Saturday, June 28, 2014

Passing Through Wyoming

This trip, reconfigured and redirected, turned northwest as I ventured from Boulder to the Bighorn mountains in northern Wyoming. The drive was absolutely serene. As custom on this journey, I stopped frequently and even took the bike out for a spin midway.

That ride took place on a great strip of super two lane asphalt north of Douglas. A wide and litter free, yes litter free, shoulder allowed safe travel through a gorgeous rolling countryside. And, though there were a number of trucks passing me along the way, I was always given a safe gap as the truckers steered their rigs well clear of me. Several of the approaching truckers even waved - with all of their fingers!

My arrival the the Idiot House near Sheridan brought me back to friends with mutual interests. Everyone had convened there to take part in the Bighorn 100 mile run. Me, I was a late addition to the party, so I had no formal tasks, but I made myself available for crewing and pacing. There were several runners and their crew/pacers at the house. Most were new to me, but our mutual interests allowed us to make fast friendships.

I followed along and pitched in a bit as the runners came through the Footbridge Aid station at miles 30 and 66. Their first visit on this out and back course came late in the hot afternoon and the second visit was early the next morning. This surfaced some intense memories of my 2012 BH100 finish. I must confess that it was fun to comfortably sip a brew, sleep a bit, enjoy a hot breakfast, attempt to run, and take a gentle thirty mile two-state bike ride while friends trashed their bodies and steeled their minds.

Yellowstone National Park was my next stop. I'll catch up on that in another entry. Most of the photos from that tranquil visit, and the stops since, were taken with a new camera. Unfortunately, I have been unable to load the software on this computer, so I will piece this trip together as best as I can and not necessarily in chronological order until the tech comes together. For now, here are some of the Wyoming photos from an old camera. ST

Rolling WY countryside near Douglas
The ride started near the North Platte River
Interesting geology in Wyoming

Blacktooth Brewing in an old Sheridan auto shop
Backcountry border en route to Footbridge
Footbridge aid station
Busy crews and pacers
Mountain pacers from IN
Kari looks great at 30 miles!
This 100 mile vet let her heart
rate dictate her pace
About ready for the 18 mile climb
A crew at work
This young lady had the right attitude
and finished her first 100 mile run
Back to footbridge after a nap
Much quieter aid station for mile 66
Still strong and energetic just after sunrise!
And they are off - Kari put Mr. Hardrock
in pain as she negative split a tough course
My two-state ride V800 data via Polar Flow
Storms rolled through as runners finished
Two days - two nails - same tire - only me
"We are made to persist. 
That's how we find out who we are."
- Tobias Wolf

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Above Boulder

Though I've been to the Front Range and the megalopolis pressing against it several times, I wanted to seek out new activities on this trip. For exploration's sake. For fun. The region offers so many options that it was quite simple to accomplish this goal.

With the help of a couple of friends I was able to leisurely climb two peaks that I should have climbed years ago. Green Mountain and Mount Sanitas are staples in the local activity diet. Climbing either of them is like strolling around the block in other towns.

Neither climb was planned. They both happened because good hearted adventurous people made efforts to include me in their lives. For that I am most appreciative. Chris contacted me about a morning ascent of Green. Mark sent Chris a text asking about an evening ascent of Sanitas - just minutes into the Green climb. Chris responded with a picture of me in front of Green and the rest is internet history. Both climbs resulted in incredible views and meaningful conversations. My regrets are not being able to chat/climb with Misti (because of something she called "work") and not being able to do a fast climb on Green with Eric due to the climbing date with Mark. I want a rain check on that, Eric.

I also tried another brewery. Avery. Again, I should have been there earlier in life. I should have been there often. Great beer! Because I'm watching my figure, I kept to small glasses while I sampled distinctly different formulas. Those boys know what they are doing.

Another new-to-me experience was the Bhakti Chai with goat's milk at the Laughing Goat. This coffee/tea house on Pearl Street is a gem. I sipped on a uniquely spicy tea while a jazz quartet played on a stage at the rear. (Same thing is happening right now!) Sometimes I do these "new" things and I feel like I've been living in a bubble - a different bubble.

Anyway, here are a few of the pics from the day.

Avery delights
A knowledgable tour guide
Healthy combo - reading, writing, and . .  .
Ben Franklin would be proud.
Looking across Chautaugua Park meadow to
the Flatirons fronting Green's east slope
Looking down on the Boulder bubble
This mad beast is said to have drawn blood from
a local running star, but Chris was there to protect me
Chris leading Fred up the boulder trail
Cairn based summit plaque on Green -
Love these cheat sheets!
A fragment of the panorama beyond Green
We took it easy on Green
Just kidding - this a minute after topping Sanitas
Mark after the plummet off of Sanitas 
Is it me, or does he look better in CO?
Blogging with Bhakti 
Later - ST

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Into the Rockies

Two delays, one minor and one major, caused me to completely rethink my travel plans. The drive west started a week later than planned and with a very heavy heart.

The summer plans had already taken a hard turn when I decided not to crew for the two man/beast team Flying By Cyclasana in their bid to set a record in RAAM. It turns out that I made the best decision, for both them and myself. I am hopeful that all of us reach our goals this summer.

Slowed by having to make several stops along the way, I was extremely relieved to savor an Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout in Denver's Great Divide Brewery. As usual, I enjoyed great conversation between sips.

The next morning I did something I've wanted to do for since I started taking my sons and other runners to the Jim Ryan Running Camp at CSU in Fort Collins. I ran on the CSU track. Given that I was extremely tight after the long drive and that the track is almost a mile high, I had a respectable run. Another twist on the runner's high developed as this flatlander's lungs searched in vain for oxygen when the effort increased. The most notable effects are the narrowing of vision and numbness in the arms. Big fun!

A bike ride in the Fort Collins/Loveland area completed the training for the day and freed me to enter Rocky Mountain National Park again. I've been there several times, but my exploration is still in an early phase. The visit involved a short hike near Sprague Lake and a drive across the park on Trail Ridge Road. The drive was paused for photo ops and a short, exhilarating, and harrowing bike ride along the 12,000-ft high windswept section between Lava Cliffs and the Alpine Visitors Center. Lunch was a bit complicated and icy. There are some crazy winds in the high country!

Here are some of the sights so far.