Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Done - Yeah!

All right - 4 events in 40 days for my 40th birthday. The weird difficulty of this type of challenge is that there is just not much recovery or training time before you are on to the next thing.

Thanks Steve for the BD concept/site .... definitely inspired me to get back in shape after some years of siting on my rear! Now .. let's get strong and figure out something truly wicked for next year.


Apes Traverse

40 Traverses of the Apes Wall in Malibu

Finally exhaustion sets in.

Hit this one on October 30. This is my endurance training route, so I have it a little bit wired. It's mid-5.11, 100 ft long + 20ft up + 20 ft down, pocketed, mostly overhanging.

This wall sucks up the sun most of the day. Gets about 2 hours of shade at the end of the day. I was hoping for an overcast day, but just got baked instead. First couple of hours went well, cranked out 12 quickly. Then the sun came out and I just died! Slower and slower and slower. Finished up 17 by 12:30, then went to hide under a rock. Once the cliff made it into the shade, ventured out for another 12. For a total of 29. And that was it. The sun definitely kicked my ass, but my I was just frigging tired by the end. Total climbing 29x100 sideways + 29x40 vertical =4060 ft.

Awesome ---- It wouldn't have been a challenge unless something kicked my tail.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Grand Canyon - Rim to Rim to Rim - 10/20

Round 3 - The Grand Canyon - Rim to Rim to Rim

42 miles
~11,000 feet of descent
~11,000 feet of climbing

What a beautiful trail/run. If you're in shape for this ... get on it! Starting on the South Kaibab trail (awesome views the whole way), down to Bright Angel campground, up to the North Rim then back down and out to the South Rim on the South Kaibab. You could go on the Bright Angel trail instead of the Kaibab for either the up or down. I picked the South Kaibab because it's shorter, but I'm not sure it's that much faster. There is really just a small yearly preferred window to do this run, either early/mid October or late April. Later in the year (end of October), it get's cold/icy higher up (N. Rim) and the water is turned off at Cottonwood and Supai (could still treat from the Angel Creek if you needed to though). During the summer ... don't even try it (unless you are one of those rad Badwater runners .. even then it just seems sketchy) .... May-September the average max in the inner gorge is 90+ and you are at the lower elevations for ~17 miles.

So October 20th is about optimal. I felt I was in OK shape for this one. I had done a strong 18 mile, 3000ft climb the week before and I had a big base of running this summer. Drove up the night before, got to sleep around 1:00. Woke up to a perfect day, good temps (~50 at the rim) with a light wind .. started down the trail just after 7:00AM. The first 6 miles are STEEP! 4700 feet down with a average grade of 752ft/mile (14%). Spent a little bit of time behind a mule train ... special ... then down to the bottom ... amazing how quick this section goes. I had run down and out before, so I knew to keep it slow on the section, but still it beats you up. The next section has a really mild grade only climbing 1500ft in the next 7.1 miles (211 ft/mile - 4%). I ran through this section, but it seemed a lot slower than I wanted ... just feeling it from the start. The 7 miles up to the rim is awesome ... ran sections, but most of the switchbacks were just too steep (4250 climb, 616ft/mile, 12%). A little bit of rest at the rim then back in the hole! 7 quick miles down to Cottonwood, then 7 miles of work to Bright Angel Campground. I really worked on this section trying to keep up a good pace - the low grade and distance (miles 28-35) make this feel almost flat. Even in October this section and the inner gorge are hot (~85F). Took it easy up the lower gorge then power hiked to the top. The last few hours were perfect ... sun down, 2/3rd moon out, the entire Canyon lit up, stiff wind at the top ... doesn't get much better. The last shuttle bus pulled up about 10 seconds after I topped out ... PERFECT!

Total Time - 12:36
Liquids 320 oz - 20#'s! of water/cytomax ~ 1080 calories
Gels ~ 1500 calories
Ran ~30 out of 42 miles.

AFTERMATH - This run KILLED my calves for the next few days. I just hobbled around in pain ...

Training Thoughts - Probably need to run more hard down-hills to help train for this. Immediately afterwards thought - never again - but .. after a couple of days ... I'm ready to go! The last 7 miles to the North Rim are definitely runable, just need to really dig in.

The grade on the climbs is really steep. For comparison:
Bishop High Sierra 50 (up-section) ~ 16 miles, 5400 ft, ~6%
La Luz trail run , 9 miles, 4700 ft, averages ~10%
Pikes Peak Marathon (up) - 13.3 miles, 7815 ft, ~11%
Wasatch Steeplechase (up) - 6 miles, 4500 ft, ~14%

Trail Distances/Elevations
Start - S. Kaibab Trailhead - 7,200 ft
6.3 Miles - Colorado River - 2,460 ft
6.9 Bright Angel Campground - 2,500 ft (Water)
14.0 Cottonwood Campground - 4,000 ft (Water)
20.9 North Rim - 8,200 ft.
27.8 Cottonwood Campground - 4,000 ft
34.9 Bright Angel Campground - 2500
35.5 Colorado River - 2460
41.8 South Rim - S. Kaibab Trailhead - 7,200 ft
(Water also at 19.1/22.7 - Supai Tunnel)

Still have the public enemy CD in my head
Startled several hikers coming down from the North Rim singing (and if you've heard my singing - that's scary enough)


Bouldering Megaday - 10/16

Finally ready for round 2!

400 pts. of bouldering in a day - Harder than I thought!

