Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 28 - September 3, 2017 - Trap Dike

Monday: 6.1 miles, 437', 8:47 pace. Easy lap of the Ghetto Blaster Scrambling Circuit. Mind the broken glass.

Tuesday: 6.7 miles, 528', 9:11 pace. Sluggish lunch run on GBSC.

Wednesday: 6.9 miles, 377', 7:32 pace. Lunch run on Manchester roads and sidewalks catching up with an old friend. Got dragged along a little faster than I've been running lately. This pace used to be easy. Didn't feel to bad once I settled into it.

Thursday: Zero.

Friday: 19 miles, 7021', 7h18m elapsed. I somewhat impulsively requested the day off with only 24 hours notice to take advantage of cool, dry weather and made a day trip to the Adirondacks. Another 2am wake up, 4 hour drive, run/hike, and drive home. Carpe diem, or something. This was only my second trip to the 'Daks, the last being a Great Range Traverse in 2015, and I put together a linkup of peaks in the MacIntyre Range, plus Mount Colden via the Trap Dike for good measure.

Parking at the Loj, I encountered blustery, foggy weather with rime ice on the trees on Mounts Wright, Algonquin, and Iroquois. I had to pull out my long sleeve shirt and windshell to keep warm, but had only shorts for my legs, which was comfortable enough. My hat and gloves stayed in my pack. One guy, all bundled up with a winter hat and face mask asked if my name was Wim Hof.

To add on Mount Marshal, without descending off the ridge at the cost of miles and thousands of feet of elevation, I chose to bushwhack directly off the summit of Iroquois. This involved thrashing around in the brush, scratched legs, ripped shorts, and mildly sketchy climb down a rock chimney to pass through a cliff band, all for Marshall's non-descript summit.

After that, they skies cleared and I was able to scramble up the Trap Dike, a steep canyon-like gash through cliffs, directly to the summit of Mount Colden. I've read about this fourth class scrambling route for a few years and finally got the chance to see it for myself. Down low in the Dike one needs to climb a steep, blocky pitch by a waterfall with consequential fall potential, but if you know how to mantle and shop around for secure handholds, it feels secure. I'd rate it as slightly more difficult than Huntington Ravine but with less of a sense of exposure. Higher up, you exit the dike when the walls get low enough and scramble up a clean, white slab the rest of the way to the summit. This was, to me, the scarier and more dangerous part of the day. While grippy, the slab is very steep and exposed, without many places to put your hands, so you just have to trust that your feet will stick. Near the top, I bet you could roll a large rock down and expect it to continue 1800 feet down into Avalanche Lake below.

I'd originally intended to make a side trip to add on the summits of Tabletop and Phelps but missed a critical turn. By the time I realized my mistake, I was already at Marcy Dam and decided to call it a day.

Saturday, Sunday: Zero. Housework.

Totals: 38.8 miles, 8356', 7h 49m.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August 21 - 27, 2017 - Hut Traverse

Monday: 6.7 miles, 499', 8:39 pace. Standard lunch loop of roads, sidewalks, trails and a couple short scrambles.

Tuesday: Zero. Bore witness to some enthusiastic hen hugging.

Wednesday: 7.0 miles, 515', 8:20 pace.

Thursday: Road cycling, 24.6 miles, 1250', 1:34:28.

I took a long loop from work and encountered an interesting scene on the way back into Manchester. A police officer was directing traffic at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Hall Street while two guys in haz-mat suits held spray bottles and scrubbed the asphalt. The cop kindly advised me not to ride over the trail of blood leading all the way across the road and down the sidewalk. It looked like someone had been shot or stabbed and had tried to make an escape. I decided it would be in poor taste to take a picture. I couldn't find any new articles in the following days, making me winder what the threshold of noteworthiness for violent crime in this town is. At least the ride felt great.

Friday: 6.9 miles, 566', 7:59 pace. Standard Ghetto Blaster Scrambling Circuit, with a few sub 7:30 miles thrown in near the end just because.


AM: 3.8 miles, 1919', 1:25:04. Pre-dawn hike up to Carter Notch Hut.

47.0 miles, 15912', 14:27:53 elapsed time. I'm not in the shape I'd like to be for this one, but when you get the kids at their grandparents', ideal weather, and an offer of a ride for the Hut Traverse, you don't pass on the opportunity. I woke up at 2:00 am, was on the road by 2:15, hiking before 5:00, and running at 6:25. A bit later of a start than I should have done but I sleep better in my own bed than I do stealth bivying in the Forester. I was hoping for low 13 hour finish but blew my chance when I ran out of gas on the Twinway and lost more time descending Lafayette in the dark. I was within a couple minutes of my 2012 times until Zealand, then bled time from there, finishing about a half hour slower with better weather and greater effort. Still, I kept a pretty good attitude all day and just accepted things as they came.

