Friday, July 31, 2009

Clear Creek Rafting

We took a rafting trip on Clear Creek today - what fun!

Some of the photos they took of our group:

Happy Birthday Lindy! :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random photos

A couple people sent some fun photos from Hardrock, plus I've collected a few from around Denver this past week.

John doing the "Top of the Mountain" pose on Handies Peak during course marking (thanks Andy!):

The Putnam aid station crew after the race was over (thanks Ann!):

We rode around Denver for a day, connecting various bike paths - Denver has some awesome bike paths! You can ride for miles and miles on them. And then sit on a bench to rest:

Steve let us borrow his canoe for a couple tours around Cherry Creek reservoir (thanks Steve!). Gator Bait rode really well on top of Tug:

We went up to Red Rocks for the Movie on the Rocks and an attempt at a Guiness record for the world's largest music lesson. It's a gorgeous setting up in the hills:

The Lykins family - very talented - also brought some percussion instruments for us to fool around with (thanks Jerri Lind!). We had a great time!

A couple more days in Denver and then we're back up in the mountains - heading to Leadville for some more altitude training. July has been an awesome month!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Denver Urban Assault

Another fun race today in downtown Denver - this time we were watching instead of huffing and puffing. It was called Urban Assault, where 2-person teams ride bikes around town and complete interesting dares.

There was some tough competition - oh wait, that's just a criterion going on several blocks to the south:

Our friends Steve and Lara were competing - here they are in the swimming dare:

Tearing it up on the big wheel course:

They finished 2nd place co-ed - nice job!

Family reunion in Golden

Several sets of Beards converged on Golden, CO last week - John's parents flew in, his brother's family drove up, and his sister's family is living here for the summer. Oh, plus we came to Denver for a couple weeks to see people and restock supplies before heading back into the mountains in August. What a wonderful surprise to see so many relatives in the same place at the same time!

A fun tour of the Coors plant - with free beer too:

Practicing an act for the cycling circus:

A dramatic double rainbow over Golden:

We're not always coordinated when taking family photos:

Much better!

John joining in on the "pizza dance":

John never takes the easy route:

Jason and Kathy:

John and Danny:

Kayla, Rebecca. Lindy, John and Abby hanging out under some rocks:

Loren took us on a bike ride up Mount Evans from Echo Lake: 14 miles mostly uphill to the top of a 14er - we made it!

Thanks for a fun ride, Loren!

Most of the family has departed, sadly. But the Lykins clan is still in Golden, and we're looking forward to a rafting trip/birthday party this Friday :)

A race - on a cruise!

By winning the Urban Dare race last weekend, John and I won a 3-night cruise out of Miami with two stops in the Bahamas. It's on Royal Caribbean next February 26 to March 1 - click here for cruise details.

It won't just be racers on the ship - tourists, friends, and family are also welcome. So if you have any interest in joining us for some fun in the sun, check it out and come on board with us!

In addition, anyone can enter the Super Dare race that will be going on during the cruise. It's not required (you can just watch or hang out by the pool), but if you want to race - click here for Super Dare info and - click here to register.

Hope to see some of y'all there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Urban Dare Denver

Kip has posted our race report from Urban Dare Denver run last Saturday (thanks Kip!):

It was a fun race and I shouldn't spoil the ending, but let's just say we're going on a cruise next February with some of our friends!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coming down

Let's see, where have we been? Last post was from a remote aid station above Silverton... OK, got it:

We got a couple hours sleep while waiting for the last runners to make it down to the finish line (great job, y'all!), then we slowly packed up and hiked out in time to catch most of the awards ceremony. We managed to drop off most of the aid station food/gear at the gym before collapsing in our own beds. Phew!

After a day of cleaning and drying camping stuff, we drove out Tuesday to visit our friends Markus and Brandi in Eagle. We were a bit antsy to do some actual running ourselves, so Markus showed us some of the local trails. A couple days of home-cooked vegetarian food, some beautiful weather, excellent company, and some fun games of Rummikub, and it was over too quickly.

Time to get down to Denver where it's "only" about 5000 feet in elevation. We'll be here until the end of July, visiting friends and family, running and biking and paddling, and restocking supplies before going to Leadville for the month of August. We're staying with our friend Danny in his beautiful new house. Always a fun time in Denver!

