Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trail Option 2.0

New for 2014, Trail Option is moving to a new website! We hope you'll follow us there. It is our goal to inspire and motivate trail runners of all levels and distances by providing information on daily training routines, local races, and ultra events. The information comes from things we do, with occasional help from coaches and trail running friends. We will also be expanding to provide northern Nevada ultra and trail running news, some gear reviews, and trail information. Keep coming back, and keep going...

The Trail Option website is up and running. Check it out...  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Running out of the cold...

Week Summary 12/15/2013

Ruhenstroth Loop: 9.1 mi (+651 ft); 10:09 pace
Carson River Flats: 7.3 mi (+48 ft); 10:09 pace
Ash Canyon Loop: 7.3 mi (+1,023 ft); 12:08 pace
Run with Rudolph 7M: 7.3 mi (+1,044 ft); 9:40 pace
East Valley Ramble: 22.3 mi (+1,121 ft); 11:05 pace

Weekly Totals: 52.9 mi (+3,887 ft); 9:28:06 on trail

I managed a good steady week of Base training in generally bone-crushing low temperatures. I think we are stuck in this for a while, but the mid-day sun is making things doable. Surprising, for no reason, that there is so little snowcover here at Solsticeshire and on the Ruhenstroth trails, but so much more in Eagle Valley around Carson City.

The difference in snowcover became very clear on Thursday afternoon as I previewed the Rudolph 7M course. Right from the car I was crunching through a trail of snow at that aggravating depth that just fills the tops of your shoes. It only increased as I entered Ash Canyon. I figured Saturday's race wouldn't use the creekside single-track, but because it's more interesting than the canyon's fireroad I chose it, only to find one other set of tracks and was soon post-holing calf-deep. Even the switchbacks of the upper Evidence trail required some shallow post-holing. I knew Saturday's race might be interesting.

Desna and I bundled up for the Ascent Winter Trail Series' Run with Rudolph 7M trail (er, snow) run early Saturday morning. A good group of brave runners huddled in the parking lot of Western Nevada College to hear Kevin's startline instructions. "The trail markings are painted in white."  Funny guy. It's a casual affair with a bit of competition, but mostly a challenge to navigate the Ash Canyon trails in conditions rather unsuitable for "racing". But it was a blast. I felt pretty comfortable with a good pace on the 1,000-foot climb and pretty fast on the squirrely downhill. Guided by an icy cross-country ski track (I remembered it from Thursday), the descent simply begged you to turn an ankle or trip into a fall as your feet struggled between the ice of the track and the powder of the snow. The track felt fast until you broke through or stumbled where someone upfront had done the same. I was surprised I pulled away from a couple followers, probably only because I had "practiced" the descent a couple days previously and knew it would end soon enough. I great winter tune-up and motivator. 7th place in 1:10:02.

I warned Desna away from the 7M because navigating the snow seemed a bit cruel for her first event in her forward-looking trail training. She ran and power-hiked the 3M in good form and it was fun to compare our snow-day afterwards.

Out for a Long Base day on Sunday. Toured a series of excellent two-track dirt roads through the foothills of the Pine Nuts, working my way to our friend Marta's house at the Carson River. Almost perfect day, upper 40s (finally!) and excellent sunshine. Basically no snow on that side of the valley except in a few drifts and steep northern slopes. The run allowed me to break a 50-mile week again. I hadn't done that since Leadville. Feels really good, if the weather cooperates there's more ahead.

Seven miles in, looking back toward Ruhenstroth

Foothills below Sunrise Pass

Route potential!

Dropping into Carson River at 15 miles


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Season's Blend...

Week Summary 12/8/2013

Deadmans - Scripps Loop: 7.8 mi (+1,455 ft); 11:15 pace
Carson River Flats: 6.0 mi (+31 ft); 9:48 pace
Goni Hill Repeats: 6.7 mi (+1,121 ft); 11:05 pace
Ruhenstroth No. 5: 6.6 mi (+596 ft); 10:35 pace
Lower Pine Nut Loop: 14.6 mi (+1,079 ft); 11:31 pace

Weekly Totals: 41.8 mi (+4,282 ft); 7:39:35 on trail

The blurring of the seasons is upon us - a winter deep-freeze in the last weeks of fall, Darren, Desna, and I are ramping up and signing up for 2014, and Dennis and Mary capped an amazing 2013 "50/70" season with gold.

First, hearty congrats to Mom and Dad. Thirteen races - one ultra, five marathons, a few "halfs", and some miscellaneous distances where they racked up the miles, the podium hardware, and, the best part, immeasurable success. Anywhere between Moab and Grand Junction, the race directors recognize the senior elites when they show up. They took home age-group gold in Moab this weekend. We are all chasing and being led by these two, keep going!

