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Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Training Log Archive: pfc

In the 7 days ending Aug 5, 2007:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Hiking3 8:25:00 15.25(1.8/h) 24.54(2.9/h) 1450
  Orienteering5 7:48:35 33.67(13:55) 54.19(8:39) 1550121 /144c84%
  MTB (technical)1 55:002 /2c100%
  Total7 17:08:35 48.92 78.73 3000123 /146c84%

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Sunday Aug 5, 2007 #

Orienteering race 1:36:47 [4] *** 13.2 km (7:20 / km) +310m 6:34 / km
spiked:20/21c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

Another good run today. A little longer, and it was a different setter so the course felt a little different.

When I left it looked like 2-day combined place 6 of 17.

MTB (technical) 55:00 [3] **
spiked:2/2c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

Rented a bike at the camp and went for a trail ride while they were setting out the Bike-O controls. Then I started the Bike-O, and got exactly two controls before a thunderstorm moved in. As I was trying to get out of the open ground (and there's a lot of open ground in Colorado), lightning struck less than half a mile to my east (2 seconds between flash and thunder.) I could have finished the Bike-O in the rain and mud, but didn't want to mess with lightning, so I pounded it back and gave up on the course. It turns out the storm only got worse - I could see it as a nasty black horizon as I drove towards Denver.

Saturday Aug 4, 2007 #

Orienteering race 1:21:52 [4] *** 11.3 km (7:15 / km) +285m 6:26 / km
spiked:21/22c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

One of my better runs so far this summer. Only bobbled about a minute on the 2nd to last control. Ran pretty hard the whole way and always stayed moving. Came in 8th place, just at the end of the lead pack. 4th through 8th were within 5 minutes.

This was Plamen's new "last minute" map. It was pretty good, sufficient detail in the rocky areas although some of the rocks and single trees in the flat areas weren't mapped. This was explained in the course notes, though, and the inconsistencies were consistent. It didn't affect my navigation and probably not anyone else's.

Friday Aug 3, 2007 #

Hiking 3:00:00 [3] 4.0 mi (1.3 mph) +550m
shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

Morning walk along the Continental Divide from Loveland Pass to Grizzly Peak. Conditions were not good - low drizzly clouds moved in as I climbed Grizzly. Sat at the small stone windbreak on the summit with a guy from Boise and a guy from Chicago. Torrey's Peak was next along the ridge and the last 3 or 400 feet were obscured by clouds, although we could see hikers on the Gray's-Torrey's ridge. Sat for a while and we all decided not to climb up into the fog with worsening conditions. As I returned to the pass, even Grizzly was overtaken by clouds. Topo map and photos.



I woke up around 7 AM with no bear incidents to report. Between the mountain air and the overnight rain, it was quite cold and gray. Since I had nothing to pack up, I immediately got going and turned on the heat. Last night I had thought about going up to Mt. Evans and read some about Evans and Bierstadt in the 14er book. Even though you can practically drive to the top of Evans, getting over to Bierstadt (another 14er) is a bit of a challenge due to the ridge they call the "Sawtooth". I think I'll attempt that later next week. Instead I got some breakfast in Idaho Springs and headed up to Loveland Pass.

My original thought was to walk the ridge southeast from the pass and see how far I make it - with luck and enough time, I could even make Torrey's Peak. I packed all my warm clothes, water, and some food into the Golite and headed up. The pass is just a hair over 12,000 ft, and is firmly in the alpine tundra zone which extends up another 1,000 ft. This zone is the area above treeline that is still carpeted with green (in the summer), before it finally gives way to bare rock and lichens. It's a beautiful area to hike. The trail east from the pass immediately climbs up to a three-way peak at about 13,100, and you can continue N to Mount Sniktau or SSE towards Grizzly Peak. The SSE ridge varies up and down a few hundred feet and there are areas of loose rock and talus to negotiate, but the trail is quite distinct and it's not a technical hike by any means.

As I was descending into the last saddle before the climb to Grizzly Peak, I noticed a group of about 25 mountain goats coming up the right-hand (west) slope from Arapahoe Basin. The group as a whole was constantly moving, but every now and then individuals would put their heads down to graze. They moved quite quickly up the 40-degree slope towards the spine of the ridge about halfway up the mountain ahead of me. I stopped to take some pictures, and as the herd saw me they picked up the pace and crossed the ridge from right to left, where I lost sight of them.

