Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bridge-Jenny Loop, Zion NP

This past weekend Bethany, Ada, and I traveled down to Zion NP to meet up with Jared and Mindy Campbell and Ryan and Julie McDermott and their two children.  Viral infections be damned, Jared, Ryan and myself went out for a great 8 hour backcountry traverse to Bridge Mountain, Marble Ridge, and the Jenny Peaks.  I imagine there are few people on the planet who know this terrain better than these two guys (see Zironman) and it was pretty cool to get a chance to see parts of the park that very few folks ever get to.  We headed out around 9am, leaving just east of the tunnel and made our way through mixed terrain of shin deep snow, ice, sandstone, and brush.  The pace was steady which belied Jared's increasingly labored and shallow breathing and evident malaise.  I politely declined to follow these guys up and then back down Bridge Mtn out of both abject fear for my life as well as realistic appraisal of my limited climbing skills and instead explored around the tamer terrain around the sloping sandstone saddle between Bridge and G2.  We continued on, eventually traversing the sublime and rolling Marble Ridge which was punctuated at several points by bizarre scattered slabs of basalt: fractured alien-appearing remnants of what must have once been a full layer of volcanic rock over the sandstone.  Our final scrambling descent back to the tunnel was small potatoes for these guys but ended up being fairly gripping stuff for yours truly.  I did manage not to shit my pants, for which I'm thankful, but it was not a graceful sight to behold.

Ryan and Jared with Bridge Mtn in the background.
Ryan, taking in the surroundings.

Otherworldly slabs of basalt perched on sandstone

Traversing across Marble Ridge.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Being Social.

Another great couple of weeks of running / post-holing up steep snow covered slopes.  I've had a lot of social runs lately which has been a nice change of pace from my typical solitary and antisocial caveman ways.  Highlights include some good running with Jason Berry, Greg Norrander, Bryon Powell, Matt Vukin, Chris Helfer, Kerry Gaines, Jared Campbell, and Bethany.  Got in about 8 hours of running this past weekend with a vert session with Jared on Saturday, hitting both Mt. Olympus and Grandeur for over 7000 vertical and then a hard aerobic 23 miles with Bethany yesterday along a slushy and wet Bonneville trail.  I woke up this AM with my second of 2 colds in the last 3 weeks: a testament to starting Ada in disease-infested daycare and simply an additional level of resistance added to the training load.

School! Doggy!

Summit of Grandeur, right after doing Olympus which is in the background

A typical training day for Jared... 

Bethany on Bonneville trail, slushy conditions
Helfer on Mt. Wire

Bryon Powell and Chris Helfer at Round Valley

 Baby moose at Round Valley (mamma close-by)

Ascending west face of Grandeur.  

Looking towards Mt. Olympus off Grandeur.  
Black Mtn with new snowfall
Coming off Black Mtn, valley below

Greg Norrander and Jason Berry in the fog on Mt. VanCott.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Updates and TRT

Two big pieces of news over the past week: 1) I got into the Wasatch 100 and 2) I committed to a speed record attempt on the 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail in August.  Gary Gellin- the speedster who I met at the Bear 100 this past year- has been organizing an impressive team of ultrarunners to take on this challenge (everyone running as individuals) and was gracious enough to invite my sorry ass along.   The current record is 38:32 and is held by the phenom Kilian Jornet.  I must say, even mentioning this possibility feels like unrealistic hubris on my part (as far as my abilities alone are concerned.)  But what the hell...  I'm certainly not one to turn down such a potent opportunity to sublimate death anxiety.  I can only hope to be fit enough by that time so as not to embarrass myself too badly.

I've had a good run of healthy, solid training over the last month with over 80,000 vertical gain in January.  While little of this training has much likely bearing on my prospects at the mostly graded and nontechnical trails at the upcoming Antelope Island 50m it has certainly been enjoyable and hopefully is money in the bank for later season technical mountain races on the schedule.  The past week's highlights include a good threshold effort on Mt. Wire (29:10 to summit in slow, icy conditions), a hard aerobic 26 miler on Antelope Island and then 4 x 5 minute cruise intervals at the end of a 16 miler today- the latter two workouts with Helfer, the Manimal.  Nice to see a bunch of local SLC runners out on Antelope Sunday morning.

Remembering in the midst of this Einstein's caveat: 'not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.'  

Mill D

Mt. Wire, the old standby

Bonneville overlooking the city

I heart Mt. Wire.

Antelope Island, sunrise.

Helfer, taking a break from hammering.

Antelope island...

Towards Mueller Park...