Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week Summary (May 15)

   Gold Hill Office Loop: 3.3 miles (+439); 9:32 pace
   Chocolate Factory OB Plus: 8.2 miles (+732 ft gain); 10:30 pace
   Ophir Loop Plus: 7.2 miles (+1,018 ft gain); 10:32 pace
   Emma Quarry OB: 5.8 miles (+526 ft gain); 9.33 pace
   Granite Peak, East Range NG: 4.0 miles (+1,125 ft gain); 14:08 pace

Week Total: 28.5 miles (+3,840 ft gain); 5:05:12 on the trail

Another good week on the trails in the crazy weather of northern Nevada. I'm beginning to feel the foundation I'm building and it seems to get stronger with each outing. I added extra 'plus' segments to daily trails bringing in a few more miles each time. I can measure my growth by noticing that the added miles have come with improvement in overall pace. That's a nice surprise, and a great motivator. It's also reached a point that I feel off if I miss a day in my trail schedule. Unlike the other physical improvements, this mental change is unexpected. Maybe that realization is what makes one a runner.

I added a northern hill loop to the Chocolate Factory OB upping the elevation gain and increasing the training by about two miles. It was nice to get a new view of the southern end of Gold Canyon. I also augmented the Ophir Loop by continuing on to the summit of the grade overlooking Washoe Valley and Jumbo Grade. Not a big elevation change but completing the grade adds about two miles. I ran into about a dozen members of a hiking group slowly working their way down Ophir; nice hats and walking sticks smiling in the noon-time sun. Kept a nice pace on both augmented routes.

Prepping for a hill climb planned for Sunday and jonesing for a little trail-time after yard work, I hit the Emma Quarry trail. For the first time I felt bad getting going even after really wanting to get going. I believe it had to do with eating lunch not thinking about running a couple hours later; my peanut butter sandwich and chips,the lunch of Ultra athletes worldwide, just seemed to haunt me. But I've grown to enjoy seeing what the body does with a little pain, and I've started listening to the occasional muscle or tendon group whine about a certain number of miles so I paid attention to the comings and goings of a plain-old stomach ache. I want to know the pattern of aches and pains for the longer miles to come. I ended with my best pace, by almost half a minute, on the Quarry trail.  So that's what attention to things brings. I'll keep going.

Storms coming.  I'm up Sunday early to meet Darren in Fernley for a summit/trail quest in the East Range of Pershing County.  Granite Peak, a relatively simple highpoint of 8,419 feet give or take, is supported by a set of juniper- and pinyon-covered ridges with moderate slopes. This little hill has turned me back before as it seems to grab the winter precipitation that re-gathers after being drained by the Sierra. My schedule of peak-grabbing in the East Range has coincided with anomalously low-pressure, cold Spring storms, and today was no exception. We ditched Darren's car in Fernley and headed to Coal Canyon Road and Buena Vista Valley in an eastwardly increasing rain. The east side of Buena Vista, rising to McKinney Pass, was lost in low clouds and we were soon scudding along the boundary between cloud and rain. Rain turned to snow as we parked at the pass, a nice trail heading into the clouds would lead us up and to the north. We toyed with our layers, searching for the right combination in the suggestive chill and continued moisture. Then we're off.
Darren and DCraig on the Granite Peak Trail

What was once a wet, though well-packed, trail was soon covered in an inch or so of snow. We had timed it perfectly poorly.  Snowline had dropped through us as we had started.  The wood-cutters trail was steeper than a typical running route, but we were after a little elevation and a summit success.  Traction on the trail was not a problem; the trail's location on a south-to-north ridge, however, was seriously exposed to the freshening wind.  Freshening became a feverish wind as we reached about two miles and 1,100 feet of elevation gain. We huddled in the lee of a juniper tree and thought better of our endeavor. I've turned back from this hill before and it's still here, I can do it again.  We turned head-on into the brunt of the wind-driven pellet-snow, and could only laugh at the intensity required for a once simple two miles of downhill back to the pass. Footing was fine, but winds breaking the ridge lifted at our shells and buffeted every step. The sleet began to coat our windward bodies, thickening as the temperatures dropped and winds increased. An occasional juniper or pinyon provided a respite and we could only laugh as we looked ahead and then sigh as we returned to the fray of our descent. My face still stings by the slap of sleet, silly. The truck was a welcome place to strip from our wet covers and turn on the defrost for our trip home. We'll return someday soon to see where the trails and ridges actually lead, and I'll pay better attention to the forecast. As if that really matters at Granite Peak. IWWD.


  1. I am a tad jealous of the adventure, but I got my run in on Sat morning rather than Sunday. My friend Liz( a couple of weeks ago she ran a marathon in 3.5 hrs!) and I had checked the forecast and in that I am a runner but much happier out of the cold wind and precipitation, I convinced her to move our Sunday run to Sat. It was a good one out Mexican Dam way along the Carson river and then toward Snyder. By the time she met me at the parking lot, she had already run for an hour and a half...We were surprise d at the crowd there as it seemed we scheduled our run at the same time as a 30-person women's training group! So we shoved out a head of them, but on the way back we were weaving and dodging them to get by on the trail. Lily did wonderfully on the leash, and I do look forward to the time that we can "free"-run.

  2. It was a great adventure! We will go back and get that peak and maybe just keep running.