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Climbing Mountains
Jacob Rydman's journeys of faith and endurance  

Click to go to the Climbing Mountains blog

October 24 2011
Week of Oct 17-23

Mon, Oct 17
PM: 12.5mi (1:56), 1000' - Twin Rocks/Horseshoe Bar
Headed out from Twin Rocks just before dusk. Hit Horseshoe from TH in :54 and made the return trip in total darkness, with just my very dim headlamp. Watched my footing carefully on the tech sections and was surprised to notch a :58+ despite limited visibility. Felt a good rush while moving swiftly through the night.

Tue, Oct 18

AM/PM: Biked to (4.5mi) and from (6mi) work today. Only 500' of climbing.

Wed, Oct 19

PM: 5mi (1:00), 3432' - William Jessup University
Easy t-mill run @ 13% incline. Leg turnover felt more efficient as run progressed. + core

Thur, Oct 20

Off - I think the body is cognizant of what is upcoming on Saturday.

Fri, Oct 21

AM: 5mi (:40), ~1,000' - Pacific Union College, Angwin
Felt good, cruised around on the xc course, cheering on the men and women during the Cal-PAC Conference Preview Meet. Ran a little harder and further than I should have.

PM: 8.5mi (1:16), 1,800' - Robie/No Hands/K2
Joe and I cruised down into the confluence and up K2 (13:10), connected to Olmstead briefly before reconnecting with the 'States trail. Descended back down into the confluence and back up to Robie. A little tired after a long day.

Sat, Oct 22

AM: ~57mi (12:30), 10,000' - Squaw Valley to Michigan Bluff
Immediately after beginning our voyage at 7:15am, I knew I was in for a long day. The legs were tired and Joe seemed to be right there with me. We ran/hiked up to the Escarpment in 1hr and enjoyed the nice (snow-free) descent into Granite Chief. It was pretty obvious well into the descent that this portion of trail has been butchered by the last few years of heavy snowfall and the lack of maintenance due to the disruptive elements. Nevertheless, it was some gorgeous, often technical, and rocky single-track. Soon enough, we were running up a jeep road and then descended through a green gate where we ran through our only small snow patch of the day. The trail T'd and Joe - recalling from his WS adventure 4mo's ago - felt maybe we needed to hang a left, but as the trail began to circle us back, it just didn't feel right. Thankfully, it was a minor deviation and we went the other way which after a mellow uphill grade, took us to Lyon Ridge.

While on Lyon, we were treated to some panoramic views of the neighboring Sierra's on both sides of the ridge, while at the same time, surprised by how rocky the terrain was.  After yet another detour (some Tevis flagging took us down a road which didn't feel right so we had to backtrack), we hooked up with Red Star (thanks to some hunters who assured us we were heading in the right direction) and continued on along this beautiful stretch of trail.  However, because it was taking us a good deal longer than we had anticipated, our fluid levels were diminishing and we knew we had to get to water quick.  Along Lyon and Red Star, I couldn't help but have a new respect for Jurek's CR in 2004.  There's a fair amount of climbing through here and at least to me, the terrain doesn't seem to be the fastest (of course, I'm sure Scott's route was much more runnable due to more trail work prior).  Even Joe commented that the snow route was MUCH faster than the course we were running.  20 min faster? 30? Who knows?  I would love to see Geoff, Kilian, Nick, or Tony run this stretch in order to compare. 

Finally we got to Duncan Canyon (6hrs+!) and about a mile up stopped at a small creek to rehydrate (praise God!).  We stopped for a good 15min and made the gentle climb up and over to Little Duncan and down to Duncan Creek for a quick refill again.  Having dumped a ton of fluids back into my body, the climb up to Robinson actually felt pleasant as I was able to lock in to a comfortable rhythm.  Near Little Robinson Valley, I waited for Joe (who was working through a bit of a rough patch here) and we came into Robinson in 7hrs and 15min (minus 1hr of stops/detours).  We plopped down next to the green pump and made the mental calculations that since we were behind schedule, we would most likely be plugging through El Dorado Canyon in the dark.  I'm not gonna lie, hitching a ride back to Michigan Bluff did sound somewhat appealing, but I knew that these next 17 or so miles of almost all downhill would be a positive change for us.  So after a 10min stop, we decided to venture out straight to N43 (bypassing Little Bald Mt trail) in order to save time and hopefully make up some time.  We hiked the gradual uphill grade out of Robinson and once the road shot downhill, our legs seemed to respond immediately.  We ran the next 4mi's down N43 in 29:55 (even throwing in a sub-7min mile in the process) and it felt good to bomb these downs.  We kept this trend through Miller's Defeat and on the hard-packed trail leading up to Dusty Corners.

Just past Dusty, we decided to skip Pucker Point to continue to save time (I know, we missed out on some great single-track) and moved along on down the road toward Last Chance.  We continued at what felt like sub 8's through Last Chance and realized that - including the time it took us to hike out of Robinson - we had just covered the last 13 miles or so in 1:30.  After a short bathroom break at the lip of Deadwood Cyn, we made a quick descent to swinging bridge and refilled in the creek just past the bridge. 

At this point, I didn't see my legs being able to do much running up Devil's Thumb so we set into a consistent hike.  Due to some recent run-off, the trail was pretty beat up.  Further up the climb I ran a little bit, but my running cadence and Joe's powerful hiking cadence seemed to be the same pace.  After cresting the Thumb, I was impressed at Joe's ability to run the flats and downs so well.  We stopped at the green pump to make one last refill before descending into El Dorado Canyon.  To help pass time and spice things up a bit, Joe had the great idea to start playing Seinfeld trivia (as we are both big fans).  I must say, Joe knows his Seinfeld pretty darn well.  Toward the bottom of El Dorado, the sun finally disappeared for the day and it was headlamp time for the remaining 3-ish miles.  We hiked up Michigan and I started to get a bit more loopy.  Joe suggested pounding the remaining water I had because in reality, I hadn't been drinking as much as I should.  We both realized that Joe had consumed almost double what I had in liquids for the day.  Also, I had only taken 2.5 S Caps on the day.  About a 1/4mi from the top of the climb, my body seemed to come back around and we ran the remaining stretch into Michigan Bluff, done.  So, 12hrs 30min for the day.  Excluding Robinson to swinging bridge, it was a grind all day.  Its runs that are more challenging than you expected that you hope pay dividends down the road.  Joe was a great running partner.  We both seemed to be there when the other needed it and I feel, that's what this sport is really all about.  Community and adventure, working together, and being experienced to the fullest, in the best of times and in the worst of times.  Man, I love to run, thank you God for this gift to enjoy and for those I'm privileged to enjoy it with. 

Sun, Oct 23

PM: 3.75mi (31:35) - Springview
After a granny-like start, the legs began to feel better and better.  No noticeable soreness, just general bodily fatigue.  Great easy run with Sara. 

Miles - 92

Time - 17hrs 53min

Vertical - 17, 232'

Well, I've finally run the entire Western States course having yet to actually partake in the event.  There's still some portions I'd like to check out.  For example, Poppy trail down by French Meadows Res. and the Cavanaugh Ridge route through Deep Canyon.  After Saturdays run though, I can say with certainty, the Western States spirit is alive and well.  I hope I get my chance to take part this summer and feed and further fan the flame of the WS spirit.  And, if I'm lucky, hope to finish and do so in a position where I can come back year after year to do it all over again.  It was Jim King who first gave me a glimpse of this unquenchable WS spirit, and since, it has been a variety of important folks and events which have only further spread it. 


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