Tuesday, July 16, 2013

High in the Whites

Rock-scape of White Mountain Peak
Week Summary 7/14/2013

Ophir OB (Walk): 4.0 mi (+399 ft); 15:34 pace
Yellow Jacket (Hills): 5.8 mi (+1,115 ft); 11:03 pace
North Loop: 3.8 mi (+359); 10:21 pace
Occidental Hills: 6.2 mi (+798 ft); 10:19 pace

Geiger Summit OB: 10.4 mi (+1,381 ft); 10:58 pace
White Mtn 14,252: 15.0 mi (+3,365 ft); 13:31 pace

Weekly Totals: 45.2 mi (+7,416 ft); 9:06:02 on trail

I started the week among the echoes of the descent from Freel Peak – my quads reverberating with each step. Here’s to hoping it’s good seasoning for the tasks at hand, Grand Mesa and, of course, Leadville. I tried to break through a bit with an hour of brisk walking on Monday. Efficient walking and the transition from running to power-hiking are critical weaknesses that I’ve simply suffered through in my previous 100s. Still, even in a little Monday walk, I feel clumsy in the transitions, going too fast or too slow and only occasionally hitting a groove. This is something I will focus on over the coming weeks.

On Tuesday I pushed some hill repeats on the switchbacks of the Yellow Jacket Mine at Gold Hill. They actually felt pretty darn fast with the legs responding pretty nicely for early in the week, only a few days after the Freel Peak tour. Tephra hates the up-and-down intervals, probably thinks I’ve gone nuts and wonders why I bark at her for constantly chasing squirrels. Doing 10, one-minute all-out intervals ain’t much different.

Simple morning runs the rest of the week, really getting in the groove of the early mornings. Dad and Mom went for a practice run on the upper loop of Crags Crest at Grand Mesa. They were pretty disappointed with the outcome, mostly due to the technical trail conditions. It is a big step up for them and the rock-strewn, exposed trail must be intimidating. They are concerned about the cut-off times but are determined to push it and do their best to get through. They missed the cut-off during practice by a bit over an hour, but Footfeathers and I are sure if they stay focused, race-day will be very different.

Camp at Grandview
I write this in pinyon-juniper of Grandview Campground at 8,400 feet in the White Mountains. After a morning run at Virginia City, Darren and I hit the road for a go at White Mountain Peak via the dirt road to the research station. It’s a perfect evening in camp and I’m looking forward to getting some time at high elevation as we make for the summit at 14,252 feet...  tomorrow...

What a great morning! Sure, we could have backed off the road a little bit, instead of driving all the way to the gate below Barcroft, but the test was the altitude. We left camp just after dawn and took our time driving to the gate, and it takes some time. The trail isn't really a challenge, you're basically on a two-track road all the way to the summit of White Mountain Peak. Not too surprising to see several cars at the trailhead gate given that is probably the easiest 14er in California -- it's the third highest point in the state. We worked our way to the summit feeling pretty good. I pushed where I could and tried to the keep the hikes steady. I averaged a bit better than 16 min/mile on the climb to the peak. Picked up the pace on the descent, of course.

The Gate

Darren on the way up
We passed several hikers and met couple others on top. No wind, clear skies. Perfect. The descent was easy -- actually took us longer to drive back to the highway below the bristlecones than it did to get back to the truck at the gate. The trip home left us stiff, Highway 395 can hurt worse than any run.

Summit and Beyond
Great to spend a night on the mountain with Darren and happy to be feeling good at altitude. I'm hoping to stay high for the next few weekends.
The register, as always...

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