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     Thankfully last week's snow and wind gave way to forecasted city temperatures in the upper 50's and copious amounts of sunshine. So, as I looked out the window Sunday morning, there was very little doubt in my mind that it was going to be a great day to get the monthly Pikes run in. But while I'd convinced myself of summiting, selection of attire loomed as the big question of the day. How does one embark on a 6-7 hour run with fickle winds and temperatures ranging from 50 to -5 degrees while keeping the pack weight managable? 

     Before I answer that, let's back up a bit. Winter runs of late have left me, well, a bit chafed. It's a problem that I remain immune to in typical running shorts but, for some reason, my winter tights create the perfect storm for compromised skin integrity. It's not something I'm very proud of but hey that's life. So in a moment of clarity, perhaps brought about by a recent second viewing of Kilian's performance in Unbreakable, I decided to make a bold move. Rummaging through my drawer, I found the treasure I was searching for. A pair of compression shorts from my triathlon days. Could this be the solution I was so desperate to find? A pair of shorts that was a jack of all trades? A pair of shorts designed for chafeless running in environments of various ratios of moisture and friction that could also accomodate a pair of tights on top for extra warmth if needed? And running isn't all. I mean, you wouldn't give a second thought to stream crossings. Heck, if you came across a lake, you could swim with them on! Plus, the subtle posterior padding is guaranteed to make any snowy/icy buttock glissade infinitely more comfortable. Pure genius!


     The plan was for me to catch up to Andy W, who had started his day about an hour earlier. I made it to Barr Camp to check in with Melissa in just over 1:30 which I was happy with, considering I took the first and only real spill of the day at the newly installed No Name Creek Skating Rink (thanks butt padding).














Much to my surprise, the trail from Barr Camp to A-Frame had seen a good bit of traffic so no trail breaking was necessary. I caught up with Andy just before A-Frame and the two of us slogged it to the top, slowly picking our way trying to avoid any slick snow pack or ice.













[Andy checking out an inverted view of Manitou]

[Respectfully, and after making sure he was ok, I gained permission to take the photo before helping him up]


     During the climb, there were some irritating gusts but the strength of the sunshine and an absence of any continuous winds made for a relatively pleasant time at the summit. However, due to the labor intensive upwards scrambling and dicey trail conditions, we both agreed to take the "other Barr trail" and return to the standard route a little further down (for safety reasons of course).



































[March's trip is in the books]


      So we'll grant Kilian and the rest of the Europeans credit for the streamlined fashion craze of ultra running apparel. But, as any self respecting ultrarunner knows, having a signature style is on the same level of importance as blogging.  Case in point: JT-bucket hat. Solarweasel-buff. Tony-sans shirt. Brooks-painted toenails. Now I make no claims of having any semblance of style or fashion sense. I cut my own hair and I have multiple coworkers who, on multiple occasions, have made note of the high-water pants I wear (and no I'm not growing, my pants offer functional protection from splashes of urine and baby vomit). But while today's run offered an abundance of thinking time, I'm not totally sold on the compression shorts yet and I'm still searching for my unique running look. Perhaps I'll find some inspiration from this guy, who I believe also probably cuts his own hair.



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