Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

No real issues recovering from Cle Elum Ridge. I actually felt the best I have recovering from an ultra and if it wasn't for a planned long run next weekend, I would have felt fine going out for a long one today. Instead I headed out into the wind (luckily during a break in the rain) for a solid "speed" session. It was four miles into a 20mph wind, then four miles down wind:

Today also wrapped up a decent month of running after taking so much time off in August doing the constant recovery-taper between White River, Angel's Staircase and Cascade Crest. I did 166 miles and 30,750' of vertical gain, including three long runs of 26.2m, 24.5m and the Cle Elum Ridge 50k (plus a weekend of hiking doing 21 miles with 8,500').

Now I'll just be tracking this for the next few days...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cle Elum Ridge 50k race report

It felt nice to approach a race without a race mentality. Still getting over a back-to-school cold I picked up from the kids and carrying a knot in my lower peroneus brevis tendon (from side-stepping a descent on the Sulphide Glacier), I didn't have any expectations besides trying to have fun on a long mountain run.

In usual Candice/James fashion, with about a minute to go and standing on a forest service road, Candice said, "Just imagine there's a line here!" Surprisingly, though, I didn't see anyone go at 10k pace.

A group of 10 went out front on the first mile of road leading to the first climb, and I settled into the back of the group behind the leaders, probably in about 20th. Cle Elum is almost all climbing for the first 18 miles and descent for the last 15 (Candice measured the course the day before at 33 miles; I got 32).
Cle Elum Ridge 50k
I stayed in my place for the first 8 miles leading into the second climb, and then started to hike a little quicker. As promised, it was quite cold up on the ridge at the 13-mile aid station. I just kept moving up, one spot at a time, until coming into the 20-mile aid station in 7th place (didn't know at the time).

Splashing through the creek crossing around mile 21:
Pretty ugly face. Glenn Tachiyama photo.
And a mud puddle 20 yards further on:
Nice shot Glenn Tachiyama!
The long descent that makes up the second half of the course is really a heavily-used dirtbike trail that resembles a BMX race track but with the jumps only five feet apart. And all those little bumps in the profile? Those aren't GPS noise bumps, there really are 50 little 5-20 foot climbs. It was hard for me as I felt like I couldn't find a rhythm. I had a little bit of a low patch from miles 27 to 30 as my legs just felt weak. I got passed by two people (one of whom I passed at mile 20).

I picked it up on the last couple of miles and gained some time back.

Finished in 5:49:22 (full results).

Not a super-competitive race = 9th place overall, 20-29 age group winner.
Good to see Kevin Smythe (who graciously didn't pass me in the last quarter mile at White River) have a killer race and finish 2nd overall.

Nice finish line food, beer and live music from The Pine Hearts ended a fine late-summer (OK, OK, early-fall) afternoon. The race was fun, but the dirtbikes on course made it a little weird (they DID NOT yield as they had at Angel's Staircase) and it's sad to see the trails so torn up. Of course, runners and hikers are only one user group...

This was my third Candice-and-James event, and I've had a great time at every one; thanks you two! Thanks to all the volunteers who were out there as well.

And now, for the first time in over a year, I'm not registered for a single race.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Shuksan hike

Annual outing with stepdad Steve.
We started out at  4:40am; up on Shannon Ridge at 6am. 
Mt. Baker from upper Shannon Ridge; daylight arrives.
Perfect timing; crossing the notch as the sun rises over the Pickets.
Shuksan's Sulphide Glacier; party of six in the top left, see next photo. 
Zoomed in on the 3am party of six in the previous photo.
After cresting the large rise in the previous photo. Regular route goes up the left (west) side, but it was pretty broken up; easy route up the center, then just under the eastern side up to the pyramid base.

Not a bad lunchtime (at 9:28am) view.
Steve descending from the summit; since I don't do any technical climbing anymore I was more than happy to just chill at the base of the gully. 
Back on the Sulphide moraine.
A good day in the mountains.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mt. Webb - and a bit extra

Going up toward Radium Lake; mist and rain. 
MacDonald-Webb col, with MacDonald in the clouds.
Pano from the summit of Mount Webb. Ascending the ridge from the col was a little sketchy with 50-metre visibility. Not having done the route before, I almost turned around a few hundred feet below the summit as clouds blew in. Luckily they sort of cleared. 

No views, but still happy on the summit ~7,100'.
Sun peeks over the MacDonald-Webb col during my descent toward Radium Lake.
I'm just passing through...above Radium Lake.
Going for a little climb up the Flora Lake Trail (only went up for one hour).
Looking back at Mount Webb from the Flora Lake trail.

GPS cut out a number of times. Should be ~24 miles with a little more vertical gain.

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park map.

  • The trail up to Radium is in pretty good shape. A couple overgrown spots and some blowdown, but not bad. The logs/planks meant to keep you out of the mud are extremely slippery and way worse than just sloshing through the mud. 
  • Quite a bit of blowdown from Radium up to the talus that leads to the col. 
  • Generally easy to follow the ridge from the MacDonald-Webb col to Webb summit (definitely no problem if there is clear weather).
  • Flora Lake trail is in really good shape and is a fun grunt (for at least the first 2.5 miles). Looking forward to going back to finish that one.
Also, a big congrats to Greg for his classy finish at Wasatch 100 (moving up from 140th to 98th over the last 60 miles!). 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Okanagan Mountain

This looked like an awesome loop. And most of it was...but close to eight miles at the end is severely overgrown and very slow (read scratchy) going. The 1.4km access road is a bit bumpy, with a little scraping, but OK in a normal car.

The climb up Mountain Goat trail from the south parking lot is nice and steep; moderately technical and feels very "alpine" with a lot of exposed granite.

Looking south toward Okanagan Lake and Penticton at sunrise; about 15 minutes below Divide Lake.
From Divide Lake the descent road heading north is fast and like any old dirt road. The CN/Boulder trail heading into Wild Horse Canyon has some overgrown areas, but generally is in good shape.
CN/Boulder trail on the north side of the mountain; Peachland across the lake. 
Wild Horse Canyon has a few more overgrown areas, but it's mostly at chest/head height, and there still is a trail underneath. It's not easy going, but it isn't too difficult either.
Looking back (north) up Wild Horse Canyon. 
Coming out of Wild Horse up over a little pass I heard unmistakable crashing in the brush 20 meters to my right. A bear popped up onto a rock and just stared at me. I yelled at it quite a bit and he/she was content to just stand there and listen/watch. Not big, but not a cub. After 20 seconds I started to keep walking along the trail, while yelling, and after about 50 meters started running again. First bear since Cascade Pass last August.

Immediately after that pass where the bear was the trail opens up into a large basin (SW section of the mountain). The trail can be tough to follow in a couple spots through here and it's very slow going for the last eight or nine miles. If you're into brush hiking it might be fun, but it tired me out...if the trail could get some maintenance it would be a great loop!

My Garmin had it at 26.18 miles (not sure where the last segment went).