Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lookout Mountain Triathlon

It was a perfect day for racing up at the country club dahlink.  Not too hot, plenty of cloud cover and breeze but enough sun peeking through here and there to make it cheery.

The white dot up near the top of the mountain in the photo is the house from Woody Allen's 'Sleeper'.  One of the other houses from 'Sleeper' is in my neighborhood.  Looks like a giant mushroom and I have pictures but it would be quicker for me to walk the mile over to the house and take a new picture than to find the picture I already have.  My photos are out of control and unless I can remember roughly what date I took the photo I have no chance.  I think a crazy dog lady with a doggy boutique on the downtown mall owns the Mushroom House but don't quote me on that.

Uh yeah, triathlon report.  This race was meant to be a hard training day for me.  I tapered a little for it but not like I would for an 'A' race.  I did the race 2 years ago and I was hoping to do better than last time but I hadn't been feeling so great in the days leading up to the race so I wasn't sure how realistic improvements in times would be, especially for the run.  June was supposed to be about the run but instead turned out to be more about the bike.  I'd had a cramp during a run on Tuesday that became worse during Wednesday's run and Thursday, well I couldn't run at all.  But I did some tweaking of my diet and mental mojo stuff and felt good when I woke up race morning.

Swim - 525 yards

The swim is a pool swim which I've only ever done once before and at this particular race (not counting Glenwood Springs which is in a pool but open water format, no lane lines).  Last time I ended up leading the lane which did not work out so well so this time I insisted on going last in the lane.  This way I wouldn't have to lose time stopping to let anyone pass me and I could hopefully draft.  Before we start the swim we get an explanation about the Whapper who sits at the end of the lane, counts your laps and whaps you on the head with a stick with a flap on the end of it when you're on your last lap.  You exit the pool at the opposite end from where you get in so he whaps you on the head, you swim to the end of the pool and get out.  We all have a good laugh about the Whapper.  Our Whapper looks like he takes his job very seriously.

The race starts and I'm surprised by the amount of adrenaline I have going on.  On open water swims I'll start off slowly then build up speed but this morning I take off like Strummer on a Steeplechase course.  I end up passing one person after a couple hundred yards and I gain on the other two but never catch them.  Despite the Whapper I'm counting laps myself so I know where I am and how much I have to go but when it seems like I'm at my last lap I don't feel the whap on my head.  Now the smart thing to do would have been to stop and look up at him or to check at the other end of the pool to see if the others ahead of me had gotten out but I was so much in my zone I kept going and it wasn't until I didn't see the other coming back up the pool that I realized I'd done an extra 50 yards.  Despite what felt like a fast swim my time was 10:25, 25 seconds faster than 2 years ago but this means I did the race distance in about 9:30-9:35, a big improvement.  Nonetheless, I'm irritated that I've lost 45-50 seconds on a stupid error.  I saw the Whapper get out of his chair when I passed by on my extra lap so I figure maybe he was telling a race official and they'd adjust my time.  And even if he didn't, it's not like 45-50 seconds is going to make all that much difference.  Hint:  this is called foreshadowing.

Bike:  10 miles advertised, 10.37 by cyclometer, 10.61 by gmaps pedometer

The bike is on roads and this year the course is very well marked even warning us of turns several hundred yards before we get to them.  It's a very fun, scenic course, hilly in places but none of the hills drag on for too long.  You eventually wind your way up Lookout Mountain and then whee! back down again.  I had a max. speed of 40.3 mph so it gives you an idea of how steep the hills are.  The hills felt much easier this year and it seemed like I was faster/braver on the downhills and that I was pushing to the limit on the uphills.  Still I manage a time of 48:41, 10 seconds slower than last year.  Sigh.  Still working on how to translate my new strength into speed.

