Sunday, December 19, 2010

El Chubbo Grande

I started the holiday break yesterday morning at 7:00 am running from the Clark driveway, with temperatures in the mid teens heading in to the park to run 31+ miles with a collection of runners from all over the front range.

It was an all around fabulous day on the trails on a course designed by Mr. October himself that covered pretty much all the trails in HT and Lory especially the really steep ones. There were 46 runners that started between 7:00 and 9:00 am and ran between 20 and 32 miles.

Mike Hintergerg came up from Denver and we ran together the whole day (7 hours 19 minutes) even though Mike could have easily run the course a couple hours faster. My Garmin battery died about 3 hours in and I lost track of hours, minutes and miles and just enjoyed the nice December weather, the beautiful views and good conversation with Mike about school, 2011 racing plans, family, blogging and whatever else came up. I made some decisions about long racing goals for next year namely the Black Hills 100K (can't pass up the opportunity for a PR) and the Leadville 100 mile. Mike and I both marveled at how 7+ hours (a full school day) and lots of tough miles could pass so quickly and enjoyably.

looking back at Horsetooth Rock from the top of Aurthur's Rock

Mike coming down to the bridge on the Howard Trail

Standing atop Authur's close to the halfway point of the course

I felt pretty good all day which I was pretty happy about since this was by far my longest run since Lean Horse in August with more vertical (7500 feet+) in 31 miles than Lean Horse had in 100. The effort level was more long training run than racing and I was fine with this. We cruised along and it was great to pass and be passed by other friends on the trail. Pete flew by us coming down the Timber Trail and went on to post the fastest 50K time of the day (5:44). We ran off and on with Blue Sky Marathon winner Jenn Malmberg who was just enjoying an easy day on the trails. We enjoyed a great aid station stop at mile 22 hosted by Chris with a welcome spread of cookies, pretzels, water and chocolate. Rob Erskine having started 45 minutes after us caught us here and we ran on and off with him to the finish.
The last climb from the valley up Sawmill, Carey Springs and Towers and the run across West Ridge was challenging and we saw several more runners from here on down Wathen and Spring Creek. I was glad to cross over the bridge below Horsetooth falls that marked the home stretch of the course. We met up with a jovial group of runners in the last mile that included Mary, Brian, Marie and Celeste.
Back at Nick's there was lots of good food and drink and many great tales of adventures on the trail. I couldn't ask for a better day.


  1. It was nice "catching" up with you guys, literally and figuratively. Enjoy the break. Hopefully you get some more time on the trail.

  2. Yup, we sure couldn't have asked for a better day out there. And I agree with Rob. "Catching" up with friends out on the trail was a lot of fun. So it's going to be Leadville? It's not my favorite but it's a course you can run well and there isn't any shortage of local support.

  3. Nice work Alex...good chatting with you after. It was a great day. I may be up for pacing you at Leadville so keep that in mind.

  4. Wish I could have been there! I'm totally jealous after hearing such great stories. Maybe next time.

  5. Rob: Yes, it was great running with you. You are looking very strong.

    Pete: Yea, I really debated on Leadville because of the not so positive reports from you and others, but the proximity to home and running community and time of year won out and it looks like I may have found a pacer . . .

    Kyle: That would be awesome if you could be there and pace me. What are your summer racing plans? Maybe you should sign up and we can run the whole 100 together.

    Ean: We can go run it this weekend :)

  6. Alex, thanks for the great company, and for being both a great navigator and photographer! Thanks for the kinds words, but I wasn't in any hurry to run it any faster -- wanted to get my money's worht. The time went by quickly, what a great day on the trails!