Desert Vibes

Desert Vibes
Photo: Ben Clark

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A New Beginning—Indian Creek, Utah



Well, I’ve officially started a phase of life that I will refer to as the “Dirtbag Years” from here on. No job. No “home.” No stress. No worries. Pursuing my passions. Finally, a sense of overwhelming peace is present in my life. 

My buddy Alex and I headed out to Indian Creek, Utah last Monday and spent about five days there exploring the world-class crack climbing. This proved to be a somewhat arduous task for me as I’ve only climbed rocks twice before—neither really being much of a crack climbing experience. So, I was faced with the task of simultaneously learning crack climbing technique and developing fitness. Easy? No. Fun and exciting? YES! Hopefully when I return to The Creek on Tuesday (or Wednesday?) the climbing will come a bit easier and I won’t spend 30-45 minutes flailing up the routes. We’ll see…

So, without too much useless babbling, here are some photos from the first days in The Creek. 

Welcoming the warmth of the sun

Flat and easy 8-mile run as the heat of the day started to set in

Alex cleaning up a route

Nice route to shimmy up
The Creek sure is beautiful

Home for about five days

Sunset view from our campsite

Another sunset view
PBR in The Creek

Words and photos don't seem to do much justice to the scenery

Alex getting ready to lead Wavy Gravy

Alex still getting ready for Wavy Gravy

View from the Crag

Relaxing in the shade with a PBR in hand

Pretty much sums it all up

My first off-width climb with a bit of a tricky finishing move

Paradise :)

The desert can be particularly brutal. These little bastards hurt to fall on. Trust me...

Stopping to admire the view on a little run in Canyonlands NP

Sunset in Canyonlands NP

Stopping for a breather during a run
This is what happens when you forget to tape up while crack climbing


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week in Review: October 1-7



Monday, October 1st  
AM—None
PM—2 Miles—0:15—150’—Creek Path
Just a short and easy run to get my legs used to running again after several weeks of little to no running.

Tuesday, October 2nd    
AM—None
PM—5 Miles—0:55—1,650’—Sanitas  
Ran into Tony Molina at Settlers Park and joined him up Sanitas rather than my planned trip up Flagstaff. Took the ascent really easy and then bombed down the descent in what was likely my fastest Sanitas descent ever (I wasn’t really watching my time though since I planned on a very easy outing).

Wednesday, October 3rd   
AM—None
PM—6 Miles—0:59—1,650’—Flagstaff
Super easy run. Took the up and down both at a casual pace.

Thursday, October 4th     
AM—None
PM—6 Miles—1:03—1,600’—Flagstaff and Mesa Out-and-Back
I met up with Tony Molina for an easy run up Flagstaff. We came down Gregory Canyon where I pushed slightly on the descent—not fast, not slow, but closer to fast than slow. I added on the initial climb up the Mesa trail from Chautauqua and turned around at the top.

Friday, October 5th    
AM—None
PM—None (Bouldering at The Spot)

Saturday, October 6th            
AM—10 Miles—3:00—2,900’—Green Mountain via Flagstaff and Middle Route
I continued with this week’s theme of casual climbing. I was making decent time up Flagstaff and all the way to the first set of rocky switchbacks on upper Greenman despite what felt like an easy effort. Once I hit the rocky sections everything immediately became covered in ice and I fell into a hike. I foolishly pushed to the summit not thinking about the logistics of getting down all of the ice-covered rocks. On the way down there were several instances where I just had to slide on my ass down the icy rocks—not fun. About 1:15 of the time from today’s run was due to slow-going on the ice.
PM—None

Sunday, October 7th
AM—None
PM—13 Miles—2:24—2,900’—Green Mountain via Bear Canyon
I started with the intent of a Mesa trail out-and-back, but quickly scrapped that idea after the first climb up Mesa from Chautauqua—my legs felt like absolute shit. So I accepted that I would go out to some undetermined point and turn around for a much shorter run than planned. When I hit Bear Canyon my legs started feeling somewhat better. So, I decided to just go ahead up the canyon to see what would happen. My legs started coming to life and my pace improved pretty dramatically on the climb. I took the descent pretty easy. It felt great to get out and run in the usual short, shorts and no shirt with the brisk temperatures and frost-covered mountains around me. Much better than yesterday’s what-the-hell-am-I-doing-out-here outing.