After a day of scouting (basically trying to remember everything we saw downtown last summer), we were sort of ready for another urban race yesterday. Urban Dare came to town and we were trying to finish first in order to win a race cruise next February. We had an excellent support crew assembled, including 2 friends on bikes and 14 relatives from Texas and Colorado who came to town to watch.

It was fun! And the course was short enough that I was able to mostly breathe most of the time.

In the end, we got to the finish line first, barely beating out the team that won this race last year. Yay! Thank you to everyone who helped and cheered us on!

Today involves hanging out with everyone, and I think there may be some food :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Notes from Putnam Aid Station

John and I decided to volunteer at the Hardrock 100 this year, so we signed up to run an aid station. Based on our willingness to hike and our lack of a 4WD vehicle, we ended up at the Putnam aid station. It's 6 miles from the finish, so we could take our time setting up but we would be out there for over a day (no problem for us! Except I ate way too much aid station "junk" food). Another bright side is that we could pay a lot of attention to each runner and mostly not rush in giving them whatever help they needed.

Our friend Ann came up from Austin to help, and we were also joined by another John and a guy named Pete. Rounding out the Putnam Crew was a family of ham radio operators, Mark and his sons Randall and Jacob who did all the reporting back to Silverton. We all got along great, helped each other out, and had a fun time in our remote location.

We were also given several sets of trekking poles from Black Diamond, courtesy of Roch Horton, since we were a "Pack-In" aid station - thank you Roch!

Friday afternoon we all drove up to Little Molas trailhead to meet Mike and his pack horses. Mike loaded all the aid station food and gear plus some of our backpacks on the horses, then we walked in about 3.5 miles to our aid station location on the Hardrock course. After a few hours of sorting everything, roping up tarps, digging a pit toilet hole, setting up the radio, and running out to the truck and back for a box of food we had forgotten, we were more than ready for some sleep.

At 3 am Mark groggily called Silverton to ask the status of the lead runner. No one had made it through the previous aid station (called KT), which was about 2 hours away if you're a super fast runner. Sweet, we can get more sleep. At 4:30 am we learned that Karl Meltzer had come through KT and we had about an hour before we should expect him to arrive. Excellent, time to get moving.

We were also told that Karl had requested some hot broth - that was the best news we could have gotten. We had been debating what to have ready (besides regular and hot water), but now we had a definite plan. The only question was whether he would prefer chicken or vegetable broth, so we decided to make both (answer = chicken was fine). Something to remember if you're ever leading a race - put in an order for the next aid station!

Mark went up the trail and called back on the radio when he found Karl, running down with him and chatting a bit. Karl stopped and talked for a couple minutes (John noted that he was carrying poles) and we enjoyed getting a chance to meet him like normally we never would. Very cool. Then he was off, headed for the finish line and the 2nd-fastest HRH time ever (and a course record in the CCW direction) - awesome!

Eventually we sorted out who to expect next, and when. When we heard it was Troy Howard, whom John and I had met during course marking up from Telluride, we were very excited. It was his first HRH and he was in second place, going on to finish in the third fastest time ever - what a showing! He came through the aid station pretty quickly, but we did have time to congratulate him and cheer him down the hill. Way to go, Troy!

As if that wasn't excitement enough, the next runner was a woman! Diana Finkel came through (and finished) in third place overall, smashing the women's course record by 2 hours and looking great doing it. Her pacer came through first to let us know she didn't need anything, so we were able to stand and cheer while we watched her run through. Incredible run, Diana!

Mark kept hiking up the trail to meet runners, take their order, and let us know they were coming. It was fun knowing what to put together for each of them, although eventually Mark had had enough training for the day (until the last finishers were on their way down).

The next three guys were pretty funny. Scott Jaime looked pretty beat, and his main concern was that Andy Jones-Wilkins was "right behind me". He seemed to want to sit, rest, and eat, but he couldn't bring himself to stay long - he got up and pushed himself to move out.

We expected Andy to come running right in, but it was another 20 minutes before he arrived. HIS main concern was that Jared was "right behind me". He looked in better shape but also didn't stay long.

