Tuesday, August 09, 2011
I read a blog posted by PRINCESSRUNNER7 called "Triple Brick = 1,500 calories burned!"
She explained that a Brick was a combination of biking and running. On Sunday, August 7th, I decided to try a brick. I wanted to bike 12 miles and run 4 miles.
The results? My bike, Stumpy, is in the bike hospital. And I got to use my brand-new first aid kit. Poor Stumpy! Here is my photo essay:
I decided to go to ride and run the Colorado Trail near Buffalo Creek. The Colorado Trail runs 500 miles from Durango to Denver with numerous offshoots along the way.
I started by the Little Scraggy. The pinkish areas represent recent forest fires. The trails are marked in yellow.
Just so you can feel sorry for me, here is the temperature when I left for my brick.
The temperature got up to 85 degrees F at about 4:30 PM. I know that some places in the country my be a tad hotter.
I grabbed Stumpy and loaded him on the bike rack. My wife wanted me to weed wack some of the native grass that has grown quite tall. Fat chance on a nice day!
Stumpy is healthy and happy. He is ready to hit the trails. With 30 speeds, Stumpy can climb a tree in low gear or fly down the road in high gear passing anything in his way. Stumpy is awesome!
The Colorado Trail is well marked. The segments are numbered. Theoretically, you can tell where you are by know the trail segment.
I am getting jazzed. The weather is perfect!
This segment of the Colorado Trail is described as "fast single track with a few technical segments". Fun!
Bump over a few roots down a hill and across a little bridge. There is a gulch under the bride that is about a yard wide and a foot deep.
There are a few roots and rocks along the way. The technique for handling these roots requires perfect timing. You compress the front forks to store energy. Then at the right moment you pull up on the handle bars and jump the roots. When the forks rebound, Stumpy sails over the roots in smooth air.
On the way back down the trail I jump over some big roots. I am not watching down the trail because I am timing my jump. As me and Stumpy clear the roots, I see a guy stopped in the middle of the trail not more than six feet away. Me and Stumpy are airborne. I jerk ol' Stumpy sideways. We miss the guy but hit the embankment on the side of the trail and go down. We don't hit hard so there is no damage to me or Stumpy. I look over at the guy as his wife pulls up. He says, "Oh, sorry!" He is an old guy like me. I notice he is riding a comfort bike with skinny tires. Not an optimal bike for this trail. I think he was going to wisely walk his bike over the roots when Stumpy and I came roaring up the trail. I forgave him. Besides he and his wife were out there doing it.
I took a detour off the Colorado Trail and rode into the Buffalo Creek burn area.
The fire in Buffalo Creek was 16 years ago. Fires are strange. A burn will leave some trees untouched and scorch others.
The undergrowth is pretty. The forest that will spring up from this burn area will be beautiful and healthy.
I came back to the Buffalo Burn Trail for the running part of the brick. This trail was pretty flat with only 680 foot elevation gain in 4 miles. My bike ride gained only 1075 foot in 8 miles. These trails are pretty flat when compared to other trails in this area.
On the way back with Stumpy we had a big crash. This is hard to explain but there are certain obstacles that you can handle going one way that are deadly going the other way. The army uses a thing called a tank trap that is one-way. At any rate, I hit a ditch and went "high-side". High-side meant I went over the handle bars.
This is not me. But it should give you the idea. When I saw the ditch I was going too fast. I couldn't stop and I knew this was going to hurt!
Here is part of the damage. I am now black and blue from hitting the ground. Poor Stumpy has a bent front wheel.
I bought this first aid kit a week ago. Little did I know I would be needing so soon!
I cleaned the open wounds on my elbows and left leg. I pretty much used up a kit that is supposed to last 2 hikers for 3 days. I had to dig a lot of dirt and gravel out of me. I also sprained my right wrist and left thumb. I have bruises on my right thigh, left forearm, right ankle and left shoulder.
After I patched myself, I went for a 4 mile run. By the time I was done the sun was going down.
