Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March Mileage Madness #4 is happening Sunday!

We're on for Sunday and it looks like the weather and trail conditions are on our side.  We'll have starts at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 depending on your pace and distance.  Plan to be back at the house for BBQ/potluck around 1:00 pm.  There might be a few course markings out there, but check out the route descriptions and map (23 mile map and description, 36 mile map and description) and print and bring them with you if you're not familiar with the trails.  There are a couple places to fill water at trail heads and park entrances, but there will be no aid stations, so carry what you'll need.

Bring whatever you like for the post run festivities- food, drinks, something to BBQ.  .  . We'll fire up the BBQ around 1:00 and hang out and eat and drink and enjoy the afternoon until about 4:00.

Send me an email if you have questions or leave a comment below.  Feel free to leave a comment with your start time and planned distance too.

Lots of other pictures and stuff here.

See you Sunday!

Monday, March 10, 2014

March Mileage Madness is on! **Date Change

The 4th annual MMM run around the reservoir will be happening on Sunday March 23.  Spring is coming and it is time to start putting in some longer training miles.  Look here and here for event info, course descriptions and stories and pictures from past years, and some reports from others.
Check back for more details soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Hesitating Beauties take the Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon

I was very excited (and relieved) after watching some video of the ski portion of the Quad when Nora suggested that we compete as a team in the Pairs Division.  I could bike and run and she would ski and snowshoe.  The perfect solution and so we became the Hesitating Beauties and we were on our way to a one of a kind event in Grants, New Mexico.
The Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon consists of 13 miles of uphill road biking, 5 miles of running up a dirt road, 2 miles of uphill cross country/back-country skiing and a 1 mile snowshoe to the top of 11,301 foot Mt. Taylor and then . . . you do it all again in reverse.  The pairs and teams took off an hour after the solo competitors and we were a smaller group.  It had been a while since I'd competed in a bike race and I hadn't even been on my road bike in months, so I decided to be conservative at the start.  The first couple mile took us through the town of Grants and out on to the road leading up Mt. Taylor.  The top 15-20 riders rode as a pack which I guess was okay.  I was unsure of the etiquette in this race recalling my triathlon days where drafting on the bike was strictly forbidden.  A few of us in the pack talked about this and it seemed no one was really sure so we just rode on taking turns pulling up front.  Once we hit the hill about 4 miles in, the pack started to split up and I was surprised for a while to find myself out front. As the climb steepened and my unconditioned legs tired, I got reeled in and passed (but not dropped) by a few riders. The climb was tough, but the scenery was nice, the sun was warm and it felt good to be out on the bike and hanging in with the lead group. The last 3 miles were pretty steep and I started to look forward to arriving at the transition and getting off the bike to run. I was the 5th rider in from the team/pairs start, quickly found my running shoes, shed my helmet and gloves, grabbed a cup of water and chuck of banana and headed up the road.

My legs were heavy for the first couple miles, but I loosened up and caught three of the four teams/pairs that had started ahead of me. The run continued up a wide dirt road that turned in to mud, snow and ice in the last two miles. I ran in to the run/ski transition where Nora was waiting and quickly snapped into her skis and headed out on to an icier, steeper and more extreme ski course than anyone was expecting.  

Nora of course took it on like the champion skiier that she is, smiling the whole way. . .  with maybe a couple of falls and some cursing here and there.  After successfully navigating the ski course up, Nora strapped on her snow shoes and raced the last mile to the 11,301 foot summit of Mt. Taylor where she took a moment to enjoy the view before turning around and flying back down the slope to clip back in to her skis.  Downhill skiing is where Nora truely excels and after the race, she modestly shared that she passed 23 other skiers on the downhill.  When she got back to the ski/run transition, I was ready and waiting and took off to run the 5 miles back to my bike.  I was looking forwad to the long down hill bike ride where I could push a big gear, tuck in and fly back to the finish, but I was instead hit with some fierce afternoon headwinds that I fought for most of the 13 miles back down to Grants. 

I rolled in to the finish for a combined time of 5 hours 28 minutes which seemed pretty respectable.  I found Mike and Jessica in the beer tent and enjoyed a Santa Fe brewing State Pen Porter while I waited for Nora to get shuttled back to the finish.  When Nora arrived, we watched the finish line for Chris and Steph (the instigator of this whole thing) who showed up all smiles after a long day on the race course.

Nora and I checked the results and found that we placed 3rd overall in the pairs division.  We stuck around for the awards and proudly collected our yellow race caps and glass trophies. 

