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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Best Laid Plans....

...Sometimes don't pan out PERFECTLY, but close enough!!!

We had been "scheming" all week about catching the forecast warmer temperatures and sunny skies in Pueblo today for our long run.  The bonus is that there has been no snow laying on their trails, meaning DRY trails was the word for the day.  As usual, the weatherman mis-led us.  You think we would learn, but alas, the lure of dry, sinowy trails fog the senses and allow us to believe "this time" could be the day he is accurate.  However, the trails were dry and the south shore of the reservoir has QUITE NICE trails, so we took off on our run under gray skies with a brisk wind.

We also made a new route today, as our last couple runs at Pueblo Reservoir have been basically the same route.  There are certainly more miles of trail here than our long run capacity, so try some new stuff, right?  We figure just the main clover-leaf of 3 loops to be about 30 miles, not including all the intertwined freeride mountain biking trails on the east side.  We headed out on Rodeo Ridge and then dropped down The Duke, which Kathleen is running above - we like all the Cholla cactus.  We ran into our first of several groups of mountain bikers on The Duke, as they all fell for the same weather report!
Out on the eastern loop, it was quite cold as the wind was whipping straight up off the lake and blowing in our face.  "We are on dry trails, we are on dry trails... and they are great trails!"  Repeat as often as necessary to tolerate said wind chill!!  We passed a huge group of bikes near the marina and then dropped onto the South Shore trail.  Kathleen waited as I dropped in - winding ribbons of singletrack trails - beautiful!  Now some people may think the desert scenery is, well, not scenic.  To an extent, it is not.  But these are some of the best built trails in our section of Colorado, hands-down.  Yes it is a bit of a bleak and colorless landscape, but when you develop a taste for the desert, it grows on you.  This area is much like the Fruita area on the western slope of Colorado - home to more extremely well built desert singletrack.
Kathleen nearing the summit of South Shore, getting ready to connect over to Pedro's Point.
We headed out to the VooDoo Loop, which we have not previously explored past the very first overlook.  There are two ways to loop the beginning, but today only one was available - the closest option had a minor issue - it is under water.  After the summer usage surge, the reservoir actually rises in winter, even before the snow melts in the mountains.  So we followed another group of riders out onto the loop to do a little snooping around.  We had a nice view of the backside of Pikes Peak (center) from the first overlook.
Here is the trail along the eastern side of the main inlet that VooDoo heads out to.  The wind was howling out on the point but we were determined to at least see the start of the BIG loop before heading in for the day.  Once you make the detour around and get to the main loop, the map shows an additional 8 or 9 miles on VooDoo - more to explore on future visits - woohoo.  Also a good spot to expand the reaches of our distance running...
Start of the loop - fuel time and a quick group photo, then start the trip back to the trailhead. 
Back on top, overlooking the trails we had just navigated.  At bottom center, you can faintly see the trail coming out of the inlet - this is the usual crossing, but not today.
Kathleen cruising under some dark skies.  It was starting to get a wee bit colder, but we were enjoying the run too much to notice!
Making the turn and heading off the VooDoo loop. 
Kathleen making tracks on the Waterfall Trail.  These little canyons we dropped in and out of provided welcome respite from the howling wind.  Nice!
Bottom of Waterfall and headed for the climb out Cuatro Cinco - warm clothes and food await...aaaah!  We ran just under 16 miles - great desert 25k I guess.  It was a great run and we were already planning some further explorations.  We also learned that a new loop west of VooDoo is in the possible draft stages - awesome news.   It is supposed to be cold, gray, and windy tomorrow - if so, may not be any new pics.  The Colorado State Tourism board forbids us from posting cloudy pictures on consecutive days  :)   Happy Trails!

Shoes- K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat

 This Just In ... Sunny (but not warm) Sunday Update!

It ended up being sunny, so we have clearance from the tower (or at least Colorado's Tourism folks!!) to post a few quick pix.  While it was QUITE BRISK, we got out for a recovery trail run at Ute Valley with sun and 25 to 35 mph north wind ... BRRRRRR! 
Nice view of the snow-capped Peak.
While it appears we stopped for a group photo, we were "actually" huddling against the warm sandstone arch for some HEAT!!!  6.5 miles and then got out of the wind.  Happy Trails and have a great week!


Jill said...

You always have the best pictures, thanks for sharing them. I'm going to venture out of the metro area and get on one soon! It's windy and freezing in Denver today. Managed 5 recovery miles but ick, I'm too whiney for these conditions. Haha.

Slomohusky said...

The State Tourism guys finally caught on to ya? :)

Your desert shots look almost lush compared to the trails I have near me.

Thanks for sharing. I have a few trail runs I am needing to get in within the next month. One mainly due to a 1/2 marathon in March that is primarily all trails out by Lake Mead/Hoover Dam again. The other reason - I need another shot or two climbing my Desert Mt. Trail in my own backyard. I need the hill work.

Some day I will be out there to say hello to you folks. Too many fun Colorado runners I have met through this blog. Must be a place of Paradise for runners.

T Z said...

Looks cold, but dry sweet single-track trumps wind chill on most days.

It's 3:36 here, and I am heading out for some more trail therapy and taking my dogs. Should be fun.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Wish I could send some of our warm Texas weather your way!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

16 miles must be like 20-23 with the terrain and wind.

Ace said...

Colorado weathermen are somewhat akin to politicians, difficult job, not much success it seems. Awesome pics. I love the terrain around pueblo reservoir. Didn't realize there were all those great trails.

Thanks for the Greenland offer, I might have to take you up on it one of these days...if you can manage going that slow... :)

Meg said...

In such rugged territory, you two look so graceful running in the distance. You truly belong on these trails, it's apparent! It was also exciting to see you out of the snow at this time of the year, maybe that's why you were prancing along the trails!
Is this area in the first pictures traditionally warm in the spring and summer? What is the elevation there? Thanks for sharing such incredible pictures and BS and I always enjoy your great comments. BTW, my "real" name is Meghan and BS is Steve...that's why you couldn't find us on the Carlsbad page?!
Thanks for the prayers and support!!

Caroline said...

One day you will have to publish a coffee table book with these beautiful photos!! What stunning scenery, and such nice place to run.

Tara said...

Oh my gosh, your pictures of the sunny day are beautiful! Colorado State Tourism people would be proud! I can't wait for spring to get here and it is time for some good ole mountain biking in the foothills! I really need to get into some trail races after my marathon is over. You guys make it look all too easy! Great job on your 16 and your 6.5 milers. Although I'm sure that they weren't as much work as they were just plain old enjoyable!

GZ said...

DANG! That looks awesome. Definitely different than the snow covered stuff we have here now.

Julie said...

Greetings Happy Trails,
You two are seriously the cutest couple!! I read the comments that you leave to Slomo and thought I better finally check out your blog! I absolutely love all of the beautiful pictues...you are so blessed to run in such scenic surroundings:) Looking forward to reading more!

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