Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The benefits of signing up for an early season Ironman are endless, but the most important one to me is the fact that when Summer rolls by, the only thing I see on my schedule is: PLAYTIME.  Well, not really, but it sorta translates to that.  

This past weekend, we decided to head up to the mountains since we had family coming from out of town to the 16th Annual Colorado Brewers Rendezvous in Salida, CO.  Simply said: a beer fest.  Given our very adventurous nature, we couldn't just drive to drink beer so we needed to spice up our weekend just a tad.  

Salida Beer Fest...

Our adventure of choice: Summit two 14,000ft mountains
Our challenge of choice: Treat is as a trail run.  Travel fast, travel light. 

We left Boulder close to 8pm on Friday night after the Boulder Tri Club Happy Hour.  Got to the trailhead at 11pm, set camp and went straight to bed.  The next morning we woke up at 5:15am, had some breakfast (Krispy Kreme deliciousness), got ready and hit the trail at 6am.  

For some reason, I felt pretty excited about the idea of running up a mountain.  The first half a mile was amazing, a packed trail and not too rocky, pretty easy to run on, but it quickly got rocky... 

Rocky trail... 

We still jogged quite a bit and started passing many groups that had started before us.  I had never really been the fast one on the mountain so it felt pretty cool.  I was getting pumped.  We hit the treeline fairly fast where roughly 5 different groups were taking a break.  Chuck even asked a lady at what time they had started and she said: "a little before 5:00".  Whoa.  We had gained a little over an hour on them.  Well, I guess they were going REALLY slow anyway.  

Starting to get some EPIC views right above treeline... and hoping the weather holds. 

As we started heading up from treeline, you could see the trail all the way to the saddle between a high 13,000+ ft. mountain and Mt. Shavano... it ran along the southeast slope of Mt. Shavano and it just looked fun to run on.  It was still a little rocky in a few spots so we just had to be careful, but we stuck to the run/walk strategy that has worked for me in the past for long trail runs.  

The clouds were parting as we were reaching the saddle... 

We reached the saddle after a last steep section where we passed a couple more groups.  From there, you could see the summit of Mt. Shavano.  We jogged to the base of the summit from where we had to walk up since it got a little steeper and maybe a little more technical although it was not too hard.  At 8:20am we reached the summit of Mt. Shavano. My tenth 14er.  

#10 - Summit of Mt. Shavano - 14,229ft. 

We took a short break and kept going.  My fingers were SO swollen and I was feeling like my balance was a little off.  It may have been because we went up a little too fast, but I didn't have a headache or felt disoriented at all, so we kept going.  To get to Mt. Tabeguache you need to descend from the summit of Shavano roughly 1000ft and then go back up.  I was careful coming down but managed to go up fairly fast.  We reached the summit of Mt. Tabeguache in 50 minutes.  

Chuck, Levi and myself at the summit of Mt. Tabeguache with Mt. Shavano in the background. 
#11 - Summit of Mt. Tabeguache - 14,155ft (Although it was not July 4)

It took us 39 minutes to return to the summit of Mt. Shavano.  where now LOTS of people were sitting at.  Some people had planned on continuing on to Tab while some others called it a day and turned back from there... which is a bummer, mostly cause you have to summit Shavano to get to Tab, so if you are there, you may as well.  But maybe smart on a day like this, since the clouds were moving fast and some gnarly looking clouds were shaping up. 

Chuck and I started heading down the mountain fast... and to our surprise, MANY people were still coming up. Once we got back on the trail on the saddle we started running and didn't look back.  I found myself blasting music on my iPod, running as fast as I could, and smiling... I could actually see how my smile was contagious since people were smiling as they saw me coming down.  That was SUPER fun.  

We hit the treeline and we started seeing flashes in the sky and hearing LOUD thunder.  We were glad we were in a "safe" area, but worried about those still up on the ridge.  Mostly those still working on going up.  Below treeline, we picked it up and were flying down the mountain.  Still, so so fun.  We were back at the car by 11:45am and were ready to go get some beer. 

Having fun running down the hill!  :) 

We started drinking beer shortly after 1pm only to realize that I don't LOVE beer.  Honestly, I'd rather have some wine or something else.  I got to try a few DELICIOUS sour beers which were BY FAR my favorites.  The brewery is called Three Barrel Brewing Co. located in Del Norte, CO.  A place I didn't even know existed, but apparently it's a town somewhere along highway 160 on the way to the Continental Divide, Wolf Creek Pass, Pagosa Springs and Durango.  It is one of Colorado's smallest microbreweries.  

The Cirtus sour beer they have is AMAZING! 

On Sunday, we went to Methodist Mountain just a few blocks away from downtown Salida and hit some AMAZING trails on our mountain bikes.  My legs were obviously trashed from the previous day's run down the mountain, but they held their ground and had me feeling fairly confident the second part of the ride although today, two days later... I'm still as sore as I could get.  Still, I wish I could re-do this weekend since it was pretty epic.  That is... without mentioning that it was our (Chuck and I) third year anniversary.  Whoa. Time does fly.  

Kevin, Chuck and I at Methodist Mointain in Salida, CO

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