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snow and sapporo

Posted Mar 10 2012 5:14pm
Rattlesnake Trail
Last Sunday, we drove up to one of the highest peaks ( 7000’ elev ) in the Angeles National Forest and hit the backcountry for a 13-mi high altitude run.

The timing was just perfect because the high winds subsided the night before and although there’s plenty of snow in the trails, the forecast was not too cold which means we can run light and enjoy the trails without having to worry too much of the elements.

The route we took follows the  AC100  route from Cloud Burst Summit to Eagle's Roost Point. We saw human tracks on the snow along the Cooper Canyon campground but past this area there were none but ours except for the occasional animal tracks here and there. There were a couple of times when we have to circle back to find our way because the snow literally covered all the outlines of the trail.

I’d be easily lost lost if I were to do this alone but since I was running from behind, I just followed the snow foot prints of those running ahead of me. There’s also some comfort when you’re with the company of devout trail runners. They’ve been here many times and knew the place like the back of their hands.

Little Rock Creek
The notion of getting lost was probably due to the movie Gray that I watched the night before. It helps however to be up-to-date on the news  because the lone wolf we have in the state crossed the border back to Oregon a few days ago.

The trail we were climbing parallel to the creek became too slippery at one point. While some in our group run right through it without any problems, I was a bit tentative since I wasn’t wearing spikes or ice cleats. Also its a narrow trail with a good fifty feet drop down to the rocky creek.

Then just like that Jose, who was running in front of me, slipped and landed on his back. He almost lost his footing again getting up, and with this balancing act was how he managed to make it across safely. Now, me and Harry were ready to turn around and call it day because we thought it was too risky to continue and there are probably more slippery trails ahead. But the guys who've done this many times showed us how to lean on the mountain side and to step on the fresh snow for traction. It worked. It was probably the moisture coming from the creek because past this area the trails were more easier to navigate.

We made slow progress on the trails but it was a good workout. Besides, we didn't go here to do speedwork, the idea is to experience running in high altitude. I was breathing heavily, up here the air is thin. I kind of like this type of workout for a change.

We got off the trail at the Little Jimmy campground and took the road until we reach the tunnel. We then turn around for another 6 mi run along the Angeles Crest highway to the Cloudburst Summit where we started. As usual, I was the last to arrive and the guys are already enjoying our post run meal courtesy of Abel – beer and Mexican tostadas.

When we go to places like this, I sometimes wonder if this is still part of our training for the Los Angeles Marathon (LAM). The excuses we come up with just to get a good trail run (I talked about it in my earlier post, see here ). But come to think of it, the best training is the one that makes you happy. And this outing scores big time in the happiness scale.

So, while we were hanging around and and talking about the coming LAM, Abel, out of nowhere, offered me a challenge. I was really surprised. He'll buy me a pack of Sapporo if I beat his time, even if I’m within 10 mins behind; otherwise I have to buy it for him. Abel is 20 year old senior than me so the answer should be easy, right? But this 58-year-old on our last run at the  Santa Clarita Marathon clocked at 3:23:55, more than 20 mins ahead of me that also placed him 1st on his division. I knew his intention was to encourage me to run my best, otherwise he would have offered Tecate (his beer of choice) since my chance of winning is way, way slim. It took me a while to answer but I accepted it nonetheless. If anything else, win or lose, my stinky feet will still get to enjoy its favorite beer.

Here's a small clip of our run that day:
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