Monday, July 26, 2010

Colorado Trail DONE!

484 miles and 75,000 ft of vertical gain later.. and somehow life really is that much sweeter. i'm in moab right now, recovering and making my way back home, which is... yes, salt lake city, not my van down by the river.

i finished the colorado trail on july 23rd at 12:18pm. i ran the 484 miles as fast as i could, which was 9 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes. i believe this is the 3rd fastest time anyone has ever covered this beautiful and awe inspiring piece of trail. i knew from speaking with very fast ultrarunners who do this sort of thing that the record was super tight. i found that out. after 3 days i had run 180.6 miles to the dam road by twin lakes. at that point i was 10 miles ahead of the record pace. but i paid for it the following day where i only logged 38 miles and couldn't stay awake. and so it goes, i made a lot of mistakes, didn't plan well enough for some sections, was stranded a few times and hypothermic once. none of that matters or tarnishes the experience because that is the experience. all of these things are expected when the goal is something this huge ~ the shit that happens becomes the deepest burned memories. it's how you respond to that shit that really matters. all things considered the adventure went amazingly well on 3 days of planning.

i am however having trouble processing it all to create some concise blog posts. there is talk of an interview, which for me mentally is a lot easier. here are a few tidbits, i still haven't seen all the photos and video yet, but here is a selection of what i have.

FIRST AND FOREMOST THANK YOU!!! to dakota jones (young money). when i proposed this idea to him, literally 3 days before i wanted to start he was the most positive person i had spoken with. he believed we could do this, he believed i could break the record and he made me believe both of those things as well. thank you dakota, you are in fact the most remarkable 19 year old i've ever met. that is a testament to the job your parents have done... so thank you beth and steve as well. my crew was rounded out by ben reeves. "good ben" was awesome and organized and i literally could not have done this without him. he even joined me for a few sections. THANK YOU ben!! my lovely assistant linda barton came out for the last 3 days and jumped right into the mix pacing and crewing. THANK YOU linda! it was awesome to have you out there.

young money planning the night before the madness

scott jaime, being the awesome guy that he is came over to ben's house the night before my start to impart wisdom. that was great. in september of 2009 scott ran the colorado trail in 11d 12h 46m. he planned 40 miles days and finished on his 40th birthday. pretty cool. he also joined me on a 13 mile section on day 2 that had us running into breckenridge, colorado (well north of town really). he made this video which i think is a good example of a typical day (at least before it started to rain and hail on me every day).

"the easiest 58 miles of my life" video
start video at waterton canyon - denver colorado - 4:30am july 15th

fun with mosquitos on sargents mesa video

highest mileage week ~ questions right after finishing are always fun

"what hurt the most matt?" ~ questions right after finishing are always fun

what i learned: if i learned anything it's that you must, at all costs surround yourself with positive people. i don't even care if it's delusional. it matters.

Monday, July 12, 2010

From Rainier to the Colorado Trail

this winter i sat down and planned my season. i though it would be cool to leave july free for something huge. my initial idea was to summit mount rainier, then without stopping circumnavigate the mountain via the 93 mile wonderland trail... the rainier summit-circ, as i came to call it. as far as i know this hasn't been done... and giving credit where it's due i think ty draney was the first one to suggest this to me.

well with the summer never arriving to the pacific northwest the wonderland isn't even close to being melted out enough to follow. the trail is still completely under snow. in june i got word from a local "it's still march conditions on the rainier."

i had to figure out another july mega plan. i asked the twittersphere and facebook for alternate ideas. meghan hicks responded with "The Grand, Middle, and South Tetons, then a Tetons circumnavigation? Yeah, that's a good idea and you know it! ;)". it was a great idea, and was in line with the whole summit-circ thing. running up the grand, middle and south teton.. then running my circumnavigation route around them would be pretty awesome, and tough.  however the more i thougth about it, it just didn't seem to be big enough, i wanted something i would almost certainly fail at, or die trying.

