Mar 22, 2021
Lot’s of videos and photos for you today. If you’re only going to watch one video, make it the fifth one, where I reach the Grand Canyon.
Mar 19, 2012
Distance today = 51.76 km; Total distance = 3700.77 km; Location = 8 km north of Paulden (mile marker 343) – 34 57.508′ N, 112 24.993′ W; Start time = 0930, Finish time = 1704
I wasn’t sure I’d be doing any running today. I awoke to a sky that was snowing heavily, and a ground that was already densely laden with snow from yesterday and overnight.
There were two main problems – could we dig the support vehicle out and have the crew drive on the dangerous roads, and would the conditions be too dangerous for me? Running in sub-zero temperatures in the countryside is dangerous enough, but the chance of cars losing control on the slippery roads and hitting me, especially given I had to run in the traffic lane or else in two foot deep snow, was not an insignificant possibility.
But I thought I’d give it a go. I dug out the support vehicle (see photos – sorry Chook, but the car didn’t suffer from anything worse that a chilly night in the open air) and we all hit the road – me on foot.
I was really pleased I did, as the snow stopped, the sun came out, and the day was perfect. One highlight was when I passed a cow that seemed to have something wrong with it. It turned out to have just given birth minutes earlier, and the placenta was still hanging out. The little calf was on the ground, and I watched as it gradually stood up on very wobbly legs, taking several minutes to gain its balance. And we humans take approximately a year to reach that same stage.
I finished the day with nearly 52 km, and now have only three days to go till I reach the Grand Canyon. I estimate a week after that I’ll be at Monument Valley, doing the Forrest Gump thing.
Mar 20, 2012
Distance today = 61.09 km; Total distance = 3761.86 km; Location = Williams – 35 15.077′ N, 112 11.045′ W; Start time = 0858, Finish time = 1752
Had a huge day, with 61.09 km of running, almost 1000 metres of ascent, and a new altitude record for the world run of 2,130 metres (7,100 feet). The high altitude, combined with running uphill for 60+ km, all takes it toll, and I’ll sleep well tonight.
The highlight of the day was watching big clumps of snow, too heavy to cling to the branches of the trees any longer, continually falling and hitting the ground in an explosion of white powder.
I’ve been running on Route 66 for the past 30 km or so, and we’re staying right on an authentic part of the road tonight. The town of Williams is a real classic. It sustains itself with Grand Canyon tourist traffic, which allows it to maintain the original Route 66 feel. If you’re ever visiting the Grand Canyon, make sure you include a stop at Williams.
As has become usual when I have a long day, the GPS watch battery wasn’t up to the task, and I stopped it at 53.5 km, just before it ran out. It doesn’t seem to last as long in cold weather. I had my spare Garmin with me, and engaged it immediately. Therefore, you will find two Garmin links at the head of this blog.
Mar 21, 2012
Distance today = 48.68 km; Total distance = 3810.54 km; Location = Valle – 35 39.199′ N, 112 08.299′ W; Start time = 0839, Finish time = 1540
I have to admit, yesterday was a tough one, so I was very pleased today was much easier.
I reckon the fantastic steak meal I had last night at Rod’s Steakhouse in Williams played a part too. It was truly delicious, and the support crew concurred. This is not a flippant comment. When transitioning to high altitude, the body requires additional iron to produce extra red blood cells, so a good steak goes a long way.
It was a pleasant but uneventful run, along rapidly melting snow-lined roads. From the tops of hills, I’m sure I can see parts of the Grand Canyon. Tomorrow I’ll see it for real.
I have a fantastic view of Mt Humphreys from the hotel room today. It is Arizona’s highest mountain at nearly 12,700 feet, and is very majestic as a stand-alone peak. However, it is still a little lower than the Christo Redentor Pass that I have to run to get over the Andes. That will be later this year.
Most of the uphill running is now over for the next few weeks. At 2,130 metres, which I reached yesterday, I was higher than Alp d’Huez, the top of Mont Ventoux, and the Col du Lauteret – some of the most famous of the climbs and mountain top finishes of the Tour de France. Having ridden all those climbs, and run Alp d’Huez, I honestly believe it’s easier running uphill than it is cycling. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.
Mar 22, 2012
Distance today = 49.00 km; Total distance = 3859.54 km; Location = Grand Canyon Village – 36 03.295′ N, 112 07.069′ W; Start time = 0819, Finish time = 1555
A classic day at the office, starting in brilliant sunshine, and ending in brilliant sunshine at the Grand Canyon.
Just a couple of kilometres into today’s run I caught up to a guy who was walking. Turns out that Jeremy, from the UK, is hiking the Arizona Trail, which is essentially a walking path from the Mexican border to Utah. He’s a very interesting guy, having done many ultra races and substantive hikes in the past. The recent snow has made the trails impassable, so he has had to do a few days on the roads. It was great to talk to someone along the way – something I haven’t done for some time now. If you click on the Garmin link at top of this blog and scroll down to the Pace chart, you’ll see where my speed dropped during the time I was walking and talking with Jeremy.
I bid Jeremy farewell and headed off toward the GC. Just before reaching it, I began videoing my approach, as I wanted viewers to experience the same vision that I did as the panorama of the Grand Canyon unfolded before me. The video should be up soon, so please have a look.
As for the Grand Canyon, I don’t want to wax lyrical about it, as I’m sure you’ve seen and heard it all before. I think Carmel’s photos will do it more justice than my words. Make sure you have a look.
I was wrong about having reached my maximum elevation – just before the Grand Canyon I maxed out at 2,134 metres. Will this be the limit prior to reaching the Colorado Rockies, or will I go higher tomorrow?
I finished the day at our accommodation, the Yavapai Lodge in Grand Canyon Village, with a very rounded 49.00 km. Tomorrow I’ll have a bit of a shorter day along the south rim of the canyon, so that I have time to enjoy some of the other local activities as well. After all, running around the world is about more than just running, and it would be silly to pass up great experiences just for the sake of a few extra kilometres.