Run:  3.1 miles

The run is on dirt roads and trails with a little bit of pavement here and there.  It's also very hilly, great training for my upcoming Xterras.  Thankfully the cramp doesn't bother me too much and when I feel it coming up I do some mental stuff and send it away so it doesn't effect my race.  I feel much better on the run this year as well but part of it could be familiarity with the course.  I don't remember it exactly but I remember the significant hills and the hill near the finish line so I have a bit of a mental edge.  There's a long grind up a hill through a subdivision and this year it didn't seem nearly so long then whee! down the hill again.  I seem to remember my knee giving me problems last time and I had to be careful on the downhill but this year my knee is fine and I take full advantage of the downhills going as fast as my lungs will let me.  Whee fun.  It's nice and cool for the run this year, a perfect day for racing.  I pick up the pace a bit at the finish but there's no one around to race so it's up to me to push myself to the line.

My run time is 35:10, a full 4 minutes 35 seconds faster than last time and 1:29/mile faster pace.  I'm thrilled with this since the run is my biggest weakness at the moment.

The food this year is not nearly as awesome as last time, no steamed spinach or grilled mushrooms or other veggies but it's still pretty good stuff from the country club, cheesy scrambled eggs and hash browns and tortillas, lots of fresh fruit.  Way better than most post race grub.

I check the results and mine aren't up yet but looking at my watch and doing some math I realized that I'm darn near a podium spot if they subtract the time for my extra credit swim.  I ask one of the people running the race and she says no, sorry, it's up to you to count your laps, the Whapper is just there to make sure you do them all.  Someone else already approached her with the same problem and she told him there's nothing they can do.  Part of me understands but part of me is irked.  If they don't tell me I'm done, how do I know for sure?  It's so easy to miss 50 yards when you're counting 525 (21 laps).  And it's not often I have a shot at the podium.  Pretty much almost never.  Last time I did the race I came in 11/21 and 20 minutes away from the podium.

I sit down in the shade on some rocks to have my breakfast and a woman comes over with hers and asks if she can share the rocks next to me.  We get to chatting and she's going on about what a beautiful day and how lucky we are to be racing and of course I agree.  She's in the 55-60 age group and has been racing for 30 years.  Then she tells me she has breast cancer and she's so happy for every race she has and any sting I was still feeling over the podium immediately leaves.  I see she's wearing a pink survivor's bracelet and she mentions doing a tri for the cure thing this summer and she'll be in the survivor's wave so I'm happy she's doing well now though she is still taking drugs that effect her ability to train and race.  Again, I'm not feeling so bad about the very minor health issues I was having during the week.   We chat for a bit and she's really funny, swearing like a sailor which makes me laugh.  She asks me if I'm a Pro which also makes me laugh.  She also asks me if I have a shot at an age group award and I tell her about my genius extra credit swim.  She's more indignant than I am that they won't do anything about it.

When they post my time it's 45 seconds slower than my watch time which is puzzling but puts me a full minute behind 4th place (1st place in my age group also placed 1st overall of the women and most races don't allow you to double dip so the podium for my age group shifts down a slot).  Pro-rating my swim pace and subtracting the extra time puts me 5 seconds out of the placements.  I'm almost thankful for my swim mistake because 5 seconds off the podium is even more frustrating.  Except that how cool to be so close to the placements?  Last time I was middle of my age group so I'm happy enough to be so close.  If only I could be so close in my Xterra races.  In all a great day of racing and a great day to be alive.

Final Stats

525 yard swim:  9:31 mins. pro-rated, 1:49/100 yards pace (10:25 for 575 yards), (10:00 mins.,
                            1:54/100 yards in 2011)

                            86/206 overall (men and women) (72/257 overall in 2011)
                            2/14 age group

Dash from pool to transition:     46 sec. (37 sec. in 2011)

T1:  1:10  (1:26 in 2011)

        2/14 age group

Bike:  10 miles advertised, 10.37 by cyclometer, 10.61 by gmaps pedometer

48:41 mins.  (48:31, 12.4 mph in 2011),

129/206 overall (men and women)
9/14 age group
(150/257 overall in 2011)

T2:  1:04  (1:12 in 2011)
        1/14 in age group, good to be 1st at something I guess   