After that (well appreciated) rest, I started up Grizzly Peak. The footing was fairly good even though the slope was steep, and I used my hands, more to take some of the effort off my legs than to maintain balance. When climbing at altitude like that, one of the keys is keeping a slow-and-steady pace, rather than rushing ahead, then stopping to rest, over and over. That, and not looking too far up (thus seeing how far you have yet to go.) Before I knew it, the trail flattened out and I was on top of the peak at about 13,400. There was a small windbreak made of rocks, and another hiker resting there. I sat down and talked with him a little while. He was from Boise, Idaho and was visiting some friends out here. We were sitting with our backs to the wind, facing east and looking towards Torrey's and Gray's Peaks, the next mountains along the Continental Divide and two of the most popular 14ers in the state. By this time (shortly before 10 AM), the clouds were lowering and covered the last few hundred feet of Torrey's summit. They weren't quite low enough to obscure the ridge between Torrey's and Gray's though, and I could make out several groups of climbers silhouetted against the gray sky.

There was another hiker about 300 yards east along the next ridge, just standing there looking at Torrey's. There was quite a descent in front of him, which necessitated making at least a 1500 foot climb to Torrey's, probably more. Eventually he came back towards us, and announced his intention not to try the peak today, because of the (relatively) late hour and the iffy weather, and the time he expected he'd need to traverse the ridge. The clouds were low and drizzly, without any sign of development into thunderstorms, but they wouldn't have made the ridge walk a very pleasant experience. I found I had to agree with him. He started back down towards Loveland Pass, and I followed him a few minutes later. I caught up with him at the base of Grizzly Peak and we chatted for a while as we made our way back.

After changing into more suitable clothes, I continued down the back side of Loveland Pass, past the Arapahoe "A-Basin" ski resort. Just after the resort there's a small pulloff on the north side of the road with a water pipe, apparently from a spring or permanent stream. Nothing but pure mountain water. I filled up and parked the car in the shade while I took a short nap. I was awakened about 45 minutes later by a truck full of highway workers who pulled into the turnoff, grabbed a 10 gallon jug out of the back of the pickup, and proceeded to fill it for the day's needs. I guess everyone knows just where to go.


Thursday Aug 2, 2007 #

Hiking 4:10:00 [3] ** 8.0 mi (1.9 mph) +700m
shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

Got a morning start up to Lewis Lake and up the Medicine Bow Peak Trail. On the peak (12,013 ft) around 8:00, then continued south along the west side of the ridge, after losing the trail in a jumble of talus. Came down at the south side of Lake Marie. Then back along the Lookout Lake trail. Topo and photos.



I was up before 6 AM today, and didn't feel like getting back to sleep. So I went for the early morning start up Medicine Bow Peak. I was the only person up at the trailhead, and was on the trail by 6:22 AM. The sun was up but obscured behind bands of clouds off to the east, but luckily the fog from last night had dissipated. The trail winds around the south end of Lewis Lake and then climbs around he north side of Sugarloaf Mountain to a saddle at about 11,000 feet. The trail splits and I went directly west up the ridge to the peak. It was slow going, and the wind started to get stronger the higher I went, but a steady pace brought me to the top of the ridge where I could see its flat, sloping, west side. The peak itself was really more of a big pile of rocks on the edge of the ridge just to my south, so I climbed over the boulders to the top and took a picture of what I think is the summit marker. At least, it was the highest point around, both by eye and by altimeter.

I had planned on continuing south and coming off the ridge by Lake Marie, so I tried to locate the trail in the jumble of rocks. I ended up following some of the trail markers, which were wooden posts about 4 feet high held in place by stacking a cairn around the base. As I started to switchback and descend, it became apparent I was actually on trail #294, heading steeply down towards Dipper Lake. So I climbed back up a bit to see if I had missed a trail junction, but finding nothing I had to strike out on my own towards the south. About 15 minutes later I was picking my way down a talus slope and met the only other hikers I saw all day on their way up - two women out with their dogs. The dogs had been requisitioned to carry all the supplies. We sat and talked for a little bit. I was wearing my PQ sahara hat, and one of them noticed and commented on it. It turns out she had done a little adventure racing and knew enough about the sport to have heard of that race. They were taking the same circuit as I was, just in the opposite direction, so we jokingly noted that we'd probably run into each other a couple hours later.

