|Near Leadville the temp dropped from the 90s to near 100 on the Front Range to 57! Yippee!|
|Cold rain began coming down on my first training run. Glad I turned around because the storm would only get worse.|
It turns out I made the right decision in coming down off the mtn because it really got slammed good by a strong storm with lots of lightning and that rain in the mountains is soooo cold.
I drove around to the fish hatchery side of Sugarloaf and by that time, the rain had begun to let up. It was late afternoon and so I thought I might get to climb some of this side of the mountain before dark. This is the powerline section and you could hear the powerline buzzing. This would be good practice for the race. So I started up the inbound side of Sugarloaf and made it back to where I had abandoned my effort earlier in the day and so I got the full section in after all and was certainly pleased with that. I did not drive 30 hours to not get some good training runs in.
|From Hagerman Pass Road near top of Sugarloaf looking down at Mayqueen. Can't wait to see that sight on race day!|
|My bed and breakfast. In this case dinner which was hearty stew.|
|Top of Hope Pass! That wasn't so bad.|
|Panoramic view from Hope looking South toward Winfield.|
The climb back up hope is sooo steep especially the first mile or so into the climb after you leave the new Winfield Trail. Be ready for how steep that sucker is and do not be discouraged because eventually you will get above treeline and it actually gets easier as you get higher and closer to the top. And of course, once you descend, it feels sooo much better. Can't wait until I am standing on Hope the second time on race day!
As I came down from Hope heading back to Twin Lakes I saw Lori Enlow from Tahlequah who is also running Leadville. She appears ready to go as well! Down to the trailhead once more and then there is a mile or two across the valley and through the river back to Twin Lakes. I think it is a good idea on race day to run this section as much as possible because you should have some positive energy having just finished the toughest part of the race.
Tuesday evening I did a 90 minute run from Twin Lakes toward the Half Moon/Mt Elbert aid station. (I was going to do more but once again a storm blew in with sleet!) I forgot how beautiful this section is. I made it back to the point where two years ago I had gone off course on the outbound and now there is a sign there that points to Twin Lakes Village. Sure wish that sign had been there two years ago. I continued on and just enjoyed the trail. After 50 or so minutes I turned around. So that left me with about 6 or 7 miles that I would not cover on this trip (not counting the 13 from Leadville to MayQueen).
|This is looking at Hope Pass as you come into Twin Lakes aid station. Hope is the saddle in the distant mountains!|
So I did a repeat of Tuesday. I met a lot of interesting people including several that were also training for Leadville. I also met an older married couple that I would guess were in the their 60s. I visited with them for a bit. They had been hiking since the middle of June and had been hiking on and off for three and a half years! They seemed so happy and content to just be out walking with each other. They asked if I had gotten caught in the storm and I said I was just day hiking it. They told me they got caught three times in the storms yesterday including the freezing sleet. They are hardy people for sure.
|Crossing the river after my second consecutive double crossing of Hope!|
|Bring on LT100! I am ready!|
After sleeping in the car at a rest stop in Kansas, I got a nice 11 mile run in the morning through the corn fields of the Great Plains and that was neat but I was also reminded how uncomfortable it is running in the heat.
For all the complaints about the altitude in Leadville, I have determined that I would far rather run the 100 mile race at 10,000 feet than to run it in Oklahoma in August. It would no doubt be much easier even with Hope Pass. So I will be grateful that it is so cool rather than complain about the altitude.
I do not know what else I could do to be prepared for Leadville. I will have logged nine consecutive 100 mile weeks including 125, 147, and 140 the last three weeks before tapering. I have ran much of the course including two double crossings of Hope. I had a great 50K tune up training run with a very respectable 4:16 time at a comfortable pace. It is now just mental and I am prepared to go out and just enjoy running in the mountains. It is an opportunity not too many people get and I intend to take full advantage of it. Hopefully my quads will not go out at me at mile 65 but if they do or if something else goes wrong, I think I am more fully prepared to deal with that adversity and be able to overcome it.
And maybe, just maybe; all the stars will align and everything will go smooth and I will run a great race.
As for the taper. I should hit 140 this week. 100 with four weeks to go and then 80, 60 and 30 and then race day! It cannot get here fast enough!