

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Merry Christmas

    Trails for all for Christmas!, and maybe a bit of snow. We here at Desert Dirt also wanted to give a Christmas gift of the Ramones, but in light of their Christmas video being a bit of a downer (not the song which is awesome), we give you Beavis and Butthead.  Merry Christmas to all, except for you Hall & Oates - your video is weak.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Skiing the Rail Trail & Arroyo Chamiso

    Friday's snowfall was a welcome sight for as dry as it's been lately.  I biked to work in what looked like 5-6in. of fluffy stuff, and the Santa Fe Ski Area was reporting 16in. from the storm and now has four operating lifts heading into the Holidays.  Wolf Creek is reporting a few feet from the storm, giving it a 60in. December base.

    I was like a kid on Christmas Eve watching the snow continue to pile up on Thursday night. I changed out the old 3-pin bindings on my new pair of cross country skis and headed out to the arroyo for an early morning test run of my new gear.  A gorgeous morning with all the snow cover.

    Through the Arroyo Chamiso

    Looking back on my tracks on the Rail Trail

    Retracing my tracks through our neighborhood footpath
    I skied out through the arroyo and returned on the as yet unplowed RailTrail, 30min for about 1.5mi of skiing.  I obviously need to get familiar with the different types of wax since my skis were loading with snow and not sliding very well.  It didn't matter though - a morning with fresh snow is a treat all by itself.  Now it feels like December.
    Lucy unhappy with not being invited on the ski trip
    Skis with brakes are not so good at sliding

    Related Posts:
      - Off Piste, Winter Trails
      - Crested Butte Opening Weekend
      - Santa Fe's First Snow

    View Zia Rd Trailhead - Cross Country Ski Loop in a larger map

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Christmas Gift Ideas for the Outdoors Athlete

    We were out with the rest of the town shopping for Christmas gifts yesterday.  It got me thinking to how there are a relatively small set of tools and gear that I use all the time, and most are small and inexpensive making great gifts for friends or family that spend a lot of their time outside.

    In no particular order, here's the Desert Dirt Christmas Gift Idea List, all available at local Santa Fe gear shops (see right sidebar):

    Headlamp (petzl zipka):  I use this guy just about every day and I like how light and minimal it is.  I actually have three of these.  In the summer I prefer to run at dusk, having this in my pocket has saved me on several occasions.  I've also learned that maps are useless without a light, so there's a built in bonus there.

    Maps: If I'm out on a new trail or in an unfamiliar area I always tuck a map in my waistband to help me when I get lost, which is just about every time.  I also like to know the names of peaks rivers and canyons.  There's one great map of the foothills and the Pecos Wilderness available just about everywhere for $14.  There's another great map by Sky Terrain that also shows detail of the Bandelier trails, the Los Alamos and Cochiti Canyons (good for mountain biking), $14.  There's also the Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area trail book which has maps of individual trails which you can tear out and carry along with you.

    Reading Material:  Subscriptions to Outside, Trail Runner Magazine, or the Mountain Gazette are all affordable can't miss ideas.

    Hat and gloves - I prefer the $2 cotton work gloves from Allsups, but several good hats are pretty much required gear.  The thin ones are best since there's a tendency to overheat when running with anything too bulky.  A thin profile is also necessary for fitting under a bike helmet.

    Water Bottles:  I go through my share of bottle over a season.  A friend and fellow marathoner John Thornell has a company that designs BPA-free stainless steel water bottles and containers great for camping, rafting, kids, and for the race director crowd - road race goodie bags.

    Sunglassses:  A cheap pair of UV protected glasses.  They will be inadvertently broken in a few months whether they're inexpensive or brand name.  Required gear either way.

    Bike Tubes and Patch Kits:  Mtn bike or Road bike tubes are $6 each.  A patch kit is $4.  Tire levers are another $4.  Sadly, I use all of these on a weekly basis.  Anyone who uses their bike frequently would love you for some of these in their stocking.

    Ski Edging Tool:  For keeping the turns crisp and controlled.  Sharpening the edges on your boards, downhill or nordic.  Inexpensive and useful.

