Climbing the Tallest Mountain in Colorado

Neal and I took a break last weekend from all the current economic chaos to relax and refocus. 

What better way to recapture this perspective than to climb to the top of the second highest peak in the Continental United States?  Mt. Elbert (14,440 ft.) is 65 feet shorter than the tallest peak in the continental US, California’s Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft.).

It was an amazing weekend mountain climb.  We arrived at the trailhead at around 10 AM on Saturday morning.  Neal had planned the route on his Garmin and in our Suunto watches, so we were set to go.  The sky was total bluebird and it was unseasonably warm (45F).  We started out in base layers and packed 2 extra layers in our 30-pound packs.

We hit the tree line around noon and ran into a solo climber who had summited and was making his way back down.  He gave a very positive report of the terrain and weather as well as what turned out to be an overly optimistic estimate on our time to summit.  He guessed we were about 2 hours from the summit.  It turned out to be 4!

As someone who has climbed the 7 Summits and made a living as a climber, Neal was very patient with the skinny kid from Ohio who was making his first summit.  We reached the summit shoulder to shoulder.  It was amazing to stand at the top and absorb the 360 degrees of panoramic beauty.  That being said, there wasn’t much time to absorb it.  Wind speeds were 20-40 mph on the summit, and wind chill temps were in the single digits.

Special thanks to Suunto, Gu Nutrition, Eider Apparel, Deuter Backpacks and dear mother nature!

Here are the details:

  • Mount Elbert
  • Elevation 14,440, tallest mountain in Colorado, 2nd tallest in continental US
  • Hiking Distance From Trail head: 9.5 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 4,700 feet
  • Latitude/Longitude: 39.11780 N / 106.4447 W

…Wouldn’t you like to get away?  Some times you wanna go…

This many! 10DL is 1 year old

The concept that we call “10 Degrees of Latitude” is one year old today. Hard to believe that one year ago Adam and I brainstormed this idea. The untold story about 10DL is that it was actually Adam’s wife (Amy Hazlett) who came up with the actual name. Adam came up with the idea to do the channel, I wrapped the bike ride around it, and Amy coined the 10 Degrees Latitude idea. My hat is off to Amy, and it’s also off for everyone that has helped us along the way. There are almost too many names to mention…

A rambunctious and awesome shout-out to a few special people:

Another monstrous shout-out to the crew of 10DL Europe. Without whom we would have done nothing:

  • Flora/Laura
  • Amy/Joshua/Andrew
  • Bob/Michelle
  • Tricia/Eva

Looking forward to another great year of 10DL! (our brand is so popular now that it now has an acronym!)

A nice write-up from Gu

Gu Nutrition, makers of Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel, did a funny little write-up on us today. They sent Adam and I a list of provocative questions and asked us to respond. I hope you have as much fun reading it as we had writing it.

Here’s an excerpt.

– – –

What’s the most creative way you’ve ever carried your GU?
Neal: In my Speedo.
Adam: In my Speedo.

Funny racing/training story?
Adam: While training for Ironman Florida, I was on a long run in the backwoods of Virginia, miles from home, and miles from civilization. When nature called, I found the nearest tree. Long-story short…poison-ivy everywhere (yes everywhere). Two weeks before race day!

– – –

Day 23 – Channel Day Moments

We swam the channel yesterday.  Today is a planned day to rest, recoop and reenergize. We still have 200 more miles to bike to get to Paris — which will start day after tomorrow.

Some stats about our swim:

  • Dover, UK to Calais, France
  • 14 hours 23 minutes
  • 21 miles
  • Water temp 60F
  • In terms of nutrition… We each fed once every 30 minutes in the water on GU Roctane and GU20 using the Gu-Bot bottle. The bottle held 2 GU packets in a separate chamber from the warmed GU hydration. We ate 2 packets and 12 ounces of warm water during each feeding.
  • Seas were pretty rough at times
  • Our pilot on channel day was David Whyte. Seriously folks, he’s the best in the business and has piloted over 350 successful channel swims. 350!!! His support was phenomenal. His thoughts we only on the swimmers — and his hand-picked crew helped our crew huge. His boat is one of the largest in the fleet. I remember late during the swim when he turned around and shouted encouragement to me in the water at the top of his lungs, flinging his arms in celebration. He was wonderful. It’s a pity he’s retiring this year — but we hear he’s trained an awesome successor in Chris Osmond.

