view of oscars pass from 500ft above (and to the north) of telluride
looking down the ski-slopes of snowmass/aspen
have some fond memories of my US trip.
* driving into ouray day 2 looking up and seeing nothing but huge monster mountains surrounding and thinking 'what the hell have i gotten myself into here?'
* deciding whether or not to bite the bullet and go up to altitude. read the course marking description for the day and it says 'marking from telluride to virginius pass and governor basin to v-pass occurs simultaneously. survivors to meet at v-pass for traditional photo' (gulp!)
* did go course marking the next day! ... with john cappis, jim ballard and tom across mendota saddle to virginius pass (13,000ft)
* just amazing people these hardrockers. jim and john had been doing course marking or trail work the previous 3 days and were going out again the following day: all 5+ hour long days. basically long hikes at altitude.
* meeting the guy with 99x100 milers under his belt (hans-dieter) on his way back down to telluride with his dog (who was frolicking in the snow). he had walked up from ouray (across virginius pass) and laughed when he said 'yeah and my dog doesnt realise we have another 8 hours ahead of us' ... he was going back down to telluride (9,000ft) and back up over oscars pass (13,000ft). amazing fellow.
* course 'stripping' with bob and claiming my first '14er': handies peak. also getting my 'staff' hardrock 100 shirt which i feel i can justifiably wear as opposed to a competitors/finishers shirt!!
* the course 'briefing' (4 hours) with john and charlie thorn: rather than being overwhelming it was very educational and the pictures sensational.
* how hot it was in colorado: much hotter than LA. really need to get aircon next time in ouray.
* running at snowmass (conference): did 2 x 3000ft (900m) climbs in 3 days. at approx 4.5-5km each way it was therefore a 18-20% gradient average. basically walked staight up the ski-slope. lots of this on toes. was even more fun coming back down. no wonder the calves were a bit sore the next week. can understand why people ski now. just fantastic up there.
* the other halfs first alpine trek from poudre lake (rocky mountain national park) to the apline vistors centre (11,800) and back down. amazing (and somewhat disturbing) that they build a highway up there (maxes out above 12000ft ont he way to estes park).
* saw lots of wildlife: mooses, deer/elk, marmots, racoons, foxes and chipmunks galore! and i think a wolf. lots of people owned dogs and saw lots of huskies as well.
* staying in beverly hills whilst in LA: right on rodeo drive! next door to valentino and cartier and acorss the road from gucci. walked into gucci in my tshirt, shorts and muddy montrails and wasnt surprised when the security guard followed me around! give me a break dude - you cant afford this stuff either!
* the rest of LA (as a mate from school would say) ... is a sh*t hole. the sun eventually comes out from behind the smog about 3pm most days.
fondest hardrock memory: jim stopping me on the way to virginius pass and pointing north past telluride 4000ft below to the (snow covered) wasatch saddle and oscars pass (13000ft) about 16-17km in the distance.
initially this was overwhelming - how the hell does anyone get up there?
then i looked down to where i was (also at 13000ft) and back over and realised that i had gotten where i was somehow and all i needed to do was go down and get back up again :)
it really put this race into perspective for me.
not only how difficult it is to complete this race but also how unbelievably beautiful and raw it is.
will put an entry in again next year assuming i am fit/well.