Tuesday, June 30, 2009

After months of training, the first event of the Leadman is just around the corner! This has been an amazing journey and no matter what the outcome, the journey has been so much fun, it doesn’t matter. Whoever said “It’s the journey not the destination” must have been training for Leadman. It has been so much fun and through this I've come to realize how much I love running and riding in the nature of this amazing planet. Everywhere from San Diego to Washington DC to Colorado Springs I have found great places to train. (Actually it’s more like playing than training). All the people I’ve had the privilege to run and ride with throughout this adventure have been incredible to say the least. Everyone from the Urban Assault Crew and Major Taylor Cycling Club in San Diego to CRUD & ProCyling in Colorado Springs. I’m pretty excited about getting the show on the road!

This week was another incredible week with over 25 hours of running and riding. Lots of hills and the climbing legs are coming around on both the bike and the run. I set a PR running up Barr Trail Thursday, as well as rode over 8,500 ft vertical on Sunday, feeling strong on every climb. On a long run with CRUD, Friday, which was about 23 miles with just under 5,000 of climbing I mentioned to Paul DeWitt that this may be a bit much the week before a marathon. I absolutely love his answer. “It is for normal people, we are not normal people.”

With that said, I will not be tapering much for the Leadville Marathon nor the 50 mile Silver Rush. With the five events of the Leadman spread out over a month, and the last three in the last week, it would not be a good idea to taper for every race. The two 100 milers are the biggies, so I will treat the marathon and the Silver Rush as hard training runs/rides. I feel good, it seems like I’m getting stronger each week, I’m 51 years old and weigh the same as in high school, and just love every run and ride. Let the show begin!

This week’s training (playing) log:

Monday: Recover from the weekend no running/riding, just a strength workout. Core, upper & lower body.

Tuesday: Nice early morning run with Max. Ran the Santa Fe Trail through the Air Force Academy, then turned around after 7 miles. Ran 5 miles at tempo in 36:08. Coming back got to witness an incredible sunrise with the mountains in all their glory. The perfect way to start the day. Tuesday evening ran some errands on the bike to warm-up for the ProCycling hammer fest. We rode in Ute Park and I felt surprisingly good and was able to red line it when needed. Really fun ride, short and intense! Run: 1.9 hrs - 14 miles, Bike 2.8 hrs, 29 miles

Wednesday: This morning went on a mountain bike ride with a very old friend, Ralph Bateman. We have been friends for over 20 years and Ralph is responsible for getting me into cycling in the first place. I was an injured runner, and Ralph suggested riding a bike while recovering from injuries. I took up riding and it was 15 years before I started running again.
Ralph Riding Section 16

We had a great ride getting in some good climbs in Red Rocks, Entemann Trail, 2 times High Drive/Cap'n Jacks Loop, Columbine, and the Chutes. About 5 hours of riding with almost 6,000 feet of climbing.

Coming Down Cap'n Jacks

Thursday: Got up early and did an easy road ride for just under 3 hours. I wanted this to be a recovery ride of sorts, so I just tried to keep the ride reasonably flat and the heart rate down. In the evening was the CRUD Barr Trail hill climb run. I set a new PR to the 7.8 sign taking another 5 minutes off from last week. Yea the climbing legs seem to coming around.

Friday: CRUD long run. I can't not say enough how fun it is to run with these guys and gals. Today we did Williams Canyon, Waldo Canyon, Longs Ranch Road, Hurricane Canyon, Manitou Reservoir, Trail 609, and finally Barr Trail back to Manitou. Lot's of climbing, (especially Longs Ranch) back country trails, and deep forests. We were like kids on an adventure! ~ 23 miles, almost 5 hours, and just under 5,000 feet of climbing

Rick Leading the Way up Williams Canyon


Saturday: Last week I mentioned that I really like running barefoot and wish I could run trails barefoot. Well I got an email from Tricia a friend who help pace me at my last 100. She told me about Vibram 5 Fingers (http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/). I tried a pair on and couldn't believe how good they feel. They look pretty funky though, Roswitha says it looks like I have frog feet. I went on a six mile run today and tested them on pavement, concrete, gravel bike paths, and a little bit of trail. A real trail test will have to wait, as Ute Park was too muddy due to rain last night. I think I will get to like these "shoes" a lot. Running on concrete and pavement will take some getting used to, as there is no padding at all. The bike path and trail were great. It felt just like running barefoot. You definitely get a feel for the ground. I ran six miles with ten 100 meter stride outs and felt great. I'm pretty psyched about these "shoes" and time will tell if they will work on long rocky trail runs. I will definitely be reporting on these as I run in them more. Roswitha will not let me where them in public while she's around though.

