Friday, September 24, 2010

Evergreen Colorado September 2010 (Pictures at the bottom)

Flying from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Denver, Colorado is a lot quicker then flying from Botswana to Dover Air Force Base. Margarite continues to be clingy. After the Half Ironman Triathlon I was not able to shake her, she joined me on this trip to visit my brothers’ family. Though just a long weekend I hope to have an action packed one.

I have entered the Philadelphia Marathon; I decided I am going to try to redeem myself from last year’s marathon (Wineglass) when Naomi crushed me. What happened last year is my brain tried to out run my legs, my legs won. To gain an advantage I have embraced Coach Kaehler’s strength training. So at the crack of dawn I was doing my strength training work out. Then Ross, Sue, Margarite and I went for a short mountain bike ride, short in distance not time.

We left the house and went up and up and up! The road went from paved, to gravel, to dirt, to routs. We travel 2 miles and climbed 1,600 vertical feet, a 15% grade. In some places it was easier to walk the bikes then ride, this part of the ride brought back nightmares from when I rode Mont Ventoux.

The mountain my brother lives on is called Bear Mountain. Once we reached the top we found a road that circled the mountain all the way into the town of Evergreen. What a great down hill we reach speeds of over 37 miles per hour! (On a mountain bike) The downhill almost made the up hill worth it. We cruised through town and then did another long climb back to the house. We traveled a vertical rage of 7,000 feet to 8,600 feet and felt the effects of the altitude.

In the late afternoon we headed to Three Sisters Park to stretch our legs and get ready for tomorrows event.

Sue made us a great dinner of fresh Salmon, yes fresh Salmon in Evergreen, Colorado, you have to love America.

Rise and shine, 6:00 AM we have a big day ahead of us. In Colorado there are 54 peaks (mountains) over 14,000 feet high they call them fourteeners. Ross, Sue, and "A" plan to climb each of the 54, to date they have climbed 3.

Today they will climb their fourth; they told us it would be an easy hike. In fact Ross showed us the description of the hike right off the Internet, big as day under description, it said “EASY HIKE”, and if it is on the Internet it MUST to be true.

The peak we are climbing is called Quandary Peak we had about an hour drive from Evergreen to the trail head. The trail head is at an altitude of 11,100 feet and 3.28 miles from the summit. The summit is at an altitude of 14,265. So we will hike from 11,700 to 14,265 over 3.28 miles. That is an altitude change of 3,165 over half a mile vertical change or an average grade of 16%.

Margarite and I just 24 hours before were at sea level. We have been told you loose from 2 - 3 % of your energy for every 1,000 feet of elevation change. So in theory we will be starting at 22% deficit and finishing at 28% energy deficit.

The hike was great, we quickly hiked above the tree line, while the air was fresh and crisp there was not much of it. We covered the 3.28 miles in 2 hours and forty-eight minutes. Some of the most beautiful and painful miles I have ever hiked. We had lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the top and then we headed down. While going down was much easier from a cardio stand point, the pounding on the knees and ankles was unbearable, but since it was the only way down we had no choice but to continue.

The hike down took an hour less then the way up, with a total time of one hour forty-one minutes. The total hike of over 6.5 miles took us three hours and twenty nine minutes. My goal for the Philly Marathon is to finish between three hours thirty minutes and three hours forty-five minutes. Clearly the lack of oxygen and steepness of the climb had a serious effect on my ability.

Once the hike was completed we noticed a sign at the trail head that stated "There is no such thing as an easy fourteener" Once back at the house Sue made the statement, "You know you really should not do fourteeners until you have acclimated to the altitude for at least four or five days". Margarite and I were glad we did not see the sign or hear Sue's statement until we had completed the hike. Otherwise we would have missed the best and worse hike we had done in a while.

Monday was an easy day Margarite and I headed to the Red Rocks Amphitheater built as a depression era work program. A complete amphitheater built right into the Red Rocks of Colorado. Over the last 70 years artist such as the Beatles, Elton John, Bonnie Rate have performed there. Voted the best outside acoustics in the world by the artist that have performed in this venue. From the grand stands you can see Downtown Denver about 40 miles away.

From Red Rocks we went into Morison a small town of little local shops and restaurants. For lunch we found a great restaurant on the creek in downtown Evergreen.

The afternoon was spent with Ross and Sue shopping in downtown Denver.

Our last day before our VERY LONG flight back to Botswana, I had a track workout to do 6 x 800 meter sprints. The high school track was at 7,500 feet. Doing this workout was like having duct tape over my mouth while running, where did all the oxygen go? After track we headed to Boulder, similar to Berkley, California everybody wants peace and happiness as long as rich people pay for it. I never saw so many environmentally friendly people that smoked cigarettes, pot I could understand, but cigarettes. Don't these people understand the filters from the cigarettes they throw on the gowned will be around for a lot longer then kids poopy pampers.

That is it for Colorado back to Africa.



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