This morning I ran my favorite route of all time. Up and down the west face of Grandeur Peak. I really do love it, but I hate it just as bad. It never feels good. I can go up in 1 1/2 hours and it hurts, or I can try for a PR and it hurts even more. This morning was a PR attempt, and it hurt. It was a perfect morning. There was a nice gale force wind coming out of Parley's as there always is in the early morning, but it was probably only of Tropical Storm intensity, rather than the usual Class III Hurricane. Once I got out of the wind after the first big climb, I was feeling pretty good. After the second big climb (right before the trail splits to the left to loop back down the northern ridge) I was a minute ahead of normal pace. Maybe today would be the day!
Side Note: From the first time I attempted the West face of Grandeur Peak, in August of 2004, my goal has been to beat my good friend Erik Badger's time. He and his dad, Bri Badger(who introduced me to the Wasatch 100 and all the addictive behavior associated with it), were making a weekly ascent and invited me along. Erik was trying to beat Bri's time of 49 minutes to the summit, and did so, then went a little further and made it in 46 1/2 minutes. I'm sure there are faster times. In fact, I think Ken Jensen did it in around 43 minutes, and I'm sure Jared Campbell, in his 1000+ summits has done it faster, but right now I'm shooting for Erik's time. I've only had 3 years to work at it, while Erik was away at school in Kentucky. You'd think I could pull it off in 3 years, but it has remained elusive. So.....Back to today.
The second half of the climb I was feeling pretty good. It was a beautiful sunrise, the flower's were in their prime towards the top, and I was lucky enough to flush a covey of Chukar and 5-6 Grouse. I purposefully didn't look at my watch, just kept it going as hard as I could. Even then, I'd find my mind wandering now and then and my pace would slack off a little, until I realized I wasn't going hypoxic anymore. Finally, almost to the top, where the trail bumps over to the north of the ridge. No matter what I feel like, I always try and run from here to the top. No walking! I was thinking that I really could be in the 46 minute range today. I crossed back over to the ridgeline, and really began to feel anaerobic. You know that nice metallic, almost bloodlike taste in your mouth? Only 100 yards to the top, and then I'm there, push stop and the watch says 47:20......
It's a PR. I beat it by 7 seconds! So that was great, but at the same time, I thought I'd be in the 46's somewhere. You'd think I could be satisfied, but the 46 1/2 lurks in the back of my mind. You're still safe Erik! That one really hurt, I may not try again for a while. Then again, maybe next Monday morning.