this past weekend while at the hardrock 100, surrounded by these amazing mountains and these inspiring athletes i decided...  i'm going to run the colorado trail.  i'm not so bold to say that i'm going for the record, because everyone, including dr. david horton says it's "tight".  so tight in fact that the last few records have taken mere minutes off the previous time.  the fastest known times page gives a great recap of the record and the attempts.  it's basically 58 miles a day of tough high altitude trail for 8.5 days.  i will say that i'm going to run as fast as i can.

at hardrock i asked young money, dakota jones to run with me.  since he's running the white river 50 at the end of the month it wouldn't be a good idea to run 500 miles just before.  so he offered to crew me, which i am eternally grateful for.  he and i will jump in the eurovan tomorrow and scout some of the access points.  i'm pretty worried about the eurovan being able to even make it to some of these remote spots.  access is an issue... but we'll just have to do the best we can without 4 wheel drive. which essentially means i'll have to run further before seeing my crew and getting aid.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Colorado 14'ers - 8 in 5

when i picked sean meissner up at the denver airport he was holding an old school book about the 55 colorado 14'ers called colorado's fourteeners,  14,000 foot mountains are high, very high. to put it into persepective mount rainier is 14,410 feet high and it's not uncommon for climbers to get altitude sickness before the summit.  i've seen it happen first hand.

flipping the book open sean says that there are two 14'ers on our drive to leadville.  perfect.  that got me started, then i managed to summit eight 14ers in the next 5 days.

below is some details, pics and videos i took.. simply to share the adventure.  i LOVE Colorado Mountains!!

Friday July 2, 2010 - Grays Peak (14,278ft) & Torreys Peak (14,267ft)
gray's peak with sean meissner.  i'm going to guess that summiting 2x 14ers the day before the leadville marathon did not help his performance.. which makes me really appreciate the fact that he wanted to do this and share my 1st 14er with me!

Running down Torreys Peak after summiting..

Saturday July 3, 2010 - Mount Elbert (14,433 feet)

i watched sean and my client jen nichols finish their leadville marathons, then i headed out to get the highest summit in colorado, 2nd highest in contiguous US... mount elbert at 14,433ft!! i felt good and tried to run/hike fast. managed the 4,500 ft climb to the summit in 1hr 45min and hammered the 4,500ft down in 51mins.

Sunday July 4, 2010 - Mount Massive (14,421 ft)
today my coaching client jen nichols, sean meissner and myself set out for a good hike up, run down the 2nd highest colorado 14er - mount massive at 14,421 ft. it was jen's first 14er!!

Monday July 5th 2010 - Missouri Mtn (14,067 ft), Mt Oxford (14,153 ft), Mt Belford (14,197 ft)
i wasn't feeling great to start, but i was moving pretty good. a nice hiker on the way down said "at the speed your moving you can get all three summits!"... and so i did the 15miles w/7,000ft of gain to get Missouri Mtn 14,067ft, Mt Oxford 14,153ft, Mt Belford 14,197ft

as you can see in the video running the east ridge of missouri was amazing.  in an attempt to make a loop out of it i descended the west ridge toward elkhead pass.  it wasn't a great decision.  i feared for my life on the "rotten" and dangerously loose class 4/5 slopes.  the book says "This routes Class 4 rating disguises a serious and dangerous climb.  What should be Missouri's premier mountaineering route is so rotten that it is relegated to this authors nightmares."  ah, yeah so i read that after the fact.

Tuesday July 6, 2010 - Mount Shavano (14,229 ft)
today i was super tired. this was a straight hike, no running at all on the way up. i also had plans of hitting tabeguache peak after shavano, but i knew very soon it wasn't going to happen. i need to rest!! mount shavano was a good 13 miles with 5,300ft of gain. sadly my last 14er for a while. here is the view from the summit looking at towards tabeguache peak.