I burned up a 2,640 calories during this torturous brick. My average speed on Stumpy was a modest 7.2 mph. I had to slow way down with a badly bent front wheel. My top speed on my bike was 19.2 mph. My running pace was an abysmal 11:42 min/mile. I stopped to get a Qdoba Steak Burrito on the way home.
Post brick meal included a Moose Drool beer. Of course, I log onto SparkPeople and there is an article on the evils of drinking beer.
So I took this article to heart and only had two beers to dull the pain.
This is a shot of my home office. I have lots of computers. This is the place where I sit and think up new and creative ways to hurt myself in the name of fitness and well being.
I took stumpy into the bike hospital. The bike doctor declared Stumpy's front wheel to be hopelessly bent. Stumpy is getting a new front wheel, Stumpy is an expensive bike with expensive components. I think I am actually buying Stumpy again one part at a time. The front wheel for Stumpy lists for $249 but I got it for $180. The wheel has the following components:
Shimano XT M785 Front Disc Hub from Japan: $60
36 DT Swiss Champion 14 Gauge Black Spokes from Switzerland: $63
Mavic EN 321 Rim 6061 Aluminum Alloy from France: $60
$45 Labor – Mount, Tune
Total : Wheel $183 + Labor $45 = $228
I think I need to be more careful. My wallet is now injured too! I get Stumpy back tonight. But I think Stumpy and I need a rest.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Inspired by Bill's (ELYMWX) July stats blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
and Jerome's (JMERLAU) July stats blog,
I decided to post my July 2011 states from my Garmin Training Center.
Count: 16 Activities
Distance: 91.4 miles
Time: 15:29:58 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 17,950 ft
Average Elevation: 8,935 feet
Avg Speed: 5.7 mph (10:31min/mile pace)
Fastest Speed 10.5 mph (5:42 min/mil pace)
Avg HR: 116 bpm
Peak HR: 166 bpm
Calories: 17,318 Calories (Adjusted for Elevation and Vertical)
Avg Distance: 5.71mi
These stats surprised me. I seem to run uphill a lot. I had no idea I climbed nearly 18,000 feet in a month. My calorie burn rate is 189 calories/mile compared to a low-elevation calorie burn rate of 139 calories/mile. That means I can drink a Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale (177 calories) instead of a Bud Light (110 calories) as my medicinal post run beer. Running hills in thin air has its perks!
I read that the low heart rate is a high-altitude phenomenon, I haven't figure that one out yet. If my heart rate gets any lower I will probably be declared legally dead.
I am off to a slow start in August. So far I have zero miles. I sometimes take a long time between runs because my body is too battered. I ride my bike. Or do cardio on my elliptical. I have started lifting weights again.
Yum, what great beer!
I was really trying to be serious and report my July running faux pases, er, I mean accomplishments. My legs are getting vascular. I think it looks cool. My wife tells me it looks gross - like there is something I can do about it!
Moose Drool time. I am still coherent, for now! Tah - Tah.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
On Saturday, July 30th, I really wanted a nice easy run. I wanted to run while it was warm. I wanted to run at a "low" elevation of 6,000 to 7,000 feet. What I found was a difficult and dangerous trail along Dinosaur Ridge called Zorro. Zorro started off easy and became a rocky nightmare. I was too stubborn to turn around. See my previous blog "Clumsy and Fearless - First Aid Kit Required" for a description of the "nice easy trail" called Zorro.
Why was I looking for an easy run?
Because on Wednesday, July 27th, I ran 10k on a very steep trail; in the cold; in the dark; while it was raining; at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation. I ran the the Mule Trail near Shawnee, Colorado. Here is the story.
This is not really a trail sign but a warning to watch out for road apples.
At least the sign says "welcome" while advising that you could run into large foul-tempered beasts. There were no warnings about snakes or unexploded artillery shells, which is a plus.
I started up the trail at 8:00 PM. I took a photo of my car before I started up the hill since I knew it was going to be dark before I got back.
Hopefully, if my wife reports me missing, they would find my Corolla and send a mule after me. She only reported me missing once, but that is a different story.
The trail starts at 8,650 feet of elevation and climbs 1,155 feet in 1.1 miles! FYI - that is steep. The average grade was 20% to 40%.
