Saturday, June 28, 2014

Beer Cheerios

June 2012:
My buddy Morgan Williams and I were jonesing for a rad jaunt off the beaten path. It was still pretty early season but we wanted to get up high. Through the grapevine I got the scoop on a gnarly out-and-back route that climbed around 4,500 to 5,000 feet in 6 to 7 miles to the top of Elk Mountain outside of Redstone, CO. Only the first and last two-ish miles of the run are on actual established trail, making a good portion of the route a bit more primitive by traditional trail-running standards. Taking us nearly four hours, Morgan summed up the difficulty of the run by saying, "I'm ready for some Beer Cheerios..."

June 2013:
I was using my water bottle as an ice pick to climb the bullet proof wall of ice right below the summit of Elk Mountain as Morgan scaled a pine tree to get above the wall. Our friend Casey Weaver joined us this year when Morgan and I decided we wanted to make this run an annual outing. It was a bigger snow year and even though we were moving faster, the snow was frustrating and added a new level of difficulty as we continually punched through snow drifts. We came out of the woods in 3 hours and 34 minutes. I looked at Morgan and asked, "Ready for those Beer Cheerios?"

June 2014:
About two weeks ago Morgan, Casey and I decided it was time once again to tackle our annual Elk Mountain Run. In my mind this run sums up why I love mountain running in every way. In 3 hours and 28 minutes we were back at the car and ready for "Beer Cheerios". Enjoy pics from the day below.

Top of Placita Trail

Casey and Morgan getting some Gu

Morgan heading up

Morgan and Casey on the "trail"

Casey and I on the first ridge. Elk Mountain on the left

Preparing to summit Elk Mountain

The Ridgeline to Elk Mountain's Summit

Morgan and Casey chillin'

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Be Cool

Be cool. Elmore Leonard's characters often tell each other this. In fact, it's the title of one of his books. As I head into the summer season of running I've already been in a few situations where I had to remind myself to be cool. As is typical, I can sometimes get a little too wrapped up in competition and races but at its core running's importance to me isn't very complex. I think it's fun. There isn't a complicated explanation or deeper reason other than I think it's a hoot and I like the way it makes me feel. I recently raced a pretty stacked field at the TIMP Trail Marathon and had to be reminded to 'be cool'. Despite running fairly hard early on, there was a group of 5 guys just ahead that I couldn't catch. I crossed the line with some frustration. A week later, still in recovery mode, I had a disheartening training run that left me slightly more frustrated.

Enter my girlfriend Lyssa. There is a story she sometimes references that often reminds me not to take things so seriously. Where she grew up, folks didn't necessarily have access to the latest and greatest for skiing, but they had the love and passion. On any given weekend she would be surrounded by incredible skiers "shredding the pow" in their jeans and in old gear. It was about the enjoyment and simple act of moving down the hill.

Following Lyssa's advice that reminded me to "be cool", I have been filling my days with rad runs with good friends. This weekend became a celebration of that at a Ragnar Relay trail event just up the road at Snowmass, CO. Surrounded by good friends for 24 hours of relay running, I couldn't have been happier than to share in the simple act of running with good company. As we celebrated early in the morning after finishing, a guy in a pink dress from a team that hadn't yet finished yelled at us, "Think you guys are cool! Why don't you sissies try an ultra!" 

"Did a guy in a dress just call us sissies?" I looked at my teammates. "That guy needs to 'be cool.'"

Alex T and the Lion

Carrie in front of the Elk Mountain Goat Tent

Vickers with the horns out

The Goat

Zeker with the...Goat Head

3 in the morning

...4 in the morning

the goat at sunrise.