Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bergen Peak - Upper Loop - Tempo

After a day off Monday to absorb the Pikes Peak roundtrip, today was tempo day. Ran a good, steady "comfortably hard" pace over the upper loop on Bergen Peak in Elk Meadow Open Space.

Time:  1:20
Distance: 9.03 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Average
Weather: Partly cloudy and warm

From the house, ran the roads to the neighborhood-owned path that leads into Elk Meadow Open Space and up to the upper parking lot off Stagecoach Road. From there, ran Meadow View to Bergen Peak and climbed on that trail, hitting the high point on the trail in 41:27.

The intersection of the Meadow View Trail and Bergen Peak Trail in Elk Meadow Open Space

Picked up the pace over to the intersection with the Summit Trail, but due to time constraints opted not to do the one mile out-and-back to the apex of the mountain. Instead, I high-tailed it down Too Long, running the downs respectably hard. My quads, happily, had no residual soreness from the cruise down Pikes Peak on Sunday. I view that as a good sign...and a sign of some progress. 

At the intersection of Too Long and Meadow View, I had to run through a small pack of mountain bikers camped out right at the trail junction. Surprisingly, I saw 9-10 mountain bikers this evening...the most I've seen in months on these trails. I only saw two other hikers/runners. I should report that literally every time I came upon moving bikers (and this only happened as I was ascending), every single one pulled over and stopped to let me pass. Far more often than not, this is how things have gone on JeffCo trails. It seems there's a descent stasis between hikers/runners and bikers here. So good to see. I hate to see trails closed to bikes due to bad behavior and trail abuse. Fortunately, the trails at Elk Meadow are pretty resilient, unlike, say, Dowdy Draw and Spring Brook trails in Boulder. Now if we could just train all trail users to not walk/ride around waterbars or cut switchbacks! Too many segments of the trails in Elk Meadow are getting braided and widened due to people riding around waterbars.

An example of trail widening due to riding around waterbars. This was narrow singletrack when I moved to the area.

This section of Meadow View was a single singletrack several years ago. People avoiding rocks or mud created new paths.

OK, off the soapbox...

Back on Meadow View, I cruised the rollers over to Sleepy S, running a few good chunks at around a 5:30 pace. I was running that pace when there was a mountain biker about 30 meters behind me. I was determined to keep him at bay until the Sleepy S junction.  From there, it was a short downhill jaunt to another neighborhood connector trail, over the hill above the house and then the through-the-woods drop back down to the house.

Just a great hour-twenty on the trails. This was one of those runs where it just felt great to be moving...to have the fitness to run hard when I wanted to...to be healthy enough to still push physical boundaries and see improvement over time...and to regret, a little, not working this hard before I turned 40!

Elevation gain: 1,794 feet.

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