3.1 mile Run:

35:10 mins., 11:21 min/mile
(39:45, 12:50 min./mile in 2011)

147/206 overall (men and women)
9/14 age group
(207/257 overall in 2011)


1:37:13 hours
(1:41:29 in 2011)

127/206 overall, 50/113 women, 5/14 age group
(152/257 overall, 79/157 women, 11/21 age group in 2011)

Overall an improvement of 4 minutes, 16 seconds, not too bad especially considering I didn't do a full blown taper and was using the race for training.  A big improvement in my run, very thrilled with this.  Gives me motivation to work on my run in the next month.  More on that later.  Next race is Xterra Indian Peaks in 4 weeks.  Already chomping at the bit.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fire in the Hole - USDAA Black Forest

Yes I went to a trial in Black Forest last weekend, site of the latest and most awful fire of the season.  Maybe.  There's one burning in the southwest-ish part of the state that they're not even trying to contain because it's so out of hand.  But so far I don't think it's burned any structures or killed anyone.  Unlike Black Forest which burned over 500 houses and killed 2 people.  Ironically it started right around the area that I pulled off the road last year to take a picture of the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

I've always loved Black Forest, I have a post about it and pictures here.  I think I got my first title at a NADAC trial in Black Forest back in the days of Cody.  The fire broke out a street or two away from the park so I was sure it would be toast but word on the street is that the grassy part of the park and the structures are o.k. but the trees are black.  Black Forest is a very beautiful, spooky, magical place but also very scary for the fire danger.  Lots of tall spindly trees packed tightly together and houses built right up against them.  I could see the place was a tinderbox from the first time I drove through there and though I love the area it's always put me a little on edge.

Photo from 2010

Some of the newer neighborhoods were planned with fire mitigation in mind and supposedly according the firefighters the fire behaved much better in those areas.  But there are a surprising number of people who don't/won't do fire mitigation.  Jonny works with someone who moved out of the area because his neighbors flat out refused to do any mitigation.  Mitigation doesn't help 100% of the time but it does in many instances and is better than doing nothing.  Anyway.

The trial was not at the park this year but rather in an arena that was under threat from the fire and in an evacuation area during the height of the fire but survived and was open again by the trial weekend.  But the fire was still smoldering in some parts of Black Forest and some roads were still shut so I had to do some detective work to try to figure out how to get to the trial.  Thankfully it turned out that the most efficient route had roads that were all open.  Still I was not looking forward to driving through the burn area.  So upsetting to see fire devastation.  But also thankfully I only had to drove through about a mile or so of burn scar and it wasn't bad compared to what the worst areas suffered.  Phew.

There was smoke at the trial site from other fires burning in the area but it wasn't horrible.  Air quality started out poor then improved on Friday.  Saturday was the reverse and by Saturday afternoon I was having sneezing fits when I went outside.  Thankfully the trial was small and I was done at 3:00 on Friday and 1:00 on Saturday.  I drove home on Friday to avoid spending the night in the smoke.  Boulder had a couple few hazy days during the height of the Black Forest fire but nothing really terrible and I was still able to run and ride my bike.

To add to the drama we had some excitement on Friday afternoon.  Right before Strummer and I stepped into the ring for his Jumpers run there was a small pop/explosion and flames from an overhead light in the arena.  I left the ring and went to grab my bag with phone/wallet and was ready to flee the building.  Many people were like me, very on edge about it, but others didn't seem all that concerned.  The arena manager shut down the lights and stood looking at the flames for a while.  Smoke started collecting in the roof.  Finally it seemed like the flames died down then there was another loud pop and more flames.  It looked like they'd died down again and the judge told me I could run.  I figured I'd be out of there in 20 seconds or so and it seemed safe enough so we started our run.  About a third of the way through right in the middle of a pinwheel the manager turned on a bunch of big industrial fans that were lining the walls of the building.  Poor Strummer, he's so scared of loud noises.  He reacted to it but I told him he was o.k. and he kept going, finished up his run with a Q and 1st place.  And it was one of the two Q's we needed to get out of Advanced.  I left the ring, grabbed my bag to leave and noticed there were still flames going in the light fixture and more smoke collecting.  Not sure why no one called the fire department, plenty of fire trucks in the area but the arena was still standing the next morning and the light fixture was gone so all ended well.