Finally Jared showed up 10 minutes later, seemingly unconcerned about anything. He had a big lead over the next guy and he knew he couldn't catch Andy. He was friendly and seemed happy to be almost done.

I don't remember all the rest of the runners, but here are some tidbits from various folks that made an impression:

We got to thank Roch for the trekking poles :)

Ricky Denesik had a strange gait going on but managed to hang onto 9th place.

We recognized Ted Mahon from somewhere but couldn't place him - finally John (the other John) realized he had been on the Everest reality TV show a few years back - of course! And we had met him in the Geneva airport once and he was nice enough to chat with us then. Good to see you again, Ted! Nice finish!

Philippe Verdier was from France but only wanted to speak English with us. Ah well, we tried!

Tyler Curiel was really friendly and talkative. His son was pacing him, and they got us to take their picture with the aid station sign. Nice job on your 10th HRH finish, Ty!

Jamil Coury, with his brother Nick pacing (Nick finished in 4th last year, I believe the youngest finisher ever), wasn't quite as excited about his placing, but still looked great after 94 miles. They had run all over the place before the race, and they are probably running again as you read this.

Ronda Sundermeier made us think she was pregnant, which made us all gasp, but she was just joking.

Scott Eppelman cruised through without stopping - he got a big cheer from the Texas contingent.

Betsy Nye was the first of the two Betsy's - she said normally it's the other way around. Betsy Kalmeyer came through soon after. Both of them looked great.

Fred Ecks might have been the first finisher amoung the trail marking crew (unless I missed someone, and not counting Troy Howard who is in a class of his own). It was fun greeting someone we knew. Way to go, Fred!

Mohammed Idlibi's pacer ran up to let us know that his runner was going straight through. That allowed us to just cheer him on, which got Mohammed all pumped up, which made us cheer harder. Awesome finish!

It was fun to watch Blake Wood and his daughter - they seem so nice and easy to talk to.

Patrick Fellay from Switzerland didn't speak a lot of English, but he did talk with us in French. I forgot a few key words (I think I called his water bottle a bidet instead of a bidon), but he humored me and we got along well. Presque la!

Chris Labbe didn't stay long, just long enough for us to cheer on another trail marking cohort. Go Chris!

Kirk Apt is quite a character. I can't remember why, but it seems like he made us laugh. Amazing - 15th finish for Kirk!

We had gotten to know Jeff List quite well during course marking. He looked really good coming in, but he decided to sit and treat his feet. We got to marvel at his homemade foot treatment concoction, and we met his buddy who couldn't believe we are such fans of Jeff's rain shorts (they are really cool). Not to mention the umbrella we didn't know about before. Awesome finish, Jeff! Send us your gear list please :)

James Demer was another course marking guy we had talked a lot with. He had gotten off course on the way to KT, taking the Ice Lake trail down to the parking lot (not good!). He climbed back up to the course and had recovered by the time he got to us. We hugged him and he looked very happy to be there. We're so proud of you, James!

Julian Jamison was at Putnam at about the same time as James, so it was one big happy trail marking family for a few minutes. Way to go, Julian!

Ryan McDonald came in a short time later, raving about his magic trekking poles (he had tried John's on the day up to Virginius and decided to buy some of his own). Ryan may have been the only person to go to every single trail marking party. Nice finish, Ryan!

Andy "the Australian" Hewet staggered in, telling us about all the hallucinating he had been doing. He had "seen" some silent aid station people and called out "where are you guys?" but they didn't answer. He then started to worry that he had missed the aid station. He was still in a daze when he got to us, but he bravely continued (and continued to hallucinate). Glad to hear you made it to the finish line, Andy!

We met Michael James during trail work, and his stay at Putnam was memorable. He came in proclaiming he was "half dead" so we gave him a log to sit on for a while. He tried eating/drinking some things, all the while deadpanning jokes, telling us he had fallen over a couple times and making us laugh while his pacer didn't look so amused. Finally when he left he was only "quarter dead" so I guess we did something right. Glad you stuck with it, Mike!

Jim Campiformio looked great - John told him we had used his shovel to dig our pit toilet. Thanks Jim, and way to run!