Sunday: Tour de Hills road ride. Met up with Kelly early in the morning. We just rode every long steep hill we could find on the West side of Colorado Springs, and there are plenty of them. As I mentioned last week, Kelly is a great friend and a fierce competitor. We have been taking turns beating each other up for years. We are about even in climbing so we can really push each other when doing a climbing workout. Flying W, Gold Camp, Cheyenne Canyon, Old Stage/Hill Road, the Zoo, Star Ranch, the Zoo again. All great climbs that we were able to push each other. After 3 ½ hours Kelly had to get home so I hit Cheyenne Canyon again, Orion, Gold Camp, Ridge Road, and Flying W on my way home. I couldn’t believe how good I felt on every climb. Even the ones at the end. Ended up with 73 miles and 8,560 ft of climbing in 5.8 hrs.

Kelly Coming up Gold Camp

Total for Week: Run 9.3 hrs - 53 miles, Bike 16.2 hrs - 171 miles

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

View of Pikes Peak from Cameron's Cone

This week was a lot of hours at work, so workouts were cut short, but the weekend was fantastic! Monday, I was still pretty wasted from the previous weekend and worked late, so just used it as a rest day. Probably better to recover than force a workout.

Tuesday: Got up early and ran in Ute Park then two miles inside the track barefoot. This run felt incredible. I just wanted to run forever, but had to get to work. Ended up working 11 hours so missed the ProCycling hammer fest in the evening. The morning run sure was nice though! Run 1.5 hrs, 11 miles.

Wednesday: Great early morning hill repeats on the road bike. Was up at the crack of dawn for hill repeats as it would be another long day & late night at work. Since I was strapped for time, stayed in the neighborhood and rode 5 repeats up a .92 mile hill with average grade of 8.8% , averaging about 7 minutes each climb. Felt really good, the early morning sunrise was awesome and the mountains, as always, amazing. Just had to watch the descents because there were deer all over the place. I really felt like doing more but no time. The climbing legs are coming around!

Thursday: Another day in paradise! Got up very early this morning and ran with Max in Ute Park. It was just another beautiful morning with the sun rise and the mountains and the trails. About halfway through the run went over to Eagleview Middle School track and ran a couple of miles barefoot as well as a half dozen 100 meter stride outs. The more I run barefoot the more I like it. Maybe I'll start working on getting my feet tough enough to run on trails barefoot and not just grass. Hmmm that's a thought. We'll see. Rode my rode bike home from work. I figured with the long hours I'm working that's the best way to get a ride in.

Friday: Easy ride to work.

Saturday: Ahh the weekend! The Leadman events are getting ever closer! Two weeks from today the show begins. Went out to Breckenridge with Dan & Kara Durland. I've mentioned them before but they are worth mentioning again. These two are the toughest couple around, and in Colorado that is saying a lot. Both of them do 24 hour races, the Leadville Trail 100, and many other epics that literally chew up mountain bikers and spit them out. Dan & Kara do em all on single speeds. The non-finish ratio at the Leadville Trail 100 is very high for women on geared bikes. Kara finishes every year on a single speed. They are both studs of the highest realm. Today we went out so Dan could recon day three of the Breck Epic. This is a 6 day mountain bike stage race over high altitude and some of the toughest terrain anywhere. As always, he is doing the entire race on a single speed. Day three is supposed to be the easy day; 30 miles with 4,341 ft of climbing at an average altitude of 10,300 ft. It was a great ride.


Sunday: Cameron's Cone. What a cool run! Most of it was hiking but it was super cool. Rick Hessek, Steve Bremner and I decided to do a little adventure run up to the top of Cameron's Cone then do some exploring from there. The climb up was steep and a lot of bushwacking.

Steve on the way up

At the top we were treated to incredible seldom seen views of Pikes Peak. Instead of going back the way we came, (which was dangerously steep) we went down the other side, bushwacking and following a creek. Came upon some old cabin ruins and trails here and there that we could actually run. We eventually came out on Barr Trail near the Experimental Forest and No Name Creek. We hadn't seen a single person in over 3 1/2 hours. Barr Trail seemed like a highway of hikers after that. Incredible, amazing run. Can't think of enough adjectives to describe it!

Rick & Steve at the Top

Total for Week: Run 7 hrs, 39 miles, Bike 7.5 hrs, 75 miles

More Pictures:




Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kelly Riding up Deadman's
It’s only three weeks from the first Leadman event, the Leadville Marathon which goes over the 13,000 foot Mosquito Pass. I’ve done a ton of hill running and everything seems to be coming around. This weekend was awesome. Got up early on Saturday and the weather didn’t look too great so decided to stick close to home vs. get caught way out in the mountains in some kind of hail/thunder/snow storm. I ran about 1 ½ hours with Max in Ute Park, brought him home, refilled water bottles and took off again. I really enjoyed the run and the longer I ran the more I enjoyed it. After 3 hours figured I was at 18 miles or so which would normally be a good run, but this is Leadman training, so that is barely a warm-up. Continued on, ran up what we call the “Scar” near Blodgett Peak and got another 3+ hours in for about 35 miles. I felt really good the entire run.
Our "Secret" Trail above the Air Force Academy

Today, Sunday, was an epic dream ride. Kelly McGrew and I go back a ways and have been taking turns beating each other for years at mountain bike races. Kelly is a fierce competitor, a good friend and riding buddy. He loves epic rides as much as I do. Today we road for 7 ½ hours on back woods trails, in which we saw nary a soul. This is what mountain bike riding is all about. And even after a 35 mile run yesterday, I felt great. Climbed strong and just loved every minute of it.