This steeper than it looks in the photo. The trail starts off in a gentle climb and gets really steep.
The temperature was 52 degrees F. You can see the mule prints on the trail.
The trail is getting steep. Again, the trail is steeper than it looks in the photo. The trail tops-out at 9,805 feet. I still have a 1/2 mile to go to the top.
There are some mule signs on trail. This hill is not easy. I have a technique where I fall forward going up a steep hill. As I am falling forward I catch myself with my next step. This technique is called "falling uphill". This technique allows for a fast ascent but requires extreme coordination and lightning fast reflexes. There is evidence that I am deficient in both these characteristics, so "falling uphill" could easily become "rolling downhill". No guts - No glory. I am getting good at running up hills. I am also passable at applying bandages.
The hill is relentless. My mantra is simple, "step, step, step..."
I took a photo from the trail looking down at Highway 285 where my car is parked. This is shows what an 1,150' climb looks like.
I am on top of a mountain and it is getting dark. I need to run 2 more miles before I can start down.
I hopped this gate and kept running. The little spots on the photo are rain drops. I am wearing shorts, shirt and a waterproof shell. Stream is coming off of me!
I get to the end of the trail and turn around.
This is what it looked like as I started back. The trail is about to pitch down. The trail is muddy and rocky. It is also getting dark.
I took a detour down another trail so I could make sure I ran 10K. What the heck - in the middle of the wilderness was a porta-potty! I have about 2 miles to go and it is dark.
How did I do?
I did great! I covered 10K over bad terrain and steep hills in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 51 seconds! My pace was 10:44 min/mile at an average elevation of 9,558 feet. This was everything I had and then some. This exhausting run is why I was looking for a nice easy run the following Saturday. That is when I found the Zorro trail that ate my lunch!
I think I will be ready for another run tomorrow. Yesterday I lifted weights and did cardio on my elliptical. I am feeling better but the Shawnee Mule Trail and the Zorro Trail beat me up pretty badly.
Monday, August 01, 2011
When I was a kid my mother would not allow me to go near glass displays in a department store. For some reason she thought my close proximity to breakable objects might result in serious injury or at least major expense in terms of broken glass.
She may have had something there.
I lost count of the number of stitches I have had at 172. I cannot really estimate how many times I have visited emergency rooms. However, I have only been hospitalized twice due to injuries. When we were first married, my wife was puzzled why I regularly bought first aid kits. She know accepts these purchases as a necessary expense.
On Saturday, July 30th, I was in Denver for a meeting. I had my running stuff with me. I decided to do some "low" elevation running at 6,000 feet. I live at 8,500 feet in the Rocky mountains. The problem with running at high elevation is that your lungs give out before your legs. Without going into details, there are some compelling physiological reasons to train at a variety of altitudes.
I knew about a series of trails on Green Mountain near Denver.
Hayden Park has been around for a while and ranges in elevation from 6,100' to 6,900'. This park is near some pretty busy roads including Colorado 470 and Interstate 70.
Hayden Park gets funding from Jefferson County. The Park is actually operated by the City of Lakewood. Hence, the porta-potty!
This is a deluxe porta-potty with a barrier fence to keep the porta-potty from being blown away. Winds along the front range can be pretty intense.
The warning signs at parks always tickle me.
This sign notifies visitors that Prairie Rattlesnakes live here. The sign goes into great detail to explain that the harmless Bull snake also lives here and resembles the Rattlesnake. I wonder who is going to try to determine what type a snake is about to bite them. "Oh gee, I don't need to run away, that is just a harmless Bull snake."
A big Prairie Rattler is 4' long and has a really bad attitude. No wait - I think that is a harmless Bull snake.
Here is another sign that I though was unique. Evidently this area was used as an artillery range in WW II.
Just FYI, I did not step on an ancient artillery shell or get bitten by a snake, harmless or otherwise. I am not that lucky.
I decide to cross the street and run Zorro trail.
This sign is to enlighten speeding motorists that the people they just clobbered were hikers.
The Zorro trail looked inviting. Zorro was not shown on the Hayden trail map. In retrospect, I think there may have been a good reason Zorro was not on the Hayden trail map. The trail sign is cracked - first clue.