Strummer also got the Advanced Pairs Q he needed and now we're finally done with Advanced and on to Masters in everything.  Very happy about that, was the one thing I was hoping to get out of this trial.  We also had 2 fun runs in Masters Standard, both spoiled by naughty teeters.  I've got Saturday's run on tape.  Sheesh it was noisy in that arena for such a small entry.  Was hard to find music to drown out the barking.

Masters Standard

  USDAA 2013 06 MASTERS STANDARD from colliebrains on Vimeo.

I held him up a little after his naughty teeter and caused a refusal but those were our only faults.  Not many Q's on this course, maybe one or two, and lots of E's.  The opening caused a lot of the E's with dogs taking the #16 off course jump after #3 or missing the weave entry.  Lots of folks led out to jump #3 and tried pushing to the weaves which caused  knocked bars, broken tires, missed weave entries.  A few people pulled it off though and it was nice when it worked.  Many people put a front cross in between the #8 A-frame and #9 tunnel which I couldn't quite figure out.  This sent some dogs to the wrong end of #9.  A pull worked fine for me.  Seemed like the #13 jump came down a lot and some problems for people with the #13-#16 sequence.  Most people did a rear on the flat between #15 and #16 and ended up missing #16 or getting a back jump or getting bars down.  I did a front there and it wasn't pretty because I was late but we got the job done.  I don't know if anyone else with a big dog did a front, maybe one or two other people.

I had a blast running Masters Challenge Standard though it wasn't pretty.  Our first effort at a course like that at a trial, can't wait for more opportunities.  I have video but it will only make your head hurt so I'll spare you.

Overall a very fun, well run trial despite the challenges of the fire.  Some people on the trial committee lost their homes so it was a trying, emotional weekend for many people involved.  So many people happy enough for the opportunity to be able to run and have fun with their dogs, the rest seemed trivial.  One of my favorite judges as well, fun courses, easy going atmosphere, worth the 1 3/4 hour drive even if it did take 2 1/2 hours to come home in Denver rush hour traffic on Friday.

I've been somewhat absent from the internets the past few weeks.  Because it's summer and nice out and I'm out playing and training and what not and the blog, Facebook, etc. get kicked to the curb.  But I will make something of an effort to keep up with race reports, trial reports, photos, etc.  I have a sprint triathlon up Lookout Mountain this weekend that's mostly for practice.  The bike is on the road but there are some good hills and the run is on dirt roads and trails and it's super steep so it's good practice for my upcoming Xterras.

Trial Stats

Advanced Gamblers Q, 2nd place

Advanced Jumpers  Q, 1st place

Advanced Pairs Q, 2nd place

Titles:  AAD
Dogwalks:  2/4 (50%) 

A-frames:  5/5 (100%)

Weave entries:  4/5 (80%)   no pop outs

Knocked bars:  2 or 3, all were obvious handling errors

Teeters:  3/5 (60%) Ugh, not sure what was going on with the teeters this trial

Table: 1/1 (100%) fast, perfect table, I led out to next obstacle

Off courses:  3 in Masters Challenge

No broken start lines.  1 refusal in Masters Standard, probably a few in Masters Challenge.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Girls Night Out/Happy Hour Boulder Style

A magical night last night out on Community Ditch - Springbrook trails.

I decided to resurrect our summer Girls Night bike rides for the season partly because they're fun and partly because I tend to push myself more when I'm trying to keep up with people and I'm working on ways to improve my speed.  Also working from home can get a bit isolating and I have another friend in the same boat so we try to arrange little social activities here and there.  We have boys on our rides sometimes, we don't care if someone has boy parts as long as they're o.k. with our jabbering and occasional stops for moments of whimsy and photos and Indian food afterwards.

