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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roundup, Bear Creek, and Section 16

With forecast temperatures in the 70's today, and a taxing day yesterday, we slept in and opted out of driving too far to run.  Instead we headed over to Bear Creek Park to check out the Summer Roundup Trail Race  course and add a bit of extras in as well. The SR is a July staple in Colorado Springs, put on by the fine folks at the Triple Crown of Running.  We did this race a couple years back and are expecting a couple of folks from out of town to be doing it this year.  It is a pretty straight forward race - up, up, and up until the turn around point, then straight back down.  :-)  Pretty standard, Colorado-race-director-sicko-stuff really.  It actually is more attractive than that, so read on...
Cheyenne Mountain from Bear Creek Park

The race starts at Bear Creek Park opposite the dog park.  The race starts in the parking lot to accommodate the herd of runners, then quickly files onto a dirt trail (about 8 feet wide, or so).  A direct left turn shortly after and the climb is on.  If you can swallow enough air to do so, you want to get up front here as the wall of humanity soon packs in at various forms of shuffle/walk/crawl and there is no way to pass.  The lower flanks were holding some humidity this morning and are quite exposed, so despite lower temps, we were dripping sweat in minutes!
A little respite from the climb
Looking up the canyon to our destination

After the initial steep climbs, there is some more rolling terrain where you need to work toward establishing a budgeted effort, keeping some in the tank with the knowledge that more climbing lies ahead.  With the late/cool spring we had, it is still quite green in the park, especially for end of June.
Rolling out of the park, down to Bear Creek Road

There is a descent into the drainage and across a foot bridge and then you spill out onto Bear Creek Road.  You climb this on asphalt up to the gate on High Drive, going against the one-way traffic (blocked on race day).  High drive is back to dirt from this point, not technical but has a few embedded rocks and off camber running.  The first section is really steep and some may well do better taking some walk breaks here.  After the sudden ramps, there is mostly runnable grade where you can again establish a nice climbing rhythm.  From the entrance to High Drive, the climb is about a mile and a quarter or so.  Make the turn, grab some water if you are not carrying any, and get the legs ready for some serious downhill running.
Stopping at the footbridge on Bear Creek Trail

Since we had no racing agenda for the run, we detoured from the race course onto lower Bear Creek Trail.  We forgot, however, how many steps there are on the trail AND how many pedestrians/hikers there would be on a Sunday.  So we hit the second stream crossing and decided to head back out and try Section 16.
... the foot bridge over Bear Creek
The view down the Canyon from Section 16

We hopped back out onto High Drive and dropped down a bit to Section 16 and headed in.  As we suspected,there was fairly low traffic so we started the 2.5 mile climb up Section 16.  We were treated to some shade, a little thunder rolling through the canyon, and lots of great views once we got up on the hill.
Almost to the high point on the saddle, atop Section 16
Kathleen rolling out - ready for a long descent

We hit the high point on the saddle and turned around for the return trip down.  The drop out of Section 16 is one of our favorite run descents in the area - a nice 2.5 mile cruiser down to High Drive.  From there, we are back on course and flying (well, as fast as we *fly*) down High Drive and Bear Creek Road.  The dirty little secret to the race, one you don't notice while on the arduous climb, is that there are three nasty little climbs on the "descent" to the finish.  You must keep some limber on deck in the quads in order to not lose your position on these pesky little buggers.  We had a nice roll into the finish area and put in a fantastic 13.5 miles.  Interesting note - early on in the run, we felt like we were really lagging out today.  We were surprised to check out our stats when we got home and find out we climbed about 3700'.  So we had to stop flogging ourselves at that point and actually felt pretty good about our run.  Hope some of the course descriptions help out those looking to check out this local race - we're always willing to offer more details if you need - just drop a comment.  We will be on the lookout, this week, for some new trail stash on the upcoming holiday weekend.......  Happy Trails!

ALSO - forgot to mention how much we appreciated all the nice comments yesterday!  Thanks for your care and support!

Shoes- K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat
Related Posts with Thumbnails