Work this week had brought me to the great state of Nevada, northern Nevada to be precise. I have been there before – most recently in July for a little jog around the Tahoe Rim Trail.
I had a little time to kill late one afternoon, so I planned on going for a run. First though, let’s go back in time a little; on Monday while doing my normal lunch time run at Umstead, I suffered a fairly sharp pain in my right calf muscle. I have had this before and the most successful way of treating this kind of muscle strain has been lots of ice, and liberal use of The Stick ™. Anyway, since then, I have been nursing the injury, only walks for about a mile and some light jogging. I hated the fact that I was in close proximity to some of the most beautiful trails in the world, and couldn’t use them.
Anyway, going back to my time to kill……. I thought “gosh-darn it, I don’t give a flying fig about my calf, I am going for a jolly old run” (well, let’s be honest, my words were a little less delicate than that). So I looked at a map, I knew I was fairly close to some of the northern reaches of the TRT races. And there it was; just 35-40 minutes’ drive away, Diamond Peak. During the race, this tough climb starts at mile 30 on the first loop, and mile 80 on the second lap. In just two miles, the climb goes up about 1800-1900 feet – 1200 feet of it in the last mile. Yep, that’s where I was going. I have mixed memories of that hill, obviously just the sheer difficulty of the gradient, then there is the altitude – I am a flat lander. I live at 200 feet above sea level. The top of the ski-slope I was about to ascend was ~8,300 feet higher, so the lack of breathable air would be noticeable. Plus, unlike in the race, I was going to run down the mountain too.
As expected, the climb up was challenging to say the least, especially once I got to the second mile. The views were gorgeous. Had I got there a little later, there would have been some wonderful sunset views across Lake Tahoe –as it was though, it was still spectacular. I took plenty of pictures on the way up, and even took a movie on the summit (which my camera seems to have lost somewhere). Then it was time to drop down. Terrifying and yet exhilarating are two words that come to mind. I certainly do not have a great deal of confidence on that type of gradient, so I was somewhat cautious. The last mile on the way up took about 27 minutes. It took about 10.5 on the way down. The total descent took 19.5 minutes, the climb up took 43 – yes, gravity is my friend. Just over an hour total – the most amazing workout with terrific views. One could describe it as “awesome” even. If you ever find yourself in Reno, take the drive, it is so worth it.
Oh, and the calf muscle survived.
Enjoy the pictures J