Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Basically Fun Day

Saturday I ran the Basic, which I saw happen last year but didn't really catch in time to actually run. It was good to participate in this long-standing Boulder tradition, catch up with some folks and meet a few others including Scott Barnes and Jay Rawlings.

Update: - Rob has a video and Jeff has a post on the run also.

Bottom line: great day.

Another bottom line: a lot of talent, at every level. Tony arrived after I took these, but otherwise I'll let readers play "Find Waldos" (and Waldas) in these photos (JV's back is to the camera in the first picture).

There are also couple of folks who are hard to spot or not in the picture, such as Helen, Dakota, JP, Shad and Wyatt (I only realized as he was leaving). I think we passed Darcy on the mountain, but not sure if she was there. All right, enough hyperlinking.

The route went up Flagstaff, then across the road and up Ranger.

There I made the mistake I told myself I wouldn't make by blindly following a crowd (instead of getting the map out at each junction), and a whole train of people took Ranger instead of Greenman, the correct route for the day. D'oh! I made up for it by making extra sure to do the designated Fern loop off of Mesa, which was easy to run past.

Even considering the fact that my route to the top of Green was 0.4 miles shorter, I was keeping up pretty well up to that point, and ran down Green Bear in reasonable proximity to Shad, Krissy and another guy.

Then I took a rest stop, and filtered some water (<5 minutes) from Bear Creek, and I was alone. Probably 20 people had passed during those stops including brownie, but I couldn't have made it in good shape without that extra water.

The ascent up the West Ridge of Bear is where the wind started to pick up, so I put on the ultra-light wind jacket and put the hood on. I was feeling hungry, so I chewed some jerky, lunch of champions.

Yeah, Bear was pretty cold, and in shorts and a couple of light/medium tops I was kind of on the edge of my comfort zone, but it worked.

I caught up to (spike-less) JT on Bear and we chatted a bit on the summits. It was really slippery and slow going without spikes, I don't know how he managed. I will again give a shout out to Kahtoola for their Microspikes, because every time I wear them on snowy runs I think how great they are.

Of course you still have to be careful; one guy Kendrick caught a spike coming down Shadow and really slammed his knee on a rock. Ouch. He was walking normally but said it really hurt. I hope the damage isn't too bad.

I walked down with JT to JP who was waiting up for him, and I bombed down ahead knowing they'd catch me farther down. The trip down the steep, rugged Shadow required the usual full concentration to avoid severe bodily harm.

As predicted, shortly after Fern I joined up with JP and brownie again, and we ran it in together. In all my time here, I'd never been on that little connector from North Shanahan to Fern.

The stats

Total mileage was 15.63, total time 4:49, and elevation gain/loss 5,392 feet.

With four peaks, that's a tough 15 miles. I'm glad it wasn't a full marathon, this was enough.

A lot of this route was fast-hiking, I passed people on the slippery downhills, and I ran the rest pretty steadily, so I'm not sure how I ended up towards the back. Ah well. Others weren't pleased but I was pretty happy. There's definitely something to be said for having someone both ahead and behind you on a trail. You try to keep up.

Peoples' mileage was all over the map, so to speak. I saw Wyatt on his way out and he logged 18-something! I don't know how much of it was due to device differences and how much was the route they took. Even the same model GPS can show 10-20% differences.

Gear and stuff

Clothing was Cascadias, spikes, shorts, a tech short sleeve, a TNF Impulse, gloves, baseball-style cap and the super-light Marmot Ion for the wind. On the summits it was barely enough. On Bear I felt my warmth slipping away and my fingers were going numb but I brought a pack of hand warmers and that fixed it, along with getting out of the wind on the descent.

Except for short runs at home, I don't have a lot of cold-weather trail experience, so I was a bit anxious about getting an hour out in the park and then freezing, but that didn't happen. I'm getting so I can dial in "winter" clothing better than before.

Drank 3 1/2 bottles, had 3-ish S-caps and ate some jerky. A bit thin for almost 5 hours, but because of the cool temps it worked.

Food and shelter

JP, JT and I got back just as Krissy, Scott and Geoff ran up the street with a goodbye wave, and I changed into dry clothes and we grabbed some chow and recovery beverages. Thanks to Jack for hosting (2 blocks from the hills, what a location!) and everyone who brought food and drink. Jay brought a crude-oil-dark stout from The Sun which was awesome. Looking forward to Stout Month (February).

I'm not a great mingler, but it was good to chat with a few folks, and Nick Pedatella convinced me I need to try the Brooks Trailblade, which is a softer, lighter version of the Cascadia, which I don't like as much this year (except for snow traction, which is better). He also confirmed my impression that they're not great on wet rock.

Speaking of not mingling, someone offered that mountain ultras (not that this was an ultra, or that I run ultras) are for people who like to be alone. lol. For me there's a bit of truth in that. Although this year I decided to make an effort at getting together for group outings, and I had moderate success at doing so. Ten group runs in a year is a veritable whirlwind of social running for me.

At the same time, being a blogger or following blogs allows you to get to know people beforehand. And I have to say the Front Range running/blogging community is a great bunch.

Chilling out

I wasn't done punishing my feet, so I walked off the brews with a loop of McClintock Trail, enjoying the now-sunny fall day.

Then I did a lap of the pedestrian Mall and saw an interesting Asian art gallery where Tesla used to be. There's a really cool photo of women washing up and braiding their hair by Rui Yuan. Here is his web site with more images; I think his work is absolutely amazing. This subject may not seem fascinating, but the way it was shot and the expressions are really interesting. It gets you thinking about how people live and cope impressively in parts of the world where life is considerably harder than it is here. The gallery is worth a visit if you're down there.


  1. Sounds like a stellar day - hanging out with the trail running Illuminati, then strolling through the Republic. Glad you were able to run and have a sweet day on snowy trails!

    Not usually into "altered" photography, but those are some really catchy prints in his gallery. Definitely well done.

  2. Good times out there, thanks for the tour!

  3. Rob - Thanks. And you reminded me I intended to link to your video. I need to get a bit better at motion stuff, but I probably spend enough time on 2D.

    HappyTrails - Definitely a fine day. Nice little gathering.

    The Rui Yuan photography is definitely post-processed but in my mind like all techniques, it's all in the execution. I mess with the exposure and shadow detail on almost everything I shoot, so it amounts to the same thing...

    brownie - Definitely, glad we could share the trails. That's some pretty sweet terrain. I will do that one again.

  4. Jeff -
    It was good to meet you out there on Saturday. I've loved reading your blog for a while and now I can say that I have met the man. Glad you made it up to Boulder for the fun times.
    - Scott

  5. Good to meet you. That was a super fun day even if I felt lousy from about halfway up Flagstaff. The route thing was super confusing. The map showed Greenman (which I took) but the written directions said "Ranger to Green Mtn. Summit" which is somewhat ambiguous but would seem to imply taking Ranger the whole way. Then I totally missed the Fern loop. At the base of Shadow Geoff said "So, we just take the Mesa back?" and we all concurred. Apparently none of us bothered to read the map. And glad you liked the stout. Almost no one drank any. I'm starting to think growlers at parties aren't the great idea they seem to me. Anywho, hope to see you again on the trails. Happy Running


  6. Scott - Thanks, glad to meet you in person finally. Definitely a great outing and hopefully the first of many. I got on the BTR list so at least I'll know if something comes up.

    Jay - Same here, good to meet you. As far as I'm concerned trail running and microbrew are made for each other :) Especially since every mountain town now seems to have its own brewery.