    Body and Gear repair:  Athletic tape, duct tape, advil.   More a training component than a tool, a massage is a pretty awesome gift.  I recommend Keith Murray at Absolute Nirvana downtown and the folks over at Therapy Solutions (Marc Esposito) who have been trying to keep me healthy and on the trails this year.

    Trail measuring Tools:  Nike + chip - synchs with an iPod to measure running distances and pace ($20).  Cats-eye bike computer, uses a wheel magnet to measure speed and distance ($20). 

    Socks:  A runner will chew through socks every few months.  A dirtbag runner will continue to run in these socks for several months and complain about blisters and other problems.  A couple pair of $13 running/biking socks make a great stocking gift.

    Beer:  Lots of local breweries putting out lots of quality beers these days (Second St. Brewery, Santa Fe Brewing, Marble Brewery, Il Vicino, Monk's Ale, Eske's Brewpub - Taos).  A six-pack or growler of fresh beer cannot go wrong.  For premium or artisan beers head to Whole Foods for a a couple 24oz bombers.  Present gift and stand back as gifted runner/biker/hiker/skier smiles from ear-to-ear.

    Happy Holidays - get out there and rip it up.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Pikes Peak Ascent - Race Report

    Earlier this summer, a friend and running buddy of mine convinced me to sign up for the Pikes Peak Ascent.  It was something neither of us had ever done and this seemed like the year to do it. Even with a lengthy resume of trail racing and assorted agony-adventures, racing up Pikes Peak seemed an intimidating venture.  Intimidating and very painful.  I would be wrong of course, a day in the hills is better than a lot of things even when it includes large stretches of climbing. This sentiment is born out by the stampede of registrants each year that rush to claim their spot on the starting line months in advance for the weekend's two races.
    'Before' photo
    We had logged a ton of miles earlier in the year and for that reason we were running Pikes, and when confronted at future cocktail parties and/or dirtbag barbecues as to whether we'd run this area test-piece we could now answer with a, 'damn straight' and leave it at that. Well, the race went better than planned and the following is recap of how it all went down.

    When August rolled around we found a dog friendly hotel in the Springs (the La Quinta), and made the drive north. The next morning we made our way into Manitou Springs and found the general race registration area and starting line.  The place was congested and chaotic - a couple thousand serious looking runners, ourselves included, clutching Cliff bars and water bottles as if that alone were the secret to lift oneself into the heavens.  We pulled the car up as close as possible, Christina snapped a 'before' photo, and the wives drove off for some breakfast before meeting us later at the summit.

    I looked around for any NM faces that might be familiar.  I heard the announcers say something about the Maas family, that they were running three generations strong that morning with Fred, Dan, and Dan's kid.  Brendan Maas was also in the race as were Matt Scarborough and Chris Chavez.  Chris has a sizable twenty-or-so year streak going, including running the double - both the Saturday Ascent and the Sunday Marathon - for the last nine of those years.  An impressive feat even among this not-so-easily impressed pack of runners. 