Because life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

And sometimes it's good to stop and smell the flowers

We had a bit of drama before we even started the ride.  I arrived in the parking lot to find one of my friend still sitting in her car, bike hanging out the rear of her hatch and a ski pole on the ground.  When she finally got out of the car she showed me a big hole in her head and blood all over her bike.  The hydraulics on her hatch are broken so she uses a ski pole to prop open the hatch door and this is not a practical set up for removing a bike.  The door fell on her head and cut big hole, blood gushing everywhere.  She hadn't lost consciousness but was shaken up and decided to forgo the ride.  Thankfully that was the only bloodshed for the evening.

It was a short but sweet ride, just over an hour and we had the normally busy trails almost to ourselves.  I'd had a good ass whuppin' at a Jane masters workout earlier in the day so I was happy for a shorter ride.  I was able to keep up and even get ahead in some places.  Usually I'm bringing up the rear.  Maybe I am getting a wee bit faster.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Venues - What Are They Good For?

I know, we're supposed to be talking about how to improve agility organizations so in the spirit of staying on topic I'll give my few brief suggestions at the end of the post.  But I'd much rather discuss whether we even need these organizations so I'll start with that.

How great would it be if market forces, ie the needs and wants of competitors, determined jump height cut-offs, equipment safety, course design, etc.?  Why should an individual or a board made up of people who may not even be competing on a regular basis decide what's best for our dogs?  Why should we have to have a discussion about it, cajole the sanctioning organizations, wait and wait and wait for them to maybe someday respond with changes that might be what we want?  What if there were agility trials put on by professional companies and our current regular agility clubs that weren't sanctioned by anyone, no titles to worry about, it's only about what happens on the day?  I suppose I look at recreational sport a bit differently than many agility competitors because I come from the running/triathlon world where the majority of competitors don't expect or receive awards.  They race for the love of racing, maybe competing against a few regular rivals in their age group but mostly racing against themselves and the course.  Very few people care what group sanctions a race and many races are unsanctioned.  Some of these unsanctioned races are a series put on by the race company.  They offer races throughout the season that are part of a series and you can accumulate points towards being the series 'winner' for those who like that format.  Or you can enter a single event and challenge yourself on the day.

I know some of you aren't liking the sound of this because you like titles and I don't want to turn this post into a discussion of the value/harm of titles because that's a post in itself.  But I do think some people get 'title fever' and run their dogs in unsafe conditions, when they're injured, long after they should be retired, etc.  And I think agility would be more exciting, people would take more chances with their handling and be more open to more challenging courses if the run didn't 'count' for anything beyond the competition on the day.  Wouldn't it be great to drive home from a trial and be happy about your 'one bar down but otherwise breathtaking third place run' rather than stewing over missing the Q you need for that Jumpers title?

Clubs could offer cheaper prices for runs and/or hire workers to take some of the load off of club members because they wouldn't have to funnel money to the sanctioning organization .  And commercial operations could step in, giving a break to the long suffering club volunteers who do the bulk of the work trial after trial.  This shift is happening in Boulder right now in the cycling world where entries have become so large that club members, who like in the agility world are volunteers with regular day jobs, can no longer handle the size of the races.  There's a commercial operation that's stepped in that puts on races that are better organized and cheaper than the races the clubs offer and they can accommodate way more people.  They offer both sanctioned and unsanctioned races and in my mind everybody wins as long as they continue to offer a good quality race for the money.

