Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Manitou Springs Incline

One of the more awesome aspects of training for an 8000 meter peak is the variety of lung busting options that can be found in Colorado. Going to the gym Monday through Friday is nice, but by the time the weekend arrives I want to get outside.
Today's challenge was the Manitou Incline near Manitou Springs, Colorado. This beauty of a trail is an old rail bed that hauled pipeline supplies directly up the lower portion of Pike's Peak many, many years ago. The rails have since been removed and a lot of work has gone into reconstructing the trail to ward of the inevitable erosion that is sure to happen on a trail this steep. The Incline has become a training ground for runners, climbers, mountaineers or simply anyone wanting a great workout. The Incline itself is only .87 miles long but it rises almost 2,000'.

There are some portions that rise to a 60% incline - thus the name. Going down the same way you come up is discouraged and so a nice scenic trail option starts from the top and quickly descends to the Barr Trail on Pike's Peak. The way down is almost 3 miles and it is a nice  and easy run. A perfect cap to a sweet workout.
The time required to ascend 2,000' varies from person to person. An old rule of thumb used in hiking is 1,000' per hour. That makes the current record of close to 18 minutes attainable by only a few. A more normal time is anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on fitness level and acclimation abilities to altitude.

Today my time was just over 40 minutes. Not too bad, but I know I can do better. I will push myself this summer and I hope to be in the mid-thirties by the time I leave for Manaslu. Speaking of Manaslu, I leave in 72 days and I am so excited! What an awesome and spectacular challenge I am about to embark upon. With the unwavering support of my wonderful wife, I take time to pause every day and remind myself how truly blessed I am.

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