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

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bear Creek and Section 16

It's time to start building the climbing legs again, so we headed over to Bear Creek Regional Park to do some familiar trails. Only today we put them together in a new route. The theme was climb the first half, descend the second half - and it was a loooong climb (at least for us!!!)
The sun was awesome as we hit the trails and as ordered, the blue sky was plentiful - Gotta love Colorado! Kathleen is running the bear Creek Regional trail here on our way out to Section 16.
Section 16 is a general name for an open space area above Gold Camp Road and we run the Palmer and Red Rock trails that form a loop around the circumference of Section 16. Once again, this steep rock slab looks flat in pictures - can't figure that out.
The start of the mile long section of 13 - 16 percent grade - ouch! There was still a bit of snow left, but not much and we definitely need some. We don't want to dry up and blow away (or worse, burn away) this summer.
Nearing the summit of the long climb on Section 16, we were awarded with the views over Red Rock Canyon Open Space (one of our fav's) and out across the city. It was so clear, the vistas stretched forever today.
Kathleen cruises along the rolling saddle atop Section 16, nearing the start of the reward for all that climb - 5.5 miles of almost continuous descent (and burnt quads!).
Steve cruising along at the exit of Section 16 onto High Drive, a steep dirt road that is only open to traffic one direction and only in summer. From this point, we still had over 3 miles of descending to the trailhead - sweet!!!
Colorado Springs stretches out in the background as Steve runs the Bear Creek Regional trail on the way down. Not too many "skyscrapers" to speak of and we like it that way.
Back down in the desert terrain of Bear Creek park, Kathleen is finishing strong. This trail is part of the race course for the Summer Roundup race we did last year. If we are in town, we'll do that one again this year.
We ended up running just shy of 11 miles with an accumulated 2800' elevation gain. As the graph shows, that second half of the long climb about causes you to hack up a lung!!! This will be a good route to get the climbing legs in gear. We would normally choose to climb the opposite direction but we were not sure of the snow/ice situation and that steep side is almost impassible in the downhill direction with ice. Now that most of the ice is gone, our next visit will be in the opposite approach. It was great fun out there and we even enjoyed the burnt quads! Happy Trails!!!

Shoes - K Montrail Odyssey
S - Brooks Cascadia
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