Really stupid...

If an idea is good, it's on the verge of being stupid. ~ Michel Gondry

I have always had this theory… get a group of people in a room, throw out a bunch of ideas and at the end of the night, look at your list to find the most idiotic and that's the one you should do.

This blog was spawned from one very stupid idea - run the Leadville 100. I gave that a shot in the summer of '07 - completed 73 miles - and survived. The blog lives on...

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Monday, May 28, 2007

The front side of fifty...

We chased our pleasures here, dug our treasures there. ~ The Doors

Days 48 and 49 were spectacular. Yesterday Luke and I started early and we were riding in to the trailhead by 6:15. It was a bit cooler with hellacious winds buffeting us from the west. We made quick time to the trail and quickly found ourselves bushwhacking through the forest. The Audubon Trail is heavily traveled in the Summer but gets less frequent activity in the early Spring. Once we made treeline, however, we were able to move more quickly across the tundra.

The wind howled all around us, coming in bursts that threatened to topple us with virtually every step. We got some respite while trudging through a patch of high-altitude willows and managed to make it through this somewhat soggy terrain relatively unscathed. If we were a few minutes later, I am sure things would have been different as the islands of tundra were still a bit firm. Which was nice.

Our goal was to ski this skinny box canyon but once we reached the top, we determined this was not the best option as we would have had to downclimb into the pitch and the run-out was grim. The consequences of a fall would have been pretty high so we opted to ski an exposed snowfield from which we could traverse over into another very cool coulior. We booted out of the bottom of this to the top of the second pitch we skied yesterday for a sweet link-up. Then we dropped back to the bikes for a quick spin back to the cars for a total of about 4:45 hours. A great day of Spring skiing.

Today was more of the same: Up at 4:45, on the bikes by 6:15, hiking by 6:45 and skiing by 9ish. We didn't get a hard freeze last night so we spend a good portion of the approach postholing. If you have never experienced this phenomenon, I recommend avoiding it. Not a ton of fun. It is amazing how quickly conditions can change in the high-country.

On the way up we came across two ptarmigans foraging for food way above treeline. (See if you can find them in the image to the right.) The male was molting, shedding his winter white for his summer camouflage. He stayed very close to his special lady who was already sporting plumage and was difficult to spot, even when you knew where to look. They softly cooed at one another as they picked around the tundra for seeds and other goodies.

We skied a very spicey line on the North side of Pawnee Ridge that was a real challenge. Very tight entry to some fairly scrappy, tight and steep terrain. It opened up at the bottom where I was finally able to make some decent turns. Luke and Pete were great company once again and we met up with Ben and Dan for some tasty post-ski food at Nederland's Kathmandu Restaurant. Dan raced the Bolder Boulder this morning and has been helping me with Leadville strategy with his brother Ben. Both have run (and completed) the event and are a lot faster than I ever hope to be. It was good to get some much-needed advice for the race and training.

Tomorrow, I actually plan to take the day off. My ankle is still bugging me a bit and so I will probably take it easy for a few days to give it some much-needed rest.

Check out Luke's photos of Audobon and Pawnee Ridge.


Edit: And here are some more shots from Pawnee Ridge.

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