Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Colorado High Point

Western trip

I’d been planning this trip for about 8 months and was excited to be finally heading out to Colorado.  The plan was to hit the highest point in CO, OK, KS, and NE and also visit a few tri-state points (places where three states meet) and also get a couple of county high points.  Long-time teammate Eric Morse met me at Manchester airport and we headed out to Denver.  It made for a long day as both of us had been up at 4am and didn’t get to our hotel in Denver until after midnight Eastern Time).

After a much too short night we were up at 4:30 am and out on the road to Leadville by 5am.  Hit the trail by 7:50am. 
Eric and I traded the lead every 20 minutes (we’d stop to drink, then swap the lead) as we slowly jogged our way up the mountain.  The trailhead was at 10,000’ so we were definitely feeling the altitude; both of us had been at sea level less than 24 hours earlier.  We reached the tree line and it got a bit hotter after that with no shade.  The trail also got a lot steeper and we mixed running with very fast walking from here to the summit.  For the most part it was very run-able and both of us had no trouble.  I was worried about my calf more than the altitude and neither seemed to be a bother.  A few minutes from the top we saw a guy running down and I yelled out “how fast did you get to the top”.  He stopped and of all people it was Bob Sweeney!  I was on a US 100km team with Bob about 10 years ago.  We’d done a few Ultra’s together but I hadn’t seen him since he raced Mt Washington about 5 years ago.

Bob decided to run back up to the top with us and joined us for the run down.  Apparently we’d missed him at the trail head by about 15 minutes (he reached the top in 1:42 and we were 1:51).  We spent less than 10 minutes on the summit taking some pictures and then headed down.

I swear it was easier going up; the real steep sections were very tricky.  Luckily there weren’t many people on the trail so we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.  We were back at the trailhead in 1:18 for a total time of 3:18 for the 10 mile trek with about 4,500’ of climb/descent. 
Bob headed home and we headed south for Raton, NM.  Once in Raton we headed out for a 33 minute run to get the 366 miles of driving/sitting in the car out of our legs.


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