Friday, November 30, 2012

Race the Train!

I can't wait for midnight tonight when the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic opens for registration.  I will be riding in the citizens tour of this 42nd edition of this amazing ride. Citizens 50 mile tour from Durango to Silverton through the stunning San Juan Mountains has 6,700 ft of  total climbing over two 10,000ft mountain passes, thin air, and fast descents. Riders take off with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train with the goal of beating it to Silverton.  The citizens race takes place on Saturday May 25, but there are cycling events all weekend long in Durango.  No cyclist should miss this race.

Enjoy this virtual ride!

Minimalist Running

Being inspired by the book Born to Run and having dealt with frustrating tendonitis the past two years, I decided to give minimalist running a try. I had had some limited experience with it earlier this year with the marathon training plan that I followed, but it was limited and only intended to build up foot strength.  I want to make this my primary way of running but it hasn't been easy. When I first started, I wasn't quite sure where on the fore foot to strike and kept my foot so tense that I ended up running almost on my tip-toes. After a few days, the soles of my feet were killing me. After a bit of experimentation, I found that if I relaxed the foot and landed on the balls of my feet that I could run without any pain or discomfort.  In fact, it felt so good that I ran a fast 6 or 7 miles almost immediately after figuring this out. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered my calves were not ready for that kind of workout. Once again, I spent the next several days in great discomfort. I've since been building my calf strength and stretching them like crazy and am now starting to really enjoy minimalist running.  I've definitely noticed less pounding on my knees.  The next step will be to build up my mileage.  Hopefully, all will go smoothly.

Late November climb of Huron Peak.

Huron Peak is a shy but shapely peak in Sawatch Range of Colorado.  It barely peeks above 14,000 ft and isn't particularly difficult but it is one of my favorite 14ers.  On Saturday November 24, I met some friends at the edge of Denver at 4:30AM and carpooled up I-70 toward Leadville.  After a finishing stretch on a dirt road to the ghost town of Winfield, we started our climb of Huron Peak near the standard trail head but instead to an old logging or mining road to north of the standard route.  Our path is shown below:
It was fun to try an non-standard route, particularly in winter.  The popularity of climbing 14ers in Colorado has made solitude a bit hard to find, so often times a non-standard route is you best bet.  We ascended the road and wrapped around a north facing ridge line into a basin north of Brown's Peak.  While there is still not a lot of snow in the mountains right now because of the warm, dry fall, we did encounter some deeper snow in this area.  On the west side of the basin, we saw a shallow snow filled couloir leading to a ridge the looked like it would take us where we wanted to go.

 Once we reached the ridge, it was a fairly simple hike to the higher intersection ridge line leading to Browns Peak.  We were initial concerned about the jagged appearance of the ridge but it turn out the these jagged features we actually slightly below the actual ridge top.

 Upon reaching the ridge, Huron Peak finally can into view.  we contoured along the ridge and across the west face of Brown's Peak, crossing the upper end of the bowl leading to Huron Peak.  We were now at 13,500 ft. and have little more than a quarter mile to go to reach the summit.

 The trail was steep and covered in packed snow but was pretty easy with microspikes on.  The trail zig-zag its way across the north face until it emerged on the fairly small, pointed summit.

 The weather on the top was glorious and the views amazing.  You could see all the giants of the Sawatch neatly lined up to the east and the rugged Ice Mountain and Apostles to the south. After resting and refueling at the top, we finally began our uneventful descent of the standard route to conclude a spectacular day in the mountains.