Liz Bauer-Walker looked awesome on her way through Putnam. She has such a great attitude and we were happy to see her. Nice finish, Liz!

Somewhere around midnight we started noticing lightning and thunder. Then it began to rain. Rain at night seemed a bit strange (based on the previous 2-week weather pattern - what do I know?), especially rain that didn't just stop 15 minutes later. Especially pouring-buckets rain.

I was glad I'd taken the time earlier in the day to move everything under the cover of tarp. We had to move a table slightly since it was under the gap in two tarps, but everything mostly stayed dry and there seemed to be enough space for the runners/pacers gathering under our shelter. We moved back and forth trying to keep up with requests for hot soup, hot chocolate, hot broth, and water refills. Runners did continue to leave in the rain even as more arrived, so we never got too overbooked. We just felt bad for their wet, bedraggled selves. Good thing they didn't have far to go! Only a couple-three more hours on the course.

One guy came in with a story of getting hit by lightning on the upper slopes - but he felt great now! Whoa, that's crazy. Apparently he got knocked back and then scrambled to get lower until the storm moved on. That was one of the bigger stories at the awards ceremony. Amazing.

Olga came in with very few clothes on, soaking wet, and really cold. She was one of only a couple runners that decided to go sit by our campfire. We got her a blanket, some warm drinks, and threw a jacket around her until she seemed to warm up a bit. She wasn't completely happy when she left, but she stuck it out and got down to the finish line. Way to go, Olga!

One woman asked if we had any gloves. We were thrown for a minute by the request, then I remembered that we had some thin plastic serving gloves, so I threw those on her and added a couple hot-hands. It's always nice to be able to at least partially solve a problem.

I heard a woman's voice that I recognized and turned around to see someone I didn't really know. It turned out to be Liz Hodges, but without her normal headgear on. She was pacing her husband Rick, and she was giving him heck about NEVER pacing him again. Finally we figured out who it was - and she smiled and laughed with us. Always a character!

Finally the rain slowed, although the runners were still wet when they got to us. It rained off and on all night, which can't be fun up in the mountains with miles to go.

Here's a story about Coca Cola... we started with 2 bottles, but Mark had told us we would quickly run out. So we went up to Cunningham aid station on Friday morning a couple hours after the start, watched a few runners come through, and then acquired 2 bottles of Coke that they didn't need. Packed all 4 bottles on the horses. Got to Putnam, unpacked everything, said adios to Mike, then realized we had only 3 bottles. That kept my mind occupied the rest of the day. We rationed the Coke (yes, a large % of runners drink Coke at the end of a long race!) but finally did run out. Turns out the bottle was hiding inside a saddle bag and Mike didn't find it until Sunday morning when he came back to collect our stuff. Sorry to everyone who wanted Coke but didn't get it!!

John DeWalt came stumbling in, and I mean really stumbling (but apparently that's normal!). I jumped up to locate the packet of Miso soup we'd been given specifically for him. Then he asked for No-Doze, so I went for my adventure race med kit to find some Vivarin. His pacer came up with No-Doze, John swallowed it, then the No-Doze came up on him. He was wretching and asking for salt. We should have salt! While scrambling to find that, his pacer came up with a salt tablet. We were like a bumbling pit crew. John got up and stumbled out of there, strange gait and all, heading on down for another amazing finish at 73 years old. Wow, is all I can say.

Not many more runners out there - but not much time left. The clock was ticking, after 3:30 am now. Many people would take 2.5 to 3 hours to cover the last 5.9 miles, so obviously we were concerned.

At 3:36 am, Gerry Roach and possibly another pacer hurried in and made preparations for their runners. Rick Pearcy and Jennifer Roach appeared, both moving as fast as they could through our aid station and on a mission for the finish line. They both made it before 6 a.m., with 12 and 6 minutes to spare, respectively. Congratulations!

At 3:58 Leonard Martin showed up, moving well and looking strong. He also made it in time, with 5 minutes to spare. Apparently it's his first finish in about 5 tries - congratulations, Leonard!

At 4:13 Margaret Heaphy's light came through the darkness. No pacer, but still moving, she looked focused and determined. We didn't see her long before she disappeared again into the night. She had a fast final leg, finishing with only FOUR minutes to spare, earning the "caboose" award and some train tickets. Amazing!