After the slope flattened out, I finally spotted some trail markers that were not from #294, and headed for them to minimize my impact on the tundra environment (I had been trying to hop from boulder to boulder rather than step on the low vegetation.) The trail immediately started to improve and brought me southwest toward the end of the ridge, where it switchbacked down a slope with several scree sections. Right as I descended to treeline, the sun started to come out and I picked my way down to Lake Marie.

It was a quick return hike, along the edge of Lake Marie and through the Mirror Lake picnic area to the Lookout Lake trail. As expected, I ran into the same two hikers about halfway up the trail, this time trail running (well, it was a downhill section!) I made it back to the car, said goodbye to the Snowies, and went for lunch in Laramie before heading for Colorado.

I took the U.S highway (287) south out of Laramie to Fort Collins. Now I remember why U.S. Highways aren't the greatest - lots of traffic including 18-wheelers, and bad road surface. Nevertheless, it was the quickest way there. In Fort Collins, I stopped for coffee and got online, and that's where I heard the news about the bridge collapse and finally saw all the messages and voice mails. It was mid-afternoon, so I called and talked to Annie for a while and got caught up. After that, just a lot of driving to make my way to Idaho Springs. In accordance with my plan to eat my way across the West, I planned for dinner at Beau Jo's and that's where I knew one was (turns out there was one in Fort Collins, too.) It also brought me to the area (immediately west of Denver) that I wanted to spend my time in before heading to Peaceful Valley.

After dinner, I drove up Mt. Evans Road to the West Chicago Creek campsite, another site I knew from prior trips. I grabbed the last available campsite and settled in for the night. The site was right across from the campground host, and she came over to warn me that there had been a bear visiting the campsite every couple of nights all summer, so she gave me the usual warnings. I assured her I was familiar with camping in bear country. Just as it started to get dark, a storm moved in from the west, just to our south over the ridge on the other side of the creek. All we got for rain was a few light drops, but there was quite a lightning show. I laid in the back of car with the hatchback up watching until it moved away, then fell asleep.

Wednesday Aug 1, 2007 #

Orienteering race 54:50 [4] *** 6.0 km (9:08 / km) +150m 8:07 / km
spiked:15/21c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

One Man relay at the Lights of Cheyenne map (first 3 loops) and then the area on the other side of 712 (just mapped last week.) I made a lot of mistakes and fell well behind of the leader. I went to the wrong control twice on the course. Grrr. Still a fun way to cap off Laramie Daze.

Distance is an estimate, and I forgot to take a lot of splits.

Hiking 1:15:00 [2] ** 3.25 mi (2.6 mph) +200m
shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

Drove up to the Snowy Range W of Laramie in the afternoon. Hiked a fairly easy trail from Lewis Lake up to the gap between Medicine Bow and Browns Peaks. Saw a number of fat noisy marmots.



After a luxurious night at the Hampton Inn, I headed up for the last Laramie Daze race - a "one man relay" at the Lights of Cheyenne. It's called one man relay because you run all the relay loops yourself (in this case, four of them.) As reported in my log entry, I didn't do that well. Maybe I was anxious to get up to the Snowy Range - certainly my concentration wasn't 100%. I even went to the wrong control on one of the loops. Right after finishing, I said goodbye to everyone and got on the road west from Laramie.

Laramie is on the eastern side of a wide valley between two spurs of the Medicine Bow Mountains, so I had a half hour drive across the valley floor to get to the foothills. The valley is quite flat, except for one rise called Table Mountain (with a flat top, of course) and a outlying ridge called Sheep Mountain about 6 miles east of the main part of the range. From Laramie, all of these protuberances look like little hills, but as you gradually approach them you can see they're actually quite big, and it takes a long time to get to them. It all has to do with the tremendous lines of sights in these nearly treeless Western valleys - it's common to look ahead to the top of the next hill and not realize it's three or four miles away. It's easy to see herds of cattle at distances up to two miles, where they just look like little black specks against the grasslands.