5 Hrs 43 min and still Nothing but Sweet Single Track!

The rest of the week was just as epic. Barefoot recovery runs, Barr Trail run with CRUD on Thursday, in which I improved my time another two minutes. On Wednesday, the only day I didn’t take my camera, a baby bear, just a tad bigger than Max came up and stood on his hind legs just a couple feet away. Of all times not to bring the camera!
Mon: Strength Workout/recovery
Tues: AM Run 2.2 hrs -16 miles, PM MTB Steep Hill Repeats 2.4 hrs – 24 miles
Wed: AM: Recovery run .9hrs – 7 miles (3 miles barefoot) PM Road Ride 3.8 hrs – 53 miles
Thurs: PM CRUD Run Barr Trail 2.5 hrs – 14 miles
Fri: Strength Workout/Recovery run .8 hrs – 6 miles (2 miles barefoot)
Sat: Long run 6.1 hrs – 35 miles (3600 ft climbing)
Sun: Long MTB Ride 7.5 hrs – 65 miles (5,900 ft climbing)

Total for week: Run 11.5 hrs – 78 miles, Bike 13.7 hrs – 142 miles

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Training & Good Racing

Heading Down Into Williams Canyon
It’s been a while. Training is going great and yesterday was the first big race of the season. The first week of June was a recovery week as it was time to recover from three 20+ hour weeks. I did a local one hour mountain bike race on Wednesday that week and had a blast. I was very happy that I was able to push it on the climbs. Wasn’t so great on the descents and that’s where I lost contact with 1st & 2nd place. Good race though. High intensity and felt good.

This week was back to the hard training. A good hard 14 mile tempo run on Tuesday morning, then the ProCycling hammer til you Puke Tuesday night ride. I’ve found on these rides I just have to keep the big picture in mind, swallow my pride, and accept getting dropped by guys I know I can out climb. Hard runs in the morning don’t make for super climbs in the evening.
Wednesday morning easy 6 mile barefoot run, then some fun technical mountain biking in the evening. Thursday, 1 hour tempo ride on Santa Fe Trail. Just as I was getting warmed up, I almost ran into a very large bear. Unfortunately he/she was moving too fast for me to stop and get a picture. Those things are amazingly fast and very elegant. He climbed some huge bolders like they weren’t there. My wife also encountered a bear earlier in the week while she was out running. Thursday evening the CRUD run up Barr Trail. I only did half of the incline, to back off a little bit for Saturday’s race. Then finally, Friday, an easy 5 mile barefoot run. Ready for the first big race of the season.

Still Snow in the Mountains (Winter Park)

Winter_Park has a mountain bike series that is just a lot of fun. The competition is as good as anywhere and the courses are incredible. The series starts with a hill climb that climbs a little over 2000 feet in 5 miles. Got a good warm-up by climbing half the race course then taking some insanely fun single track back down. The first race of the season always has me nervous. How are my legs going to feel? Maybe I should have trained less during the week. Has all this running made me slow on the bike? Blah blah blah. Then the gun goes off. Five miles uphill as fast as we can go. At Winter Park they typically start the juniors with us old guys and the first few races of the year they go at a full sprint from the start. We catch every one of them within the first mile. This year was no different. There was a group of three of us that separated from the pack and we duked it out for the first couple of miles until Keith Sanders (former Masters National Champ) started to pull away. I tried to stay with him but he eventually opened a gap. I was able to open a gap with the third guy and was super motivated as I got into a rhythm. In my head I just kept chanting Go! Go! Go! I was able to keep Keith in sight for a while but could never quite close in. He slowly but surely increased his lead until I lost him. It looked like I was riding for second. When we crossed the line there were already two other guys in our race finished. Huh. Turns out they sprinted off the line with the juniors and I never noticed. So instead of second I was fourth. Ha! Great race though and a lot of fun. Sharon & I rode another 2 hours on some of the best single track in the world. Total climbing on the day - just under 5,000 ft. Very happy with the first race.

Waldo Canyon

Today, Sunday, was my longest run so far this year. I felt great most of the time. 6 hrs 32 min of mountain running, just a little over 6,000 ft of climbing, not sure of the distance but I’m guessing around 35 miles. Started out by climbing Rampart Range Rd then dropped down into Williams Canyon. An absolutely beautiful morning. Climbed out of Williams Canyon and did a loop around Waldo Canyon. Dropped down to Hwy 24 then started the long steep climb up Long’s Ranch Road. I think I may of ran too much of the climb, cause Long’s Ranch destroyed me. It was a very tough decision once I hit Barr Trail to continue climbing to Barr Camp. I had one of those little discussions with myself about how the Leadville 100 will be much harder and if I quit here it will be easier to quite in the race blah blah blah. So I continued on to Barr Camp. It was slow going but I made it. After taking a short break at Barr Camp the run back down to Manitou Springs was easy and fun. I really like this stuff!