    Boots and I discussed our relative fitness, whether we had a chance of besting any names, and whether we'd blow ourselves up spectacularly before tree-line - the last outcome seeming the most probable.  My goals were to dominate folks from lesser states (like Texas), and to not blow-up.  We had determined that 3hrs would be a good finishing time, so that would be an additional goal.  My strengths as an athlete are suffering, and motoring along at altitude - so I felt the race could go well if I could hold it together after the two-hour mark.  All of this is a familiar strategy of lies that athletes tell themselves before racing out into the unknown.
    The start, heading west and up - photo by:
    The starters sent us off and we moved together through the village of Manitou along with about eighteen-hundred other runners/climbers/suffer-bunnies at a controlled pace.  A large number of the runners we were moving with were sporting tattoos, shaved legs, waist-belts filled with energy gels and multiple water bottles, full camelbaks for some, arm-warmers with skulls and crossbones - I wasn't sure what to make of all that.  Boots was sporting basketball shorts because he enjoys destroying inflated egos when he goes by people, the guy is all business and a cold black heart. I wore a Running Hub hat and a NM race shirt so people around me would know what's up, New Mexico in the house people!  Boots and I chatted it up for the first mile plus, after which the grade of the road kicked up to an uncomfortable angle and the chatting abruptly stopped.
    A couple minutes from the top
    Miles two and three were unpleasant.  It turns out they were the steepest of the course, and maybe the most difficult aside from the last mile but we did not know this. Alarms went off and doubt crept in.  I had a sickening realization that this morning's misery might be several orders of magnitude worse than had been planned for.  Dozens of runners began to move backwards and we powered past large groups of them on the switchback corners.  Our position was improving after a relaxed start but I was more or less red-lining it through this section and wasn't going to hold out for too long.  After grinding for some length we passed a group of spectators blasting the Rocky theme song from their radio. Save me Rock! Save me Mother Mary and baby Jesus! The trail grade began to ease up just then and the flashing panic sign in my mind faded back. Eh, that part was not so cool. So more of that to come probably, but for the time being I started to make pace.

    Boots and I were separated at this point, so I'd jump on the shoulder of just about anyone that came past me.  Working with a couple young guys we rolled past half a dozen runners, and then at mile six or so one of the guys I was with just blew up and they were both gone as if they'd jumped off the mountain.  Holy smokes, we were barely an hour in fellas. What gives? More than like there's some of that for me up ahead. We'll just ignore that for as long as possible.  

    Sponsor's shot, The Running Hub
    I felt comfortable in these middle miles and tried to get a sense of where I was on the course.  Was I through the W's?  Was the A-Frame at mile nine or ten?  It all just looked like a mountain trail to me.  I knocked out a couple miles in there and then miles nine and ten brought the pain once again.  I felt I was finally beginning to slow up and move backwards but I would catch a runner here, then a runner there. I seem to be moving fine so the trail was likely just getting steeper.  Nobody had run up from behind since my young pacers had walked-the-plank. At mile ten I could actually hear the finishing line announcer monotone-ing away about the lead guys coming up the trail near the summit.  I had 3mi of trail and at least forty-five minutes of effort ahead of me yet I was listening to a play-by-play of the finish a few thousand feet up the hill. This sounds kind of neat, but it was an indicator of how steep the next few miles would be so it kind of put me into a pain trance. 

    I passed a Slovenian runner here who was cutting switchbacks like a mother. Could tell he was Slovenian by the 'Slovenia' on the back of his jersey. My man cut the trail so severely on one turn he moved ahead of me and I had to weave past him for a second time.  I laughed and asked 'whassup Slovenia?', and he answered back 'alright!' like Fonzie.  Ok dude, might want to stick to the trail.  Guy was trying to shark my finishing M&M's or victory beer or something.  I'm not ok with that.

    Soon after, we had reached tree-line and the finish seemed really close.  My legs kept churning away and guys kept coming into view and passing out the back.  I passed a few women with national jerseys - USA! USA! That's right. Around mile twelve I passed a kazoo-band playing Coming Around the Mountain.  I felt better than I had all morning and continued to press.  Feeling great at 13,000 ft. meant surging and digging to bank a 15min. mile split.  Lots of legs and arms, not so much forward speed.  

    Jackal smile in the finishers' chute
    The final mile was grueling.  The altitude couldn't be ignored at this point and I tottered and lost my balance on a couple of switchbacks from dizziness.  The trail was narrow up top so you could reach out and stabilize yourself on the nearest boulder.  I passed three more runners in this last mile and these guys were suffering badly.  I felt guilty going by them and muttered some pathetic stuff like, 'looking strong man!'.  Dumb.  Rocky would've shaken his head disapprovingly at such foolishness.  I was pushing hard to bring it in under 3hrs, so I was jacked to come around the final switchback and see the clock at 2:52.  I know I could've just looked at my watch, but that really wasn't a good idea. Time is not your friend in those last couple miles. I raced through the final stretch all wild-eyed and crazy looking - happy to be done, and happy to have somehow dodged a prolonged detour of deep pain and misery. Too funny. Thankfully, Christina wasn't there to see this lack of stoicism.  Our support crew had to park a 45min hike from the summit and I made it up there first, even with an 18min final mile.  Boots wasn't too far behind, but the guy had had a bad day and blew-up down trail. Way too much work getting up that slag-heap to have to settle for a poor result.  He was not happy until we got a beer in his hand.

