Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting Out of the Muck

by Craig

Salt Lake City and the Wasatch front is buried in a sea of pollution caused 'inversion'. High pressure pushes cold air down and the heavier polluted air sinks and sits in the confines of the valleys encased on all sides by mountains. Bottom line is that it is deeeeeeescusting. Run for 2 hours in the valley, whether on the roads or trails and you'll feel like you just smoked a pack of cheap Lucky brand cigarettes (do they still make those?).  After a particular bad run last week in it I vowed to not run outdoors in the valley until this stuff blows out. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen until we get another storm, something not in the forecast for another week or more. YUCK!

All that said, it certainly doesn't stop the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers from getting out on the trails, above the sickening inversion. Over the last several days many of us have actually had some pretty cool runs. I hope the boys don't mind me pulling photos and some of their experiences from the last week to spray about the continually cool stuff we get to do.

Last week MVH made it a habit of hitting up Farmington Canyon. He would run anywhere from 10 to 20 miles, taking him higher and higher above the toxic air. Matt W went along for the ride once or twice and even did a group run of his own up there. From what I can see in the photos it seems like a really cool place to run.

Matt running down

MVH caught the morning inversion from well above it

Matt and brother Aaron making strong work through the fog

Last week I ran the Avenue Twins from the Capitol building twice, once with Jennilyn and once with Matt and Scott. Both were awesome, but for different reasons. My run with Jennilyn was a slogfest, having to posthole up to the Twins and along the BST. The run with Matt and Scott was long and on much better packed trails, but oh so cold!!!

On top at dawn. Cold, but happy.

This past Sunday Scott and I chose to get above the inversion by doing a lap on the Grandeur Loop. It starts on the west ridge and climbs 3200 vertical feet in 2.3 miles to the summit of Grandeur Peak. The trail wasn't quite packed out like we'd hoped, but it wasn't that bad either. Going down Church Fork on the hand was an absolute blast. It was like a sidewalk it was so good. Take out the fact that Scott slipped and feel in a nearly, but not quite dry creek and it was perfect. Unfortunately, once back on pavement we were also back in the fog and had to run the final 2.5 miles back in the car breathing edible air. Great day though.

Scott running down Church Fork

The inversion awaits

Today I was limited on time and availability, but I was still able to get outside. I drove up to Suncrest and did  laps on the View Benchmark road which was totally packed in snow. I even hit the summit twice. It was actually a really great day of running and the weather was just perfect.

Majestic Mt Timpanogos floating above the inversion

Needless to say, it has been a fun week for all of us and I think we all feel like pre-season training is going well. Here's to hoping or cleaner air and longer runs.

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