Check out these videos and photographs:

Predator goggleA shout-out to Skyline Goggles, especially our friend Rick Runckel, President. Neal used the Predator goggles (pictured) during his crossing. These goggles are built for open water swimming — they have a huge viewing angle and don’t hurt eye sockets during swims, whether those swims are 1 hour or 14 hours.

Day 18 – 5th training swim in Dover

Met at Dover Harbor today for the regular weekend CS&PF Swim. There were heaps of swimmers (at least 50) there at 9AM. Adam and I swam for 1 hour in the harbor just to loosen up. We were joined by our families, and after the swim the kids decided to stick their feet in the water. Lots of fun. Adam and I wanted to give another SHOUT-OUT to our support crew again: Michelle, Bob, Amy, Laura, Flora, Tricia, Andrew, Joshua, and Princess Ava. They are always ready with fluffy towels, GU nutrition, hot water, and loving praise. They rock.

Before, during and after the swim we met lots of fellow channel swimmers. We finally put a name to a face with Mark Robson.  We also met some new folks from New Jersey and California — folks I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of during our upcoming North America swims. Some of the folks we met have blogs:

  • Mark Robson (congrats on your 6 hr swim today mate!)
  • Karah Nazor (always nice to see a fellow San Franciscan, good luck tomorrow!)

We are close to GO-TIME here in Dover. Tomorrow there is a chance we’ll swim. Our pilot (Dave Whyte) will call us tonight at 7PM to let us know. So, keep us in your thoughts tonight, hopefully we’ll swim the channel tomorrow.

Here are some pictures that we grafted from other folk’s blogs. Enjoy. Hope you’re all well.

Day 10 – 5 Tips to ensure your bike never slows you down

Today is a scheduled rest day in Nottingham.  We’ve got beautiful weather here and it’s a great little town to enjoy.  Since we don’t have any ride stories from today, I thought I’d share a short article that I came across in Outside Magazine.  Here is a link to the web version of the article.  The original can be found in this year’s “Summer 2008 Buyer’s Guide.”  It’s written by Levi Leipheimer, America’s top cyclist.

An Ounce of Prevention: 5 Tips to ensure your bike never slows you down

1. Never Let Your Tread Wear Out: Replace your tires frequently. With fresher rubber, you’ll have fewer flats and also a better-handling bike.

2. Regularly Inspect Your Tires: Sometimes you’ll come back from a ride with small bits of glass or debris embedded in the outer casing. If you habitually clean this stuff off, it won’t have a chance to work through the tire.

3. Same Goes for Your Chain: Keep it clean and lubed and your bike will shift, and look, better. And if you replace your chain before it gets too worn out, you’ll save the expense of having to fix or replace pricier items like cassettes and chainrings, which suffer increased wear and tear from old chains.

4. Buy a Torque Wrench: Modern bike components are made of expensive materials like carbon and titanium and highly engineered to save weight. But that also means they can be damaged by overtightening. Manufacturers test their products and provide torque recommendations. Make sure you follow them.

5. Find a Good Local Bike Shop and Mechanic, and Be Loyal: The more familiar they become with your bike and your riding style, the more able they’ll be to keep everything working to your liking.

The final tip is one that I can’t emphasize enough.  It’s one of those things that until you experience it, you don’t know how disadvantaged you are.  We’ve mentioned Cadence Cycling on this blog several times. One of my most valuable relationships that has come from 10 Degrees Latitude has been through Cadence.  I have learned more about cycling/multisport from the coaches and staff here than I ever could have imagined.  Cadence has been a great supporter of ours but they’ve given us no money.  Our promotion of them comes out of respect.  I wish every serious athlete could have a top tier bike shop in their area.  Any bike retailer can sell you a bike.  Most of them can even put together a 30 minute bike fit for you.  But in order to make the step from recreational athlete to competitor you absolutely must plug yourself in to a first rate knowledge base. Cadence Cycling squared me away, and put me on a course to ensure a successful event this summer. Here were just a few of my problem areas that I never knew I had:

  1. Bad bike fit
  2. Poor nutrition regimen (racing and training)
  3. Bought products based on price/brand.  Paid little attention to catering to my race needs.

Last but not least — pictures from our rest day in Nottingham. We visited the Nottingham Castle, and the local bike shop Freewheel where the head mechanic rebuilt Neal’s bottom bracket and tightened Adam’s rear cassette. Thanks guys!