Finally I arrived at the town of Centennial, right at the base of the mountains. The road starts to climb steeply up and you leave the grassy valleys for dense pine forests. I was feeling the mid-afternoon slump, and decided to stop at a pretty picnic area and take a nap. It spit a few drops of rain while I was sleeping, but the hatchback kept me dry and it soon cleared up. I then continued up above 10,000 feet, where the trees start to thin out and make room for alpine meadows filled with flowers. I didn't know most of the species, but one of the most common was the easily identifiable mountain aster. Also at this altitude, there start to be little lakes in the depressions and hollows. I took a scenic but bumpy road that runs along the valley below Browns Peak and eventually rejoins the main highway shortly before the Sugarloaf Recreation area - which is the main starting point for all the trails in the highest part of the range.

By this time it was getting late, and the weather was a little unsettled still, so I took a leisurely walk up the Gap Lakes trail. This goes north into the "gap" between Browns Peak and Medicine Bow Peak. Both mountains rise up about a thousand feet on each side of the gap, and there are two lakes right at the saddle, appropriately called North Gap and South Gap Lake. The trail is pretty easy, and I saw a number of people with fly rods either heading up to fish, fishing, or coming back from fishing along the trail. I learned from a couple of them that there are as many as eight species of trout in these alpine lakes, and it's a very popular destination for that reason. I sat and rested a while at the actual saddle, and I was quiet enough that a marmot leaped down onto some rocks only about twenty feet away, stood up, and started to cheep-cheep away. Marmots are a lot louder than pikas! I was able to get a pretty good picture of him, even though he was nearly silhouetted against a bright sky.

After heading back down from the gap, I figured I had to find a campsite for the night. The campground near the trailheads was mostly RVs, and it was full anyway. I looked at a couple of others before settling on the North Fork campground, back towards Laramie and about 2 miles down a bumpy dirt road. I had to walk around with my axe foraging for firewood, but collected enough dry stuff to have a nice fire come sunset. After claiming the campsite, I headed back up to the restaurant at Snowy Mountain Lodge that I'd noticed on the way down, and got a very reasonably priced steak dinner, including orange sherbet for dessert.

During the time I was inside having dinner, low clouds had started to descend from the higher altitudes and had just reached the lodge. These were truly low clouds, not fog, since they held together and the moderate wind was blowing them upslope. Before returning to my campsite, I drove up a little higher, took some photos and enjoyed the view.

Tuesday Jul 31, 2007 #

Orienteering race 52:50 [4] *** 4.99 km (10:35 / km) +235m 8:34 / km
spiked:18/20c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

A steep and rocky course at "The Toe." Another good run except for two of the middle controls 10-11. Breathing is much easier now than it was on my first day.

Orienteering 47:43 [3] *** 6.02 km (7:56 / km) +170m 6:57 / km
spiked:20/21c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2007, gray)

A good practice run, this time at Twin Boulders. A lot of open terrain with short grass. Stubbed my big toe on a rock while running downhill, and felt like I broke it at first (It took a couple of big leaps to avoid tripping and falling on my head, though.) Had to walk it off through the next couple of controls.



Today was the day of (minor) injuries. This morning's course was on a map called the Toe, with some detailed and rugged rock features.
I ran a good course, but when I was running into the second to last control, I had to duck under some branches of a big pine tree. I got under the first two, but whanged my head on the third. It sent me to the ground right at the control, where I blinked for a bit, realized I was still on the clock, punched, and ran the last control into the finish. I was the first person back so far, and as I walked around to cool down, Mikell pointed out that I had blood on my face. It turned out I hit the branch so hard that I put a 2 inch cut in my scalp, and of course it bled quite a bit in that last 5 minutes and the blood had dripped down onto my left cheek. My hat was pretty ugly looking, too. A little investigation revealed that it wasn't a major injury, so I made a makeshift ice pack with my towel and sat and talked to Mikell as the other people came in.

