Monday, July 26, 2010

Leaving Aspen

So around 2pm, after the 4-pass loop, I had to figure out my next move.
Debated climbing something Sunday, but my favorite climbing/hiking partner was out in Reno.

I thought I'd stick around the area, camp/sleep in the car another night, and run something on Sunday -- perhaps the Rio Grande trail between Glenwood and Aspen. Thought that would be good Lean Horse training, as I needed more flat, consistent running, and it was at a decent elevation. A friend recommended this route, though he had the luxury of an impressively energetic son who rode along with him (thus keeping him company and theoretically able to mule water/supplies).

I had mentioned this trail as training to another runner the day before. "Is your 100-mile race paved? Because it's not a very pretty trail otherwise."

Hmmm. My legs were certainly sore from the trail run. I drove down the hill to take a nap and think. I was sure to go past the Aspen city limits sign just so I could pull over to the side of the road, and took about an hour nap. Now, I was hungry, and headed back into town.

I forgot how much I despise Aspen proper. I feel like an intruder, like something's going to happen -- somebody's going to drive into me or walk into me or I'm gonna look at someone the wrong way -- and it's gonna be my fault and I'm gonna get sued, somehow. Some of the best natural beauty in the world is ruined by artificiality -- am I talking about humans or the mountains?


Two things I used to like about Aspen: Hunter S. Thompson, and The Red Onion. Both gone, as far as I knew (though I since found out that the Red Onion re-opened).

Otherwise, I don't like it. There's no free parking.

I'm a hypocrite, sue me. (No, wait...) Is this really a place where Hunter S. Thompson could have lived without being a hypocrite? More properly, is this really a place where Hunter S. Thompson could have died?

But for now, I wanted to find something to eat, and didn't want to deal with parking. Hey, I'd take a free lot and walk any day, even on sore legs, but didn't find one. I headed to the outskirts -- laundromat, Papa John's, strip-mallish, looking promising. Free parking for customers. I found a delicious Mediterranean place, and I was starving. $9 for kind of a half pita/kebab, but it was delicious, and the guy was nice inside even though my shins were covered in dirt.

Next door at Papa John's, the employees were chatting. I asked if I could fill a mug with soda, listed at $1.45. "Just a buck." Sweet, score one for the real people.

Mid-afternoon, thought I'd head over to Glenwood, check out the trail on the way and consider my options. Heading downvalley along the Roaring Fork, it was hot: 95 degrees. Not much going on, only caught occasional glimpses of the mostly-paved Rio Grande trail, and only occasional glimpses of the river. Not much in the way of re-supply, no potable water. I'd either have to do an out-and-back, or pay $5 or $7 to take the bus back. And who knew how my legs would feel after sleeping in the car again? Then the drive back on I-70...I was running out of arguments as to why I should stick around, rather than run closer to home.

I didn't think a 1-day trip to Aspen would be "worth it," but I talked myself into going home Saturday night. I recalled a conversation I had with someone in the parking lot after the run, as he asked me about the details of the loop. "A lot of stuff to see crammed into one day!" I said..."That's a lot of stuff for TWO days!" he replied. He was right, I got 2 days worth in one, no harm in going back.

Got back to the Fort, slept at home, and slept in. As for Sunday, ran 2 loops of my half-marathon loop, for an even marathon, on tired, sore legs. Not "epic", but good consistent home-base training.

Good to be home!


  1. Wow, nice work dude. I hope you're gonna parlay this back to back stuff into a fast time at some soon-to-come 100-miler. Got to get that qualifier for H'rock lottery.

  2. Lean Horse a qualifier for Hardrock? All kidding aside, I hope we are both toeing the starting line in Silverton next year. You are ready. I found those back-to-backs (or even 2 long ones in three days) really helped me. Pretty epic run in Aspen. I also have the Pawnee-Buchanan loop on my "to do" list.

  3. Thanks guys, yes, I'd be up for a Pawnee-Buchanan field trip one of these days.

    LH will be a test of the distance, so I'm looking forward to it, and it was great as my first 50. I'll see how I feel after that: ideally, throw my name in the WS lottery, and take a look at the other HR qualifiers. So I'm at least 2 years out from HR eligibility, and I'm OK with that. Something to look forward to, and if I can stay healthy, I'll be a stronger distance runner 2 years from now.

    ...Or I'll find out 100M isn't as fun, and it'll make 50M'ers psychologically easier. Either way, looking forward to the experiment!