Approximate Splits:
Carter: 0:00
Route 16: 00:38
Madison (via the Gulf): 2:20
Lakes: 4:14
Mitzpah: 5:20
Crawford: 5:52
Guyot: 9:01
Galehead: 9:59
Greanleaf: 12:53
Lonesome: 14:28

PM: 1.6 miles, 81', 48:33. Hungry, slow walk down to the highway from Lonesome Lake. Usually when I finish the hut croo is serving dinner and I'm able to beg some leftovers. This time the place was deserted when I arrived at 9:00 pm, but luckily Burger King is open late Gorham and I ate pretty much one of everything on the drive through menu.

Sunday: Road cycling, 38.5 miles, 2378', 2h 38m. I got home late and only managed four hours of low quality sleep before the daylight woke me up. Stumbled through a few household chores, then rode to my parents' house to meet my wife and pick up the kids. Thank god for sunglasses because my eyes were in rough shape. Pleased to tag 45 mph down Page Road in Bow. Fun riding through Warner and Sutton where I used to bike as a teenager.

Totals: 73.6 miles, 19488', 17h 32m running.
             63.2 miles, 3625', 4h 12m cycling.

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 14 - 20, 2017 - Rangeley Enchainment

Monday & Tuesday: Zero. Stressed.

Wednesday: 2 miles mountain biking, 1.8 miles walking. I tried using my frame pump the other day and had a problem with it, so I left it in the car with my spare tube. Predictably, Murphy's Law struck me with a flat tire in Musquash Conservation Area and I had to carry the bike back to the car.

Thursday: 6.9 miles, 552', 8:27 pace. A much needed stress reliever.

Friday: 9.7 miles, 808', 8:00 pace. I slept in my running clothes, with shoes, reflective vest, and headlamp already laid out so I wouldn't have any excuses to sleep in. I managed to get out the door at 4:30 for my first fully dark morning run since April. Good to have a little peace and quiet.

Saturday: 35.5 miles, 11843', 16:36 pace, 11:35:25 elapsed time.

I've been looking at linking up the four-thousand foot peaks along the Appalachian Trail outside of Rangeley, Maine for a number of years but somehow never got around to it. The need for a car-spot four hours from home might have something to do with that. Most peakbaggers break this one up into at least three separate day hikes, but my abilities make the longer route more doable. I managed to talk my friend Ryan into going with me so I'd have both a ride and some good company for the day.

Our intention was to start at Maine Route 4 and take the A.T. over Saddleback, the Horn, and North and South Crocker to Route 27, with side trips to Mount Abraham, Sugarloaf, and Redington Peak. This would have been the completion of the 67 peaks over four-thousand feet in New England for me, but things took longer than expected and we decided to skip the bushwhack to Redington. This got us back to my car at 8:00 PM, rather than 10:00 and back in my bed at home at 2:00 AM instead of 4:00 or later. I felt strong all day despite the jungle-like humidity.

Sunday: Zip.

Week Totals: 52 miles, 13199', 12h 3m.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 7 - 13, 2017

Monday: 6.9 miles, 489', 8:26 pace.

Tuesday: Zero.

     Lunch: 15 miles, 781', 1h 27m. Urban mountain biking.
     PM: 5.2 miles, 2388', 14:12 pace, 1:25:12 elapsed time.Evening blast up the Hi-Cannon Trail. My legs felt great and I was pleased with my time, despite being 10-15 pounds over my fighting weight. Gotta cut back on the junk food and remind myself that nothing tastes as good as fast feels.

Thursday: 6.7 miles, 516', 8:49 pace. Lunch run with some scrambling, got started on the newest Hardcore History podcast; 6 hours on Julius Caesar and the conquest of Gaul.

Friday: I took the day off and spent the day with my four year old daughter in in Franconia Notch. While not really a zero day, the biking, kayaking, and hiking we did was too sporadic to bother recording. Even short bouts of towing a kid bike trailer up a steep grade is worth something, but that wasn't the purpose of the day. We had some good fun together.

Saturday: 9.6 miles, 2603', 11:45 pace, 2:01:17 elapsed time. Did an early run up Mount Galehead before meeting up with my dad for an open house at the Tram O'Neil Rally School in Dalton. Good times riding in rally cars, shootin' guns, and doing a little rallycross with my Forester.

Sunday: 11.9 miles, 966', 8:13 pace. My longest road run in a while.

Totals: 40.5 miles, 6959', 6h 43m, plus some cycling.

I'm having a hard time building any real weekly mileage. Even though I signed up for a couple races this fall, my motivation has been low and I'm probably 15 pounds over a good racing weight. Maybe this is more sustainable long term, but part of it feels like a cop-out. I either need to change my day-to-day actions, or let go of some goals instead of wallowing around in the middle.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

July 31 - August 6, 2017

Monday: 6.8 miles, 518', 8:06 pace. The mountains must have done me some good because I felt a little pep in my stride and dropped into the mid-7 minute mile range for a bit, despite the heat and humidity. I haven't seen the shiny side of eight in a while.

Tuesday: 6.7 miles, 492', 8:21 pace.

     AM: 3.0 miles, 210', 8:50 pace. Easy morning jog.
     PM: 7.7 miles, 588', 1h 22m, mountain biking after work at Musquash Conservation Area. I went our for an evening trail run here a few months ago and left with the impression that these trails would be a lot more fun on a mountain bike. They were, especially for my modest technical skills.