Without the limiting rules of a sanctioning organization there's a lot more flexibility for trials.  You could offer any mixture of types and levels of games and classes, make up your own games, have an International style Standard course in one ring and a wide open, straight forward DOCNA/NADAC style course in another ring.  People wouldn't feel obliged to enter some type of class they didn't like just to complete a title.  You could even have a day of all different Jumpers courses then all Standard the next day.  You could have a series of trials with a points winner at the end as mentioned above.  Trial organizers could get as creative as they wanted as long as they offered people what they wanted.  And while there are no unifying rules about equipment, course design, etc. the trial organizers would be compelled by market forces (ie competitors) to offer consistent reasonable jump heights, equipment specs., safe footing, safe fun course design.  If something didn't work at one trial they could change it at the next, no need for long discussions on the internet or reviews by board members or trying to convince just one individual who runs a whole organization.  If anything these trials should be safer because if they're not people simply won't go to the next one.  They have no titles on the line or reason to return.

Nationals is a bit trickier but unsanctioned clubs and commercial operations could get together and put on a Nationals.  Certain trials could have events that are standardized qualifiers or even specific trials that are set aside for qualifying.  It would take some work to get people to agree on the standards and details of the event but it's not an impossible task.

I'm not saying the venues should or will disappear entirely.  And I'm not sure we're at a point where the sport is big enough for this proposal to be commercially viable.  However there is an untapped market out there, people who are sitting home on the weekend because they're 140th on the waiting list for an AKC trial.  They might not want to get involved with another sanctioned agility organization, especially if the jump heights are very different, but they might be willing to enter an unsanctioned trial at a cheaper price.  And there are people limited by budget who just want to compete but don't want to pay extra just for a title.  Something to think about as the sport moves forward.

As for the existing venues, here are my wish lists.

In general I'd change the contact criteria for the dogwalk and A-frame in all venues probably by lengthening the contact zones or even getting rid of contact zones entirely.  I think the idea of a contact zone being a safety zone is a fallacy.   I know so many people with agility dogs with overuse injuries and I can't help but wondering if all those reps for whatever method you're training are taking a toll on the dogs.  Is it 'safer' to leap from just above the dogwalk contact for a rep or 2 at a trial or to practice 100 dogwalk reps a week in training?  Are the majority of leaps off the contact obstacles unsafe?  If so should we be running our dogs on them at all?  My dog has managed some truly horrifying A-Frame performances that involved leaping over the apex and landing in the yellow.  Legal but absolutely not safe.  I'm not in favor of a complete free for all but there's got to be a better way to define true safe performance.


1.  Less aggressive jump heights.  Just match DOCNA/AKC/NADAC jump heights so everyone's on the same page.

2.  Stop judging the up contact.  So unfair for big strided dogs and it prevents the less athletic judges from being able to judge the down contact, especially for running dogwalks.

3.  No fault limits.  I hate the idea that I can potentially pay $22 for a run, spend a fortune on gas, hotel rooms, food, etc. never mind the time driving and sitting around waiting for my turn only to be whistled out of the ring at the 3rd obstacle.  If you don't have time for me to run, don't take my money.  And in the end it wastes more time because people stop and slowly amble off the course once the whistle goes.  I've timed it and on average it's faster to let people finish.

4.  Lower the A-frame to match DOCNA/AKC.  There's no compelling reason to have it that little bit higher and even though it's better than it was it's still too steep.

5.  Use 24" weave poles at Nationals.  Edited to add:  A reader pointed out that they are indeed using 24" at the TN Nationals.


My one and only issue with DOCNA is that the courses are too similar to each other from trial to trial.  I have no problem with the wide open courses but I'm getting bored with running the same few courses with the same few challenges every trial, especially jumpers.  In fact I've stopped entering Jumpers altogether.  It's not worth the money and the waiting around until the end of the day for pinwheel-pinwheel-serpentine-pinwheel-out of the ring on  straight line of jumps.  Then do the same boring course backwards the next day.  Let's see some more variety in course design.  Jumpers is my favorite course and I hate missing it.


1.  Stop supporting puppy mills.  In fact do something pro-active about the puppy mills.

2.  Stop promoting in-breeding and exaggerated, unhealthy physical characteristics through breed standards for the show ring.

3.  Stop fighting tooth and nail against any and all regulations for the welfare of dogs (see #1).

4.  Require all AKC agility trials to allow mixed breeds/non-AKC breeds.

Do all those things and maybe I'll consider giving you  my money but until then I won't give entry money to the AKC.

