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

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Something Local - Something Afar...

Red Rock Canyon / Section 16
 Looking down on Red Rock Canyon from high up on Section 16.

Friday we wanted to continue with our solid block of training for a spring boost.  We figured we would take some down time from running next week to allow the legs to process the race followed up with the block of mileage afterward.  We also wanted to continue to get in some elevation gain on the runs to prepare for some summer runs in the mountains (...if summer ever arrives...)  Docked the mothership at Red Rock Canyon Open Space with the plan to run to the top and connect with Section 16 via the Intemann Trail.
The back side of Section 16 is more power hike than run, but that happens in the mountains as well, so practice is needed.  After the steep section (1000' vert in a bit over a mile), the remainder of the climb to the top of the saddle is quite run-able.  This is the view across the canyon - the tan streaks in the center are the VERY steep switchbacks on upper High Drive.  From the summit, there is a sweet 2.5 mile descent that allows for a maintainable cadence and helps "season" the quads for some good downhill running.  On the descent, you cross Hunters Run, an intermittent brook that comes out of some rocks in the hillside - plenty coming out right now!
Hunters Run
Kathleen on one of the long runouts - Section 16.
Steve on an exposed section of Intemann Trail.
After completing the loop on Section 16, we caught Intemann Trail and started back down to Red Rock Canyon.  The views to the north were outstanding - Garden of the Gods looks tiny on the horizon from this viewpoint.  We completed the outer loop at Red Rock and finished up with 11.25 miles and some tired legs!  With temps hovering in the low 40's, it was much cooler weather than we had in New Mexico and we are really hoping for some of that to start creeping it's way up into Colorado...

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat
Stats:  11.25 miles, 3300' elevation gain

Boulder - South OSMP Trails
Took Saturday off from running in anticipation of a trip up to Boulder to run with Tim today.  He put out the "bait" a few weeks back with a description of a favorite loop of his which included lots of sweet trails and a little more mellow on the vertical than running Boulder's Skyline Traverse (see photo above), including summits of Green, Bear, and SoBo peaks - we'll save that for another day when we've got more leg!  Just a quick word - Boulder is a cool town and the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks division has one heck of a trail network.  If you can't find a trail here to suit your fancy, give up...  Our tour guide would be taking us on some fine trails in the southern part of OSMP today.
Kathleen and Tim heading out of Flatirons Vista area.

We started out from Tim's place and made our way over to the Dowdy Draw area, then traversed a hillside over to and then above Highway 93.  This was a nice way to start as the gradual climbs gave us some time to get the legs warmed up.  By the way - notice how awesome the weather was?  Finally!  70ish temps and blue skies, combined with good company and awesome trails = Shangri La.
This is looking out toward Eldorado Canyon, with a distant, snowcapped peak in the center.  Next visit to Boulder will include a voyage back into Eldo with a loop around Walker Ranch, or so our guide promised...
Tim and Steve flogging the trails...
Happy Trails!

We circled south and started west through the Flatirons Vista area on some incredible rocky singletrack trails.  We were making a big loop back up the western side of the lower foothills and then headed north toward our starting point.  The views cannot fully be captured in photos or explained in type - simply put, you need to go run here.  It is somewhat of an interesting contrast for us.  Most of our trails in Colorado Springs are open to bike and foot traffic, and are more toward the smooth side, although we have a fair amount of technical to run.   In contrast, many of the OSMP trails are foot only and are quite rocky, requiring constant attention to foot work - difficult at times with the breath-taking vistas!!
Finishing up - one last view out to the west...
We had a fantastic time today and are very grateful to our accommodating tour guide.  Our run ended up being 14.5 miles and was filled with jawdropping scenery and some high quality trails!   It is always great to run with friends, and we followed it up with some great grub at one of Tim's favorite haunts in downtown Boulder.  Great Day and hope everyone has an awesome week - Happy Trails!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat
Stats:  14.5 miles, 2080' elevation gain
We had intended to somewhat overload the legs this week, in spite of our race last weekend.  With a nice block of 51 trail miles since the Greenland race, and logging nearly 11,000' feet of vertical, we will see how the legs respond as we approach summer season.  Hopefully after a few days of complete rest and repair this week, our fitness will climb up to the next rung on the ladder!  We'll see how it goes...
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