Start of the trail is smooth. The trail grade was between 10% and 30%. I started up the trail at 5pm. The temperature was blazing hot at 97 degrees F. The sun was beating down. The temperature was one degree cooler than than the ambient air temperature of hell.
I am running along pretty well at this point. I am dripping sweat but I am not even breathing hard. The trail climbs up the Dakota Hogback and rises 700 feet in about a mile. The Dakota Hogback is also called Dinosaur Ridge.
The trail started to get a bit rocky about 1/2 way up. Rough hewn stars on a trail are seldom a good sign - second clue.
The trail had some steep parts that required erosion control barriers. By now all the sun block I had put on had been sweated off. The sun is beating down on my neck right here.
This is s steep stretch over some difficult terrain. So far so good.
When I got to the summit, I found the trail was extremely "technical" and ran along the edge of a cliff! I put little dashes on the photo to show you the trail.
Here is what the Dakota hogback looks like. The trail is on the very top of the ridge. The views are pretty spectacular.
This is a view looking west toward I-70.
Looking east you can see Denver. See the bridge over the highway? Hayden Park is not far from that bridge. Eventually, I am going to have to run to that bridge.
Running on the edge of an abyss is actually draining. Particularly if you happen to be a world-class klutz! Here is were I fell. I tried to mark the photo where my foot landed and were my hand landed. I was about two miles into my run and still trying to keep up a decent pace. I caught myself with my right hand. I smacked my hand on a sharp piece of limestone. The good news is that I did not go over the edge.
The bad news is that I hurt my right hand. This hurt really badly. It felt like I slapped my hand down on a red hot straight razor. I still had a long way to go and my hand just wouldn't quit bleeding. I was happy that the blood was bright red, which means it is heavily oxygenated. My lungs and heart are working great. Balance and judgement are suspect, however!
On the way down, the trail surface got a little better. Note the position of the bridge - I have dropped quite a ways.
The downhill path is still challenging. There was some bad real estate on the way down. It is really hard to run on this stuff. I am still dribbling blood leaving a trail that Rattlesnakes, or harmless Bull snakes, can follow.
Zorro trail dumps out on a paved road that is marked for bicycles and pedestrians. Everybody assumes this little figure marks the pedestrian part of the road. I think it marks the spot where somebody fell off Zorro trail!
I had to run about 1/2 mile back to the car on pavement. Ordinarily, I hate pavement. After running Zorro trail, the pavement looked good to me.
I made a clumsy attempt to bandage my hand. The first aid kit in the car was badly depleted. I cleaned the wound with water and Windex wipes. I slathered on anti-biotic cream. I covered the gash with band-aides and gauze; and wrapped this make-shift dressing with white tape. I did this mostly so I would not get blood on my wife's car.
On Sunday I went to REI and got a small, but well equiped, first aid kit. I can actually carry this with me.
I bought the REI Hiker kit that is rated for 2 people for 3 days; or one very clumsy runner for one run. The REI Hiker kit cost $22.50 but includes almost everything I need to patch minor wounds.
So how did I do?
Not all that great. I ran 5K (3.11 miles) in 39 minutes at an average pace of 12:30 min/mile. I know this is horrible. But I really didn't want to take a nose dive over the cliff and become one of those little white figures on the road!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
There is a small group of crazies that put on the "Run Uphill" trail racing series.
This is the eye-catching logo of the "Run Uphill Racing" group. The only issue that I have with this logo is the little stick figure is smiling. That just doesn't happen!
I am always looking for a new place to run. On Monday, July 25th, I decided to go to Pine Valley Ranch, which is a popular part of the lavish Jefferson County Open Space Park system. Jefferson County, Colorado, is a affluent suburban county. I live in Park county, which is right next to Jefferson County. Here is the vital statistics:
Park County has 2,210.69 square miles and is roughly the sIze of Delaware. Delaware has a population density of 442.6 people per square mile. Park County, Colorado, has a population density of 5 people per square mile. I had a feeling that this place was getting too crowded!
