Trail Running Gear Review: Salomon Speedcross 3

First, let me start by saying that I LOVE my Salomon Speedcross 3’s. I bought Matt a pair of the men’s version for his birthday, after my roommate Frank told us about them and how awesome they were. About a month later I bought a pair as well.

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Frank, Matt and I’s Salomon Speedcross 3s.

My favorite part about the shoe is the weight. At 0.5 lb it does not feel like you are even wearing shoes when you lift up your leg. My second favorite part, the spikes. These grip everything, even on sandy slopes they perform very well. So far I have run just over 100 miles in them and they are still performing as good as new.

I did order them a half size bigger to help my feet from cramming in the front on downhills and it is the perfect size. I have never blistered in these shoes. They are comfortable, and you can cinch them down on your foot and hide the cords, which is so much better then laces that can come untied and slow you down.

They also breathe very well. And if they get wet, they dry fast too. I have run through a marsh in my pair and by the time I got home they were dry. My cotton socks held on to some water, but the outside of the shoe had dried up completely.

They are a little expensive, but completely worth the money. I will mention that this is my first trail shoe, so I don’t have a ton to compare it to, but I’m not sure I ever will because I will probably just buy another pair when these are worn out.

I recommend to anyone who runs trails and is looking for a high performing shoe to purchase these without a doubt that you will love them.

 

To find a place near you to purchase them visit: Salomon Dealer Locator Tool on the Salomon website.

Frank, my roommate also just started an awesome blog on his adventures, visit it here.

Trail Running Around Buffalo Mountain, Silverthorne

Gore Range Trail Heading Towards Eccles Pass.
Gore Range Trail Heading Towards Eccles Pass.

Matt and I decided to go for a nice run around Buffalo Mountain yesterday. Its a 13 mile adventure and its absolutely beautiful. We started at the Buffalo Cabin Trailhead at the top of the Wildernest neighborhood in Silverthorne. Our start time was 8am and we took off across relatively flat ground running north on the east side of Buffalo. We went straight through the junction of Buffalo Cabin Trail 1.3 miles to the Gore Range Trail. At this point we turned west and started our ascent.

After a mile or so, you pass South Willow Falls and we stopped for a few minutes to check it out. I have ran Mesa Cortina almost to this point and turned around without ever making it to South Willow so I was excited to see it. The falls create pockets in the rock that look like perfect little pools to swim in if it wasn’t so cold.

The next few miles pass through a beautiful valley filled with wildflowers and flowing streams into South Willow Creek. This is where the real climb of the run is, and we weren’t moving super fast, just enjoying the morning. Once we got up just about to treeline, we reached a wide open basin with more wildflowers than you could ever imagine and a few high alpine ponds, one that had a little snowfield above it. I threw a snowball at Shea and we played in the snow for a few minutes before carrying on.

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Wildflowers on the North Side of Eccles Pass

At mile 7 we reached Eccles Pass on the west side of Buffalo mountain. Buffalo looks so different on the back side, it is straight down instead of rounded, it was so refreshing to get a perspective from all sides. Back there, the Gore Range Trail is a lot less traveled and it has a more wilderness feel from where I usually run.

Mile 7 starts the decent to Meadow Creek Trail heading into Frisco. Matt and I are our Clif Bars and started actually running at this point, and I got one of the worst cramps I have had in awhile. I took some deep breaths to push through it and drank some more water and eventually it subsided.

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South Side View From Eccles Pass.

It is a half mile from the top of Eccles Pass to Meadow Creek Trail and at that point the Gore Range Trail splits and heads west and we turned south and took off down the hill. We passed quite a few people on Meadow Creek Trail, it is very popular in the summer months. From the Gore Range split off to the split off to Lily Pad Lake Trail is 3.5 miles of down hill. We ran at about an 11-12 minute mile pace all the way down to the split, passing over Meadow Creek many times.

After what felt like forever downhill, he reached the split to Lily Pad Lake and headed uphill again 2.1 miles until we reached the trailhead where the car was parked. The total mileage was 13.8 at an average 14:52 minute pace, and 3,123ft of elevation gain.

What a great run through some beautiful mountains. At this point I am at 32 miles this week and am ready to park it on the couch for a few days. I am glad to say though, that I feel more and more ready to tackle a half marathon now. Can’t wait for my Moab race in November!!