We left Grants victorious and drove two hours to Santa Fe where we showered and enjoyed a delicious Valentine's + 1 dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe.  It was a super fun weekend exploring a new place, competeing in a unique event and hanging out with some good friends. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Winter Running, Snowshoeing, Skiing, and some changes to the plans

I got out last weekend for my first races of the year, first races since Thanksgiving actually, and now my legs are very tired.  I decided on Friday to drop from the 30K snowshoe to the 11.4 mile race which is an out and back on the Sourdough trail just above Nederland.  I have done the 30K race three times, but this year I really didn't feel that I had the fitness. I drove up to Nederland on Saturday morning with Jessie, who was going out for her first snoeshoe race (and her second time out in snowshoes).  When we got to the trailhead at 8:30, it was already sunny and warm and only a little breezy.  Snow condidtions on the trail looked pretty good- packed down and pretty well covered.  I took off at a comfortable and relaxed pace in the back 1/3 of the pack.  I slowly moved my way up keeping the pace very easy.  It was a really beautiful day out on the trails and I was remined of how much I enjoy snowshoeing.  I felt better than I expected to, so as I got close to the turn around at mile 5.7, I decided to count the runners coming back to see what place I was in.  #1 was a good mile ahead of me, then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th runners came along.  #5 was a little further back, probably only a quarter mile ahead and then I hit the turn around in 6th place in 1:20.  I ate a couple fig newtons and filled my water.  The guy behind me that I had passed a little ways back came in to the turn around right after me, and we left at the same time to head back- mostly downhill to the finish.  I tried to stay in the moment running back and just enjoy the time on the trail.  I tend to spend a lot of time (and mental energy) late in a race or long run counting down the distance to the finish.  Today I decided on really trying to just enjoy each moment of the run instead of only thinking about how long it would be before I was done.  I did pretty well with this for a while and vowed to keep running (and living) in the moment as a ongoing goal.  I took a couple of falls on the way back.  Once I caught my front crampon on a root and later the front of my snow show in a deep rut of snow.  Both times I was able to get back up pretty quickly with no damage done besides another tear in my tights.  The forgivingness of snowy trails is another reason I like snowshoeing.  In the final 3/4 mile, I heard another runner closing in behind me and then I saw the guy that had left the turn around with me on the switchback just above.  I was a little frustrated to be getting based in the final mile, but wasn't too worried about it.  I kept running, but moved to the side of the trail to let him pass, but he didn't.  The trail flattened out and opened up and I picked up my pace and opened up a the gap behind me.  With less than a 1/4 mile to go, I saw the 5th place runner ahead (and apparently having some difficulty with a snowshoe, but still having a good time).  I passed him and ran on to the finish in 2 and 1/2 hours for 5th place.  I was awarded with a pair of socks from the raffle (I can always use more socks).  I changed in to dry clothes then hiked back up the trail a bit to run in with Jessie.  I got back home with time to enjoy the last bit of a beautiful warm January day and take an easy bike ride round Fort Collins.
Sunday it was back in to the mountains for the Frost Giant double in Estes Park.  This was my 4th consecutive trip to Estes in January to run a 5K and a 10K in quick succession.  My legs were tired from snowshoeing, but it was another beautiful warm day and there was a big Fort Colling crew in attendance.  I was considerably slower than last year in both races, but I had a good time and felt like maybe all this running and racing would be a good start to getting back in shape.
I decided not to go up to the Snowys this weekend for another snowshoe race and stayed in Fort Collins instead for some good XC skiing around Pineridge with Nora and Shadow.

I'm starting to feel a lot better on the skis although I still have a long way to go.  When I realized just how far last week, Nora and I decided to do the Winter Quadrathlon as a team instead.  I will bike and run and Nora will ski and snowshoe.  It will be a lot of fun to compete as a team.
Today Nora and I joined the FCRC at Fossil Creek Park for the 5K Tortoise and Hare Race.  It was 0 degrees at the start and pretty icy on the course, but many of our friends were there enjoying the morning and there were bagels and coffee after.
Looking further in to the future, Nora, Mari and I have put together the plans for our day by day route for the bike tour in July.  We'll average around 50 miles/day, do a lot of camping in beautiful places on the coast, stay with friends, and enjoy the journey.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Year

2014 -- Here we go.

Here's a little glimpse in to what I have in store this year:

  • Snowshoe racing - in less than three weeks, I'll be strapping on (or lacing up) my snowshoes for  the 30K Sourdough Snowshoe Race in Nederland and then again a week later for the 10K Snowy Mountain Range Snowshoe Race in Wyoming.  Snowshoe racing is a great off season challenge and a fun way to stay fit in the cold snowy days of winter.  I'm always hopeful that some snowshoeing fitness will carry over to running and racing in the spring. 

  • Winter Quadrathlon - I was looking for a new challenge for 2014 so when Steph said she was doing this race and Chris and Mike, I thought why not?  The Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon is a 13 mile bike ride, 5 mile run, 3 mile cross country ski and 1 mile snowshoe to the top of 11,301 foot Mt. Taylor in Grants, New Mexico and then all the same in reverse back down.  I'm a little nervous about the skiing part since I've only been out on the skis a couple times and I don't really know how to go down hill, but I have an exellent ski insturctor and I'm not too proud to ski pizza style all the way down.

