|Moving Time||2 hr 24 min|
|Summit Elevation||14,270 feet (GP) / 14,267 feet (TP)|
|Elevation Gain||3,622 feet|
|GPS Export||KML GPX|
|GPS Analysis||Gamin Connect|
I didn’t know what to do today after Lance had bailed on the bike race. Had Leadville in my plans. Lost motivation so I figured I would do something closer to home. JV‘s sister, Darcie, was out to see Lance race but suffered the same lack of motivation after he bailed. So they planned a 14er outing for Darcie (her first) instead. Knowing I needed to get up high again before next Saturday’s race, I figured this would be a great opportunity so I joined in.
I drove myself instead of carpooling with them because I was under time constraints. The kids wanted to hit Water World in the afternoon so I needed to be on my own schedule. Highly enjoyed driving to the trailhead once again up the 4×4 road at about 40 MPH. Arrived to find the lot full and cars were already a mile down the road. Guess this is where everyone is today. Got my run on and caught up to JV, Darcie, and Nate just a mile or so in. After some quick heart rate work, this was a great excuse to now take it easy for a while. The last thing I wanted to do was over-exert myself today. I just wanted to rev the engine a bit to be sure everything was firing and to stimulate a last effort for acclimatization.
We took it nice and easy up to the trail junction. Darcie was feeling the altitude as anyone from sea level does on their first 14er and only being in Colorado for a day or so. I do this with my own sister so it was great to see JV pulling the same routine. However, past the junction, I decided to run again and get moving. I had never hit Torreys first on a loop here so I went that way so I could do an official Torreys summit and not after Grays. So I made quick work to the saddle, then up to the top.
Obligatory summit self-portrait.
Looking over at Grays. How far over there does it look? 0.81 miles.
The rest of the crew had headed to Grays first so it made it a game to see if I could beat them back over there. Descended quickly and about ate it in MT100s that have zero traction on that loose gravel stuff that this well traveled trail has tons of. Lots of newbies on the trail and I would find people sitting right in the middle of the trail taking a break. Literally, jumped over one kid in a hurdle. In about 20 minutes, I was up on Grays Peak. My 3rd time ever. My most visited 14er summit.
Obligatory summit self-portrait.
Looking back over at Torreys Peak, where I just came from.
Love this vantage point. You can see the trail winds all the way back to the car if you zoom in. Straight up the middle of the photo.
Looking out towards Leadville.
A crowded 14er summit on a summer day.
No sign of the group. That was cool. Glad they were taking their time. I checked the clock and opted not to wait and began to descend. Being that Grays is the usual first destination on the loop, the trail was crazy packed with people. Never really could get a solid run on. Plus, I had to pull up a lot not to be that running guy throwing rocks on 14er newbies. Only a few switchbacks below, I found the group. Stopped chatted. Gave JV splits. Then headed on down.
Quick shot back up the hill after running 1/3 the way back down.
Had a moment on the way down just as I hit that part where the trail flattens out mid-way back. Was just moving along. Seeing people flocking up the trail the other way. Music was cranking. Weather was great. Felt all natural and in sync. At that moment, I realized once again why I enjoy doing this and how its all going to show next weekend. My motivation, which has wandered as of late a bit, felt full once again. I am ready I told myself.
Moved OK on the way down but I was really mentally doing two things. 1) Not going to fall and do something dumb a week before the race. 2) Watch my left ankle. I was successful at both. Reached the trailhead in about 44 minutes with no injuries to speak of. Guess its a PR since this was my first run on this route. But given, I didn’t run the bulk of the ascent I won’t get too attached to the time. Plan on getting back here next year more often.
As I left, that line of cars was even longer. There were 100+ cars parked behind mine in a single file row. Guess lots of people are now getting out to the 14ers — at least this one. So if you haven’t, you should. I see all types of folks out there on these trails getting it done. Just commit to doing it. You won’t regret it.