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Colorado Cruisin'

After a splendid three weeks in Flagstaff and several hundred miles of running (many of those with Brian Condon), Condon and I traveled northeast into Colorado for some more fun. I grabbed Matt Flaherty from the airport the night I arrived, and the next day, August 6th, Cassie Scallon, Matt, Brian, and I got started on what was to be a fun-filled two weeks (most of the runs below were run with these three). After the first two weeks in Colorado, I spent a week running solo miles before heading back to the Midwest.

Most every run that I did in Colorado would be worthy of a single write-up and blog post but, due to time constraints and the fact that I don't remember all the fine details (it's now almost mid-September as I'm writing this), I've only given brief details of the runs. The biggest highlights in August, unequivocally, were running the Grand Canyon, and circumnavigating the Maroon Bells on the Aspen Four Pass Loop. But, as I did in my last lengthy post on training, I'll simply post some breathtaking pictures instead of attempting to recreate each journey in words. Enjoy:

First four days of August: 52 miles, at least 6,400' ascent:

09/01 (Thurs): AM 14 miles, 1,800' ascent, Canyon Vista Trailhead to Elden Lookout Rd.
09/02 (Fri): PM 6 miles, :45, Flagstaff Urban Trail System.
09/03 (Sat): AM 20 miles, 4,600' ascent, Grand Canyon, AZ. All the pictures of this run can be found in my post about running the grand canyon.
09/04 (Sun): AM 12 miles, 1hr:24, track, roads, and bike paths, Flagstaff, AZ

1st full week of August: 101 miles, ~21,300' ascent:

09/05 (Mon): off
09/06 (Tues): AM 18 miles, 4,000' ascent, 4hrs, Mt. Audubon, CO
Struttin' their stuff.

Condo moving along.
A little backwards running.
Ominous clouds approaching as we near the top.
Cassie enjoying the ascent.

The four of us at the top.
A quick shot along the creek.
Relaxin' just before the finish.
 09/07 (Wed): AM 10 miles, 800' ascent, 1hr:11, Boulder Reservoir; PM 6+, 600' ascent, foothills, Boulder, CO.
 09/08 (Thurs): AM 11+ miles, 4,000', Green Mountain, Bear Peak; PM 9 miles, 2,200' ascent, Mag.

Summit of Green.

About halfway up.

And that's a snake...

...a good looking one too.

More fun at the top of Green.

Running towards Bear Peak.

More fun in the woods.

Atop Bear Peak.

A second, better shot.
09/09 (Fri): AM 7 miles, 1,900' ascent, Mt. Sanitas, Trent Briney showed us around.
09/10 (Sat): AM 12 miles, out-and-back with easy miles along the Creek Path and into Breckenridge.
09/11 (Sun): AM/PM 27 miles, ~7,800' ascent, 7hrs:08, Maroon Bells, Aspen Four Pass Loop. The views here were exceptional!
The Maroon Bells.

A view from the start.

Ready to go.

A final shot before starting.

Some view.

At the top of the 1st pass.

At the top of the 2nd pass.

The descents were always welcoming.

Beautiful single track.

Possibly the best photo of the trip.

The lake looked tempting.

At the top of the 3rd pass?

A quick three pictures of Kerrie and Matt.

Hangin' by the lake.

Ready for another descent.

River crossing!


As Flaherty put it: "No words."

Charging up the 4th pass.

This taken near the top of the 3rd pass. It was steep.

A view off the back of the 3rd pass.

And more.

Taking in the sights...
...and getting some shut eye.

Probably joking around; definitely tired.

Myself, wading across.

Brian capturing the group as I was capturing Matt's "blue steel" face.

Pre-27 miles.

2nd full week of August: 84.5 miles, at least 6,000' ascent:

09/12 (Mon): PM 9 miles, Turquoise Lake, Leadville, CO, with a sizable crew including Matt, Brian, Cassie, Jackie Palmer, Mike Ambrose.
09/13 (Tues): PM 11+ miles, 1hr:37, Ski Hill Rd. to Peaks Trail to Frisco with Matt and Brian.
Along the Peaks Trail with Brian and Matt.

A nice view of (cloud covered) peaks.

Some fine trail running.
09/14 (Wes): PM 12 miles, Peak 9 & 10 summit (after being driven up 300 vertical feet below the Peak 10 summit), descent through Breckenridge and back to the house, with Matt and Brian.
09/15 (Thurs): AM 8 miles, 1hr:04, Flume Trails with Matt, Breckenridge, CO; PM 4+ miles, around Boulder, CO with Matt and Cassie.
09/16 (Fri): AM 8 miles, 1,100' ascent, some Ranch outside of Boulder with Cassie and Matt.
09/17 (Sat) - 09/18 (Sun): PM/AM 32 miles, 2,900' ascent, 8hrs, pacing fellow RaceReady athlete Terry Sentinella at the Leadville Trail 100. One hell of a great experience. Congrats to Terry on now having finished the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning!

3rd full week of August: 84 miles, at least 8,200' ascent:

09/19 (Mon): PM 12 miles, 1hr:24, South Boulder Creek Trail, solo.
09/20 (Tues): AM/PM 11+ miles, 4,000' ascent, 2hrs:35, Green-Bear double summit, solo, Boulder, CO.
09/21 (Wed): PM 6 miles, :55, 1,400' ascent, Colorado Trail, solo, Breckenridge, CO; PM 4 miles, :30, bike path in Breckenridge, solo.
09/22 (Thurs): off
09/23 (Fri): AM 15 miles, 2,000' ascent, 2hrs:11, solo, Breckenridge, Peak 8; PM 8 miles, Boulder bike paths, solo.
09/24 (Sat): AM/PM 18 miles, 800' ascent, Boulder Reservoir, solo.; PM 5 miles, Boulder bike paths, solo.
09/25 (Sun): PM 5 miles, :45, Columbia, MO. A few easy miles with my friend Alex Kriegshauser on the way back to Illinois for a final week of work on the lake.

Since Colorado, it's been easy going as I'm resting myself up for the TNFEC-Wisconsin 50 mile race. Soon after that race, I'll be back to higher intensity training for 4-5 weeks before the final races of the season approach in late October and November.

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