Monday, June 27, 2011

14,048 feet above sea level

Here we are in Silverton, Colorado enjoying sunshine, amazing trails, unbelievable scenery, and great company (the kind of company that you can discuss running for 7 hours straight).  If you didn't read my previous posts, then I'll fill you in, I'm in Colorado to crew and pace James for Hardrock 100 mile endurance race.  And to have fun of course!  We are here a few weeks early to acclimate to the 9,000-14,000 feet elevations that the course will traverse.  Silverton is at 9,000-something feet and we've been sleeping at 10,000+ feet, while hiking/running the course with the course marking people and other tag along runners.

I knew that this was supposed to be a tough course, but I didn't quite realize how tough until we joined a group of runners and course markers on a 7-8 mile section that climbed Grants Swamp Pass (12,600 feet). There was a lot of snow, much of it over very steep portions of trail.  We had to kick foot holes in the snow for safety and on one section we placed stones over the trail to  help runners traverse an especially deep section of snow that may not melt in time for the race.

The last climb up to Grants Swamp Pass was straight up and I was very thankful that the Frenchman in the group had graciously given me his hiking poles for that section.  I have never had the need or seen the benefit o using poles for ultras until yesterday, but as soon as the clock hits 9am I am going to the local outdoor store and getting some for today's run/hike up Handies Pass (14,048 feet).  There's supposed to be a lot of snow on that section.

Keep tuned for more updates!

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