The course this morning was at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, and it was a great trail that kind of worked its way up into the foothills, had some ups and downs, and the dropped back down to the finish. It was a really beautiful sunny morning, with temps in the high 40's. The trail was reported to be 20% covered in snow/ice, so it was also a great opportunity to log more miles on the Vivobarefoot Neo Trails that I did an initial review on here.
The run itself was a little crowded at the start, and there was a bit of single file walking up the icy single-tracks, with no opportunity to pass. Granted, a few times I wasn't complaining, but at others I could have moved faster but was not able to. Regardless, what dawned on me as I was negotiating the single track, the ups and downs, the ice, snow, dirt, rocks, and frozen rutted mud... was that I simply LOVE trail running. Perhaps it is because two days before I ran the same distance in our neighborhood, running a loop along the roads, and it was more of a struggle, and not nearly as enjoyable.
I think there is something about negotiating varied terrain, the proximity to nature (sometimes too close), and the mystery of what lies around each bend. Also, I am not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination (think of a turtle on Valium), but plodding along a technical single-track gives you that impression of speed with the trees and various natural obstacles seeming to whiz by.
Barr Trail after climbing the Manitou Incline. I guess it goes to say that most people would probably prefer running downhill, but maybe not. In today's race it gave me the opportunity to both make up time, and recover at the same time... a double bonus.
The rest of the Series are on trails that are not nearly as "trail-like" as this one was, so I guess I'm going to have to work on making more road-type runs a little more enjoyable. But of course, I'll just keep at the Incline and Lovell Gulch Trail , and find others to get my trail fix :-)
As for the Neo Trails? They performed very well. About 3/4 of a mile into the race, the uphill climbs on ice packed trail started, so I popped on my YakTrax for extra traction on the ice, which was very helpful. I also appreciated it on the downhills towards the finish which were also ice covered. I was concerned about how they would feel through the minimal sole on the Neo's, but I didn't notice them much at all until hitting a little pavement at the finish. So far I've logged close to 40 miles on them, so will probably look to provide an updated review after getting closer to 75 miles in them.
And before I forget, I wanted to give a shout out to Tim Bergsten, and Pikes Peak Sports. It's great to see Tim out there snapping great pics, video, and providing encouragement to everyone participating.
Well, thanks for tuning in again.. I'm hoping that the conditions for the 4M in two weeks are such that I can get back into my Invisible Shoes huaraches... I love the Neo Trails, but I do miss the near barefoot freedom of the sandals.
Have a great weekend, and drop me a comment if you have any feedback, comments, jokes, or random thoughts... thanks!