One year ago Anton Krupicka & Stefan Griebel establsihed a new FKT of Boulder's Longs Peak Triathlon.
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In August 2016, La Sportiva Mountain Running® athlete Anton Krupicka along with Stefan Griebel completed the Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the infamous Longs Peak Triathlon in Colorado. The rules are simple; start in a parking lot in North Boulder, bike to the Longs Peak Trailhead (38 miles), run to the base of the Diamond (6-7 miles), climb the Diamond via the "Casual Route" (5.10, 1,700'), tag the summit of Longs Peak (14,259 feet), run back to the trailhead, and bike back to Boulder - all unsupported.
1. How did you structure your training schedule and what did it look like on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? Did your training plan change in the last two weeks leading up to the FKT?
In general, I don't have a lot of structure to my training schedule. The Longs Peak Triathlon FKT wasn't even an objective that I planned for on a long-term basis - instead, it arose naturally as something I was well-prepared for as a result of my daily activities in the mountains. Basically, I just did a lot of climbing and biking all summer with a little bit of running and scrambling thrown in if my iliotibial (IT) band injury would allow it. A very typical day would be to bike down to Eldorado Canyon State Park at dawn, climb until it became too hot (usually late morning, I'd typically get in 10-25 pitches), and then ride my bike another 3-5 hours in the afternoon. I was also doing as much alpine climbing as I could in Rocky Mountain National Park, depending on, again, the health of my IT band injury and partner availability. These missions were typically multi-route, light-and-fast link-ups that involved running the approaches and descents. By time Stefan and I went for the Longs Peak Triathlon in mid-August, it was my sixth time climbing the Diamond in the previous six weeks.
2. Did you set goals to achieve in training on a daily or weekly basis? If so, what were some of them?
I didn't really set any concrete goals, but for the LPT I knew that I wanted to be very comfortable climbing 5.8-10 with big run-outs so that we could simul-climb the Diamond with a very small rack. Almost all of the climbing I did over the summer fell into that category. Additionally, the more endurance/aerobically fit I could be, the faster we could go overall and the fresher I would feel for the climbing. So, since I couldn't run very much all summer, I did a lot of biking. I wanted a 100-mile ride to feel casual. Obviously, this sort of stuff was very applicable to the skills needed for the LPT, but climbing a lot and biking a lot are also both just things that I enjoy doing.
3. You have said that previously you had thought of the LPT as impossible, but that through focus, new skills, and experience you attained it. Can you describe each one of those key points in a little more detail? At what point did you believe that you could set a new FKT for the LPT? Was there a specific turning point?
Any time you're new to an activity, there will be a steep initial curve of improvement. I think the intervening 12 months between when I first climbed the Diamond in August 2015 and when I did the LPT with Stefan this past August was me taking advantage of that steep initial improvement curve. Also, being injured allowed me to finally focus on climbing in a very consistent way. The LPT was my 64th climbing day in the previous four months, so that's climbing - on average - at least every other day for the entire summer.
I actually didn't think that Stefan and I had a chance to set the overall LPT FKT because we had decided to do it unsupported. I thought that by carrying all of our gear we would be too slow on the bike and, honestly, I thought we'd just be plain too slow on the rock. Stefan and I had done a quick, car-to-car practice lap on the Diamond a couple weeks before the attempt and it took us 5 hours 18 minutes. I didn't think we had really left too much room for improvement from that effort, but on the day of our Triathlon we actually managed Longs car-to-car in 4 hours 29 minutes, despite being held up behind a slower party on the Diamond. But, Stefan and I had been climbing together in the alpine all summer, so we were confident and familiar with each other's abilities, and we both tried hard on that day.
4. What did your daily nutrition plan look like, leading up to for training and day of? Did you avoid any specific foods?
I'm definitely not very regimented or mindful of my day to day nutrition. I eat food. Probably too much carbs and sugar. On the day of, I used my typical all-day endurance strategy of a mix of Clif Bars and gels. I keep it simple and packable. I ate a Clif Bar at each bike transition and supplemented on the go with a few gels. A mix of biking, hiking, climbing, and running for 9 hours is actually quite a bit less intense than 9 hours of pure running, so overall my fueling needs weren't as great as I'm used to.
5. In your mind, what does it mean to train at your limit?
For me, getting out in the mountains and moving everyday is more of a lifestyle or a practice than specific "training". So I guess I don't ever really think in terms of training "at my limit". For sure I'm often maximizing the amount of time I can be spending in the hills, however, regularly logging 35-55 hours of biking, climbing, and running per week in the summertime. I view this as just getting the most out of life, though, and taking advantage of the long summer days.
Read the detailed breakdown of Anton and Stefan's Longs Peak FKT attempt in this Climbing Magazine article.
Video: Louder Than 11
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anton Krupicka is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running® Team.
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