Week of May 2 - 8

Shifting Gears.

Andrew Drummond harvesting corn in the Great Gulf Wilderness. Photo: CJ Congrove.

With Alaska in the rearview I anticipated this week to focus on running and biking since I have a couple upcoming races the next two weekends - Crank the Kanc (May 14) & King Pine Triathlon (May 21). But I honestly have little drive to bike these days, especially when there's still skiing to be had (see this post, re: multisport triage). It's hard to get motivated for these events with so little training heading in. I'm sure I'll still do well but last year I made the goal of putting in more miles on the bike after the Inferno and that just hasn't happened. It goes back to what I realized last week - pare down the sports / events to the ones that really have a place in your calendar or that you'll benefit from. I still think I'll enjoy both of these upcoming races though and i'll go into each more relaxed. Anyway, on to this week.

I spent this week getting my running legs back under me. It's not that I lost a ton of run fitness but my run muscle were mostly dormant while in AK. I was also still kicking a lingering cold that seemed to power up on the return flight (feeling better as I type this!). So getting in 50 miles this week seemed like it would be a chore but came fairly easy. I resumed my speed training at the track doing 800/400 repeats and ran them well. This week I signed up for the Market Day Square 10k for some extra training motivation.

And ski season continues to roll on! Didn't think I'd still be hustling to get up to the mountains but a friend I met a few weeks ago at Airplane Gully rallied to go check off Pipeline and Jefferson Ravine. I was more interested in seeing what Jefferson had to ski but I also wanted to get a top to bottom run on Pipeline, hopping the two chokes and stopping at the icefall. Well there was still plenty of snow on Pipeline, less than last time but the chokes had lost considerable amounts of snow and without much ski action they weren't filled in (the sluff builds up making it easy to navigate these sections). I stopped and scoped out the top one and after CJ's sluff accumulated it looked doable. Unfortunately, I was timid and in the backseat resulting in an epic crash. With just a nick to the nose I skied away unscathed. We hike back out and moved on to Jefferson which was two miles away. The weather was perfect so it was an enjoyable slog. At Jefferson we were disappointed by how little snow was left in the snowfields and thought we were skunked by the absence of snow in Stealth Gully. We followed the Edmand's Col Cut-off trail around the northeast aspect of Jefferson Ravine to find a couple ribbons of snow left that were corned up nicely! It was rewarding to get those turns in after a sizable effort getting there. We only had time for a run and some photos before opting to descend via the Caps Ridge Trail. We knew we weren't taking the easy way down and carrying skis made it much more difficult as we smashed into rocks and trees most of the way down. On top of that we still had to get back to the Cog Base Station via Jefferson Notch Road (still closed), boundary cutoff, Jewel Trail, and then ditch our packs at Base Station Road and run the remaining 0.4 miles back to our cars. Worth the effort and I don't think I'd do it any differently given the situation. 

Looking on to next week I'm planning on hitting 50 miles, a big ski day in the Great Gulf, and the Crank the Kank race!

Run: 49.9 | 5,082'
Bike: 45 min (trainer)
Backcountry: Clay / Jefferson | 5,866'


Week of April 18 - 24

Andrew Drummond skiing Airplane Gully April 21, 2016.

Mild week! A cold and a couple travel days thrown in meant that my activity level would be down but I'm fine with that. I've been operating at full throttle for for the past month and it didn't surprise me that I came down with a cold (on the summit of Mt. Clay Thursday the symptoms surfaced). Anyway, it was a sign to tone things down for a couple days and rest up.

I was still able to accomplish a few things this week though. The first was an excellent track workout on Tuesday. Double J and I did 5 x 1 mile and although it was windy out I was able to hit my 5:30 goal pace with 400m recovery. I'd love to run these faster, somewhere in the teens, but that will come with more training. For where I'm at now I'll gladly take those and move on.

Second, I had a great run / hike with Tristan Williams up on the Southern Presidentials on Wednesday. The goal was to collect photos & video capturing a moonrise. Turns out everything was perfect but the moonrise was just a little too early to really pop. We still got amazing shots and the video came out great for a run and gun:

And lastly, I met up with Brian MacIlvain, Ed Warren, and eventually joined by Gabe Flanders for a tour in the Great Gulf. When I was there last Sunday I had my eye set on Pipeline Gully and that was the mission for the day. We hiked up the Cog and warmed up on Airplane Gully then Turkey Shoot. After scouting the Pipeline from the Base we decided to bootpack back up Airplane and hike over to the top to assess the conditions. It was perfect with a few choke / rock points visible below before the final ice bulge. It was wider than expected and we were able to make nice medium radius turns down, regrouping at each of the choke points. We checked out another run further north but there wasn't enough snow to give it a go. Instead, we took a final lap down Airplane and called it a day. 

I spent Friday getting prepped for our trip to Alaska. Hilary really wanted to go to AK with her week off in April so we made it happen. It's a fair amount of travel but not too bad. We stayed with a friend down in Portsmouth so that our 5:30am bus to Boston the next morning wasn't TOO bad. Saturday we traveled through Denver and made it to Alaska at 3pm. Sunday we organized gear, got a much needed run in on the Anchorage trails and were off to Talkeetna! More on that AK trip next week...

Run: 24.1 mi / 1,447' (Track work & a couple easy runs)
Backcountry: 7'057' (Great Gulf)
Hike: 14.1 mi / 4,974' (Half run / Half Hike)