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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perfect day at Buffalo Creek

With an awesome Colorado weather day on tap, we headed out to Buffalo Creek to introduce our friend Tim to the wonderful trails there.  He signed up for the North Fork 50 Mile there in July, so we volunteered to "tour guide" some of the trails.  Of course, there is no need to twist our arm to run Buffalo Creek - it has been one of our favorite places since we started mountain biking there 15 years ago.  Since it is almost an identical drive from Boulder and Colo. Springs, it was fairly easy to meet there for a run.  Our plan was to hit a nice loop with 14 to 16 miles for a good long trail run.
Kathleen climbing the Shinglemill Trail.

We started out on the Buffalo Creek dirt road for a warm up to the couple big climbs, then turned off onto Shinglemill for the first big effort of the run.  Shinglemill is quite exposed as much of it was burned in the '96 fire so you never, ever want to be climbing it mid day in the heat - been there, don't care to do it again.  There was a nice cool breeze but temps were already in the high 50's when we started and got near 70 by the time we finished.  You can't tell in the photo above, but it would be a rough day for the lovely Ms Kathleen.
Enough said...

Kathleen has been having some chronic GI tract issues for the last few months and it is really cutting into her recreational pursuits.  Despite having the Imodium IV on for the whole drive, it still put a bit of a damper on her day.  While the Imodium took care of the main "running" issue, the cramps and severe leg fatigue took it's toll.  She is a very good sport, so don't think I am making her the butt of the joke.  It's just gets frustrating when it acts up and we hope it is figured out soon.
My view of Tim Long most of the day.

We were able to get rolling pretty well, and despite Kathleen's struggle, she was a trooper and would not give up.  Springing off a good early season of training, Tim is definitely running quite well and pulled  away easily on most any climb.  He is preparing for the Miwok 100k in a few weeks so give him some encouragement if you stop by his blog.  We saw lots of bikes out today, which is the usual scenario at Buff Creek - we just don't see many runners there ... yet.  Hopefully the North Fork race will expose some of the Denver/CS area runners to this awesome venue.
Kathleen on the slickrock - Baldy Trail.
Now, Steve on the slickrock...
Guess what, Tim ran it too!

After the descent off the Morrison Creek trail and a short jaunt up Buffalo Creek road again, we hopped onto the Baldy Trail for the Big Climb.  The 1300' climb in 2.5 miles is not altogether abusive by Colorado  standards, however, the occasional ramps of 10 to 15 percent grade can really put a damper on the great, twisty singletrack that comprises Baldy.  Today it was manageable with the mild temps and we made pretty good time on the ascent.  After reaching the Gashouse Trail at 10.5 miles and the high point of 8075' elevation, there is quite a bit of descending on the return trip - WooHoo!  Aside from a couple rude, but short, climbs the final 6.5 miles were mostly going down, dropping 1300' and pounding on the quads a bit after a long day on the feet.  It was all good!
Group photo - Gashouse/Baldy intersection - still all smiles.

We finished up with 17 miles (Tim 19 due to a technical directional instruction malfunction - sorry!) and nearly 3000' of climbing on the day.  A new longest run on the books for Happy Trails, and coach Slavedriver Tim pushed us to run these trails more than a half minute per mile faster than our last trip!  We even "recovery" soaked our legs in the mountain stream for a bit - BRRRR!  It was a fantastic day and we finished with a nice tailgate picnic before heading home.  Good Times!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - La Sportiva Wildcat
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