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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hit the Trail

After our foray into the colder side of sport for several days, we got back to running by hitting the trails at Pueblo Reservoir last Friday.  Forecast was for 62 degrees and windy, which was all right after a week of cold activities.  It has been quite a while since we ran at Pueblo - it is a lot of desert out there and you must take it in small doses.  So we headed south on I-25 for some warm singletrack.
 Bright sunshine on Cuatro Sinko trail
 Outer Limits Trail

The sunshine and warm temperatures were over the top for this late in the year and we just couldn't pass on the chance to get in some great trails in December in such great conditions.  The weather has been all over the charts lately, which is normal for our area, but you grab the window of opportunity while it is open!  As was forecast, the wind really kicked up off the lake and probably reached 40 mph by the time we reached the intersection of Outer Limits and Pedro's Point.  Grin and bear it - penance for the 62 degree temps maybe???  But I thought we paid our dues on the skis and snowshoes....
 Rolling the Outer Limits

We worked in a great 15 mile run on a phenomenal, sunny December day and had a great time.  This trail system is really quite a winter oasis and we rarely see runners there - too bad for everyone else, I guess.

Shoes - K Columbia Ravenous
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC 

 Cheyenne Mountain

Following our sweet run on Friday, we took Saturday off and then last Sunday headed out to Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  Though it was 20 degrees cooler, it was still really great conditions and the day started off with a sunny blue sky.  We got in some great early work on the Talons, which we have not visited on our last couple trips there.  With some of the closest and best vistas to the frontside of the mountain, Talon North has some great photo spots, as seen in these pics.  We saw a couple groups of bikes up here enjoying the same views!
 Fantastic Day
 Heading off to Talon South

We made a large loop coming down off the Talons, out around Sundance Trail's prairie dog communities, and then back up onto Blackmer.  As has been our weather pattern of late, the early brilliant sunshine gave way to some filtered cloud cover.  Combined with the low trajectory of the sun at this point in the equinox, it cooled dramatically over the next hour and we went from comfortable to borderline underdressed - this can happen so quickly in the mountains, so we normally err on the side of too warm.  Easier to remove than it is to add something you don't have with you!   But we still had another great run of 15 miles, rounding out our week with a nice mix of activities and a great block of winter training.

Shoes - K Columbia Ravenous
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

Back to the Future?
Jumping ahead a week, today we did a run from home. After an early morning run yesterday that started at 13 degrees, we were headed for 50 and sunny today - gotta love our weather patterns!  We started out over Flying W and down into the Garden of the Gods.  Once in the Garden, we did a great outer loop of trails.
 30th street - heading to the Garden - only Partial Peak today...
 It was fabulous - Palmer Trail
 More Palmer Trail

It was quite simply one of those days that is hard to beat in winter.  Since we get a few of those here and there, the opportunity to take advantage of the warmth helps maintain when the single digit temps hang out for a while.  We ran around the Palmer Trail out to the Siamese Twins, over the Cabin Canyon trail, and then did some new trails that I learned on the CRUD run a while back.  It was a lot of fun to get in some new scenery.
 Columbia Trail
Stopped for a pic at Siamese Twins
Outstanding views from Niobrara Trail

After making the outer loop, we headed back over to 30th street to catch the trail up and over Flying W and back home. Though tired, it was hard to cut off a run on such a spectacular day. It was 54 degrees and sunny when we finished up - very awesome and we'll take all we can get of that action. After 15.5 miles, the tired legs were a nice reminder of some good effort out on the trails. We're hoping to possibly spend Christmas day doing some Norwegian style activity (aka, skinny skis). Since my folks fly in late in the evening on the 25th, we have all day to play!!!  Merry Christmas, Happy Trails, and safe travels to those who are on the road for the holidays.

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC
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