Jefferson County has 778 square miles and a population density of 683 people per square mile! In other words, Jefferson County has a tax base that Park County can't touch. A huge tax base is the reason why Jefferson County has lavish facilities at 36 open space parks, Five people per square mile is the reason why Park County can manage one porta-potty at a few trail heads.
At any rate, I live close enough to Jefferson County to take advantage of the high-dollar facilities that the good people of Jefferson County so generously provide. Here is a photo essay of my run at Pine Valley Park.
There is a really cool building at the park. I really don't know what the building is for. I think the building is there to hold up the park sign.
This is a shot of one of the rest rooms. This is a "green" facility that turns waste into compost. I am not sure what is done with the compost and I don't want to know.
These are some of the ginormous picnic pavilions at the Pine Valley Park. I think you could feed an army here! Perhaps the park management uses the compost on this grass. Your guess is as good as mine.
The North Fork of the South Platte River runs through the park. The "No Tubing" sign is a good idea. This is a very fast river.
There are three nice bridges over the river. The river is running very high due to runoff from a record snowpack.
Here is an aerial of the race course that the "Run Uphill" club holds at Pine Valley Park in May. The distance is 7.7 miles but there is a lot of uphill segments. Hence the name of the club.
The park has a confusing trail layout. Some trails are wheelchair accessible, which is pretty cool. Some trails are marked "Hiker Only". I noted they didn't say "Runner Only". There is also a lake with great fishing. I don't fish much because I usually fall asleep and feed the fish my bait.
I grabbed a trail map and put it in the pocket of my running shorts. I didn't want to get lost. Besides I started running at 8:00pm. It was likely to be dark by the time I got done.
Pine Valley Trail is relatively flat and is traveled by people enjoying themselves. I don't want to go that way. I turned down Narrow Gauge Trail because my goal is to beat the tar out of myself. I succeeded.
Here is a sign down the trail about 1/2 mile. See there are no other people on this trail. I think that is a good sign.
These clouds are kind of pretty. The clouds would be very pretty if they didn't mean rain, thunder and lightning.
Over the bridge and into the woods. The trail is about to get interesting.
Cool little bridge along the trail. This is pretty flat and I am humming along at 6:04 min/mile pace. The flat stuff lasts about 1/4 mile. Then the trail gets steep - like 30% steep!
I wonder why photos never do a trail justice. This is really steep here. The trail is nice and smooth. My pace had fallen off considerably. The good news is that Pine Valley Park is at a "low" elevation of 7,450 feet. 7,450 feet only costs you about 30% in blood oxygen saturation.
Oh No! A fork in the trail. No worries. I just pull out my trusty trail map and ..... rats! I lost it. I got to get back before dark. Eenie meenie miney mo....
Buck Gulch Trail looks pretty inviting.
Strawberry Jack Trail looks a bit steeper. Which one would you chose? I decided to take Strawberry Jack because it roughly headed back toward the parking lot. This may have been an error.
Strawberry Jack bent around and climbed a mountain. When I checked the trail map back at the car I found that both Buck Gulch and Strawberry Jack trails go off into oblivion. There was no right choice.
I ran through the Buffalo Creek burn area. In 1996 this area was on fire. It looks pretty good now.
There were no strawberries on Strawberry Jack trail but there were some wild raspberries. When I took this photo it was starting to get dark.
By the time I finished running it was bitch black. Here is a rock in the middle of the trail that I did not trip over. I was at the top of Strawberry Trail as the sun started to set. I decided to turn around and go down the way I came up. I thought that back tracking was a lot safer then trying to dead reckon my way back to the base in the dark.
How did I do?
I ran 5.2 miles in 45:34 at an average pace of 8:45 minutes/mile. My fastest pace was 6:04 minutes/mile. Granted the trail was at 6,800 to 7,450 feet in elevation, which is lower than I usually run. The maximum grade was 35%. However, the average grade was a more manageable 13%. I think all the trail running and biking is starting to payoff. I am losing weight and getting stronger.
Now if I can just stay healthy and keep from hurting myself, I think I will be ready for the Leadville 10K two weeks from now.
Thanks for reading my blog.
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