Monday, September 29, 2014

How Far Can You Go Into The Woods?

Huntsman's Ridge is a playground often enjoyed in winter months by the shredders looking to get away from the busy lines and chair lifts of the local ski mountains. Three years ago I ventured up the ridge in June to the end-of-the-line at Huntsman's Mountain. A quick look at the register suggested that others typically didn't venture this way in the summer or simply didn't care to make their visitations known. Hitting the ridge in autumn at the peak of colors was a visual treat that my friends and I had all to ourselves.

A day of golden leaves and blue bird skies was followed the next with heavy cloud cover, cold temps and periods of rain. Embarking on a quest to traverse a ridge on the Lily Lake Trail, the route proved to be less about running and more about survival as Chris Keleher, Adam Flatt and I became lost in a forest of deadfall and cliffs. We found ourselves scrambling down a drainage as the weather quickly turned into a rapidly increasing torrent of rain with quickly decreasing temperatures. After 3 hours of trying to bushwhack down to the road, we were able to find a private drive that led us safely out. Arriving back at the car after over 5 hours in the rain, I was thankful we had made it back to the car intact. I was ready for a shower, a beer and another stab at the trail.

This two-day period of fall running in my backyard was a full-value experience of running with great friends.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Creede Mountain Run

There is a place in Colorado that is authentic west. This place is home to a rich mining culture, the "Immaculate Conception" mission, "Liquid Ambitions" liquor store and the CMR, a mountain run with 2, 12 and 22 mile options. This place is Creede, CO.

The CMR has been held every Labor Day weekend since 1987 and has been on my radar since I made the move to Colorado. I find myself in Creede this year, sitting in an upstairs bar with my fiancé Lyssa and Chris Westerman, the man that beat me in the 22 mile by a matter of seconds. Half way through the race, on top of the "ladders", a climb that ends at 12,500 feet, I looked back and saw him charging just a few minutes back. I held him off until four miles from the end, then after chatting with him until a mile from the end, we made an exciting race of it. Now we were drinking beers and taking turns weaving yarns.

"There is a mining competition here every Fourth of July." Chris continues, "A few years ago I see a fellow miner accidentally smash his partner's hands with a mallet. He didn't stop. Kept going and a few minutes later blood is pouring out of his gloves."

"Shit....That might be the most badass thing I've ever heard."

"That's Creede."

That's Creede. As Lyssa and head back to our campground, we chat about the impressions the town and it's folk have left on us. It's strong enough, perhaps we have the next several Labor Days booked.

Game faces for the CMR

Lyssa looking down on Creede the day after

Start of the climb up the pit

More early climbing on the course