I'm back in the Rocky Mountains for another painful adventure in Leadville...
Jo and I tackled another 14'er yesterday, which is part of my ritual for getting acclimated to the altitude. I have absolutely no scientific evidence that this works, but I tend to do my own thing in training anyway, and I really like to have an excuse to summit mountains while I'm here.
We chose Mt. Yale this time and it made for an excellent climb. The trails were spectacular and the views were amazing all the way to to the top. Yale is 14,200' and is the 21st highest peak in Colorado.
This is Yale in the distance...
We hit the trail at 7:15 AM and I set a goal of being back to the car in 6 hours or less. Jo finds it deeply endearing when I set a goal pace or cutoff time on our leisurely adventures. She pretends to be annoyed by it, but I know it's just her way of showing approval and profound respect for my ambitions. She's so fun.
This is a picture of me starting up the first hill. The trail reminded me of Catoctin, absent the scattered bodies of fallen trail runners. BTW...the Catoctin 50K sucks! I just wanted to remind everybody.
Knowing that we had an aggressive cutoff time to meet, Jo was pushing it pretty hard. I'm not sure if that's water or oxygen that she's taking in...She loves it when I say cute things like "Hurry up!" or "Do you want to wait here for me?".
I loved the little guy in this picture. I think he was admiring my Bob Potts Marathon shirt. I wouldn't be surprised...that shirt was the only redeeming thing about that race.
Right before the summit, we had to scramble through a steep boulder field for about a half mile. There is no marked trail here, so it was a slow ascent while we picked our way to the top.
We made it to the summit and gobbled a Powerbar, and handful of trail mix, then leisurely enjoyed the views. Our current split times allowed for such excess.
As I stepped off the summit, I was engaged in conversation with an older couple (late 60's) that were nearing the summit. They somehow engaged me in conversation about the Leadville 100 that I'll be running on Saturday (they saw I was wearing the Leadville Race Series visor). They seemed like a pleasant enough couple in the beginning...until this woman starts to tell me that she no longer runs Leadville because it's too FLAT for her! She enjoys a more challenging course with more elevation change! It was at this EXACT moment that I seriously considered throwing her off the top of the mountain while I shouted "IS THAT ENOUGH ELEVATION CHANGE FOR YOU!!??!?!?!". And believe me, there was point in my life when that would have been a real possibility, but I've matured over the years and am more tolerant of stupid people these days.
As planned, we made it back to the car within the requisite time frame. And Jo was thankful that I had been sensitive enough to have established that cutoff prior to the climb. She didn't actually thank me, but I could see it in her eyes...no need to say it!
This hike was yesterday and I went for a nice run through Leadville this morning. There were no signs of muscle soreness and my breathing has improved significantly. So, while I have no evidence to support this conditioning method, it sure seems to work for me!
I have 2 days until the start of the Leadville 100 mile trail race and I feel pretty damn good! So now I will rest...