We knew Joe Prusaitis was still out there, the final runner on the course between KT and us. We waited and hoped, knowing that he was good enough as a downhill runner that he still had a chance. John P. went up the trail looking for him, but when he saw the green lights they were still a long ways off. Bummer!

Joe and George reached us at 4:41 a.m. We waited to see whether he was hoping to move quickly by or whether he wanted to rest up a couple minutes. He sat down because he knew he couldn't make it down in time. He asked for soup, but when I went to pour hot water into a cup he asked if I actually had to make it? He didn't want to wait, he decided to get up and go. I had the broth to him as he was getting ready to go and he took a couple swigs. Then he was outta there, aiming for a warm bed. He made it to Mineral Creek by 6 a.m. and the finish line 40 minutes later. Way to finish the course, Joe! We're so proud of you!

Our Texas aid station, with some Shiner Boch, tequila, TX flag (topped off with Vermont cheese and maple candy) seemed to go over well. No one gave us too much grief over being from the Lone Star state, and several runners did actually drink some beer. No takers on the tequila, though!

Congratulations to ALL Hardrock runners - you are inspirational and amazing. Thank you for letting us share in the incredible journey.

Aid station prep

On Wednesday Ann and I met our horse guys and walked from Little Molas Lake on the Colorado Trail almost 3 miles and then across a mile on a game trail to show them our aid station location (Putnam Basin).

The horses were ready to go:

Mike and Ed loading the saddle bags with a few things we could leave out in the woods (although the marmots did demolish the green bag holding the table):

Back in town, we saw this lady getting the Hardrock ready for action:

An amazing finish line chute:

Our aid station fare piled up in the gym:

Mike bringing the pack horses to Putnam with the rest of our stuff:

Our aid station on Friday afternoon - ready for Karl! Well, almost ready. First we get to sleep for several hours.

I brought my camera to the aid station intending to document parts of the race, but it turned out that we were so busy and focused when each runner came through that no one really stepped back to take pictures. I'll write up some notes about our experience in the next post... stay tuned.

Trail work day #2

A group of aspiring HRH runners came out for the second day of trail marking. We caught a ride in a 4WD truck up and over Engineer Pass - not my favorite part of the day, but we made it without falling over the side.

Today's work involved carrying a bunch of poles, digging holes, and creating trail markers. Most of us carried one pole for a couple miles; some managed two of them - wow!

Go Team V!

Jeff trying to urge rocks out of the ground:

Beautiful scenery:

A proud crew and one of the many poles we planted:

A flat tire on the truck gave me the chance to run ahead down Engineer Pass ahead of the group - much more enjoyable! And I got to see another part of the HRH course, always a plus. Done with the hard work, now to focus on our aid station and the race...

HRH trail marking - day 6

Our final day of trail marking: From Governor aid station up to Virginius Pass and back.

I had been up on Virginius last year, climbing up from Telluride with John Cappis for trail marking. I had looked down the other side but declined to slide down the snow at that time. This year I figured I better learn the other (harder) side of the pass.

A pretty little creek near the aid station:

A large group of people were interested in seeing this section of the course:

Climbing the snow up the first pitch:

Larry demonstrating what the rock we were sitting on would see if anyone got out of control coming down pitch #2:

An interesting ridge off to the west and a section of scree that ended at the top of a cliff (this should end an argument I have been having with John about THAT possibility):

The route up the last pitch to the pass:

One of the first "sliders" coming back down the top pitch:

John watching people slide down the snow before doing it not just once, but twice (he retrieved a trekking pole someone had dropped on their way down, then came back up to help me over the edge - what a husband!):

Leonard shooting video:

Joe and Joyce:

A gorgeous view, with Bridal Veil Falls barely visible:

Charlie explaining where the course went from there down toward Telluride:

Joyce starting her slide down:

Yes, I slid down, no, it wasn't too difficult after all, just very cold. I enjoyed being able to lean back for once instead of having to "stand up straight" for everything else we do in the mountains (climbing, descending, traversing) - almost relaxing! Except for the snow in your shorts...

A view of Teakettle and the ropes section from PQ 2002 across the way:

Another amazing day!