Archive for March, 2015

Arches National Park – Moab, Utah

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

La Sal Mountains from Arches National Park
The La Sal Mountains from Arches National Park

Turret Arch
Turret Arch

Arch Support
Arch Support!

The day after running Behind The Rocks 50k, we needed to head back to Denver. Rather than rush back, we took our time hiking around Arches National Park. It felt great to walk around on the legs after the race. I could tell they were stiffening up; so it was a good idea.

Arches National Park is really a neat park. If interested in geology and/or indigenous culture, it will be worth your time to check it out. After about 1 hour of walking around, I was ready to get back in the car and take a nap! The day after my 50Ks, I just don’t have that much energy as my body is in recovery mode!

Trail Running – Behind the Rocks 50k, Moab, Utah

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

La Sal Mountains from Behind The Rocks Road
The Beautiful La Sal Mountains

Gearing Up and Ready to Run
Starting at oh-dark-thirty. Race Director let me start with the 50 Milers (at 6am)! Awesome guy, that Justin…

Approaching The Halfway Aid Station Spot
The Halfway Point, at Mile 16

Behind The Rocks 50K Finish Line
Crossing the Finish Line in 87 dF temps after 7 hours 13 minutes of running.

Behind The Rocks 50k Map
The 50k Map!

Behind The Rocks 50k Elevation Profile
Elevation Profile for 50k!

I was researching single track trail 50k races held in Utah during the month of March, and I found Behind The Rocks. Just south of Moab, in the high desert and set against the backdrop of the La Sal Mountains, the BTR run is a challenging yet beautiful race. It is an out and back, with some variation on the way back to keep it interesting. Just prior to the turnaround, at the halfway point, there are a series of ledges involving some 3rd class scrambling and a bit of exposure. FUN!

I contacted the race director to ask some questions; mainly to make sure the event was not on pavement and to find out the total amount of elevation gain. Justin responded to my questions promptly. He was really friendly and encouraging. He mentioned the course was a bit longer than a 50k (turns out it’s 32.5 miles), that it was definitely not on pavement, and it was ~3,800 ft of gain (turns out it’s ~4,100 ft of gain). In my experience running 50k trail races, the Race Directors are often not hung up on the specific distance or gain parameters and their main focus is running a safe and smooth event.


Trail Running – Behind the Rocks 50k (The Day Before!)

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Race Director Base Camp for Behind The Rocks
The Race Director’s Campsite, at the Finish Line!

Imagining Success at the Finish of Behind the Rocks
Imagining Success at the Finish Line!

Klondike Trails Mountain Biking
Dennis about to mountain bike the Klondike Trails

On Friday, I dropped Dennis off at the Klondike Trails, so he could do some mountain biking. While he was doing that, I got my stuff ready for race day. Then, I picked him up and we drove to the start of Behind the Rocks 50K, so we would know where to go for the 6am race start. Packet Pickup was really easy and I ran into Doug and his friend Craig. We arranged to meet for dinner (a second night at Pasta Jay’s). Then, it was time for bed!

Trail Running – Behind The Rocks 50K (Arrival Day!), Moab, UT

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Adobe Abode East Room
The East Room, Upstairs, at Adobe Abode

The View from our room at Adobe Abode
The View from the Balcony!

Back at the Hotel and Ready for a Refill
Me, post race, in front of Adobe Abode

On Thursday, Dennis and I drove to Moab, Utah. I was excited to run the Behind The Rocks 50K Trail Ultramarathon and he was excited to sample the famed mountain bike trails. The drive went really smoothly and we arrived in Moab mid-afternoon.


Mountaineering – Mt. Massive (14,428 ft) via East Ridge, Leadville, CO

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Charlie's Angels Summit Mt Massive
Charlie’s Angels on the Summit of Mt. Massive! It was so amazing to be on the summit with these accomplished ladies. What a fantastic day in the Sawatch Mountain Range!

On Saturday, Jane, Sanja, and I climbed to the summit of Mt. Massive via the East Ridge. It was my 2nd attempt on the mountain, having failed back in January due to high winds. With a stable, relatively calm forecast and a known trench, which was previously established to the East Ridge, the chances for success were excellent.

Mt Massive Summit Group Shot
Group Shot (From L-R: Sanja, Clare, Jane, Kevin, and Sarah). We met Kevin and Sarah on the way up to the summit and they were fun to hang out with once we caught up with them. Kevin and Sarah are both excellent mountaineers, in their own right, so there was a great camaraderie on the summit.

Clare and Sanja on Mt Massive
It’s Massive, Baby!

Mt Massive East Ridge Route
Our Route. Rather than going up a steep grade, on the north side of Pt 11,827, we followed a trench which wound it’s way gently around the south side. The route was much less strenuous, but it was 0.5 miles further distance wise, turning a 13 mile day into a 14 mile day. An additional benefit of going around the south side, was the presence of the sun which lightened our mood and made the hike that much more enjoyable.

05:45 am Leave Fish Hatchery
07:15 am Intersection of CO Trail and Highline Trail
09:00 am South of Pt. 11,827 at Treeline
09:30 am On the East Ridge Proper!
10:20 am At 12,500 ft on the ridge
11:00 am Passing through the notch at 13,200 ft
12:00 pm At 14,000 ft and done with scrambling.
12:30 pm Summit!
6:00 pm Back at the Fish Hatchery.

At the end of the day, Jane and Sanja got back to the car 30 minutes before me. A new pair of mountaineering boots were giving me agonizing pain, so the last 3 miles back were excruciating. Probably not a good idea on my part, to try breaking in a new pair of boots on a 14 mile hike, with 4,760 ft of elevation gain!

Mt Massive Winter Panorama
Even the view is Massive!