Hike to the Summit of Ptarmigan Mountain

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The Trail Heading up to the Bench

On Monday, Shea and I went on an adventure to Ptarmigan Mountain in Silverthorne. To get to the summit is 12 miles round trip. There is a bench 3 miles in that looks out over the town. I decided when I left the house that I was going to take a leisurely stroll up to the bench with Shea, taking some photos of wildflowers along the way.

I packed my camelbak with about 1.5 liters of water, enough for both of us, 2 clif bars and some trail mix, my camera and a warm layer. So there we went walking up the trail, me taking photos, Shea chasing chipmunks.

We got to the bench and there were 4 or 5 ladies hanging out there with a bunch of dogs, so I thought I’d keep going for awhile and then turn around and come back to the bench. Well, then I looked up on my phone how far the summit was, only another 3 miles but it was going to be steep.

Selfie on the Summit
Selfie on the Summit

I decided to go for it. I put my camera away, checked the clouds and starting picking up my pace a bit. The summit ended up being about 4 miles away but it was totally worth it! Shea and I had the summit to ourselves since it was so late in the day. We took some selfies and I took some cool panoramic shots. It was chilly up there and I was glad I had an extra layer.

Finally I put my camera away and we decided to head down. There was one cloud over the Gore Range that didn’t look so nice, so I decided to run at least to treeline. We got to treeline and I was enjoying the run so, I kept running. Shea and I ran all the way until the last mile. We both got a great workout and a great adventure out of the day!

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Snow Patch with Grays and Torrey’s in the Background

Beaver Creek Trail Running 10k Race

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Matt on the First Lap

Yesterday I ran my first trail race. Matt and I got up at 6am ate some oatmeal for breakfast and headed out the door by 6:50. We got to Beaver Creek around 7:30 went and picked up our packets and t-shirts and went for a little jog to warm up our muscles. It was brisk in the morning, 35 degrees when we left summit, and around 45 degrees in Beaver Creek when we got there. Continue reading “Beaver Creek Trail Running 10k Race”

The Mental Fitness of Rock Climbing

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North Table Mountain, Golden, CO at Sunset.

Rock climbing is not only tough on your body, but its tough on your mind as well. One of the most challenging aspects of climbing is your mental game. I have days when I climb slightly above my grade and I rock it. Then I have other days when I climb something perfectly at my grade and my head just isn’t in it, fear kicks in and all of the sudden I freeze and I can’t go up or down and I don’t know what to do.

In a recent interview with Crux Crush Hazel Findlay says,

“There is no where near enough attention paid to the mental side of climbing than the physical. Everywhere you see ways to be stronger and fitter, training programs, diets, but climbing performance is mostly to do with your mental state and strength. So my advice to any climber, sport, bouldering, trad, alpine is to train your mind as well as your body.”

So how can we train our minds? The biggest part of any physical challenge requires a sort of mental mastery. We must learn to stay calm and in control of the situation. We need to accept the risk, recognize it and climb with it. if we cling to the thought of falling, then our attention will waver and falling will probably happen. But instead we should focus on getting to the top, knowing there is a risk but moving fluidly and with precision.

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Bouldering at Swan Mountain in Dillon, CO.

When I am climbing something tough, I will try to completely focus on my footwork, and I will carefully search out my holds and feet before making a move. I climb slow and controlled. If I rush the moves, that is when I end up getting stuck somewhere because I didn’t think before I made moves, and am not where I want to be mentally or physically.

Developing awareness is a big part of climbing. Being aware of what is around you, what you can use, what you can’t use and what your risks are. One of the biggest hinders in developing a better mind for climbing arises from sticking with what is comfortable. For me, I am challenged by crack climbing and I will avoid it at all costs. But what I really should do is step out of my comfort zone and practice climbing cracks.

Remembering to breathe while climbing something hard is important too. Taking deep breaths brings more oxygen to your muscles, giving them more power to do what you want them to, whether its holding on to something tough while you figure out your next move, or making a big move to the next hold. You need to keep breathing to help your body sustain the climb.

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At the Top of Royal Flush (5.9) on Mt. Royal, Frisco, CO.

This mental exercise is a big part of why I love climbing, it is the physical and mental aspects that really help to develop who I am, and how I react in certain situations, even outside of climbing. Fear has been a big part of my life, and will continue to be, but how I handle that fear, is what’s important. Climbing helps me to learn to accept fear and move with it onto the next hold, the next route, and the next adventure.

 

To read more check out this great book The Rock Warrior’s Way by Arno Ilgner.