I don't do NADAC anymore and we don't have CPE or UKI so I won't comment on them but the one UKI trial I did do was very fun and I had no beef with any of UKI's policies.

This post is part of Dog Agility Blog Action Day.  Go here to read more posts on the topic.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Sofa King Cold

I went to the Boulder Rez last Tuesday for my first open water swim of the season and it was fabulous.  Water temp. was low 60's but it was sunny outside and I had my wetsuit, neoprene swim socks and brand new neoprene skull cap.  I got out after only one 1000 meter lap though because I felt like I would get too cold if I tried for another.  So this morning I was all fired up for 2 laps since I figured the water would be even warmer.  I lasted about 20 seconds.  The water was colder and the air temp. was cold and damp, no sun, ugh, I think that's the first time I've ever got in and got right back out again.  To add insult to injury I noticed someone I know finishing up her first lap and getting out as I was getting out.  I didn't feel bad about getting out because she's pretty hardcore and swims way more than one lap.  I said something like, 'Too cold even for you?'  And she said, 'No just getting out to take off my wetsuit.  I want to do a lap without it.'  Damn Boulderites.  I don't even think she's a triathlete or training for a race or anything.  She was out there last Thursday when conditions were even worse.  Cold water and air temp. and the wind was blowing so hard that a lifeguard's boat overturned.  I knew better than to show up for that.  This Thursday isn't looking promising either, guess I'll have to put the Rez on hold until next week.  Not sure when I turned into such a wimp but oh well.

We are getting some warm sunny days though, wildflowers are bursting out on one of our regular neighborhood walk routes.

Collie Flower

They're also starting to bloom up at Walker Ranch.  Had a way too long 8 mile steep hike there on Sunday.  Supposedly it's only 1737' elevation gain but it felt like a lot more.  Legs were still pretty sore before the hike but mysteriously felt way better several hours later.  Recovery is a weird beast.

South Boulder Creek was running strong with the spring run-off.

Time to start hitting the hills.  This month will be all about the run.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

North Table Mountain

Today was my first time on this trail.  I've passed in many times going through Golden and finally Jonny and I decided to check it out.  The trail is only a couple few years old, not sure exactly when it opened.

Is this Scotland or Golden?  So green this time of year.  Nuclear green.  Looks kind of freaky actually.

In fact Scotland isn't even as green.  Though the Crags at Arthur's Seat bear and eery resemblance.

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

The trail started out easily enough.  Plenty of climbing but not super steep, just enough to let your legs know they're alive.  My legs were pretty darn sore from a boot camp workout on Thursday.  I think it was from the Sumo Squats.  I keep forgetting that I should probably sit out the Sumo Squats or at least do a few every few days so my legs are used to them.  They feel like nothing when you do them but then you wake up the next morning and can't move.

Anyway, I stopped here and there for some photos.

There's a loop trail that goes around the mountain and for most of it you can see Golden, Denver and the surrounding 'burbs.

Nice view of Denver in the distance

 Kind of a weird feeling to be on an open space trail yet surrounded by city.  There are other trails more interior to the open space and I plan to go back and hit those up.  The trail we were on eventually turned more into the open space and away from the roads but it also got super steep and for the first time in ages I had to get off and walk a portion of the hill.  I hoping it's because my legs were so debilitated.  Will have to go back again and ride the whole hill next time.  Eventually we were treated to a view at the top.

The plan was to do an 8.5 mile loop and then do another smaller loop of the interior trails but I was so trashed by the time we got back to the parking lot after a mere hour of riding.  I decided to call it a day and come back for more when my legs are a little fresher or at least not as trashed.  Will have to come back soon though, I'll bet this trail is miserable when it's hot, sunny.  Plus there are lots of rattlesnakes.  A hiker warned us that he'd just seen one, thankfully on a trail we weren't taking but we could just as easily have encountered one on any trail.  Hopefully I'll get one last shot at it before summer heats up.