Never Summer training week twenty-one recap

Week twenty-one is done. The Never Summer 100k starts in twenty days. I'm reducing my training volume gradually in the last four weeks of my training program. Here are my running and hiking numbers from last week.

  • 19 hours, 12 minutes

  • 62 miles

  • 12,054 feet D+

Monday through Thursday I was backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park with Ruth, Arabelle, and Bea. A heavy pack and family-friendly pace explains the relatively long time I spent on trails this week. We used two days to pack in to Lawn Lake and slept two nights at one of the three backcountry sites near the lake. Wednesday I left camp before breakfast to run up to a pass called "the Saddle" and hike from there to the summit of Fairchild Mountain (13,502 ft). Camping at 11,000 feet helped make this a quick trip.

Fairchild Mountain is named for Lucius Fairchild, U.S. Army general and Governor of Wisconsin from 1866-1872. According to Wikipedia, Fairchild believed Reconstruction of the South ended too soon and that Southern veterans shouldn't get back their captured battle flags. Imagine his surprise and anger if he could see the Confederate flag still flying in the United States today.

Below the saddle

Fairchild Mountain is not a complicated or difficult hike, but the route from the saddle is unmarked and variable. There are a few isolated cairns, but no clear network of them. You can scramble directly to the top over couch to car-sized rocks or follow less technical but more winding paths. I did a bit of each. At the top there is a crude windbreak made of stacked chunks of granite and a plastic bottle with a few notes.

Southwest to Ypsilon Mountain (13,520 ft), Gore Range in the far background

Looking to the west and northwest you can see the Never Summer and Rawah mountain ranges that Never Summer 100k participants will be traversing. Those peaks are nowhere near Fairchild's elevation; the highest point of the race is 11,852 feet on North Diamond Peak in the Rawah range.

Never Summer Range, Rawah Range on the right, and the Park Range in the distance

It is windy on top and with only a light thermal layer and a ripstop nylon jacket fifteen minutes may be all you can linger on the summit before you are chilled. The descent faces neighboring Hagues Peak, a more formidable mountain.

Northeast to Hagues Peak (13,560 ft)

Fairchild Mountain is remote, a twenty-mile round trip from the Lawn Lake trailhead. I was the only person to reach the summit on July 1.

Saturday I ran twenty-three miles at Lory and Horsetooth, the twenty-five mile Quad Rock route minus a few miles because I ran out of water in the heat. Today I ran twelve miles at Pineridge and Maxwell in warm conditions, again. These were my last back-to-back long training runs.

Never Summer training week twenty recap

This week I did no running workouts and no very long runs. Just five days of easy short to medium length runs on trails within a few minutes of home, a yoga session, and a session of weight training intense enough to leave me sore all weekend long. The numbers are modest.

  • 6 hours, 1 minute running

  • 34.4. miles

  • 1827 feet D+

Next week I will be backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park with Ruth and our kids. If I'm lucky, I'll get to summit a few of the Mummy Range's 13,000 foot peaks.

Never Summer training week nineteen recap

What a week. I ran and I ran some more. I carried a very heavy pack to the top of Lory State Park, camped with my family at a beautiful "backcountry" site overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir and Fort Collins, and then I ran from there. I ran after we got home, and then I got up early to run again today. Here are the numbers.

  • 19 hours, 11 minutes

  • 83.2 miles

  • 15,925 feet D+

In my week sixteen recap I set my goals for 220 miles and 36,000 feet D+ in weeks 17-19. I realized 231 miles and 44,347 feet of climbing. If my season ended here for some reason, I'd still feel satisfied. It's been a lot of work and a lot of fun getting here. I've never identified as a runner until a couple years ago and so I'm still rather geeked about having run 80 miles in a week for the first time.

This morning I got up before dawn to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park for more alpine running. From the Bear Lake trailhead I ran and hiked up to Granite Pass (12,080 feet), and then circled back via Storm Pass (10,257 feet) and the Glacier Creek Trail. I avoided bad weather, my legs and feet felt great, all in all a perfect day on the trail.

Just above treeline, going up, 8:30 a.m.

I'm liking Rocky's new timed entrance reservation policy. The park is less crowded and feels less crowded. The Bear Lake trailhead parking lot was less than half full when I arrived at 6:30 a.m. On my way up to Granite Pass, I saw one person. On my way down from Storm Pass, I went an hour without seeing any other humans. The few other people on the trail thought this was pretty cool, too.