  • Bike tour of the Pacific Coast - This summer, Nora and I will be teaming up with Mari to ride Highway 1 from the Testerman house in Anacortes, WA to my mom's house in Laguna Beach, CA.  We're planning to take 4 or 5 weeks to complete this 1700 mile ride, camping and staying with friends along the way.  This has been a longtime dream for all of us.  It is going to be amazing.

  • Wedding!!! - Yep on August 30, Nora and I are tying the knot and it is going to be quite a party.  I am so thankful to have met such an amazing person to spend the rest of my life with.  The plans for the wedding are coming together and we are really excited for the big day. 

2014 will be an amazing year, full of adventures and new beginings and I'm sure there will be surprises along the way.  I'm looking forward to all of it and I'm thanful for the wonderful people that I will get to share it with.  Here we go.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Conversation on a run - October  22, 2013:

Me: With no races on the schedule for the fall, I was thinking it would be fun to go out for some long run or hike or something.  .  . maybe somewhere warm.

Mike: Yeah, me too.  How 'bout the the White Rim Trail (103 miles) in Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab on mountain bikes . . . in a day?

Me: Uhhh, I haven't been riding my mountain bike at all and I'm kind of out of shape, but that sounds like fun.  Why not?

10 days later:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's Next?

It's been almost a month now since my 91 seconds after the cut-off finish at the Western States 100.  I've rested, recovered and  had plenty of time to think about what happened out there on the trail between Squaw Valley and Auburn.  There are still some unresolved questions, the biggest is, "Will I put my name back in the lottery and try to go back out to California for another shot at the buckle?"  All I can say for now is, "We'll see."  In the meantime there are some more events on the calendar.  Next week, I'm heading to the great Northwest with Nora to visit the Testermans and see where Nora grew up.  It is going to be a fun trip with visits to Nora's family and friends, sailing, rowing, visiting Seattle's famous sites and the flagship REI store, of course, an overnight on Guemes Island, kayaking in Port Townsend with the Randalls, a trip to Portland to visit my friends Ed and Vickie and their new twin girls, Sky and Sylvia and Nora's sister Jill - looking forward to the famous food trucks.  And of course... a trail race.  The day after we arrive, we are going out to Bellingham, WA for the Chuckanut Mountain 30K.  Jill, best friend Mari and I are all registered for this final race of the Bellingham Trail Running Series.  Nora and I thought it would be fun to do a trail race during our trip when we planned it back in March.  Nora's racing plans changed to allow time to recover from a recent surgery and I didn't really count on how little running I would feel like doing after spending more than 30 hours on the Western States course.  I have run maybe 5 times in the 3 1/2 weeks since WS and all my runs have been less than 6 miles.  Well, I'm not really that worried about it.  It is always fun to run in beautiful new places and the cut-off time is generous . . .  I haven't been doing much running lately, but I have gotten out on my road bike a lot more than I have in the past several years.  On the last day of school, after talking with a colleague, Katy Williams, over several beers about the Fort Collins ProChallenge Experience 108 mile Bike Ride, I signed up.  Why not?  I figured it would be a good idea to have something to train for after WS, Katy said she and some friends were doing it and it sounded like fun.  That ride, which is farther than I've ever ridden and includes some serious climbing and 30 miles of dirt roads in the mountains is now 18 days away.  I have gotten out on a few rides in the last couple weeks.  I did the 46 mile Rist Canyon/Buckhon loop on Sunday and this morning I rode a 62 mile loop through Masonville, past Carter Lake and back up through Loveland around Boyd Lake.  With the trip to Washington, I won't get much more riding in, but I think/hope it should go okay.  It will be tough, but I enjoy a challenge.  I do plan to get back to running this fall, and what better race to get back to it with than the trail race that is nearest and dearest to my heart, The Blue Sky Marathon.  This is the race that some Fort Collins Trail Running friends and I dreamed up and started 5 years ago and it is now a staple on many Front Range trail runner calendars.  For the past 5 years, I have captained the Indian Summer North Aid Station and loved it, but this year I am going to hand that task over the the very capable hands of my daughter Maddie (who has also worked this aid station every year for the past 5 years) and my partner Nora who volunteered with me last year.  Race management has been handed over to the Gnar Runners (Pete and Nick) who I am sure will continue to make Blue Sky (Along with the Quad Rock 25 and 50 and the new Black Squirrel Half) the best trail running events in Colorado, or maybe the whole world even.  Pete and Nick graciously offered me a spot to run Blue Sky this year and I am honored to take it.  This event I am going to train for and I look forward to putting in an honest effort at running a race that I will be proud of.  After that . . . I don't know.  Yeah, I think I'll want to run another 100 next year.  I really would like to figure out how to run a good 100 mile race and the only way I can do that is to keep trying.  There's one out in Washington that looks pretty good and so many others that would be fun to travel to.  I'll let you know when I figure it out.  Summer is not over yet, and there is always more running to do.
July 7 Training ride with Mike, Nora, Jessica Diana and Lara   Photo by Mike