We wanted a little shorter run today so that we could do a hike with Sage after we finished. The Devisadero Loop showed 6 miles moderate singletrack so we thought we would have a crack at it. Once again the sun-soaked skies greeted us and painted a beautiful backdrop against the sage and pinyon covered hillsides east of town. We soon found out that moderate can be a highly subjective term. The initial flanks of Devisadero Peak were at times just short of brutal. Loose, technical footing and grades exceeding 20% made for a lung-burning climb for the first 2 miles.
The couple of short reprieves from the incline on the run up to the peak were not nearly enough to flush the lactate-induced fog from the quads!
After three or four false summits, we finally reached the peak at 8304' where a nice "rest area" built of rock slabs awaited us. We stopped for a quick breath in the shade and a photo opp, then headed off to the east to continue the loop.
The gradual descent onto the back side of the peak was quite pleasant and the trail was fantastic as it contoured the mountain, never losing or gaining more than a few hundred feet elevation at a time. Most of this section was shaded during the run and at times we ran through 'tunnels' of scrub oak and pinyon trees.
After rounding the western shoulder of the mountain, we re-joined the trail where we had branched east on the ascent. Time for the tired quads to shed about 500 feet in half a mile of rocky descent - watch your step! This was definitely a 'Quads-O-Steel' route - 5.6 miles with nearly 1700' climbing, a large chunk of that coming in the first 2 miles. Good run and probably a locals' favorite for hill training!
We followed up our workout today by taking Sage for a 2 mile hike along a nice shaded trail. She loves to burn off some energy but she just gets too bored to run with us. She used to tolerate the running, but not any more - she's a Stop and Smell the Roses dog!!!