    My crappy sand-bagging attitude from the previous week had given way to serenity as I shared the details of my morning with Christina.  I was told they'd seen a marmot on their hike up and Lucy had given it hell.  Good dog, those furry rats need to recognize.  Boots and I exchanged war stories. We waited for Brendan and Chris to climb the switchbacks and cross the line, and we rang our cowbell and made a racket much louder than the other runners were receiving.  We checked the time sheets and saw that Americans had won both races (touche my Slovenian friend), that the 56yr old age-group legend Ed Baxter had crushed me by several minutes, that I just barely made it into the top 50 overall, and that the trail-cutting Slovenian had somehow finished just behind me which was actually a little shocking.  
    Self devastation much less than a typical marathon-length race
    Later we walked off the back of the mountain back down to our car.  I met Bart Yasso at the after-party, introduced myself and shook his hand (Yasso 800s for the win suckas!).  Bart was pitching his new book, but we were more interested in food and beer right then. We tried in vain to get ourselves more than one slice of pizza but the pizza ladies were stern and un-yielding.

    The following day Chris and Luis Chavez ran solid marathon legs as the only northern NM representatives in the race.  Well done gentlemen.  I don't know how people race the marathon distance without hurting themselves on the descent, so that's a race I doubt I'll ever run.  I know back in the day, Jemez' Steve Gachupin used to own that race. Los Alamos' Lynn Bjorkland still holds the women's marathon record. I actually got to meet Coach Gachupin this fall at a local cross-country meet and he told me he was at Pike's this year as a dignitary, handing out awards, and giving interviews. Steve was great so we wrote him into a page of New Mexico trail running all-stars and past champions.

    The Ascent lived up to its highly rated reputation, at least in good weather.  The race organization and after- party were first rate.  I don't know if the trail itself can be compared with La Luz or Imogene or Big Tesuque - they're all fantastic trails in their own way.  My descriptions above not withstanding, the morning was not as difficult as I had imagined 3hrs of climbing to be.  I may have just had a big day.      

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Dorothy Stewart - Ridgeline

    Picacho mountain and a friendly yucca
    This warm winter weather sure sucks for skiing, but evenings on Dale Ball in December are better with less ice and snow anyway.  Can't do much better than the ridgeline above St. John's - I call it Dorothy Stewart Ridgeline even though the Dorothy Stewart Trail section is really only the last two miles.  I have no clue if the trail has a real name.  Awesome Hill Trail would work but it seems appropriate to have a woman's name attached to it - it's just a gorgeous track. 

    From the Atalaya trailhead, it heads north down a wonderful twisting easement, then climbs a steep half mile past a few homes to the ridgeline.

    The starting chute
    The trail then twists north again on leg-stretching single track to the turn off to Picacho where you can loop back counter-clockwise.  The trail-markers are something like 40-32-30. Wide open views up here, and as it gets colder there is often a lot of snow hiding in the north facing ridges.

    Sunset behind the overlook.  Tetilla manning the horizon as always

    On the return to mark 32, drop into Dorothy Stewart towards marks 37 and 38 for miles four and five, climbing switchbacks onto the overlook hill which, after a steep climb, yields a mile-and-a-half of postcard views as you wind back to the trailhead just below Atalaya. Water flows through an arroyo here in the Spring.

    Dropping into Dorothy Stewart with the ponderosas.
    I use this trail for thinking since the aesthetics are top rate.  I also use this trail for a lot of hard training - steep climbing broken up by intervals on the flat winding ridges in addition to a lot of varied terrain.  Loops can be added, laps or repeats can be added, it's all there.  For marathon training, I feel I get more out of these strength runs in the hills than tempos on the RailTrail.  For trail racing, I feel I get more from the flat fast sections than just grinding up Atalaya or Winsor.  This day, I slow-cruised through on a rehabilitating hamstring and took photos.  A beautiful evening.

