Thought of describing some of my prep and given I'm not big on blogs figured here would do:
So this is day 4 at Silverton. Think old American western movie. Picture the old saloon and boardwalk with dirt streets and the odd horse and cart. A steam train pulls into town once a day. All nestled in amongst some really spectacular mountains. There is a constant stream of tourists on the train, by the busload and on the classic touring motorbikes. If you've seen that movie where the 4 middle aged guys take off on bikes then you can picture the type.
Day 1 I went for an easy 3 1/2 hour run/hike on the final few miles of the course. Unfortunately my course directions are in reverse to the direction I was travelling and I managed several detours.
Day 2 I headed out on the first few miles in the right direction. The first major creek crossing about 3 miles in pulled me up. It will be roped on race day and with the huge snow melt I decided against risking it on my own (and for Horrie who seems concerned that I need to HTFU: there have been 6 drownings in Colorado rivers this summer already plus a lady who fell from her horse into a creek and hasn't been found. So I treat these conditions with respect. ). So I went back through town and out the other way again. I figure I will be doing that in the dark so the more times the better. 4hrs.
Day 3 Given that the course isn't marked yet I chose to hike up the nearest mountain instead. I didn't quite get to the 13,000 ft peak as I was running low on water and food so headed off track to the nearest peak. I just followed a goat track and came across a herd of elk grazing in an alpine meadow. Climbed a few snow banks and got to 12,200 ft. Sat in the sun and enjoyed the view for a while. Most spectacular scenery. Glissaded down a snow bank and then pounded the quads all the way back down the mountain. 3hrs up and one hour down! Total of 5 hours for the day. Waded into the local creek and let the icy snow melt cool my quads down.
Day 4 Was determined to find the pass that eluded me on day 1. Still managed to miss a few turns on the way up and went explorng but eventually found a runner who has done 5 HRs and he pointed me in the right direction. Still hard to navigate. Some of the trail is little more than animal tracks. Climbed high and got just below the 13,000ft pass when a big snow bank (with huge drop-off) and looming thunder clouds persuaded me it was time to turn back. One minute it was warm sunshine. The next it was snowing. Then sun again. Another pounding descent and thigh soaking to finish my run. 6hrs.
Course marking starts on Saturday so I will get out to see more of the course. Can't wait. Trail runner heaven.