Miles—42
Time—8hours 38minutes
Elevation Gain— 10,850 feet
                                                                                                                                             


After nearly six damn weeks of residual fatigue from my DNF at Leadville it seems that my legs are finally starting to come around. I used this as a “welcome back to running” week and took essentially all efforts at a casual pace (with the exception of a few downhill bombings). 

I’m heading to the Moab area tomorrow for a few days of running, climbing, and dirtbagging (not to be confused with teabagging) in the desert before rolling into Leadville for my buddy Jon’s “Welcome, Winter 50k” Fatass. Pretty stoked for 33 miles and loads of vert in the mountains around Leadville.
I’m putting together a pretty lofty list of things to do in the coming months. Of course, all of these depend on how my running comes along in the weeks to come. Here’s hoping to some solid weeks of training!  
The Aspens surrounded by a dense fog. Some foreshadowing for the conditions a little higher on Green.

First ice in my hair for the fall/winter.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Little Break



Well, I let it happen again. A couple of months go by and the only thing I post about is cutting off my beard. In my defense, since Leadville I haven’t really done much running. I suppose that even after a DNF at mile 76 my legs still endured enough trauma to contribute towards a lingering fatigue which only now seems to be dissipating. 

Since Leadville I’ve probably only ran 100-150 miles (not much at all). I’ll have great outings where I feel strong and fast as ever, but follow them up with several days of extremely lethargic, seemingly never-ending runs.

I took the past week off completely. Not one step of running. For now, it seems to have worked. My legs have felt great the past three days and the fatigue seems to be nearly gone. Guess I’ll just have to take things day-by-day. 

Here are some photos of my outings dating back to a few pre-race day runs in Leadville back in mid-August…
 
One last Green summit run before Leadville
Heading up Hope Pass in the days prior to Leadville
Hope Pass run
Hope Pass run
Llamas on the way up Hope Pass
Hope Pass run
Nearing the top of Hope Pass
Running amongst the Aspens on the way down Hope
Sunrise over Turquoise Lake
Sunset on a week in Leadville
Cool climb next to a waterfall in Tensleep Canyon, Wyoming
Awesome lake in the Cloud Peak Wilderness, Wyoming
First long-haul road trip in the Taco
South (left) and North (right) Arapaho Peaks
View from the South to North Arapaho Peak traverse
Arapaho glacier
Aspens turning!
Nothing like an early morning run on some nice, buttery smooth singletrack...
Crewing Jason Schlarb at the Rub Rabbit Run 100 Miler...Crewing isn't as easy as it looks...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Deconstructing the Beard

Well, what started out as my routine it's-cold-in-the-winter-a-beard-keeps-my-face-pretty-warm beard somehow evolved into a year-long growth that would almost put ZZ Top to shame. For the year anniversary I decided to let the beard and the ole faithful beard trimmer duke it out for bragging rights. It was pretty epic battle, but ultimately the beard didn't stand a chance...Fortunately, a war correspondent was on hand to capture this moment through photographs. Let's take a look...

Photo prior to the "Year of the Beard"
Eying my sworn enemy
The year-long beard preparing for battle

I tried hacking away to make some nice chops to no avail

Barely there chops

Barely there chops
Proof that I could be a badass biker dude...If I wanted...

Tried to wax the 'stache, but it just looked ridiculous...

Crazy long chin hair
Not sure what I was going for here

Too soon?

A year's worth of beard hair and a lot of dry skin

Looks like the trusty beard trimmer won this time...

The beginning of Year of the Beard - Round 2? We'll see...