Leadville: Week 1
My first week in Leadville ended with a surprise — snow. It was Sunday, June 8th, and the ground was covered with a fresh coat of snow. Fortunately, the previous four days had warm temperatures and I managed four outings on the trails.
4 running days, 35 miles, 10:34 hours, and 6,738 ft. of climbing
My goal for Week 1 was to become acclimatized to Leadville’s 10,200 ft. elevation, so on my first outing I tackled one of the race’s toughest climbs, the route from the Hatchery up Powerline towards Sugarloaf Pass. The next day, I wanted to run on the trails around Turquoise Lake starting at May Queen, but the road was closed, so ended up doing a short run along the north shore of the lake from the dam. Outing number three was a hike up Mt. Elbert, but a trail covered in deep snow made us turn around near the 12,000 ft. point. Of course, just before we started to descend, we saw Anton and Joe fly down the mountain that is their stomping ground.
Saturday, we hiked up and down the south-side of Hope Pass to the highest point of the race. Starting a couple of miles from the Sheep Gulch trail head and climbing almost 3 miles of trails, with over 2,500 ft. of vertical, it was a rewarding effort to reach the summit at 12,600 ft. Now, I’ve been to the top of Hope Pass twice before, and I know I will see it again many times before race day, but I am certain every single time its beauty will take my breath away and make me want to stay in that spot, just to take in the views. I am pretty sure, however, that on race day we won’t be taking any off-trail routes over patches of snow that at times had me on all fours.
Besides these solid first outings, I’ve been practicing yoga everyday and experimenting with nutrition. On the hike up Hope Pass, which took just over 3 hours start to finish, I brought with me some gels, salt, 3 bottles of water, a Clif bar, and 2 home-made rice and meat mixes. Yes, rice and meat. In those 3 hours, I drank all the water, had 1 salt tablet, and devoured the rice and meat mixes. I also really enjoyed cooking dinner with my friends and sharing Pisco cocktails. And I can finally say that I have an official crew and pacers for the race, all who have lots of experience on the Leadville course. Now, to get ready for next week’s challenge: The Leadville Marathon.
68 days until the Leadville Trail 100M.