    Approx. 5.5mi., a very easy 55min on a gamey leg. Recover with Fat Tire 2 Below.

    The overlook climb

    Upper Canyon Rd, and the snowless Sangres

    Related Posts:
     - Picacho Peak Trail
     - Atalaya Mountain
     - Santa Fe Area Trails List

    View Dorothy Stewart Ridgeline Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Fowl Day Run, Atalaya Turkey Trot - Race Reports

    The 30th annual Fowl Day 5K was run at Fort Marcy Park, 11/20.  I've always loved this run because of its tough cross-country layout and because I used to do a lot of running on that side of town back in the day so I consider it to be my home course.  I didn't compete this year but I was there as a field marshal and mid-race motivator ('Hey you're moving right along!  It's not far to go now! Keep at it...'). Race day weather was unseasonably warm and sunny.  Competitors and the dominating Girls on the Run presence brought in hundreds of pounds of donated food for the Salvation Army which were loaded and carted away by truck.  

    The race upfront was between Joachim Marjon, Eric Peters and a third guy that I don't know by name unfortunately.  Joachim pulled away by the half way mark (where I was helping direct traffic), and finished well ahead of the others at the end.  We didn't get a finishing time for Joachim (and neither did he), but I'm going to say he was around 19min on a tough course.  Mr. Peters ran to second place.  Liz Sponagle paced the women's race. The second and third place finishers escape me.  Someone out there knows who finished where, please add their names in the comments below.

    As part of the old-school character of this fine race, numbered popsicle sticks were handed out to runners at the finish marked with finishing places.  The after-race raffle used these numbers to award large amounts of holiday pies, Striders race t-shirts, and donated gear from REI to finishers and race volunteers.  I brought three pies for the raffle in hopes of finally winning something this year, and bam!, I scored a pecan pie.  An effective rigging of the raffle for personal gain?  I think so.  Girls on the Run had a huge turnout, both in young women navigating the tough course and in running buddies who helped them train and ran alongside with encouragement during the run itself.  Congratulations to all on a very successful run. 

    At the ever growing Atalaya Turkey Trot 5K, there were cold temps and snow at this year's Thanksgiving running, 11/25.  Neither of these race elements worked to slow down SFHS senior and eventual winner Andre Miller.  Miller raced to a winning time of 17:34, besting this year's Big Tesuque champion Mike Ehrmantraut in 18:21, and relative unknown Mark Barela in 18:29.  

    The women's race was also lead by an under-20 speedster and former SFHS athlete, Medora Allison, who defended her previous year title winning in 21:11.  She was followed across the line by Rachel Gantt in a time of 21:30, and Alice Temple in third at 22:39.  Max Mujinaya has a race photo album posted here.

    Several accomplished runners and friends of mine were out working up a Thanksgiving appetite that need mentioning, including ultra-marathoner Jacob Waltz in 4th, 20:55, multi-event prep state champion Damien Passalaqua in 21:40, Duke City Marathon and Pike's Peak Marathon regular Chris Chavez in 21:48, endurance cyclist and Outside Magazine cover-athlete Steve Yore in 22:07, multi-year prep and collegiate All-American Peter Graham in 22:22, Boston marathoners Richard Curry, 23:02, and Alice Temple, 3rd place, 22:39, and Mt. Taylor quadrathlete Jan Bear in 23:43.  Quite the field.  In only its 3rd running, this is the largest 5K run in Santa Fe.

    Simpson > the state of AZ
    In other results, my man Dave Simpson ran to a half-marathon title at the Grand Canyon Half on 11/6.  He put 7min. into the rest of the field, running away with a 1hr 31min finish.  The win netted a pair of Salomon trail shoes, Teva sport sandals, and a professionally shot photo of himself and the Canyon. Simpson for the win sons.

