Rocky Mountain High

I’ve been in Colorado since Monday evening.  I’ll be here at least until the beginning of September.  For better or for worse for my training and prep for IMWI…

Started the drive last Saturday evening.  Drove about 2.5hrs and got just west of Harrisburg on the PA Turnpike before sleepiness and heavy rain forced me to a rest stop.  Slept lightly in the front seat for about 4hrs (?).  Woke up to a light drizzle, but the road had mostly dried.  However, as I started back out onto the turnpike, it started to rain heavily again.  I played leap frog from one rest area to the next for the next 3hrs or so.  I finally got clear of the rain, and I hopped on I70 West.  Through West Virginia and SE Ohio (Zac country … I thought about pulling off and driving around asking anyone I saw if they knew where TheMom lived!  Hahahaha!).  I think the worst part of the drive was the section of road east of Columbus and continuing on to Indy.

Somewhere along that span, I decided to pull out the voice recorder and simply recall and record the happenings of the trip.  Talking to one’s self is so amusing!  It did provide the benefit of helping me stay awake, because it kept my mind active.  I continued this foolishness for the remainder of the trip, and I have about a 8 or 9 piece series of voice recordings.  For posterity’s sake, I am trying to figure out a way to host the audio files and then link them here.

Some of the drive’s highlights:  leaving Jersey, no major car problems, 75mph speed limits, nice rest areas, crop dusting shows in central Nebraska … or was it Iowa? … a nice run around the rest stop and it’s off road area, the hills of Iowa, the 59mi mark outside of Denver when you crest up over a hill and onto the plateau where the Rockies first came into view, a safe arrival.

Some of the drive’s lowlights:  rain in PA causing my cooling water and power steering belt to slip,  Indianapolis — it has to be one of the top 3 most non-descript and boring US cities, a longer than expected travel through Illinois, almost hitting 2 deer in the dark early morning after just entering Iowa, the drive from the NE-CO border to Denver, assholes in SUV’s on I70 through the front range.

I am actually in Blue River, CO, which is about 8mi south of Breckenridge on Rt. 9.  I’m less than 4miles from Hoosier pass, and there are five 14ers where the trailheads are within a 1/2hr’s drive.  The view out of the front of the house directly faces west to Quandary Peak.  It’s awesome.

Quandary Peak with the standard east ridge ascent in view.Quandary Peak with the standard east ridge ascent in view.

My friend told me that this is NOT Quandary Peak, but I think I have since convinced him that it is after showing him the topo map.  The weather this week has been mostly crap.  The mornings have come with rain, intermittent sunshine, thunder and lightning, hail, and snow.  Summit attempts have been thwarted for many, but today and yesterday’s weather has been beautiful.  I can clearly see dozens of people through my binoculars ascending to the summit.  At some point, I am planning to do the western ridge and then come down the east side.

My idea of fun!!! Photo is courtesy of 14ers.comMy idea of fun!!! Photo is courtesy of

Aside from the mountains to climb, there are hundreds of mtb trails around.  I’m afraid, however, that a lot of them aren’t technical.  I spoke with a guy at one of the outfitter shops in town, and he said that most of the trails around were fast.  That would equate to small climbs and not many obstacles.  I kind of expected more.  Yet, I haven’t gotten the mtb going on any, so I’ll find out first hand.

Training started off good, but I have been finding it a bit more difficult of late.  The Breck Rec Ctr is open, but their pool is closed until the 12th of Aug.  Until that time, I have to use the Silverthorne center.  My first run on the treadmill there felt pretty good — wasn’t too winded after 9mi.  My swim afterwards was a bit tiring.  However, yesterday, my run was a bit of struggle as I felt winded, although I did have a recurrence of some knee pain that I randomly deal with.  And, the past 2 nights, my bike workouts, which I do at the house at 10,700′, were humbling.  There is almost 1/3 less O2 at this elevation, and I could definitely tell that to be the case while doing VO2 max intervals last night.

I think this is the first morning that I have awoken without a slight headache as I have the previous mornings this past week.  That’s a good thing, and at no time have I had a bad night of sleep.  Part of the problem is drinking enough water.  It’s hard when I’m sucking wind trying to keep my cadence up.  The air is pretty dry up here to begin with, so it becomes more exaggerated.  Overall, I’m not disappointed with my training, but I am hoping that I make more progress by the end of the weekend and going into the new week.

Time to get my arse to the gym.

~ by jerseyquaker on August 1, 2009.

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