Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Running with a Mountain Biker

Ripping past bushes, navigating rocks and making turns I chased my rabbit. It isn't often that I have a pacer, but today I was lucky enough to have a patient mountain biker for a running buddy. When and if you do run trails with someone on a mountain bike, take them to the nastiest, steepest, rockiest trail you can find and you might be able to keep them in sight.

I took my running clothes to work so I wouldn't have to come back to my apartment before going to the mountains. After changing I went to Mount Timpanogos Park. Right around the time I arrived a mountain biker also stopped in the parking lot. After talking for a while he said something like, "Be nice when you pass me on the way up." Then I wanted to see how I could do against him.

After a trip to the bathroom we started up. He left me behind on the gravel road and waited for me on the trail. We paused there and continued until we met another cyclist. After a good pause we started again and I got separated from the cyclist but continued up the hill. It took him a while to catch back up, but soon enough he passed me and waited for me again. I think we took separate trails but we started up the mountain on the same trail again. After a downhill he was quite a ways ahead and he waited for me again.

He told me the trail we were about to climb was difficult for him. I followed him up this trail and passed him when he seemed to lose traction. I stayed ahead up to the rock altar where I waited for him! I asked him which trail he would use to go down and he told me that he was going to continue to climb and then take another trail called "Taj Mahal." I followed him more closely this time as he made his way through the more difficult terrain. The trail was steep and rocky in places. We turned off onto another trail and weaved our way through some fairly technical sections and I stayed pretty close. I haven't run that hard in a long time. We came down through sharp turns and rocks, then climb in sections. At one point my sunglasses were pulled from my head. I found them and continued on. I could hear his back tire skidding as he slowed down. We eventually came to a road that was steep enough to go fast and not as technical as a general rule. He waited for me again on a fairly flat gravel road. We talked for a while and I found out his name before he took off.

Tyler Mullins, you are a dang good rabbit!

Monday, August 3, 2015


If you ever want to see heaven I suggest walking up Mount Timpanogos in the day time up the Aspen Grove Side. It's beautiful. It's popular to climb "Timp" at night, in order to see the sunrise, but I have explained to people that they ought to do it in the day. There is a point where you can see up into a cirque or bowl that has layers of green separated by rocks. If it is the right time of year there is water cascading down.

If you climb Timp at night you won't really see that view on your way up. You might catch a glimpse of it as you make your way down, but if you are like most people you will be looking at the trail, trying not to trip on rocks and feeling the fatigue that befalls those who climb mountains.

Another tip would be to climb during the spring. Sometimes the snow can be a pain, but the mountain is so green. When I climbed it for the first time we saw a girl hiking along the trail. In front of her, two mountain goats walked along as if they were her pets. It's not uncommon to see these animals on the mountain. There are quite a number of them.

Mountain goats are humbling creatures. They live in the mountains and must wonder, what in the world we are doing up there. We aren't normally scavenging for food or getting away from predators, unless you call sedentary life a predator.... What would draw us up so high? Most of us are pretty inept as compared to them. As good as we get at navigating the terrain, most of us won't come close to what they can do. Of course we can rock climb and use our hands to scale things they wouldn't dare, but if most anyone tried to keep up with them in their element, they would leave them in the dust. The only hope some might have would be to out-distance them and even then it might take a while.