T minus fifteen hours

It's a little over 15 hours until the Quad Rock 50 mile race starts. David Bitner is going to be showing up here soon. I can't wait to see his reaction when he sees that there is snow on the course. The weather dried out today but it hasn't been very warm. There may still be some snow on the trail tomorrow morning.


The Quad Rock course goes to the top of the foothills on the right, multiple times.

GDAL 3.0.0

GDAL 3.0.0, the final fruit of the GDAL Coordinate System Barn Raising project, is out today. Mapbox, my employer, was a financial supporter of the work and I was the shepherd of that support. I'm very pleased at the results and grateful to Howard, Paul, Kristian, and Even for taking the risk. The value Mapbox gets for a small investment is enormous. Are you an engineer at a company that should be supporting GDAL like this and don't know where to start? I'm happy to share my experience.

Here is Even Rouault's release announcement: https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/gdal-dev/2019-May/050202.html. Please take note: 3.0.0 has some big and breaking changes. It is not supported by the latest stable releases of Fiona and Rasterio. If you have installed either of those libraries from source distributions, not wheels, and you upgrade your system GDAL to 3.0.0, your Python programs could be broken. If you've installed Fiona and Rasterio wheels, which include their own copy of GDAL 2.x, you're safe.

It's still snowing

Our first snow of the 2018-2019 season came on October 10, 2018. It's still snowing seven months later. Snow in May isn't unusual in Fort Collins, at 40.56 degrees north of the equator and 5000 feet above sea level. Still, our current snow season has been long. It started 8 days earlier and has gone 12 days later than the average.


Snow number 18

Tomorrow is forecast to be dry, which will let the Quad Rock trails drain, I hope. I expect Saturday, race day, to be sunny and mild with a small chance of showers at the end of the day.

Training week twenty-three recap

One week of tapering down and one more to go. I did 3 short runs, including a small interval workout, and one 10 mile run at the crack of dawn on Saturday with another Quad Rock runner.

  • 3 hours and 53 minutes running

  • 24 miles

  • 1713 feet D+

The race starts in 4.5 days. The weather forecast for Saturday is pretty good: cool and wet weather this week is giving way to sun on the weekend. I'm completely ready. I've run 1016 miles in 23 weeks. My legs are ready, my heart and lungs are ready, my brain is ready. My emotions are ready. It's been challenging and fun to get to this state of being ready. I'm happy with what I've done, no matter what happens on Saturday.

Training week twenty-two recap

The numbers:

  • 7 hours and 16 minutes running time

  • 40.3 miles

  • 5367 feet D+

Week twenty-two isn't quite over, but my training is. I'm not running tomorrow. I'm going to try to avoid thinking about running. Instead I'll do chores and shopping and gardening.

I did my last long run today at Bobcat Ridge: up the D.R. Trail – which was so pleasant that I ripped up my planned route – down Powerline Trail, up D.R. again, then up and out of Mahoney Park and down the Ginny Trail. The summit above Mahoney Park, at 7000' elevation, was covered with pasque flowers. Truly covered, a cluster of flowers every square meter.


Pulsatilla patens, the prairie crocus, or pasque flower.

I did my last speed workout on Tuesday and ran a particular segment (Strava segment, that is) of the Timber Trail at Pineridge in under 8 minutes (7:53) for the first time. I'm not faster, but now I can run mildy fast for longer intervals. I also had a very satisfying steady run on the hills at Coyote Ridge at lunch on Friday, new PRs on every stretch of the route, and didn't have any rattlesnake conflicts, always a plus.

Two weeks from now, to the minute, if everything goes well, I'll be 12 hours into the Quad Rock race and just a mile or two from the finish. Until then, I'm tapering: easy runs, banking sleep, avoiding germs.


The foothills are getting greener by the minute.

Training week twenty-one recap

Week twenty-one was a solid week of running.

  • 12:53 hours on my feet (#4 of 21 weeks)

  • 65.9 miles (#5 overall)

  • 9882 feet D+ (#2)

I ran my last 25 miler and my last back-to-back long runs before Quad Rock. Saturday I ran the second half of the course, climbs 4-6, with two runners who are a little faster than me. We completed the loop in 5:47, 33 minutes faster than I ran the Quad Rock 25 in 2018. I felt more soreness than usual this morning, but the feeling went away quickly on my out and back run on the single track east of Horsetooth Reservoir. I saw one rattlesnake and missed another that I was warned of by another runner. Not having to watch for snakes was one of the upsides of winter running.

Next week I'm going to run 20 fewer miles, with only one long run. I'm looking forward to a Sunday of sleeping in and gardening.


Longs Peak (14,269') from Horsetooth Open Space's Stout Trail

Last spring hill workout

Hello from week twenty-one of my Quad Rock training season. I'm taking a couple minutes at lunch to write about my last hill workout before the race. I drove to Arthur's Rock trailhead at Lory State Park this morning with the intent of warming up on the valley trail and doing a 1-3-5-7-5-3-1 interval pyramid on one of the Quad Rock climbs. On route, at the top of Bingham Hill, the little gap on the north end of Horsetooth Reservoir, I saw a flock of wild turkeys. Ten or more birds, possibly. I didn't see any turkeys on the trail, but heard some gobbling in the distance and saw many prints in the mud.

I'll be happy if I feel as good on race day as I felt this morning. I ran my intervals up the first Quad Rock climb, on Samwill, Loggers, Carey Springs, and Tower trails, with half-length recovery intervals at an easy pace, and destroyed my PR for the climb: 33:30 beat my April 6 run by over 6 minutes. I made it almost to the Towers, then cruised quickly (for me) down the Mill Creek trail and back to my car. I'm certainly not going to go at that pace in the race, but I'm very happy about my form. Maybe I should try to stay fit like this through the summer and be more ambitious at September's Black Squirrel.

Training week twenty recap

There's not much to report about week twenty. I did a little cross training, solo parenting, some yoga, got a massage, shoveled snow, got cabin fever.

  • 3 hours, 11 minutes running

  • 20.0 miles

  • 361 feet D+

In my week 19 recap I mentioned that I was near the top of the Gnar Runners Strava club leaderboard in three categories. At the end of week 19 I finished fourth in distance, first in running time, and third in climbing. I'm comically slow in comparison to the elite local runners.


I'm going to spend the rest of a mild afternoon gardening.

Mapbox Mapbox

I got a massage this morning, on Mapbox, my employer, which provides a quarterly wellness benefit as part of a good and growing benefits package. I could get reimbursed for sports equipment, a bike, or ski passes, but I like to use it on personal training and massage. It feels good to transfer tech startup money to small businesses. I paid via Square and noticed when submitting the receipt for reimbursement that there's a small Mapbox map and an "improve this map" link on it. I should have noticed this earlier.


Blurred because my massage therapist uses a home business address, sorry

It's fun to see Mapbox in the "real world". The company's sales team is kicking ass right now.

Sometimes it snows in April

I'm lucky that this is a recovery week and that I don't need to spend hours slogging in ankle deep wet snow.


While walking home from getting a massage this morning I saw a small flock of mountain bluebirds in Rolland Moore Park. Mountain bluebirds don't spend much time in Fort Collins, they're just passing through. I've been seeing them in the foothills for the past two weeks. Today, they wouldn't let me get close enough for a good photo, unlike the poor birds below on a much colder and snowier April 17, 2013.