Knees finally recovered enough from the Everest challenge to move to the next round. Scoring this as V1=1 pt, V2=2 pt, V3=3 pt, .... didn't sound that hard? But once I started to do the math it seemed a little more extreme. If I did V1s only, this would be 400 problems. At say 1 minute per problem, this ends up being 6.7 hours of climbing. Moving it up a notch or two helps with the volume, but the difficulty (and rest required) starts to overwhelm the volume pretty quickly ... I would expect that 40 V10s (not that i'm doing v10 right now) in a day would be pretty radical for even the very best climbers, so I plan on keeping it pretty easy.

Doing this at a gym (West LA) ... I know sort of lame ... but the convenience (and cushy landing) was a big sell.

Started at 8:30 ---- Initially sort of slow (checking all the problems out) only 26 pts in the first hour! .... need to step it up a notch .... let's try upping the grade ... 20 V4's later ... I'm done with V4 for a bit .... let's try some volume .... 52 V2's later .. it's time for lunch .... let's try some really easy volume ... 50 V1's later .... yeah time for a break (252 so far) ... off to work in Chatsworth for a couple of hours .... then back to the gym. Only 3:15 left('till the gym closes) to finish up 148 more points. 70 more V2s and 2 more V4s (just to keep it real in the last hour) and done. With 30 minutes left to go figured out my math was wrong and had to plug in another 10 V2s.

V1 - 60 X 1 = 60
V2 - 126 X 2 = 252
V4 - 22 = 88
208 problems for 400 pts.
8.5 hours of climbing
2.45 minutes/problem
24.5 problems/hour
~2000 feet of total climbing

The knees started to act up towards the end ... 208 problems up also means 208 X 6ft drops down. Skin SO does not feel loved. Last couple of hours were just dragging my ass up every time ... most of the day had the latest public enemy CD running through my head:


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Everest Challenge

Finished this ride over the weekend. I had read about it in Steve's blog from a few years back and a friend was going this year ... what the hell let's go ... it can't be that hard!

What a incredible location. I put in a total of 4 training days for this event! (yeah it seemed unreasonable to me also). I ran around franticly trying to get better gearing the Thursday before the race. Ended up with a 34/26 --- barely enough, but it would do. Seeing as I didn't really train .... got on the bike 4 times the 2 weeks before ... I decided on a very modest pace .. just aiming to finish.

The ride is broken up over 2 days with 6 (7) major climbs. The first day starts out of bishop (really Millpond Campground - 4,425). A big storm rolled through on the first day, so the first climb was shortened and broken into two (up over Paradise to 7,000 ft, then up the Gorge(?) road to the Pines camping area. I managed to oversleep, so rode the first hour by myself until the Pros swept by. Next up Pine Creek (7,420), back down and then up to lake Sabrina (~9,200 ft). The last 3 climbs were just evil for the end of the day. Each one only about 50', but at 17% grade! I was snowed on during the last mile, then brillaint sun at the finish .... of day one ~14,000ft and 115 miles. Now stuff some food in, walk around and get ready for day two.

The second day starts out of Big Pine (3,940) with 3 big climbs. First up is Glacier Lodge (7,800 ft.) This was probably the most difficult climb of the group, (8% average grade), and just not what the body wants starting a second day! I was going incredibly slow ... started at the back, but slowly started to catch up and pass some people as I got warmed up. Back down, up Wacubo Canyon to the pass (7500') down the other sided ~500ft and return to Big Pine. My right knee started to bother me on the last bit of the climbing ... sore with some occasional shooting pain if I put too much force on it --- not looking good with another 21 miles and 6200ft of climbing left to go! Slow and steady up to ~8,000 ft (does this climb ever end) .... did I mention my modest pace ... then it started to get hard ... the last 3 miles average 10% .... found that standing up was much better on my knee, so just tried standing and going REALLY slow ... and then the finish ... what .. that's it! Incredible views from the Bristlecone Pine Forest .... warm-up a little then back to the bottom. What a fun downhill.

Thoughts to make it better
Train -- Although I have a great running base, the muscles are just a little different for biking .... 4 days was just barely adequate to survive
Gearing -- 34/26 was barely adequate --- either get a stronger knee or lower gearing
Bike - Maybe I should get something modern .. mine was 15 years old .. had down-tube shifting .. weighed in at around 23.5 lbs ... a couple on a tandem that I rode with at the end kept calling me Chrome Molly man ...
Clothing -- I was amazed at how much clothing the typical rider had on ... I was hot on almost all of the uphills, and I stripped down to the minimum (well not nude, but I was thinking about it). On the other hand it was freezing cold on some of the downhills. Bicycle shorts .... yeah ... I don't own a pair and my but muscles are still suffering from it.
Food --- I made it by on Gel and Cytomax ... just keep putting it in whether you feel like it or not!
Pace - Did I mention the modest pace?
Hot Spring -- Hit up the Saline Valley springs on the way back ... highly recommend.

206 miles .. 29,035 feet

Finished with the first part of the birthday challenge

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Challenge

My Birthday was on 9/2, but just getting this started.
Spread out over several events/days. Finishing up in late October.

Everest Challenge - Bike Ride
2 days ~ 206 miles, +29,035ft elevation gain

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim - Running
42 miles, 10,510 ft (loss and gain!)

Gym Bouldering - 400 pts in a day.

Climbing Traverse - Apes Traverse at Malibu
40 lengths ~ (high option, 40 x 5.11 for ~4,000 ft of climbing)

King Pins?? Do they still exist?? If so, serve me up 4.0

That's it?? Well seems like I should do more! But it's a good start!