In the afternoon, I went over to Twin Boulders for the training course and did it score-O style - I simply tried to take the most efficient route to get all 21 controls. Most of the way through the route, I was running downhill and stubbed my left big toe on a rock. My upper body got ahead of my lower body at that point, and I made several valiant leaps to get my feet back underneath me and avoid having to somersault. My toe hurt like hell and as I slowed to a walk, I remember wondering if I had broken it. I had to walk the next couple of controls, and as I did so it became apparent that it wasn't broken, just very angry. I ended up with a respectable course time of 47 minutes. After I got back to the car, I also found out that the exertion and/or sweat had caused my head wound to bleed a little bit more. I was feeling a bit beat up, and right there and then I made the decision to forego the campground, head down to Laramie, and get a hotel room for the night, with a soft bed and a shower...

So I checked in at the Hampton Inn and the first thing I did was take a shower. Now I remember why I try to shower at least twice a day! After making myself look respectable again, I headed downtown to Altitude for dinner. It's a very good restaurant that I remember from being here three years ago, and if anything it had gotten better in the interim. Although busy, they had a spot to quickly stash a single diner. I had an appetizer of Vietnamese spring rolls with prawns and hot soy dipping sauce; a main course of blackened salmon tacos with cabbage salad and salsa; and for dessert, a slice of handmade peanut butter cheesecake. This restaurant has their own personal dessert chef, just like the Angry Trout. I had to take half the cheesecake back to the hotel.

Monday Jul 30, 2007 #

Orienteering race 46:33 [4] *** 4.68 km (9:57 / km) +200m 8:12 / km
spiked:15/20c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2006, black

A steeper and shorter course than yesterday, at Antenna Hill. Lots of controls placed along the moderately steep rocky slopes north of Happy Jack Rd. I was slow and walked quite a bit, but read the map well and made no major mistakes. Came in too high or too low on a few controls. The second half was more along the top of the ridge, faster and more open.

Orienteering 1:28:00 [3] *** 8.0 km (11:00 / km) +200m 9:47 / km
spiked:12/19c shoes: Salomon XA Pro 3D (2006, black

A not-so-stellar time on the Happy Jack training map.


When I woke up this morning, my left eye was really bothering me - very scratchy and somewhat painful, and watering profusely. This has happened infrequently ever since I scratched my cornea last year, and it didn't settle down until I took some ibuprofen. I wonder if it's just more sensitive now because of the injury, and it's getting irritated by the stronger UV at altitude (by the rule of thumb, it should be 30% more than at home.) I'll have to pay more attention to using the sunglasses, especially if I get into any snow in the higher mountains I intend to visit. I'm going to try sleeping in a more upright position tonight to see if it makes a difference.

Today's course was at Antenna Hill, which is very appropriately named as we parked right next a major cell phone tower. The course was shorter and more technical than yesterday's, with a lot of orienteering on rocky side slopes which gave me an ankle workout. I ran quite well. I stayed on the map the whole time and passed several people, and finished a close second to a fellow from the Bay Area club. The last leg was a couple hundred meters uphill to the finish (and Swampfox had set the course so he could see three of the last four? controls), and I had to walk most of it. Had I been able to run, it might have been a much closer finish! - but I don't mind since I was quite happy with the run.

Like yesterday, I spent the early afternoon down in Laramie getting coffee (surprise!) and then headed back to Happy Jack for the training course.

I didn't do so well.

Well, it's better to get the bad run out of the way in practice. Three factors conspired on this course: less visibility, more undergrowth, and my sense of direction kept spinning around so I had to use my compass a lot (for the first time this week.) And maddeningly, there were at least five controls where I navigated correctly to the feature, but didn't see the flagging tape, even though I looked carefully. On every single one, I circled around and attacked the feature again, arriving at the same place and seeing the flagging tape this time. And it wasn't just a matter of approaching from the wrong direction, since I was reading the clues describing which side of say, the boulder pile - most of the ones I missed were simple - like hung on a tree on a hilltop.

I also surprised more cattle in two different places. They seem to be pretty docile, but I don't want to take any chances. Although given the choice, I'd prefer cows to attack badgers.

I stayed at Yellow Pine again tonight. I had gotten groceries in Laramie and made dinner (my special hamburger hash) at camp just before sunset. Right after I finished eating a young couple driving a Jeep rolled in and picked the site just across the road and down one from me. Normally I wouldn't remark on them, but they were loud and kept the music going until bedtime. None of the other campers were as inconsiderate, and come on, you can go without your tunes for at least one night, and you probably were listening to them all day anyway!

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