Thursday: Zero.

Friday: 6.7 miles, 499', 8:28 pace.

Saturday: 9.9 miles, 591', 8:17 pace. My longest road run in a while.

Sunday: 9.6 miles, 3766', 12:38 pace, 2:09:58 elapsed time. North and South Kinsman from the West with Cooper on a cool, wet morning. I'd hoped to go under two hours for the round trip but couldn't pull it off. Still, I felt ten times better than my last time in the Whites on Mount Garfield.

Week Totals: 43 miles, 6299', 6h 40m. My hamstring was reasonably quiet all week so maybe I can start building back up some mileage again. I have a few races on the calendar for the fall, as well as some adventure run and it would be good to be in respectable shape.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

July 24 - 30, 2017 - Pfeifferhorn

Monday: 5.0 miles, 3365', 18:45 pace. Grandeur Peak, Salt Lake City.

I had enough time to get in a quick, hot lap of this local favorite before needing to show up for work. My time sucked but I felt indifferent. It's pretty cool that there's this kind of terrain available so close to a prosperous metro area, but I don't think I could live here. Everyone is crammed into suburbs in the lowlands at the base of the Wasatch Front. A nice place to visit, but rural New Hampshire is home for me.

Tuesday: 9.9 miles, 1400', 9:41 pace. Run up City Creek Canyon in a light morning rain. Pretty cool that I can start from a hotel downtown and be with the coyotes, rabbits, and deer within a few miles.

Wednesday - Saturday: Zero. Too much food, booze, work, and a grouchy hamstring.

Sunday: 9.8 miles, 3919', 14:21 pace. Run up the Pfeifferhorn in Little Cottonwood Canyon with a friend.

Week Totals: 24.8 miles, 8678', 5h 32m. Crap for mileage, but decent gain, considering.

July 17 - 23, 2017 - Kings Peak, Alice-Toxaway Lake Loop

Monday: Cycling, 14.5 miles, 1:36. Tooled around suburban Manchester on my mountain bike and discovered some new-to-me trails behind Derryfield Academy. I take a lot of satisfaction in finding hidden gems near places I've been frequenting for years.

     AM: 3.0 miles, 212', 8:22 pace. Short, slow morning run. Leg hurts but tolerable, which isn't really good enough.
     PM: Cycling, 6.6 miles, 32:29. A lunch ride cut short by low tire. I tried using my frame pump to air it up, but something was wrong with the pump and I just let more air out. Limped the bike carefully back to the office.

Wednesday-Thurday: Zero. Trying to heal up.

Friday: 3.0 miles, 213', 8:04 pace. Still tolerable, trying to decide how to handle my weekend.

Saturday: 25.5 miles, 4403', 13:50 pace. Kings Peak, Uinta Range, Utah high point.

I've seen the Uintas several times from out the window of a 737 but after years of visiting Salt Lake City for work, I'd never paid a visit to them. Like most mountain ranges out west, I got just enough of a sampling to hint of how vast the Uintas are and how one could spend a lifetime getting to to know them. There's something comforting to the thought that I'll never run out of places to explore, even just within the United States.

Starting at first light from the Henry's Fork trailhead, I flushed out three moose in the first hour on the trail. They behave a little differently than in New England or Quebec, standing still until you're only a few feet away. It's a little startling to suddenly be faced with an animal the size of a horse that reveals its presence by breaking into a gallop through the bushes.

My right hamstring behaved its self fairly well, assisted by my rather leisurely pace, and made it through nearly a marathon without being a problem. I ran hardly any uphills or sections with rough footing, rather like a 100 mile effort, partly to avoid aggravating injuries and partly out of laziness. Alone, far from home, I had no obligations and nowhere to be later in the day. I did suffer from some altitude sickness, afflicted with a headache and nausea on the way down, going from sea level to 13,500 feet in well under 24 hours. I created a minor scene, retching out the door of the rental car in the parking lot. It was worth it.

Sunday: 18.7 miles, 3385', 12:44 pace. Alice-Toxaway Lake loop, Sawtooth Range, Idaho.

You know where else I hadn't been before? The Sawtooths. I didn't even decide where to go until Sunday night, choosing between the Tetons, Wind River Range, and making the long drive to Idaho. Ultimately, the urge to explore a new place won out and I wasn't disappointed.

Totals: 50.3 miles, 8205', 10h 41m.

It was good for me to just run recreationally for a few days. Even if UTMA sapped a lot of my competitive drive, and my running fitness has taken a few setbacks, my legs can still carry me to places as fulfilling as any race or FKT. There's less recognition involved, but that helps some of my core motivation reveal itself a little more clearly.

This was also my last trip to Salt Lake City for the foreseeable future. I've been travelling here for work on a yearly basis since 2010, usually piggybacking a couple fun days onto the trip. Now, for political reasons, the Outdoor Retailer trade show will be moving to Denver, starting next year. I'm generally on board with the reasons for the move, protection of public lands, and Denver will be a great base for further adventures, but I barely scratched the surface of what's available with a day's drive of Salt Lake. I'll miss it.