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Posts Tagged ‘Boulder’

My most recent outdoor weekend started with a post-work trail run with Brad out of the Doudy Draw trailhead. We covered a semi-hilly 8 miles at a mostly conversational pace. Our main topic was the outdoor efforts we were planning for next year and how we could support one another in those endeavors.

Saturday I spent the day out-of-doors, but largely in my backyard as I built my first retaining wall to level out our side yard for a future garden plot. The work was a lot of fun and took me back to my days of regular trail maintenance and should be the first of many such projects.

And on Sunday I decided to metaphorically combine the prior two day’s activities by running and hiking a marathon on my first Boulder Trail Runners “Church Run”. The Church Runs are usually all-day affairs involving a lot of elevation gain. Today’s all-trail loops at Heil and Hall Ranches near Lyons were notable for being particularly runnable. The pace and elevation gain turned out to be perfect training for my Tecumseh Trail Marathon sweep role in a few weeks. Three of us (out of the original 8 runners who started) finished up the full distance for the day and with plenty of hydration and food I’m not sure we ever really hit the wall.

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The Rattlesnake Ramble trail run’s original 2013 race date clashed with the September floods that closed numerous mountain roads outside of Boulder, Colorado and Eldorado Canyon State Park. After the park re-opened the race was on for Nov 9th.

I had no particular race goals but to have fun and try to push myself to run a decent race. To that end I didn’t start out too fast and plodded along up the main road to the Fowler trail. I was keeping pace with a couple people including the first place woman and followed them on a couple passes on this first out-and-back stretch.

Back on the main road I threw my windbreaker under the aid station table as we went by and ran the road fairly steadily, pacing Bill Wright (race director) in this section. The big climb up the Eldorado Trail came up quickly and I did a little jogging through the lower section of this climb, passing a couple competitors and gradually my pace morphed into a power walk (Bill Wright’s pre-race announcements included a story of jogging this trail only to be passed by a hiker), jogging only a few of the less serious inclines. The lead runners were bombing down the hill while we made our way up but the climb ended earlier than I thought. Someone said “this is the top” and at first I didn’t believe them only to find myself running downhill on a short stretch to the turn-around.

I’m a fairly fast downhiller, so I let my legs reach a quick turnover while still trying to stay within my comfort range for the rocky terrain. Towards the bottom I got behind one slightly slower runner and had someone else on my heels. The three of us hit the bottom of the trail and wider road together and the fellow behind me passed both of us. I locked onto his pace and fell in behind and we pushed the pace down the dirt road for a mile towards the finish. Once again a third runner caught up and joined our pack and using the Bastille rock formation as a guide I launched an early finish-line sprint (Strava claims I hit a 4min/mile pace for a [very] brief moment).

My final kick lost steam with 50 feet or so to go to the line, but looking over my shoulder it looked like I had enough of a margin to coast in ahead of my two competitors. My run is posted to Strava for viewing. My run was good enough for a 25th overall finish and a time of 36:27.

Tara came in a bit later, feeling pretty good on her run and made the podium for the Masters Women division.

Preliminary results, a large collection of photos, and the race director’s report are posted online. The post race prize table was deep and full of runner/climber goodies. We even helped ourselves to a post-race donut (ssssh, don’t tell everyone else in Boulder!). There’s a good chance this event will make it onto our calendars for next year.

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Wedding Cruiser Ride

Tara had the brilliant idea of having our own cruiser ride to kick off our wedding weekend. Costumes and bike decorations were strongly encouraged with the theme “black and white” and I think everyone figured out who the bride and groom were.

Adult beverages may have enlivened the gathering.

My formal wear may have fallen over my eyes while biking.

Partway into our ride we stopped for a group photo (I should have brought a 2nd flash to avoid casting some people in shadow).

We also discovered that a few people crashed our cruiser ride thinking it was one of the regular events. It pleased us immensely to know that people might have confused our little gathering with one of the hugely popular regular rides.

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In the middle of the month, Tara and I spent a weekend in Houston visiting relatives of hers. On the sight-seeing agenda was the Beer Can House.

Unfortunately the Orange Show was closed for renovations, but we did get to the Cullen Sculpture Garden and nearby Ginger Man pub.

Back home we engaged in a bit of running we also made it out downhill skiing a few days at Eldora and then had a two hour class to learn the fundamentals of curling.

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Thursday and Friday’s new snow demanded to be hiked in come Saturday. I figured NCAR would be a less busy parking lot for my later-than-usual start to the day and picked up the Mesa Trail to Bear Canyon and on to Green Mountain.

The sun was coming out and warming up the flatirons while snow still lingered in the canyons (will this last all winter? or melt off before the next real storm?).

Clouds rolled in and cooled off the views.

Winds shook the trees of their snowy burdens.

Few people were seen until the summit of Green Mountain, always a popular destination.

I hustled back the way I’d come, but stopped near NCAR to watch some mule deer feasting below.

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With the USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming through Boulder there was little chance I was going to miss the party on Flagstaff Mountain. First, I had to get out for my own ride with a couple friends and loop north out of town for a 35 mile loop to take the Left Hand Canyon and Lee Hill climb and descent that the pros would fly over in a few hours.

Ride over, I joined our own growing peloton for the journey up Flagstaff (a road climb I’ve never done). We parked our bikes with the first bike corral to position ourselves just above the steepest part of the climb where most attacks would come. Then we settled in to the eating, drinking and spectator watching while waiting a few hours for the riders to reach us.

Spectator watching was really the main reason to be out today and pass the time with the bike-crazy crowds, but eventually we spotted the helicopter following the leaders coming back into town and flying above Baseline towards Flagstaff. Looking below at the road we could see race leader Rory Sutherland approaching.

The main GC contenders quickly appeared through the remains of the broken breakaway group, with yellow-jersey holder Tejay Van Garderen closely watching his main rivals (but would lose the jersey to finish the day in 3rd place overall).

The yellow jersey wasn’t the only one to change hands, as Tom Danielson would pass the climber’s jersey to crowd-favorite Jens Voigt.

The fast race pace strung out the group and other riders were still coming through 10 minutes later.

The parade of racers wouldn’t be over until the broom wagon passed by.

The huge crowd (including descending pros) made for a crazy bike back down the hill.

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Since I signed up for a 3-day cycling event in the fall, I figured I needed to spend more time on the bike getting ready. My longest rides had been near 50 miles, so today I wanted to do 60+. Starting at 6:30am before it got too hot, I took off on a loop from South Boulder to Lyons, then across to Hygiene and Longmont before heading south back to Boulder.

In Lyons I stopped at the Stone Cup for a huge baked good and could only eat half of it before getting back on the bike and with some extra rations. If I wasn’t trying to put in the miles before the temperature reached 90, I would have enjoyed staying around for a relaxing cup of coffee before riding back.

I was planning on going out easy, but when I ran across a huge group racing the Athleta Iron Girl Boulder Women’s Triathlon I couldn’t resist picking up the speed and seeing how many of the racers I could pass on 63rd and Foothills Pkwy. Anyway, congrats to all the participants who did more running and swimming than I did today.

Using home like an aid station, I stopped to refill my water bottles, snack and then head right back out to get another 25 miles on the rolling hills east of Boulder.

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