Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Evergreen Mountain - Tempo

Lunch time tempo run around one of Evergreen's signature open space venues, Evergreen Mountain.

Time: 44:50
Distance: 5.67 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & Warm

With a very narrow window of time and a yearning desire to run something besides Elk Meadow, I opted to hop in the vehicle and drive 10 minutes over to Evergreen Mountain, an 8,527-foot hump visible from my living room window.

Now part of Jefferson County's Alderfer-Three Sisters Open Space park, Evergreen Mountain is a former 440-acre chunk of State Land Board land that was transferred to the county in 2004 and added to Alderfer. The climb up the northern face of the mountain is moderate in grade, making it a good trail to run up...quick.

Since I was squeezing in this run between a busy work morning and an afternoon flight to D.C., I knew I only had 50 minutes. And, since I prefer to avoid out-and-backs whenever possible, the day's best bet was a tempo effort to see if I could get up the mountain, do the short loop at the top and return in time to get home, pack and get to the airport in time for my flight.

So, from the western parking lot by the big yellow house, I ran across Buffalo Park Road and onto the Wild Iris Loop Trail, which climbs gently up through a hay meadow to the lodgepole forest that dominates this mountain. Next up was the climb up the Evergreen Mountain Trail West. Once in the trees, I picked up the pace and suddenly was feeling good.

The trail switchbacks up and at 1.32 miles, I hung a right on the Summit Trail and ran up to the mountain's large rounded top and zipped around the .5 mile loop there and headed back down, turned left right at the trail junction and cruised 2.6 miles down Evergreen Mountain Trail East to it's intersection with the eastern edge of the Wild Iris Loop Trail. From there, it was a short skip back to the truck.

Felt good to run the ups with a solid, hard effort. Also really enjoyed jamming down the mountain, running a good bit of it in the low 6s and high 5s. Total elevation gain for the run was 1.024 feet and an average pace of 7:49.

Ryan Burch's Run Rabbit Run 50 race report is up. Here.

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