Run: Leadville Crystal Carnival (13.84 mi)

Activities1 Comment

This weekend was one of two yearly festivals in Leadville. We have Boom Days in the summer and the Crystal Carnival in the winter. Brooks and I had been planning a get together so this weekend offered a good entertainment option. He arrived late Friday night as did we after a pretty painless commute up. Had only about 3-4 inches on the driveway this time possibly signaling that spring is coming.

The Crystal Carnival schedule was a bit hard to figure out but we got up and into town around 10 AM to let the kids walk in the parade and get the low down a few other events. We found out that things were happening in the afternoon so we headed back home and Brooks and I laced up for a run at 10,000 feet.

This was Brooks’ first run up here since crossing the tape at Leadville last August. I am a seasoned weekend warrior so I should be just fine, right? Both of us were out of breath by the end of the driveway. We took my usual route down 9 and out to Turquoise Lake. I wanted to take him around the lake roads so he could see the snow running conditions. At first, things looked easy.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

And then there was time to make some art!

Leadville Crystal Carnival

But soon enough we were own our own. Cruising the path making the first tracks of the days. Except for that other set that was not man-made. Brooks said that they were wolf prints. I believe him. We ran with the wolves. (Or rabbits)

Leadville Crystal Carnival

This was some tiring running through here. You had to try and find the packed snowmobile surface below. Very squishy on the ankles. Gets your heart rate up. After a bit, we popped out at the road near the dam. Brooks had been turned around from our entrance to the south but was now all giddy because he was back on the LT100 course. I think he had a boner. However, during the race, you have run around the lake. What if we ran across it? Let’s go see!

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Here we are out on the lake. Water is about 30′ deep under us. We stopped and talked to some ice fishers and I turned back towards the dam and the 14ers to snap this picture. Guess this is what it would look like in a boat looking south in the summer.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

As I was working on that photo, Brooks was being raped by this dog. Apparently, he jumped him with his red rocket out (the dog, not Brooks) and was going to town on his leg. I missed that picture. Drat.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

The fishers told us of the treacherous conditions if we ventured further out on the lake. The snow gets really deep and the under-surface is frozen but wet. What? Well, as you stood still, you would start sinking a bit. Likely because of the heat from my shoes after my wicked paced run so far. And then suddenly you were standing on the ice below but your foot was in a bucket of slush. There is a layer of slush on top of the lake that seems to melt and sit. Wet socks! Great.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Enough of the lake. Let’s see what else we can find. Here is Brooks making his way back to the road by heading back up the bank of the lake.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

A little snapshot from the GPS below proving that we are so awesome that we can walk on water.

We ran back down to the Sugarloafin’ junction then towards the golf course. There was an announcer on a speaker system announcing something. Then as we got closer we found ourselves surrounded by crazy dogs awaiting there turn to pull humans through the snow on sleds. It was the Mount Massive Mush! A multi-discipline dog sled race with 2-dog, 4-dog, and even skier pulled dog sled race. We watched a bit from the sidelines then cruised on out. Some video of this below. We arrived at Powerline and Brooks was all giddy again.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

You can’t ascend it in the winter unless you want to be waist deep in snow so we carried on to the next obvious destination….Fish Hatchery. Brooks tried to run up and check in. I think he was loosing it at this point. Some kind of dream sequence where he was back in the race. We headed out of the Hatchery and the wind was picking up. I had my mileage in the bag for the day so I was ready to head home. My ankle was on the mend and I didn’t want to blow it up. Plus, I was getting tired. Brooks was still having a good time and wanted to see if he could round up to 20 on the day. So we devised a route for him and he was off. He traveled out and back on Halfmoon then ran into town. I headed straight back home on 5. I got tired and bonky on that solo run and started a few run walk shuffles to finish up.

Got a quick shower and microwaved a burrito. Then I grabbed the kids and jumped in the car. The real attraction of the Leadville Crystal Carnival awaits! Ski Journing! What’s that, you say? Well, they craft a ski course down about the length of our “main street” in town. Sprinkle in some 6′ to 8′ jumps. Then find a bunch of nutty folks who wouldn’t mind flying down the street at fast speed to hit said jumps. But how do they get the speed? Horses! Wild horses.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Leadville Crystal Carnival

This green horse was dubbed Satan’s Horse by us. He was wild and they were having a bit of a time getting him lined up to run. The skier had to be pissing himself. Who wants to be pulled by this crazy thing!

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Here is another skier getting started. It was pretty cool to watch the start. The horse just wanted to run and would start to prance sideways as the rope was delivered to the skier. Then the horse just took off and the skier had to hold on for dear life while getting up to speed.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

What about Brooks? Well, as we came into town, we pulled up along side him in the car. Need a lift? How many runners love when that happens. He had made it back to town which we figured was about 18 miles. But he was bonked as he had no food and his water bottle broke. I gave him a 20 and he ate up everything he could find for sale in town. We watched the ski jouring together with the kids before heading out. Brooks made the comment of the day though when he said, “Leadville is just a place of lots of bad ideas. And that’s why we love it!”. Run 100 miles? Yes. Or bike 100 miles? Sure. Get pulled by a pack of wild dogs? Why not! Ski down the middle of town being pulled by a horse? Absolutely.

Leadville Crystal Carnival

Well, since you didn’t go, how about a little live action? Hope you will come join us in Leadville in 2012 for the Crystal Carnival!

I went 13.84 miles with an elevation gain of 1,001 feet in 02:21:55, which is an average pace of 10:15. Heart rate average was 136. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.