Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hello, Lake City!

Some personal obligations kept me from reaching the high country as early as I intended. I ended up going to the Leadville area first. The high Arkansas valley,  at an elevation of 10K+ feet, is great for acclimatizing and big mountain viewing. Big snow covered mountains this year.

Mt. Massive from where the waters of Turquoise Lake usually lie. 
In an attempt to sucker punch the lungs, I ran four miles on the Silver Rush course high in the California Gulch at 11K+ feet. It went smoothly until I started post-holing in knee deep snow. The feet got wet and cold almost instantly, though even my socks were dry by the time I finished the four mile run. I also rode Faith on the road around Turquoise Lake - after a repair job due to shifting cargo during the drive west. That was a first and it was due to using a new cooler that, apparently, doesn't like bike derailleurs. A final run on the Turquoise Lake trail completed the Pbville area training.

That left plenty of time to walk some shaded trails and sip mocha and yerba matte latte at the Provin' Grounds. OK, OK, I confess that I also enjoyed a blueberry/chocolate chip scone - or two.

Of note was the fact that the 2500 participants in this year's Tour of the Rockies rode through Pbville on Monday. The quiet old mining city was bustling! Also, while I was finishing my dinner near the start of the Silver Rush an interesting thing happened. Ultra runner and Pbville resident, Lynette Jennings, waved as she ran by and then chugged right up that ridiculously steep hill! Note taken.

The three-hour drive to Lake City was purposely slowed to five hours. I couldn't resist stopping in the Buena Vista Roastery for a mocha, which I drank while sitting on the bank of the Arkansas river in the BV water park. Yumm.  One can never over-indulge in soy mocha! I then stopped at The Bean cafe in Gunnison for a black bean sandwich and an icy herbal tea. It was easy to pass on the Gunnison Brewery since they produce beer with a helping of bacteria.

I arrived at Lake City just before the 5 pm closing of Mean Jean's Internet Cafe. While sipping on a Fat Tire I had a lengthy and informative talk with Dave, Evan, and Joe. Hope I got those right since I got a call and did not write them down as I normally do. Correct me if I am wrong, guys! They have been hiking the not-so-finished Continental Divide Trail. They left the Mexican border in early May and expect to arrive at the Canadian border in September. I did admit that I was envious of their mid-twenties  sense of adventure. I did not tell them that Tyler would be envious of their voluminous beards. They told of post-holing to the waist on what is normally the SJS50 course when they dropped down from the divide. Hmmm. Those guys were tough. I'll bet that they would do well in the 50 at their current strength and endurance. Happy Hiking Boys!!

Early this morning I ran up a mountain just outside of Lake City. At one point an elk spotted me. It ran along the steep jeep road toward me for about fifty feet. Stopping just behind the aspen in the picture below, the elk stared at me knowingly.

Can you read, Hoosier?
The course has officially been changed due to the deep snow and the nearly-overflowing streams that are forded on the normal route. This is a bit of a bummer. An asterisk must now go next to my time even though the alternate course still has 12,991 feet of ascent/descent and a high point of 12,193 ft.

A high note of the day came when I met up with fellow SJS50 runners Georgians Perry and Kena along the Alpine Loop Road. These two have been to the SJS50 before, so they know a bit more about it and the area than I do. They set me straight on how the alternate course will run. They also made me feel a bit lazy due to the fact that they were logging about five times the number of miles I logged today. What a couple great people! We talked for long enough that I felt bad for holding them up in that intense high altitude sun. I am sure I will be seeing more of them soon.                

Below are some (iPhone) pictures I took in the area today. I'll download more later, Enjoy.

Overlooking Lake San Cristobal near LC
Thompson Lake above LC - notice the beaver dam
Oh, yeah!! A nail started my Lake City adventure off in style.

An arrow and a finger point to where the nail was - Thanks Rene!

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