Virginius day: one of the must do days of the course marking. Spud opted to come out despite being his first day from sea level. We hitched a ride in the extracab part of Steve's truck to Ouray then the long bumpy ride up Camp Bird Road. We run down this in the race and it is one of the more mind numbing sections. Way worse going up last year.
We parked at the site of the Governor's Aid Station and started the hike up the jeep road. Almost no snow until we got just below the mine site. After a scramble up the steep snow banks we were at the mine site and we could see the first steep pitch. The snow was split down the middle by a huge dirt bank. We all picked our lines, some choosing the dirt. There was no easy way, compounded by loose rocks breaking free and crashing down dangerously on those below.
After the first pitch we worked cross to the short second pitch which was covered in soft snow. You had to be careful you didn't break through. Then we all faced the third and final steep pitch. The snow had melted through in parts making the climb up the middle dangerous, if not impossible. We traversed from the side, kicking steps into the icy snow. 13,100 feet. Wow.
The narrow ledge that serves as Kroger's Kitchen aid Station filled up with runners and we sat around eating lunch and soaking up the spectacular views. We checked out the lead-up from the Telluride side, steep and slippery.
After some photos we set off sliding and slipping back down the partially exposed slope. with momentum we glissaded some of the second pitch. Running across the bench I broke through some soft snow and jammed my knee onto a rock. Yeow. A bit of a graze but no real damage.
The last steep pitch was a mix of sliding and scrambling out of control. Most of that snow will be gone by race day but the dirt/rock slopes will still be tricky to descend. Then the road back to the cars. 6 miles 3.45 hrs
We all finished the day with the traditional soak at the hot springs before a feed of Mexican.