My legs are legitimately whooped after this weekend. Saturday morning, Benihana and I arrived at the Mad Creek (a.k.a. Swamp Park) trailhead voluntary closure sign sometime around 7 a.m. and volunteered ourselves to run the trail anyway. A few days of warm temperatures and sun had melted alot of snow on southern facing slopes and sun baked the open meadows to near solid, with many punchy spots. The trail was a challenge to run as I would go for hundreds of yards at a time with good footing and then, randomly punch through the otherwise hard snow surface to my mid-quadracep. At one point, as I entered a section that was well shadowed by trees, I had to literally crawl across the crusty surface. Quite the adventure. I was hoping to run for two hours, but as we started making good time across a couple sun-crusted meadows, Benny caught wind of some elk and was off. He managed to flush a few and had one big bull separated from the group. The little jerk harassed the elk for a few minutes then finally listened to me and we started back toward the trailhead. We made a couple big laps, running out on the open meadow by the barn for a while, then headed back down the main trail and to the truck. Ended up running for 1:35 on tricky conditions. A short snowboarding session after that had me feeling a little spent.
Spent the rest of Saturday installing a lift kit on my truck with Creeps. The kit was easy enough to install, just upper ball joint spacers for the front and an add-a-leaf in the rear. Then, throw it on the alignment rack. The two of us wailed on it at my shop and had it done under 4 hours, with the exception of some lower control arm adjustments it still need to make.
This morning, I left the house in the dark at 6 a.m. and did a fun split trail/road run. First, took Benny out and ran my Loops of Fury hill route 4 times, which I figure to be about 1000m a lap. Whole trail run was between 5K and 4 miles when you include the approach and return run. Got back home in :50, dropped off the dog and changed into my road running shoes. Ran a 5 mile loop up to the ski area then down to the bike path and back home in :43, for a total run time of 1:33. Amazing how long the road run felt compared to running trails. Felt strong enough and gave a solid effort, heart rate 144-160 bpm, on many of the hills. My right hamstring still hurts from time to time.
Around 9:30 a.m., I went over to JD's while he finished his prep for our splitboard mission. This being his first time out, we chose some easily approached pitches off of Seedhouse Road in Clark.
The first trail we picked was fun, but very sun baked and south facing. The skin approach was a very easy trail and we got on top of a nice, little hill after a short hour long jaunt. The ride down was little sketchy, with a super hard surface to carve on, but the pitch we chose was nice enough to try again when the coniditions are better.
After that, we drove around Steamboat Lake to check out the snowmobile approach to Sand Mountain, just to get an idea how far it is. We circled the lake, then headed a little north up Highway 129 and decided to try some north facing pitches off of Prospector Trail near Hahns Peak.
We parked and found that someone was kind enough to lay down a skin track for us already so we followed it for a short while before switchbacking uphill once we found a good area to ride. We ended up getting a fun ride down through the trees which we were able to ride all the way back to the highway, only having to hike a couple hundred yards back to the truck.