Some pie-filled, spandex-clad idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Some pie-filled idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Turkey trots are all well and good, but what I really need is a post-Thanksgiving bit of exercise to burn off some of the pie.  In this case, it was a social run with the “Denver Run Crew” (none of whom were from anywhere near Denver) up in RMNP (also not Denver). No matter.  We ran and were a crew, and it was lovely.

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A Proper Mountain Run

We're the height of alpine fashion!

We’re the height of alpine fashion!

Normally, winter comes to the Colorado high country like a door slamming.  But not this year (or at least not yet this year).  It’s early November and highs are still in the 50s in the mountains there’s hardly a hint of white even on the highest peaks.  I can sit here and grumble about it being unseasonable or I can take these looking-forward-to-ski-season lemons and turn them into extra-late-season-trail-running lemonade.

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High times in low gears

Nice aspens on CR68J

Nice aspens on CR68J

Ben has a new cyclecross bike and I spent the summer building my gravel grinder. Instead of the traditional end-of-summer mountain run, why not get out for a little Indian Summer wheeled idiocy? Early this summer we did an all-night run from Boulder to Nederland as ultra training. So we put together a bike version of this, though in the daylight so we could actually enjoy it. Ben #2 joined us for the first half of this on a bluebird Saturday in downtown Boulder.

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The Best of Intents

img_3379The first snow has fallen in the high country and season’s first frost obliterated our tomatoes last night. Summer is officially over and I’m relishing a season well-spent. I’ve always thought I understood the expression “halcyon days of youth”. But now I wonder exactly who’s youth it refers to. Seems I’m having a pretty halcyon time now.

The kids are getting older and tougher. Both of them love camping and I’m pleased that we managed a whole nine “intents” nights this year. I suppose we could maybe cram in another couple, but it’s getting cold at night. Continue reading

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Beginning the climb. Lots of people to overtake.

Beginning the climb. Lots of people to overtake.

Running a half marathon is not like running an ultra. For one thing (at least for me), it’s not the pinnacle of an entire season of training, emotional and physical preparation, and logistical ponderment. I’d registered for the Black Squirrel Half Marathon on a whim, so it’s supposed to be whimsical.  After a summer of much bigger adventures, I should be able to toss off a quick 13.1 miles with no trouble at all. Completely casual, right?

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Lucky Thirteen

I pulled #13. I know the rules.

I pulled #13. I know the rules.

Some problems have multiple solutions.  Three months ago, Levi talked me into signing up for the Gold Rush Bike Rally.  It’s a wildly-varying course with lots of climbing, some pavement and smooth dirt road, some loose gravel and sand, more dirt, steep descents, more pavement, and even some “moderate singletrack”. So what kind of bike would be best, hmmm? My road bike would clearly be the wrong answer here and my mountain bike would be drastic overkill for most of it. Accordingly, I got to work and built a middle-of-the-range gravel grinder bike specifically for this race (and other subsequent fun); modest off-road capabilities while still having decent efficiency on the smooth stuff. Low gearing for the climbs and the best brakes I could reasonably put on there for the descents. Would it be the right answer for this truly all-terrain race? Only one way to find out…

Ascending Switzerland with a good group of gentlemen.

Ascending Switzerland with a good group of gentlemen.

Other people’s solutions varied wildly covering pretty much the entire spectrum of bikes. Milling about at the start on Sunday morning in North Boulder, mostly I saw cyclecross-type bikes which looked a lot like mine (though were undoubtedly fancier and pricier) with a heavy sprinkling of mountain bikes. However, there were a cadre of big, puffy fat bikes (drastic overkill?) and even a couple people on tri bikes (aerobars!). My bed was made, time to go lay in it. Heck, it’s only 35 miles and 4500’ of gain. Shouldn’t take more than a morning. What’s the worst that can happen?

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Everybody Loves Rawahs!

Looking south along the ridge toward the Neversummers and RMNP

Looking south along the ridge toward the Never Summers and RMNP

The mountains have me on speed-dial and I must go.  This time, it was the Rawahs on the line.

The Raw-whats?” you say.

“Why, I’m so glad you asked! The Rawahs (pronounced Ray-wahs) are the northernmost extension of the Front Range here in Colorado; a long ridgeline running north from Cameron Pass (north of Rocky Mountain National Park) before piddling out somewhere near the Wyoming Border.”

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