Battle Mountain in the foreground, Mummy Range in back

Solitude is nice, but I also like seeing people on the trail discovering things about the environment and themselves. A pair of college friends from sea level finding their limits on the tundra below Longs Peak. A family from Denver carefully leading their young kids to their highest elevation ever. A dad and his teen son talking about doing more hikes like this during the summer season. The week after next, I will be backpacking in Rocky (what we Coloradoans call Rocky Mountain National Park) with my family and having similar experiences.

Longs Peak from Granite Pass

Ruth and I hiked to the summit of Longs Peak by the Keyhole in August of 2002. That's the "easy" route. In June, you need an ice axe, crampons, and good timing. In August, you only need good timing.

Renaming St*pleton

The Rename St*pleton for All campaign has won.

Benjamin F. Stapleton was a Ku Klux Klan member and a 5-term mayor of Denver. This bit of Colorado history has been whitewashed for seventy years. I didn't know the story until I read this great blog series by Meg Dunn about the Colorado K.K.K..

Remember: de-honoring white supremacists isn't erasure of history as long as we continue to teach future generations that the K.K.K. once held considerable political power in the State of Colorado. And that it could happen again.

Parade in Denver, May 21, 1926 Denver Public Library Digital Collections, X-21543).

Never Summer training week eighteen recap

This was my biggest week of training ever. I aimed to surpass my efforts in week nineteen of my 2019 season and I did it.

  • 17 hours, 34 minutes

  • 77.3 miles

  • 15,279 feet D+

I ran on six days, including three long runs and one hill workout. My hamstring continues to feel fine at a slow pace. Saturday's long run was in hot weather, and I managed the heat well. Sunday's was at high elevation, up to 12,324 feet, and I handled that well, too.

The wildflower season at Horsetooth and Lory is evolving. The State Flower is in bloom, as is our showiest penstemon and the bright yellow and red blanketflower.

Colorado columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) in Lory State Park

Penstemon strictus (Rocky Mountain Penstemon) in Horsetooth Open Space

Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata) in Horsetooth Open Space

It's great to live close to Rocky Mountain National Park and have relatively easy access to high elevation trails. My family I drove to the shuttle lot on Bear Lake Road, masked up for the short bus ride to Glacier Gorge trailhead, and were on the trail soon after. I'm going to do this again soon, to run and to pick up the permit for our family backpacking trip at the end of the month.

Snowfield on Flattop Mountain

View north from Flattop, snowy Never Summer peaks in the distance

Big news this week is that the Never Summer 100k race is officially on. There will be rule changes and constraints to keep runners and volunteers safe: wave starts, no parties, reduced service at aid stations, masks required when not running or eating or drinking. If I'm healthy on July 25, I'll be on the starting line. For a few weeks I've been making plans for an alternative adventure in case Never Summer didn't happen, but I didn't think it would be feasible to run the entire course by myself due to the high elevation and remoteness. I'm pleased to be able to do it with support. Thank you, organizers, volunteers, and our State Forest hosts.

Never Summer training week seventeen recap

Shit is fucked up and bullshit, but I'm still running. Running restores me. Here are the numbers for week seventeen.

  • 16 hours, 5 minutes

  • 70.5 miles

  • 13,143 feet D+

That's my biggest week of climbing and running/hiking time since I started keeping track in 2015 and number three for mileage. Early in the week I was worried about my hamstring. I definitely tweaked it a little at the track on Tuesday. It was a mistake to try a speed workout this week and I'm going to do something else instead next week. Wednesday my injury didn't hold me back too much on the climb at Maxwell and I was able to go up and down Timber and Howard on Thursday. My hamstring is okay at 10 minutes per mile or slower, so I decided to keep my long running plans for the weekend: back-to-back runs of about 20 miles and 5000 feet of climbing.

Saturday I did Quad Rock climbs four (Timber), five (Mill Canyon), and six (Spring Creek) in light rain under cloudy skies. I got home before a rare derecho hit Fort Collins and the rest of the Front Range.

It doesn't get more green than this here

Today, Sunday, I drove to the Roosevelt National Forest's Dunraven Trailhead and in perfectly tranquil mountain weather ran up to Signal Mountain, Donner Pass, and back. My runs at Lory and Horsetooth top out at 7000 feet. This run started at 7800 feet and I ran 8 miles above 10,000 feet. The Never Summer 100k course that I'm training to complete has eleven of its first twenty miles above 10,000 feet and twenty-five miles above that elevation overall.

The Mummy Range up close

This was my first time on these trails. The 4.5 mile, 3000 foot climb on Bulwark Ridge Trail through dog-hair stands of lodgepole pine is less than special, but the Signal Mountain peaks offer neat views and the tundra is in great shape. I don't think many people come up here.

