“Hope is not a strategy,” they say. I disagree.
Today I drove from my home in Denver to my home in Pagosa Springs via Leadville.
Leadville for me in many ways is home too… Not that I have ever actually lived there but for certain I have spent hundreds of nights and even more days in the town and on the trails of the 100 Trail Run, 100 MTB, Silver Rush and marathon courses.
The 14,000’ peaks were in full glory..golden flanks with the last of Fall’s colors and snow-capped peaks with the first of Winter’s dust.
Hope Pass, its low saddle of 12,000’ tucked between the higher mountains, had just the right sun to stand bright and defiant, ominous yet beautiful—somehow unique within all the other beauty of the majestic Collegiate Peaks.
I found myself reflecting and recalled at least 23 times I’ve crossed that challenging, notorious and breath-taking pass.
The most difficult crossing was my first Leadville 100 Run in which, having broken my ankle 27 days before the race, each and every step up and over, and then over and back was incredibly painful.
Without a doubt, the most difficult year was the year when heavy snow, cold and blizzard conditions set in and I had to borrow my mom’s parka and gloves to prevent hypothermia (thank God for moms!). I finished 16th in the 100 that year.
The warmest memory occurred when crossing Hope Pass alone on a training run. The alpenglow bright and warm, shining high on each peak as a huge herd of elk grazed on the lush grass of the meadow below the North side summit, careless of my presence and seeming to enjoy the amazing light as much as I.
The easiest time was during the Trans Rockies 120-mile stage race within which the Hope Pass crossing is just one way on a short day. We absolutely hammered it.
Sadly, but fondly, the 20 other runs blend together over a 20-year period of running up down and all around the Twin Lakes to Winfield segment of the Leadville 100.
What matters though, and what I thought about for most of my journey home today was that for me “Hope” is a strategy and it can be for you too.
Not in the literal sense of “hoping” for a win, an outcome or a result. But in the physical, as Hope Pass was for me. Be it the one described above or your own, in your own “home.”
What Hope Pass has been for me is an icon of experience. A testament to the pursuit of taking on and achieving a significant challenge, time and time again. Hot days and cold nights. Broken down and feeling great. Fast and slow and slower. Season after season and ultimately decade after decade.
One of the things I love to provide my clients is setting up the formidable challenges of their own “Hope Pass.” For each of us it starts with one iconic workout or challenge. We don’t always (actually rarely) know this will become our “Hope Pass.” It takes time to sink in, and time to become the type of icon that draws us to face that challenge repeatedly.
It may be a race we do each year. Or a course, or segment we do often. It can be both. I too have a “special” trail in the woods of Pagosa Springs I visit several times a year to challenge myself, test my fitness, a new pair of shoes or different bike set up. The challenge is the same but the course of course, is different. Wet or dry, muddy or snowy, burned in or over grown. It matters not. What matters is it’s personal. It’s mine. It lays there as Hope Pass stands there, 365 days a year always ready for me to bring my best and test my will, my fitness and my effort against its landscape.
And that my friends is the first step to experience. Each step or pedal thereafter builds more.
I read recently that it goes like this.
Effort X Time = Skill. Skill X Time = Expertise.
So, there you have it. “Hope” can in fact be a strategy. And, you can find your own “Hope Pass” and begin your journey to expertise.
If you’d like a bit of help getting on the fast track AYS is here to help. Checkout www.amazeyourself.life
Yours in the Outdoors,