The latter half of May heralds my favorite season of the year: Oodles of Uphill Season!
Yes, on the docket for Oodles of Uphill Season this year are the Black Canyon Ascent, which was last Saturday, Mt. Washington in a bit over three weeks, Vail Hill Climb in early July, followed by the Rendezvous Hillclimb in Jackson Hole later in the month to, um, warm up for the Pikes Peak Ascent later in August, then Mt. Baldy in California on Labor Day, followed by the Boulder Mountain Marathon (the 10 mile ascent part of it) at some point in September.
Told you there was oodles of uphill. Yay.
Black Canyon was…a surprise that maybe I shouldn’t have that been surprised by. I managed to work the race into a work trip on one of my (many) favorite loops in the territory: Buena Vista to Salida to Gunnison to Crested Butte back down to Montrose then out to Grand Junction then back down through Montrose out to Telluride and Ouray. I like to use Montrose as a little hub to do trips out to Telluride and Ouray as well as Grand Junction if I’m not coming from the Vail direction, and Black Canyon sits right on the outskirts of town, so it worked.
Tech rep or paid vagrant? It’s a toss-up!
Anyway, despite the warm spring weather in the weeks preceding the race, we got a nice little spring blizzard of sorts the couple of days before, and even though it cleared off, race day was a chilly one. I always like going out to Black Canyon because it’s like little reunion of People Who Only Like to Run Up Things. I warmed up with Simon Gutierrez, Mary Baldwin, Josh Eberly, and CJ Hitz, and unfortunately Brandy Erholtz was down for the count with a stomach bug, Kim Dobson had a baby three weeks ago, Neal and Amy McDonagh also had a recent visit from the stork, and Peter Maksimow is nursing an injury. So the reunion was smaller than normal.
After all was said and done, I finished a measly four seconds off of my best time there and well, it buoyed me a up bit and was even sort of a relief in a way. After sort of just lollygagging around for the better part of 2016 running-but-not-really-training, I got pretty amped to learn that “it” may just still be in there. A great many of my battles are mental ones (do we even need to go there? No sir, we do not.) and I always wonder if I’m doing enough or not enough or straight up doing it wrong. Doing the ol’ lone wolf thing as far as training goes–which I’ve always enjoyed because it takes a certain sort of stress out of it and also really appeals to the introvert side of myself–definitely comes with the caveat of having to keep yourself honest, and you only really have yourself and your own feelings and experiences to gauge off of, for better or for worse. So, to know I wasn’t too terribly far off the mark made me pretty happy.
But, I’m not really into talking a good game, anybody can do that. Talk is cheap as we all know. It was one race after all, and just a little guy. Mt. Washington will be a lot more telling, with my only goal being to bring my very best A-Game and let the chips fall where they may. Whatever happens, it will be a great day on the mountain, it always is.