Phlox sibirica

The trail between Signal Mountain and Donner Pass (not that Donner Pass) is a little sketchy in places. Mature limber pine are everywhere. I had an odd accident ducking under a fallen one: the bill of my cap, pulled down low against the sun, hid a branch on the far side of the trunk and I knocked myself on my ass coming out from underneath.

Somebody got their motorcycle under this and I'm not sure how

The trail down from Donner Pass is much more runnable and attractive than the Bulwark Ridge Trail and there are many wildflowers along Miller Fork Creek, a tributary of the Big Thompson River.

Meadow on Donner Pass trail

Castilleja miniata, Giant Red Paintbrush

I'm going to try to get up into the high country again next weekend. Snow is leaving the mountains so quickly now, a higher peak or two might be possible.

Never Summer training week sixteen bis recap

Tuesday I injured my hamstring during a track workout and limped home. I went out for a trial run on Wednesday morning and had to quit early. I skipped running on Thursday and went for a bike ride instead. Friday I did another short easy run and made a mile before my hamstring complained. I was getting better but decided to scratch my long runs, call this week "recovery week 16 bis", and start over on Monday, June 1.

Today, Sunday, I hiked with my family up Lory State Park's Timber Trail to check out the backcountry camping sites. While they continued to Arthur's Rock trailhead, I ran back down Timber Trail to the car so I could drive around and pick them up. My hamstring felt much better, so I'm optimistic that I can get back on track next week.

Abert's Squirrel (Sciurus aberti)

Front Range beardtongue (Penstemon virens)

Britton's skullcap (Scutellaria brittonii)

Sidebells penstemon (Penstemon secundiflorus)

Never Summer training week sixteen recap

My rest week is over. It's only Saturday night, but I'm not running or working out in any way tomorrow, so I'm logging this early.

  • 3 hours, 42 minutes

  • 22.3 miles

  • 1562 feet D+

I spent about 12 fewer hours running and commuting this week than in week 15. I put them into work and sleep instead. I also made some nice meals for my family and finished some home and garden projects. Friday's run was my longest of the week at 95 minutes. Last week I had four longer runs than that. Today I went out for 4.5 miles and couldn't help speeding up a little. I'm feeling recovered and ready to go hard for the next three weeks. I'm aiming for more than 220 miles distance and 36,000 feet of climbing in weeks seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen.

Never Summer training week fifteen recap

I just finished week 15. Here are the numbers.

  • 13 hours, 21 minutes

  • 65.8 miles

  • 11,220 feet D+

I did a lot of hard running this week, all of it uphill. Tuesday I set some new PRs on the Maxwell climb. Thursday I did hard intervals on the Towers road, 4 x 6 minute, 3 x 2 minute, and 3 x 30 second, going as hard as I could sustain for the intervals. Some of these intervals overlapped with classic short and steep Strava segments and I enjoyed moving up within sight, if within reach, of the all-time leaderboard. Being more of a puncheur, I can't hang with elite climbers on long climbs, but I'm close on super steep terrain.

I'd planned to do a 25 mile run following the Quad Rock course on Friday but pushed it to Saturday for better weather. What do I bring for food on a 6 hour run? My current staple is nut butter (almond or peanut) and honey sandwiches. I make them up to be approximately 600 calories each, cut them in quarters, and stuff four quarters into a small plastic ziplock container. Less mess than a baggie, and in time the pieces absorb any honey that leaks out. I took one sandwich and two handfuls of gummy bears in my running vest, with an equal amount of each in a drop bag I left at the 18 mile point. I eat a quarter of a sandwich, or 150 calories, every 40 minutes. I would have to eat more on an all-day run, but I can tolerate a deficit for a few hours.

1200 calories

Arthur's Rock trailhead

Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from South Ridge trail

The mountain lions of Horsetooth would like you know that they are still here

25 miles and 5000 feet of climbing on tired legs was hard. I fed as soon as I got home, ate a huge helping of spaghetti with pesto sauce for dinner a few hours later, and was asleep in bed by 9 p.m.

This morning I went back to Lory for a shorter run on some of the same trails, but in the other direction, shuffled. I went light on gear, broke in my new version 4 Speedgoats, and my legs felt fine. We're entering peak wildflower season and I stopped to take photos of penstemon, geranium, and delphinium. The latter, also known as larkspur, grows in large patches near the bottom of Well Gulch.


Second-guessing the modern web

Second-guessing the modern web is a super interesting post. I've never used React to build a web app and am pretty ignorant about it. For example, I've never heard of "bundle splitting" before. It seems like something out of a parody of web development. I know I should be skeptical of something that confirms my biases like this, but Tom always has some good insight into the tech he's involved in.