    Related Posts:
      - Jaguar Cross-Country Invite
      - Dale Ball Buster
      - 2011 Trail Racing Calendar

    Related Links:
      - Atalaya Turkey Trot - SF Trail Runner

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Glorieta Baldy

    Photos of a recent ride up Glorieta Baldy with John and Todd.  Earlier this summer we had taken the forest access road all the way to the fire-lookout on top and descended the switchbacks to the Baptist Conference Center.  I had a crappy phone then and the few photos I shot were garbage, but now I have a few good ones to work with.

    Riders on the storm
    This ride took us back behind the Conference Center, following an old track up Baldy that Lumley had found and cleared.  We found that it eventually connected to the switchbacks after long steady climbs through a pine forest and soft pine needle track. We didn't have it in us to climb the rest of the way from that point, especially knowing there would be a lot of hike-a-bike, so we sailed down the rock-free path behind us.

    Bear approved

    Back at the Center, we ventured up towards the Glorieta Ghost Town.  Todd and a couple of horses got to see me pitch wildly from my bike and land in a heap.  A cheap pair of running tights that I'd been taking a ribbing about saved me from losing all the skin on my lower left leg.  Function over form sons! Waffles and beer for recovery when we got back to the house.  ~2hrs, ~20mi.

    Lumley pulling gears

    Todd & the ghosts of Glorieta
     Related Posts:
      - Apache Canyon Trail
      - Glorieta Mesa
      - Craft Beer in New Mexico

     A clickable map of the Lookout ride below

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Ski Crested Butte - Opening Weekend

    Our group below Mt. Crested Butte: John, Todd, Susan, & Christina
    We made the trek up to Crested Butte for our Thanksgiving weekend. Snow and early season deals made the 5.5hr drive seem tolerable. All this was the brainchild of Mr. Lumley, and it unfolded as the bold strike at genius that it was.

    Our group included the Lumleys, Todd and Syd the dog, and ourselves, descending on the Butte for a white winter Turkey Day on the slopes. The drive itself was beautiful, especially the stretch from Saguache to Gunnison on CO Highway 114. Beautiful on a snowy evening and again on a bluebird afternoon on the return home.

    Only two of the mountain's lower lifts were open - The Red Lady and Teocalli - and most of the open trails were groomers, but the snow conditions were great. Lots of fresh snow on the edges of trails. The mountain was reporting a 38" base. Not a bit of it was in danger of softening up or melting because the temperatures were frigid.  It was at least 10deg. below zero when the lifts opened on Thanksgiving morning.  I actually thought my lip split during one run down only to find that is was just a bit of frost nip.

    Susan & Christina finding their line
    Ski patrol was busy getting the upper mountain ready, setting off intermittent charges that would rip loud shock-waves over head as we carved giant-slalom turns down below.  We rode Teocalli most of the day on Thursday since the variety of runs was good and the lift lines over there were zero.  The snow was great, the turns were great - there was some steeper ungroomed trails half way down that were fantastic to just bash-and-hop through. Loved it.  I really appreciated my new helmet since it kept my entire head warm in the bitter cold.  I had a bit of ski envy looking at all the awesome ski setups that everyone but myself was skiing on.  Next year's ski swap will require an upgrade.

    Wife & I on the lift, with the Elk Range behind us
    The surrounding mountains in the area were incredible, caked in white from the recent storms, with little clouds of blowing snow on each summit.  John traced out the bike route he raced/toured over the summer that heads north and over Pearl Pass, descending into Aspen on the other side - 30mi by bike, 3-4hrs by car along paved routes around the mountains.

    Apart from the skiing, we got to see Syd in her fancy purple dog coat. We sat in the Lodge hottub for far too long one evening trading camping-gone-wrong stories. We made short work of just about every available variety of microbrew at the local bars. We stood out in the freezing night and smoked some Monte Carlos that Todd had brought along.  We may need to make another trip this season to ski-out all the stuff we missed out on.

    Related Posts:
      - Off Piste - Winter Steeps
      - Santa Fe's First Snow (11/16)
      - Treasure Hunting at the Ski Swap

    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.


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