Cold over Ruhenstroth
Second, and way less news-worthy, the Nevada Trail Option team ran in the snow this week. I looped through the Deadmans - Scripps area in exhilarating white-out during winter storm Cleon (thanks Weather Channel) and ended the miles-abbreviated week in the deep chill of Dion, the winter storm that stole my long day. Although I missed the long day, I was rewarded with the discovery of a quality Ruhenstroth loop which is likely to become my go-to hour. This particular outing had a couple highlights. In crackly, perfect running snow (you know it when you're in it) I climbed the rolling hills into windless, alpenglow sunset. If it wasn't getting dark so fast, I might have gotten that long run in motivated only by the beauty of being out there. And then, wait, those are a Hoka tracks! Des was out here somewhere on a late loop of her own. Later, the topic of debate was who saw the better sunset.

Making tracks on Pine Nut Road
Sunday was a bone-chilling but sunny day, so I set out on a bit of a make-up for the missed long run and trounced through the snow for 14.6 miles in almost three hours. I made it to the valley below Mount Siegel but ran into some fence issues coming down Pine Nut Creek, seems I was already on the wrong side of the fence, I had to climb over to read the No Trespassing notice. Odd that I could get there without any clues otherwise. Such a good loop, I'll have to research a detour where I don't have to hop fences, backwards or not. It was 16° when I made the house just as the sun set behind Jobs Peak. It was a long one after all.

Toward Mount Siegel
Locked gates ahead, but good snow now.
Speaking of Hoka tracks, Darren shared the trail of a big cat up on Jumbo Grade. He'd ventured out into the deep snow of Washoe Valley Saturday morning until he found he might soon have a workout partner - a little extra motivation for the descent.

Signed up for the +TRT 100 lottery and registered for the Ascent Runs Winter Trail Series for some good times with Kevin and the great trail runners from the area. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

More like it...

Week Summary 12/1/2013

Eagle Ridge
C-Hill South Loop: 5.7 mi (+1,040 ft); 11:44 pace
Deadmans - Scripps Loop: 7.8 mi (+1,408 ft); 11:23 pace
Ruhenstroth No. 3: 5.2 mi (+578 ft); 11:30 pace
Genoa - Eagle Ridge Loops: 14.9 mi (+2,594 ft); 11:59 pace
Ruhenstroth No. 4: 5.7 mi (+437 ft); 10:55 pace

Weekly Totals: 39.3 mi (+6,036 ft); 7:35:31 on trail
November Totals: 104.7 mi (+9,643 ft); 19:09:16 on trail

Yes, finally. Feels great to be back into it. Still easing up in the mileage, but this was a good, albeit slow, trail running. Thanks for that! And maybe the last of the warm weather for a while, so even better to take advantage of it.

The C-Hill south trails remain in great shape, really like the "new" single-track on the south side but still haven't found its start point. On Wednesday, after starting on Goni Road I met Darren on the Deadmans trail and we cruised slowly up Scripps and back down Goni. He had taken the day off, I was still on my mid-work trail time. Great to hit the trail with Darren.

Skipped Thanksgiving Day and burned it off on Friday on the trails south of the house -- such a nice and easy escape, right out the front gate.

Carson Valley from Genoa Trails
Saturday's Long run had me looking for a little elevation gain, with a goal of 3,000 feet over about 3.5 hours. With that in mind I headed to the Genoa Trails, now straight across the Carson Valley from the house. Perfect day on a wonderful single-track with a few stretches of road through the town of Genoa. The trail map made it look a little more elevation gain than I'd planned, adding the Genoa Trail and the Eagle Ridge Trail loops I should get about 4,200, so I'd cut back on the time. I headed out for a great figure eight. It's excellent trail and the distance and time was about what I expected. But to my surprise, the Garmin calculated just shy of 2,600 for both loops. On the map the 8.2-mile Genoa Loop is listed at 2,550 feet gain -- the Garmin mileage was spot-on, but, wow, that's some difference in gain. Oh well, it is a fantastic trail and I'll be hitting it a lot. Wrapped up the week with a Ruhenstroth jog to creep near 40 miles for the week.

Ruhenstroth Single-track above Solsticeshire
Des has joined the trail running adventure to get physically and mentally prepared for some equine events. She's even got us signed up for the Monument Valley 50K in March. And Footfeathers has set her up a training schedule to get her prepped. She jumped right into it Saturday by working the first miles of the Eagle Ridge trail. Probably a little stout until she gets some legs back under her, but she enjoyed the return to running. She even brought home some bloody hands after taking a fall in some talus on just above the trailhead. Then she jumped on Strider for a few miles. Now that's a Saturday.

Dennis and Mary took age-group honors at the Grand Junction Turkey Trot on the streets of Grand Junction. Their huge season will be wrap up next week at the Winter Sun 10K.

It's hard to believe that it's lottery and registration time for next season. The Trail Option calendar is filling nicely. I'm committed to three 100s next year: Zion, TRT, and The Bear; I've signed up for Zion and Bear, the TRT lottery/registration is next week.