If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Previewing the Summer Roundup course...again

Being the nervous, new-to-racing types that we are, we felt the need to go check out the Summer Roundup Trail Race course again today. It is a well known "fact" that race directors are a rare breed, known for their sadistic ability to underestimate the scope and difficulty of their courses (i.e. Course description - 1000 feet of climbing - Reality of the altimeter and GPS - 1530 feet of climbing - only a 50% difference). Not that we doubt the validity of this for the Triple Crown of Racing folks - these are the people who put on the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, but we just had to make sure it was going to really hurt and leave us spent - yes and yes!!! For a 7.5 mile course, this has a bit of a bite to it, especially for newbies like us!
However, we are still going to sign up for the race, or in our case, "event" ... we think! We have low expectations for a top 50% finish! ;-)

The climb at the beginning of the race is actually more deceiving. There is a lot of winding through the scrub oak and there are not long stretches of uphill spread out before you to make you cringe. The hardest part of the start is that the climbing begins in earnest no more that 200 yards into the race. We have to figure out a way to properly warm up for that. There is a "gentler" section of climb from about 1.2 miles to 2.1 miles that will sort out some order for those who don't blow up by starting too hard. The tricky part will be avoiding those whose flames are flickering on the single track descent to the road. The sinister climb comes next - High Drive - a steep dirt road that allows only one-way traffic. This climb stretches out before you and provides those who dare to look up an endless view of the pain that lies ahead. The ascent to the turn-around point is close to 600' in a little over a mile, so hold on and try really hard to find a rhythm. The downhill is pretty good although there is a definite need to control the speed on High Drive.

There are also a couple of short, punchy climbs on the way to the finish that require a little reserve in the tank. One of them, which is .5 mile from the finish, starts at 19% grade according to the GPS - ouch!!! Should be fun at least for a test to see where we are with our fitness and skills. We cooled down in the large grassy field by the parking lot with some barefoot walking and stretches. The cool grass felt relaxing to the feet after a good run. It was a great day on the trails (as always) and good times for the memory bank!!!

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