Village to Baldy Pace Hike + 3T’s
~ 22 miles, 8000 ft gain
damn 4 minutes
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In the book The San Gabriels: The Mountain Country from Soledad Canyon to Lytle Creek, John Robinson mentions offhand about some football player being able to summit Mt Baldy via the Old Baldy trail in under 2 hrs. Sounds like a great challenge? I agree.
With 9 days till the Baldy Run to the Top Race, I thought it would be a great time to give it a go. The weather had thankfully cooled down, and I was at the Baldy Visitor Center in tank top and shorts at 7 am ready to go.
Instead of the normal 60Csx GPS I usually bring, I brought my Forerunner 305 with heartrate monitor that I have had for maybe 4 months but haven’t used much “in the field”. Based on many bouts of training with heartrate monitors, I had a good feel for what heartrate I could sustain for a 2 hr hike. I wanted to use the Forerunner for 3 purposes, 1) make sure I don’t go out too quickly 2) check my pace and 3) make sure I’m getting up to the the right heartrate at the right time. I expected I could stay between 165 bpm and 170 bpm for the duration. Seem like a bit too much? Yes, yes it is
Things were going good up to Bear Flat, with a mixture of hiking and a bit of “running” if you could call it that. The switchbacks out of Bear Canyon seem to be the steepest part of the hike, and my quads and especially my calves were really burning. I hadn’t hiked up anything steep at a fast pace in a while and I think that bit me in the ass a little bit. I felt okay at the top of the switchbacks and thought I was on pace for my goal although I didn’t really know. I was about just under 1 hr in and my heartrate was at 165 so it seemed all good.
I kept chugging up along the ridge. The weather was really good for this, nice and cool with some breeze. Higher up, the wind got fierce and become more of a nuisance. My heartrate was starting to drop into the low 160′s – I wanted to it to start getting up near 170 so that wasn’t good. “Just go faster!” you all say. Well if it were that easy! My legs didn’t want me to go faster.
Eventually I got up to the part where the ridge flattens out a bit and you can see West Baldy and Baldy ahead. Only 20 min left and they seemed so far away. The grade lessened enough for me to get caught in the Walk/Run Vortex – you know that area where it seems just a little too much energy to run, but too little energy to walk? That’s where I was. The running was too much so I walked as fast as possible but I wish it was a little steeper. Finally, it flattened out enough to run for a good 1/4 mile and I was at the base of West Baldy with maybe 10 min left. Can I make it? 3 min left and I am ascending toward Baldy-West Baldy saddle. Not looking good. I try to run but its just too much. I finally make it up in 2:04, 4 minutes too late. Damnit!
Well it still was a good try but I felt the effort was lacking. I don’t know if it was the lack of training on steep slopes, the fact that I ate too much late in the day on Friday, altitude, or a combination…but I knew via heartrate that I wasn’t at the right intensity I know I could do. The funny thing is that if I didn’t have the heartrate monitor, I would have felt like it was a better try!
Anyways, it was freaking windy on top. 50, 60 mph? I had the summit to myself (9am) and ducked behind one of the rock-stacked walls. I didn’t stay for very long as it was kinda cold with the wind, so I headed down Devil’s Backbone.
Refilling at Baldy Notch, I decided I needed to put in some more effort, so I went ahead and did the 3T’s trail. From before Thunder to just before Icehouse Saddle I had the trail to myself. I forgot how nice that area is.
I got down to Icehouse parking lot 6 hrs after starting, not too shabby in halving my days compared to the last 2 weeks. I was going to hitch a ride (turned off GPS), but didn’t see anyone leaving, so I jogged / walked the 1.5 miles back to my car.
I don’t know what goal to set for the Baldy race. 1:25 seems too low, I don’t think I can do that at 192 lbs. I’m shooting for 1:28.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 8:30 am and is filed under Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.