"Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense."
- David Blaikie

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Telluride to Mendota Peak Excursion

Toaday was my first day setting foot on the Hardrock course! Of course I took pictures, videos, and collected a few momentos... I've been building this race up in my mind for 10 years now and it's just a dream to actually be here in the San Juan's. Every time I look out at the mountains I pinch myself and am reminded of the good fortune to have the means to be here and the support from my family to live out this life dream. Okay, enough with the mushy...

Started out in Telluride yesterday under partly cloudy skies with a plan to head up to the Governor Basin area. This is
the reverse direction the course takes this year and following the course description backwards (at altitude) kinda hurt my head, especially toward the top. Having skipped boyscouts as a kid, it was not until last weekend at San Juan Solstice that I learned the real virtues of being PREPARED! For this excursion I packed a day pack with rain pants, gloves, rain coat, rain hat, an extra layer and lots of fluids. The pack was a little heavier than I like to travel, but good training if nothing else! On the way up to Mendota I had the thought of putting some more rocks in my pack for a real workout, but the thought quickly passed. Day 4 at altitude and I'm still feeling it on the climbs!

I spent a lot more time looking at the map and the course description than I thought I would. I picked my way through what seemed like a few back yards in Telluride and then quickly got up to Tomboy Rd. At the Jud Wiebe trail intersection I was not sure whether to continue on the forest road or head off on some singletrack, but guessed right and stayed on the road. There was another split in the forest road higher up that was a little more of a puzzler, but again I guessed right, finally working my way up beneath Mendota Peak and Sophia Ridge. At this point I noticed some very dark clouds heading my way so I smugly changed from shorts and t-shirt into my rain gear and then took a couple short videos...

First video is 360 degrees of Mendota Peak, Sophia Ridger, Greenback Mountain, etc.

The next video is looking South back toward Telluride and the oncoming rain.

I holed up during the heavy rains in this old mine entrance. At least, I think that's what it is... from the map it looks like this was Smuggler's Mine, but not 100% sure. It was a nice hideout! After about 20 minutes the heavy rains and lightening passed by and I made my descent back into Telluride through light rains.

That's 2/3 excursions in the San Juans where I've encountered unexpected weather. I've either got to get better at tuning into the weather forecasting in this area or get used to the idea of running with a day pack.

1 comment:

Darin Swanson said...

My head has been hurting reading the course description here at sea level! ;-)

10 days until I try it at altitude...