Friday, January 25, 2008

Rendezvous Skate Ski Hut Trip

Kathy and I are going to go to the Rendezvous huts out by Winthrop for four days with Andrew, Chase and friends. There is a ski trail system connecting the huts (x-country / skate). We're going to have our luggage carried in and out for us, so we can (bring lots of heavy bottles of alcohol and) ski to our heart's content all four days. I'm looking forward to it.

Gate Crasher

It was such a crisp, beautiful day yesterday, I wanted to get out and run. After John got tied up in work, I decided to head out by myself, choosing to go to Cougar Mountain for a couple laps on Wilderness Peak/Creek, getting back to the car about a half hour after twilight had turned to darkness.
Everything was A-ok until I drove up to the locked gate across the road (I was at Sky Country Trailhead).
I spent about five minutes rattling the gate to ensure that there was no trick. Eventually, I drove back to the parking lot and started packing up my gear. I called Kathy and John - no answer. Kathy was at her cooking class, and John was probably out running. I settled into the idea of a long hike home.
Kathy, however, called me back. She was at her cooking class, but could reschedule it, so she came to pick me up. We arranged to meet at a Starbucks a few miles down the road, so I got another little run in while I was waiting :)
Since Kathy was going to work in Bellevue this morning, she also offered to drop me off at Cougar Mountain. This sounded like a better plan than my pre-dawn bike ride from home. And I could get a run in while waiting for them to open the gate. Yay!
As it turns out, the gate was already open at 6:30am when we got there. My car was covered in frost. It was 24 degrees out. Hmmm. I think I'll just go and run at home after dawn where it is warm and light.

Thanks, Kathy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Multisport Day

On Saturday, I decided not to go down to Capitol State Forest for the 50km there, as the weather was not so great and the snow was deep this year down there. Instead, I set up a little multi-sport day with Murray Maitland, one of my team members for the Desert Winds Adventure Race in May.
Our first course was the 14 mile Cougar Loop, where we were joined by Andrew Feucth, John Commiskey and Mike Podell. After a quick bite to eat, we headed to St Edwards Park for an hour and a half of mountain biking in light rain and mud. Juanita Drive Boat Landing was a short hop away, and we paddled the Sammamish Slough for another hour and a half or so amid afternoon showers. I brought my PWS Avocet for Murray (the "slow" boat, per Kathy and Erica), and I had a hard time keeping up with him. I blame it on his wing paddle.
I won't have that excuse next time, as I just got a new Epic mid-wing paddle on Tuesday - I haven't tried it yet, though.
Murray looked like a solid runner, biker and kayaker. I'm glad he's on my team.
Although enjoyable, trying to do three activities with driving to different locations ate up a lot of time for transitions, and with the short winter days, we just ran out of daytime. I think next time I might just stick to two activities, or plan to be out after dark.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bridle Trails Run

The Bridal Trails Run is a race around a 5.2 mile loop along single track trails in the Bridle Trails (equestrian) Park. There are 1, 2 and 6 loop options, where 6 loops = 31.2 miles = ~50km.
Hundreds of runners show up, most for the shorter races. There are also 50 km relay teams.
I ran the 50km run. It started at 3:10pm, 5 minutes after the 10 mile run, so we were weaving our way through the backside of the 10 mile field before the end of the first lap. The trail itself was very muddy and chopped up by horses, made worse by the trampling of hundreds of feet.
I ran the first two laps with Allan from Seattle Running Company. He kept me going far faster than I should have been going, and I finished the first 10.4 miles in about 74 minutes (at which point he stopped, being in a relay). When they combine races like this, I always get sucked into racing against the people who stop long before my race is over, and I feel the pain later.
Towards the middle of the third lap, it started getting dark, making it difficult to distinguish muddy pits from actual trail. Allan generously offered to crew for me, and always had a full water bottle for me when I came through the aid station. He also lent me a handheld flashlight, which really helped in the last couple laps, as I was inadequately prepared.
The course itself is not one I want to repeat anytime soon. Darkness and mud (combined with a healthy does of horse manure) were not very fun. At least it wasn't raining. I really felt myself lagging the last couple laps, but I finished in 4:07:56 which was a new PR for me, and
I finished in third place behind Greg Crowther (course record holder) and another guy who was only about six minutes ahead of me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Primal Quest Montana

David Russell, with whom I did the Fall Beast Race, asked me if I was interested in Primal Quest in June.
It is described as the "world's most challenging human endurance competition". The race this year is in Montana and is 10 days long, and covers 500 miles and 100,000 vertical feet of elevation gain. That's like doing the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier five times. It sounds like a real suffer-fest. I told him to sign me up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vacationing in Moab

I visited my father in Moab for the last couple weeks.
We got to do a little mountain biking despite routine morning temperatures of 18 degrees and afternoon temperatures that often hovered just above freezing. Most of the days were sunny and dry, however, which made it feel a bit warmer. We usually hiked or biked about three hours a day. One day, the temperature went up to 50 degrees all day, then two days later there was an ice storm, so we had to expect the unexpected.
We spent most of our biking time on Sovereign Trail, the center section being a good combination of challenge and entertainment. We hit the south end of Sovereign after it rained the previous night and ran into some slick trails and a couple wide washes with water running in them. Dirt and sand got everywhere. I also rode up Klondike Bluffs one day, which has an amazing view and a minimal challenge technically. On another cold 20 degree day I headed up Sand Flats Road, but did not get very far due to snow cover. I turned into a people-popsicle on the way down. Not so fun.
I did several fun hikes. The hike to Fisher Towers was fairly short and beautiful. We also explored up Gold Bar Canyon to Jeep Arch, then came down Culvert Canyon, having to navigate up and down broad ledges and around pouroffs in the canyon bottoms. On the last full day I was there, I went for a run up Porcupine Rim, which has stellar views. The trail was quite rugged, and towards the top (it topped out at 6800 feet) there was three inches of crusty snow across the trail. Wind and weather threatened, but the sun came out towards the end of the run, happily for me, and I cruised down Sand Flats Road back home in just under four and a half hours.
I also looked at buying a used bike from Poison Spider Bicycles rental fleet. I didn't, but my father bought a Yeti 575, which was a fair bit nicer than his older mountain bike, and I can use it when I go back there -- yay!