Desert Vibes

Desert Vibes
Photo: Ben Clark

Thursday, January 17, 2013

El Sol es Muy Fuerte


After a couple of days traveling through Kansas City and Dallas I finally reached Buenos Aires, Argentina. First thought, “shit, it’s hot” and I hadn’t even left the airport yet. When I left Kansas City the high temperature was around 20-25F, which made the 90F temps in Buenos Aires almost too much (keep in mind that I was carrying 60lbs in gear with me). 

Honestly, it didn’t take me long to want to leave BA. I hate big cities. I really do. I don’t like the mass amounts of people, the loud noises, the trash in the streets, the almost total lack of vegetation, the never-ending barrage of scammers playing “get the gringo’s money”, and the absence of mountains more than anything. I spent four days in BA, but I was ready to leave sooner. I originally booked three in my hostel and had to add on one more since all of the buses to Bariloche were full the day I wanted to leave. I spent that extra day in my hostel for the most part. At least it was somewhat quiet and didn’t have too many people around during the daytime.

Of course, 99.9% of people who have made the trip from BA to Bariloche know that it involves a 22-24 hour hellish bus ride through landscape that essentially amounts to Kansas covered in little shrubs (the lucky 0.01% decide to fly over all that crap). No me gusta. When the ride is finally over you just want to arrive at your hostel as fast as possible and don’t care how much it costs. So you pay 90 pesos for a taxi rather than try to wrap your frazzled mind around a new city and new local bus system—which you later find out could have dropped you right in front of your hostel for about 5 pesos. Damn.

Perhaps the most frightening revelation of the entire bus ride is meeting people at your hostel traveling south-to-north (opposite direction of you) who just arrived from El Calafate (your next destination). These people would have killed for your 22 hour bus ride. Why? Because their ride was 28 hours.  Again, damn. 

Maybe the thought of another 20+ hour bus ride has kept me in Bariloche for 10+ days now? I doubt it. I think it’s just the gorgeous, sunny, 85F weather, the beautiful lakes, and the tough-as-shit mountains that have me sticking around. Bariloche seems like the perfect place for me to hang out while building my running fitness back up after my winter hibernation. In a few days I might move on and continue my southwardly journey, but until then I think I’ll just hang around here and head back into the Frey…

Welcome to Argentina!
Goodbye, Buenos Aires!

Hello, Bariloche!
Alaska Hostel. Home, Sweet Home.
 
Swimming out into a nice, cold Lago Huapi
 
How I feel on some days

Some nice scrambling above Refugio Frey

View from the bottom before heading up to the top

Awesomly eerie ridge line in The Frey

Refugio Frey

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012: Year in Review


This year was definitely full of ups and downs. I had several good training blocks that would essentially be negated by several weeks of relative inactivity due to injury or race recovery. Most of my races were quite disappointing, which (in hindsight) isn’t that surprising—most of my races occurred in Leadville above 10k feet elevation with relatively little altitude acclimation. However, my totals for the year were an improvement over 2011, where I ran 1,800 miles and 246k feet of vertical—progress, right? So it seems that I’m well on my way to building a solid base for some decent racing seasons in the future. Hopefully 2013 sees more improvement. We’ll see how well vagabonding around South America and training for mountain running pair together. 

While I hope to compete in a few races around South America I think just getting back to the simple act of running with no real agenda will be somewhat blissful. That being said, I do have some lofty aspirations for while I’m in South America—think tall mountains, big circuits, and deep canyons…

The past year or so has been quite amazing for me. Sometimes I forget all of the incredible things I’ve seen and done due to the simple act of running. The “year-end review” may be cliché, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Not to throw out stats or anything like that. I enjoy the opportunity it presents to look back through photos and re-live all of the great people, places, and things I came to know in the last twelve months. It also fills me with excitement for the coming year. 

Without further rambling here are my stats (blah!) for the year followed by some of my favorite photos from my outings. Enjoy!

Miles: 2,500
Time: 514 hours 40 minutes
Elevation Gain: 524,150 feet

Summits
Flagstaff: 104
Green: 64
Sanitas: 15
Bear: 3
South Boulder: 3
Greys/Torreys: 3
North/South Arapaho Peaks: 1
Mount Humphreys:1

Pass Mountain 50k near Phoenix, AZ (Photo: Nick Coury)

Climbing in Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming (Photo: Dave Weidinger)

Chatting with the master before the LT100 (Photo: Rob Timko - I guess he does take photos of things other than Laurie sleeping)

Staying warm before starting the LT100 with Alan and Mike (Photo: Lori Carlson Smith)

Making breakfast after a nice morning run in Ten Sleep Canyon (Photo: Dave Weidinger)

Tasting the rainbow before the Leadville Marathon (Photo: Rob Timko)

All smiles in the LT100 (Photo: Tim Gormley Jr)

Climbing in Ten Sleep (Photo: Tom Seymour)

Just a little roll of the ankle

Sunrise run up Flagstaff and Green

Second roll of the ankle in less than two weeks

Soaking in the creek after a nice, long run

My happy place :)

It's not a run without a little blood or a little mud

The good stuff...

Sometime you just have to relax a little

Manitou Incline...It's a beast...

First trip up Greys and Torreys. JV is somewhere way up ahead...

Swollen foot with a dead nail after the Estes Park Marathon. Getting ready for "surgery"

Some Flatirons scrambling with Alex Vidal

First run in Indian Peaks Wilderness

Flowers in Indian Peaks

Spent a lot of time in Leadville this summer

View from Greys

Heading up Hope Pass

Green Mountain summit shot

Hope Pass access

On top of Hope Pass

Apparently this is what I look like after running ~60 miles above 10k feet (Photo: Rob Timko - I think)

Heading up Hope Pass

Peaceful sunrise over Turquoise Lake

Running around Cloud Peak Wilderness in Wyoming

El Taco Blanco in Ten Sleep Canyon

North and South Arapaho Peaks

Sunset in Indian Creek

My home at Indian Creek

Looking down from the Arapaho Traverse

Pure bliss in Indian Creek

Sunset run in Canyonlands National Park

Get up and get moving!

Heading up to the Inner Basin in Flagstaff, AZ. I have a thing for Aspens

Summit of Mount Humphrey's, the highest point in Arizona

One of my true loves, the Grand Canyon

Climbing in Indian Creek

Heading up Mount Sopras near Carbondale, CO

Confluence Point in Canyonlands National Park

Mount Sopras :)

Hidden Valley trail in Moab, UT

Wild horses as I try to sneak my way into Grand Canyon National Park

View from the Pass Mountain 50k start/finish area

A quad-crushing decent down to the Colorado River via the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon

Canyonlands National Park run recommended by Jeff Valliere

Canyonlands National Park

Slot canyon in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park
 
How I felt before quitting work and roaming around
 
When "Big Brother" gets bored watching me this is what happens...

Finishing the Leadville Trail Marathon. Big thanks to Vi for the fuel to get me there! (Photo: Rob Timko)