So we headed down the road to Cheyenne Mountain State Park to see what we could put together for a run. Since we can put loops together and bail early if it just wasn't cutting it out there today, we thought this was a safe bet. Plus it is mostly out of the wind. We were hoping the current snow had not trashed the trails and were pleasantly surprised that, other than some ruts and lumps from muddy day usage, the trails were sweet. Bonus - barely a mile in, sun came out - close enough to the truck for wardrobe adjustment number 1. Kathleen is cruising the first loop on Zook as the sun was breaking out. Nice!
These bottom loops had the most mud-use damage, as you can see the lumpiness in the photo above. Not too bad, just had to be cautious on the foot placement. Since these are easily accessible to those with less than stellar fitness, they get tons of traffic, even on crummy days. Regardless, it turned out to be a perfect weather day and started to immediately lift our running enthusiasm.
These trees perfectly framed the mountain!
Wide open vista as Kathleen rolls the start of Sundance Loop.
Surprisingly, even the back side of the Sundance Trail was mostly dry - I am rounding one of the sections above. The northwest exposure holds snow quite a while but had relinquished the moisture nicely and was in great shape. We skipped out on the Talons today, as the steeper climbs are not anywhere near the profile of Greenland's course for next week. Plus we would be doing a decent amount of climbing today, as it was, so we left those for next time.
Kathleen summits Sundance Trail, with Cheyenne Mountain filling the background.
Near the finish of Sundance Loop, I noticed that Kathleen was not right behind. I was needing to ditch the long sleeve at the truck, so I was going to pull up at the trailhead for a quick switch. Behind me I hear "These dang trail runners!" and immediately recognized the voice of our good friend Jon coming up on his mountain bike. He had already stopped to chat with Kathleen and was coming up on my heels. We met Jon and Kim WAY back in the day, shortly after we had seriously started mountain biking- 1992 or 1993??? - which seems like just yesterday. (I know, we were all mere CHILDREN way back then....) Jon is a serious mountain goat of the highest order on the bike and we have spent many hours out on epic group rides with him - lots of good memories!! Just don't ever challenge him where uphill is involved - you'll lose! I learned the fine art of building Frankenbikes from him as well. To top it all off, he writes the most entertaining Christmas letters, hands down - it is one of the highlights of the holidays!!! It was great to catch up with Jon and we were glad he and his friend Chris didn't mind stopping to chat for a bit. They were down at Cheyenne Mtn getting some riding in because their backyard trails are under snow and running water from the storm on Friday. Of course we had to get a group photo before they headed out for another lap.
We got rolling again and headed up onto the Blackmer Loop for a stout climb. Kathleen is ascending the long saddle on lower Blackmer before heading up into the trees again. We rolled across Blackmer and then doubled back on Cougar's Shadow for a little extra up on top. I had a slight navigational mishap and turned left instead of right, then had to haul some extra backtrack to catch back up to Kathleen. Doh! We were still feeling good, so at the bottom of Blackmer we ascended the saddle again and then headed over to Acorn and Bobcat to catch the northern section before finishing.
That's me, heading down Soaring Kestrel.
One last look at the mountain from the upper deck before heading down!
We ended up feeling really good today - good sign for next week - and were very glad we decided not to bail. Plus we got to catch up with a great friend! Logging just under 14 miles and around 2500' of climb, it felt great to workout the legs really well and enjoy what turned out to be great weather just a few miles south. Happy Trails!
Shoes - La Sportiva Wildcat