An Update On Our Denali Training

I don’t plan on posting every week leading up to our June 12 trip, but I figured this would be a good time to update everyone as we have had three training climbs since my first post on the topic back at the end of January.

The Sunday after that first hike, I modified the tire with some 3/4″ plywood and a weight holder so we could increase the weight of the tire a bit.  This raised the weight of the tire up to 27lbs, then we added a 5 lb weight to that giving the tire a total weight of 32 lbs.  We also took a different route this trip since 8th St got a little muddy.  We ended up going a regular hiking/mountain bike trail off of Crestline Dr instead.  This made things easier for us since there were no cars, but the tires did not like to cooperate too much and we took up quite a bit of the roadway, so to speak.

We ended up hiking 6.1 miles, but only gaining 701 feet.  This weight for Shelley was about right for now.  Remember, she’s only about 125 – 130 and she’s now carrying nearly 82 lbs of gear.  That’s 63% of her total body weight.  That’s pretty high.  She knows that number will have to go up a bit more too.  Right now we’re just getting our bodies use to a new dynamic, so there is no rush to get up to a high weight with 4 months left.  Conversely, I was at 49% of my body weight.  So this climb was a bit easier for me then for her.

Last week we took a few days off work and traveled to Sun Valley for some skiing and hiking.  Carol stayed at the house and took care of the dogs and house while we were gone.  Thanks again Carol!

We got a couple of days of really cold skiing in and one decent training hike.  This hike was without the tires.  This hike was to get a feel for our new boots and our snow shoes we will be using on Denali.  We had used the snow shoes during the Prep Course last May and used the boots last December in Mexico.  So this time we had the chance to put them together and go snow shoeing up a hill behind Shelley’s parent’s place in Sun Valley.

Once again our packs were about 55 lbs.  This trip was only 1.8 miles, but we gained 989 feet.  So it was right about 1,000 feet a mile.  That’s what I would love to train on every week.  We’re just not going to find anything like that around Boise.  We can find steep grades, but not over a 5 or 6 mile trail.

Here are a couple of photos we took with our iPhones on the decent from the hilltop.  The first is me.  We went to that far peak in the background.  The second is Shelley down the trail with a nice view of the surrounding area.

Everything worked fine on the hike.  The snow shoes performed well under the weight and our boots worked great.  I so wish I had bought these years ago for Rainier.  Especially for the Prep Course.  We only got really, really cold once in Mexico (on Orizaba) and our feet were fine.  The temperature in Sun Valley was in the teens for this hike and our feet were great.  Now, to qualify that, there was no wind.  But, just the same, the packs, the snow shoes and the boots all worked fine together walking up this hill.  That’s good.

Finally, last Sunday (Valentine’s Day Eve) we did another tire pull up 8th St.  I added another 10 lbs to my tire for this one, giving me 43 lbs.  I also increased my pack to 55 lbs.  This brought up my percentage to 58%.  Shelley made no changes to her set up.  She did much better this week than last, but I have hit a wall.  I don’t think it’s the weight either.  Adding that extra 10 lbs to the tire really added to the drag friction of the tire across the dirt/sand/mud of the roadway.  There were a couple of steep inclines where I really felt it.  Shelley was just trucking on ahead of me and actually got so far ahead of me we lost sight of each other.  She had to wait a few times for me to catch up.  It was really tough.

But we had a good day.  The muddy section that stopped us last time had dried up a bit so we got past it this time.  We ended up walking 7.3 miles and gained 1,364 feet.  The hike took just under 5 hours, 4:49 minutes.  A good training day for sure.  Right about where I would like to be right now.

I am going to make some changes to my set up for next time however.  I’m going to find a second tire, something small, and remove the extra weights, etc off my tire.  That way I can have the total weight, but not the drag friction.  I like having a little friction, but 43 lbs on that tire was just too much drag friction.

Here I am leaving our last break on the way down.

Some of the looks we get are interesting.  Some people just stare and don’t say anything.  I’m not sure they know what we’re doing (training for something big) or just exercising.  Some of the comments indicate that people think this is our exercise routine.  That’s alright.  I’d think that was a weird exercise routine if there was nothing at the end of it.  One of the most common questions is, “What bet did you lose?”  That’s funny and probably appropriate.

Lots of people are up there running, biking and walking for exercise and recognize that we are training for something.  They may not know what, but offer words of encouragement as they ride or run by.  The walkers usually ask us what we are doing and for what.  There have been a few that immediately recognize what we are doing and tell us, “Ah, going to McKinley are you.  Keep it up!”  One guy said, as he passed us on his bike, “Keep it up, sleds aren’t that hard!”  Glad to hear that!  There has been one person who already recognizes us as he has chatted with us on two different occasions.  “You guys are up here every weekend,” he stated the other day.

We hope to be.  The harder it is down here, the easier it will be up there.


One Response to “An Update On Our Denali Training”

  1. T Rex Mom Says:

    You guys rock. You should take some photos of the looks folks give you.


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