Fellow Adventurers: none (solo training run)
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On Sunday, July 23, 2006, I ran Longs Peak for the first time. This was my 6th time summiting, but the first time I had actually try to run most of the way. Since this was a training run, in preparation for the Pikes Peak Marathon, I went very light, carrying just a Camelbak with fleece gloves (didn't use), an ankle brace (didn't use), a lightweight rain jacket (did use), my car keys, some Endurolytes (to prevent cramping), and 4 packets of Crank E-gel (for energy). Since I'm hoping to run the Pikes Peak Marathon in less than 5 hrs this year, I figured I better be able to run Longs in less than 4 hrs - so this was my goal going into this run. I did a little research online and found that the fastest known time (FKT) for the strict Keyhole Route is 3h35m, set by Bill Wright. The ascent FKT is set by Kraig Koski (1h49m), while the descent FKT of 1h30m is held by Bill Wright. I didn't have any illusions of breaking the ascent time, but the descent time was intriguing. My previous fastest hiking time for Longs Peak was an ascent of 3h59m, descent of 2h45m, for a round-trip time of 7h01m45s, back in August 11, 2001.
I left Fort Collins at about 6:20 AM. Driving up, I was surprised and dismayed to already see some convection going off over the Continental Divide. This could have been an ominous sign, as the convection often fires up at 11 AM or noon. The convection was quite shallow however, so I figured it must be pretty capped - no worries. On the drive up from Estes Park, I saw a large animal cross the road and run up the hill about 100 yards up the road from me. It seemed too big and long to be a coyote, but too short to be a deer or elk. It had tan coloring and was moving quickly. I think the only animal that fit this shape profile is a mountain lion! Unfortunately, I didn't get a good look and it was already up in the trees by the time I passed. I got the parking lot at about 7:40 AM and was surprised at how few people were there (especially for a weekend). It had just filled, so I had to park a short distance down the road. But on a normal busy weekend, there is a long line of cars parked down the road, even at 5 or 6 AM. I lathered on some sunscreen, gulped an energy gel, and started jogging up the trail at about 7:55 AM.
Since this was just a training run and not a strict time trial, I decided to try to keep my heart rate close to 160. This seemed like an appropriate level for a 4 hour run. While the trail was still steep in some areas, I made steady progress and the ascent went quickly. After enjoying the relative cool of the woods, I broke into warm sunshine above treeline. After 0:51:24, I reached Chasm Junction. This was more than 10 minutes faster than my previous fastest time of 1:02:00 to this point (08/12/02).
Time on top, 14'er #, weather, interesting features, interesting people.
Option sections - history of peak, wildlife, route info and alternates, map, gear, food
Might try to include feelings, sounds, smells - other thoughts about life and mountains, goals, etc.
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