Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Heretic or Asterisk?

Just finished the "rest" week. Three consecutive longish runs, after being exhausted on Wednesday from two busy days of work. It was another week of training, nothing exciting, but a good solid week. I cut my mileage from last week, to end up with about 90 this week.

20+ on Thursday, 30 on Friday in the wind and flats with Connie along for the last 15, then 7 windy Rock Repeats today for 30+ and 7700 feet of vertical in each direction. Finishing up my last Rock Repeats, I felt good. I kept a steady pace and was consistent. Broke out a new pair of shoes for the Rock Repeats. My body thanked me.

I got more planning details out of the way this week for the Vegas portion of the trip to and from Death Valley. We also solved the problem of what to do with the coolers on Sunday on the way back to the Las Vegas airport when the post office in Furnace Creek is closed. UPS stores are open on Sundays!

I made an executive decision a couple of weeks ago. We are NOT climbing Whitney after the race. We were having a hard time getting permits for the days that would be convenient for us as far as timing the return trip. We only have until Sunday, so we really don't have time to be driving back across the valley once we leave Lone Pine to go back to Badwater.

To me, I've always felt like the Whitney portion was not that important. I also didn't want the crew stressing about it, and they were fine with it. Whitney is so different from the rest of the Badwater course. To me it didn't make sense, even if it was part of the original route, and the purpose of the original race was lowest to highest, which is how purists view it.

Ben Jones was giving me a hard time about not climbing Mt. Whitney, but we are doing Telescope Peak on the return trip instead, highest point in Death Valley National Park. It's only a hair over 11,000 feet at the top. It's a little shorter than Whitney in distance too, about 15 miles round trip for Telescope as opposed to 22 for Whitney. Both routes start at about 8000 feet.

So I told Ben I'd make my crew do cartwheels down the trail. And that the guys on the crew would be wearing running skirts. And that I'd crack open a hot bottle of champagne and pass it around, and pray for the patron saint of the desert to save our souls. We'll call it the Death Valley Desert Double (DVDD).

I already know I'm a heretic, this is just more evidence. Half the people I've talked to can't understand the not wanting to do Whitney part. But there are so many little issues with Whitney. I climbed it once nearly 30 years ago. Yes it's the highest point in the lower 48, another 14er, just a little higher than Mt. Elbert here. Lowest to highest, the traditional route. But I've never done Telescope Peak. And this race is about the desert for me. Why not climb to the highest point in Death Valley itself?

Plus with Telescope Peak there are many bonuses. Like no permits, no bears breaking into your vehicle for food, no limited parking, no timing the permits for the right day, no weather issues, no altitude issues, no worries about getting up to train on Pikes Peak or something high in June before the snow is melted.

I told Ben I am perfectly okay with being an asterisk, footnote, or oddball. There are a number of them on the "Badwater Master List", which is an archive maintained by Ben of every single and multiple Badwater crossing known.

The crew has been getting a bit rambunctious in their e-mails. Much talk about what to wear, especially reflective gear. I find it amusing that my mostly male crew has such fashion sense. Some pre-race e-mail bonding going on!

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