Apr 23, 2021
Two videos, four blog posts, and a few photos from my time running in the Colorado Rockies in 2012.
Apr 20, 2012
Distance today = 53.57 km; Total distance = 5314.43 km; Location = Saguache – 38 05.343′ N, 106 08.258′ W; Start time = 0832, Finish time = 1618
Wow, 53 km on a dead straight flat road. I actually noticed myself cresting the horizon. I’m glad I had the mountains to give me some perspective.
I awoke to a beautiful day, with clear blue skies and no wind. I made the most of the conditions early on, until the breeze picked up around noon, and those wretched headwinds made themselves known. I still maintain that it’s much better to be running than cycling into a headwind, but that doesn’t mean I like it. The worst thing is not the buffeting, though that’s bad enough. It’s the lack of silence – there’s always a cacophony of rushing air assaulting the ears, making it hard to concentrate on anything. This contrasted drastically with the morning when, between traffic, there were periods of sustained relaxing silence, where all I could here was my own footsteps and breathing.
That said, I was certainly pleased to get into town this afternoon and out of the wind. The motel does not have internet, so I’ve headed down to a bakery. This is where the tracker position is indicating I am, which is not too bad, seeing as my official run position is only just up the road a couple of hundred metres.
I’d like to add, once again, what a great job the support crew are doing. It’s not just the provision of food and drink, should I need it, at strategic locations along the day’s run; it’s also the administrative aspects, with accommodation being researched and booked, meal options investigated and dealt with (sometimes there is no option but to cook in our room), and other issues solved, such as internet access.
Without the crew – Carmel and Libby – I would not be able to do anything like the average daily distance I’ve been managing so far. I really appreciate it when I think of my fellow journey runner, Tony Mangan, who is without a support crew. His daily average is less than mine, and it’s not because he is a lesser runner (in fact, he is definitely better than me – I could not run anything like 426 km in 48 hours). I’m sure Tony would be churning out stellar daily distances if he had the benefit of a support crew like mine. I am very lucky indeed.
As you can see from the link above, the Garmin data uploaded perfectly today, yet yesterday’s is still just sitting there, refusing to upload. At least it was just a one-day problem (I hope).
Apr 21, 2012
Distance today = 52.43 km; Total distance = 5366.86 km; Location = Poncha Pass Summit – 38 28.335′ N, 106 05.265′ W; Start time = 0819, Finish time = 1608
Today I passed one of the weirdest signs I’ve ever seen, in a little town called Villa Grove. On the front of the local butcher shop, in very official sign-writing, it read “Hippies Must Use Back Entrance – No Exceptions”. What the…………??????????
I began the day in Saguache (pronounced Sar-watch), a town that deserves a mention. It’s a lovely little place, with a very friendly diner/bakery, but the thing that stands out is the theatre. Owned by Chrissie (I hope I got the spelling right) and decked out in Art Deco style, it hosts live theatre performances on a regular basis, staged by a theatre company made up of locals. Tonight they are putting on a stage production of Titanic, which sounds like a titanic achievement in itself. I would have loved to be there to see how they deal with the sinking ship scene, but I’ve had to run on. Good luck to them – I hope the theatre and the company continue to have great success.
Today’s running consisted pretty much of one long climb. I finished the day at the summit of the Poncha Pass, at 2,756 metres (9,042 feet) in elevation. This is the highest I’ve been so far in the run around the world. It’s 110 metres higher than the Col du Galibier, one of the most feared climbs in the Tour de France. It’s also higher than all but one pass in Europe, the Col de la Bonnette, and it’s only 46 metres lower than that. But, don’t despair, I expect to go even higher in the days to come.
Off now to have a Saturday night drink at a picturesque bar on the banks of the local river. Ahhh, the joys of journey running!!!
PS The tracker is showing me in the town of Poncha Springs, but my official run location is about 12 km south of there, at the Poncha Pass.
Apr 22, 2012
Distance today = 51.15 km; Total distance = 5418.01 km; Location = Buena Vista – 38 50.489′ N, 106 08.064′ W; Start time = 0931, Finish time = 1705
If you haven’t already done so, before you start reading today’s blog, do yourself a favour and check out the latest photos (click on Home, and scroll down below the video), particularly the photos of the giant margarita.
OK, now that you’ve seen this mega-sized concoction, let me tell you the story. It was suggested to us, by Rick at Saguache, that we visit the Boathouse Cantina in Salida. So that’s where we went last night. The town of Salida itself is another gem, with an “old town” that is really worth seeing.
With a balcony perched over a mountain stream, the Boathouse Cantina is very inviting. And I just had to try the giant margarita, which is the size of six regular margaritas. I consumed it before, during, and after dinner. Needless to say, I was a touch fuzzy this morning, but otherwise felt and ran strongly all day.
Being a Sunday morning, there was almost no traffic coming down the Poncha Pass. It was all very serene and quiet when I started; so much so, that I startled a bunch of deer, which raced off into the bush.
The rest of the day passed enjoyably but without event, as I ran up a picturesque valley to the town of Buena Vista.
Having downloaded the Garmin data this afternoon, I noticed that the link is only showing graphs and maps of the first 31 or so kilometres of the day, even though it acknowledges the total was 51.15 km. The Garmin watch is also refusing to save my position, forcing me to record it on paper at my finishing point, before inputing it into my computer records. These little glitches, along with the Garmin site’s refusal to upload the data from a few days ago, are starting to become a worrying trend. I hope it is not an indication the GPS watch is on the blink. That is certainly something I don’t need.
Apr 23, 2012
Distance today = 58.90 km; Total distance = 5476.91 km; Location = Fairplay – 39 12.374′ N, 105 59.686′ W; Start time = 0814, Finish time = 1656
There are many different ways to run around the world, perhaps millions, but it’s only possible to choose one course. In my case, I’ve decided not to shirk the difficult geographies. I could have taken the easy way over the Rockies, but have instead decided to spend a lot of time running through these mountains, experiencing the various passes and the views they afford me.
I am on my way to Colorado Springs, and today I could have taken a more direct course. Instead, I chose to go via Fairplay which, at just over 3,000 metres in elevation, is the highest town I’ve ever been to. It’s almost twice as high as the highest town in Australia.
Just before reaching the town this afternoon, I peaked at a high point of 3,013 metres, which is pretty much equal to the summit of the Haleakala volcano on Maui. These are (so far) the highest places I’ve been to on Earth. Today’s high was also more than 200 metres higher than the highest pass in Europe, the Col de la Bonnette.
Being in the Rockies, I really wanted to reach at least 3,000 metres in elevation. As I mentioned, I’m not shirking the hard stuff, and will be going even higher, quite significantly so, when I cross the Andes in late November. Having also crossed the deserts of the US, I’m also looking forward to running across parts of the Sahara and Australia’s Nullarbor.
It was a long day, with almost 59 km covered. I had to race to finish before the Garmin battery gave out, and my pace over the last kilometre was the fastest I’ve run so far on the whole world run. You can see what I mean by clicking on the Garmin link above and checking out the speed chart. I think I almost got to five minutes per kilometre! Wow, that’s positively sprinting (said with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek). I hope I don’t suffer tomorrow because of it.
PS Click on Journey to see maps of where I’ve run so far. Thanks to Jimbo for creating these from the Garmin data.