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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Manitou Incline

Kathleen was up for doing the Manitou Incline again today for a hard workout in a short amount of time. Steve was up for anything not involving pneumonia, sedentary existence, thermometers, or antibiotics. So Kathleen set off up the Incline, while Steve and Sage hiked up Barr Trail to meet Kathleen on her run down. For a review, the Incline is one of those sick, short workouts that aerobic junkies like to have on hand for shocking the system in a short workout. 1 mile, vertical ascent 2100', 5000 railroad-tie steps cut into the face of the mountain. By the way, you cannot photograph the entire thing from this close. The opening in the trees that you see is the false summit at the end of the 68% grade midsection - only 2/3 done when you hit that!
So Sage and I dropped Kathleen off at the base of the Incline and then headed over about a quarter mile to the Barr trailhead. Barr Trail is a 13 mile trail leaving Manitou Springs and heading to the 14,100' summit of Pikes Peak - a climb of over 7800' raw vertical if you do the whole trail. (Follow the link for everything you never wanted to know about running up Barr) With the current state of Steve's lungs, about 1.5 miles was on tap for today. One of the bad things about Barr is that it starts wicked steep from your first step, stays that way most of the time (11% grade average the entire way!!), and has marginal traction - great fun!
My canine girl kindly poses for a pic in front of the trailhead marker and we are off and climbing. There were a lot of people on the trail today as we are having phenomenal weather in the 70's with plentiful sun. Sucks that I have been sick for possibly the last two 70-degree weekends we'll see this year.
Sage taking a breather in the middle of the W's, a continuous stretch of switchbacks in the first couple miles of the trail. It was getting a little warm for a shaggy beast with mostly black hair, so we had to stop for shade frequently. She is quite the pose queen as far as dogs go! About 50 minutes into our hike and she perked up for a familiar form approaching on the trail - her mother was blazing by!!!
Kathleen looked really good coming down - sometimes the blunt trauma of all those stairs causes rigor-mortis to hit the legs on the harsh descent. Coming off the top of the Incline, there is a trail, well more like a goat path, that connects down to Barr Trail. Once you hit Barr proper, it is a 2.25 mile plummet where you lose about 1700' of that vertical gain in that short span. But she was cruising, so I knew it was a good day for the legs!
She quickly passed by and was a switchback below by the time I got swung over the railing for a second photo. Man was it ever nice out today. Since Sage and I had some ground to cover going back down, I tested the legs and lungs by running about 12 minutes on the descent. Not too bad but not 100% ready yet. We'll give it another test tomorrow. It was great just to be upright and outdoors, so I won't complain.
Kathleen did a great climb today - 34.5 minutes up the incline and a 1:01 round trip. Very solid effort and a lot of work packed into an hour. Got a quick family shot at the bottom and headed out - great day on the trails!!!
Shoes: S: Montrail Hardrock K: Asics Trailsensor 2
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