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

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ridin' and Runnin'

 Saturday Bike Ride
Saturday morning I (Steve) saddled up the road bike early (to beat the heat AND traffic) and headed out for a nice ride.  I had in mind to head down through the front side of Garden of the Gods over to Gold Camp Road and ride to the end of the pavement.  From there, I would just see what the legs were up for.
Hopped on the bike path below 30th Street

The plan was to get Gold Camp out of the way and get back across Highway 24 before lunatic weekend traffic started to head up Ute Pass.  The red cement along the bike route was already radiating warmth by 8 am - good thing I started early!
Safely across Highway 24, climbing 26th street

On my right in the photo above is Red Rock Canyon, where we frequently trail run.  A couple observations from the bike:  1.  You can coast on a bike, you can't on a run.  2.  On steep hills, you can walk on a run, you must keep pedaling on a bike or you will fall over.  3.  It is pretty exhilarating to cover your first 6.5 miles in 18 minutes - wishful thinking on a run for me!!  4.  Stuff comes at you really, really fast at 36 mph compared to 7 mph.
South Suburban Reservoir and the Broadmoor Hotel
My trusty Steed, High Drive in the background

Photo above is above the Gold Camp / High Drive intersection, High Drive being the dirt road heading up canyon in the center.  This is where you come out of Bear Creek Park and start the steep climb up High Drive to the turn around during the Summer Roundup Trail Race.  Rode to the end of the pavement and turned around to haul back down Gold Camp.  Overall, from crossing Highway 24, 26th/Gold Camp is a gradual 4.5 mile climb and makes a great workout for finding a good climbing rhythm on the bike.  This section is a weekend hotspot for road cyclists and triathletes doing repeats, and yesterday was no exception.  I saw only one car (other than parked cars) but probably 40 bikes.
Back in the Garden

As suspected, Hwy 24 was rocking when I got to cross back over.  I don't mix well with 55 mph traffic!  Headed up through Pleasant Valley and back into Garden of the Gods.  Not to disappoint the trail faithful, I rode the dirt trail from the end of 31st Street all the way up to Gateway Road.  I decided to hop in and ride at least the Juniper Way loop around before making my way home. 
Back side of the Garden
Pikes Peak from the visitor's kiosk on Ridge Road

The prominent scar on the hillside below the peak is the Incline, just FYI.  I was feeling content with the volume of the ride, so just did the front loop, headed back over Flying W and made my way home.  It was a good ride, although I am itching to be back to full-time running.  But I will gladly do both as opposed to being sidelined.  30 miles on the day and feeling strong. 

Stats:  30 miles, 2500' elevation gain
Shoes - Sidi Dominator

And now some running...
View from the truck, entering US Air Force Academy

Got over to the Academy right at 8 when visitors can enter and headed for the Falcon Trail.  Forecast was for another warm day, so I wanted to start early.  We may have to check out our alternate entry point off of Blodgett to access the trail so we can get rolling earlier in the summer!
Above the BX, with a look at Pikeview Quarry

The clouds moved in early to the south, making the decision to run at the Academy even better.  Pikeview Quarry, which is on the hillside above where we live, was used quite a bit in the building that took place at the US Air Force Academy and many other building projects in the Pikes Peak region.  Not much going on there now, though, as landslides have dropped nearly 2 million tons of limestone from the face of the mine, halting reclamation efforts.  Read about it here if that sort of thing interests you.
Awesome view of Blodgett Peak
A little trail video.
From the top of the climb, looking to the water treatment plant

The legs felt really heavy by the time I hit the big climb on the back side.  As noted in the video clip, it was humid and the ridge I was climbing had effectively blocked the breeze.  I decided to stay conservative on the climb and see what I had in the tank at the summit, which is basically halfway through the run.  In the center of the photo above is the saddle from the base of Blodgett that will be our impromptu entry point to the Falcon Trail loop.  It appears to be about a 2 mile spur from the ridge, down through the horse trails to the Falcon Trail.  That would make a nice 17-ish miler, with a grunt out to the trailhead at the finish.
Hit the picnic area, feeling pretty good

I recovered nicely after the climb, got my breeze back, and even had about a 1 minute cloud pass over - just enough for a brief refreshment.  I started to get a little roll in the legs and then realized I had summited only a minute and change slower than my best ever time at Falcon.  Hmmm ... maybe I should push it a bit?
Final climb of the day, overlooking the Golf Course

I pushed pretty good rolling out toward the finish of the loop.  My legs probably felt as good as they did leading up to Greenland, so I was encouraged by this development.  I finished the 13 miles just 25 seconds over my best time from last year.  Given the events of the last few weeks, I will take that.  I am also glad to see the cycling has at least helped me maintain my fitness level.  It was a good day on the trails.  

Shoes - LaSportiva Wildcat

By the way, if you want to read about some really hardcore mountain running in our back yard, have a look at Tony Krupicka's latest blog entry - some of those trails are on the HT To-Do List, as soon as we have the legs for them!!!
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