Friday, May 21, 2010
Manitou Springs Part II: The Incline + Pikes Peak Trail
DEVIATE FROM THE HORIZONTAL
While driving out to Manitou Springs on a quick trail recon mission, I was pleasantly shocked when I first saw the Incline trail from the highway. It seemed impossibly steep...
And it IS impossibly steep...with an AVERAGE grade of 41%...reaching 68% at the steepest. My mouth was watering. Grinning ear-to-ear, I rubbed my hands together with delight. It was even gnarlier than I had dreamed. My dreams were crushed before I could even crush them on the trail! That, my friends is some high-quality dream-crushing. A pre-emptive strike. A visual shot across the bow. You get the picture.
Matt Carpenter has reportedly run the Incline in a time of 18:30ish, perhaps faster. Team USA Olympic triathlon hopeful Mark Fretta holds the unofficial record, with a freaky-deaky 16:42. Apolo Anton Ohno says in THIS blog post that he uses the Incline as a special challenge in his training as well.
"Go out hard. When it hurts, speed up" is the motto of the Incline Club, the local ultrarunning/mountain running club.
The New York Times did a great article a while back on how athletes at training at the Olympic Training Center (15 minutes away) use the Incline:
Matt Carpenter rallies the Incline Club in his annual Call to Arms
Works better if you turn the music off. Bottom right of your screen...scroll down...yep. Right there
Once you hit the top of the Incline, you can connect to the amazing Barr Trail, which leads to the summit of Pikes Peak...
Here's a funny video of Matt Carpenter running up Pikes Peak, stopping at some of the well-known distance markers. Special random cameo at the end...
I will be back SOON to run the Incline and Pikes Peak. I cannot think of a better benchmark of mountain running ability and aerobic running fitness...
Who wants to join me?