Running with the bulls, errrr bikes.
I had the opportunity to run out in Fruita today. Back on some of the same trails I did my 50 mile race on last April. It was quite a bit warmer today – in the 90’s, and I didn’t start running until 1:30 in the afternoon. Good heat training, I guess.
Water was a concern. I had a 70z camelbak fully stocked and headed out to see how long that would last me. Running with the load on my back wasn’t the greatest feeling, but I kept the pace slow for the first few miles and just tried to ease into it.
Even though it was a Saturday, things seemed pretty deserted. I guess all the smart people got their fun in before things got too hot…
I was debating whether or not to take the side trip down to Horsetheif Bench, but once I got to the overlook, the debate was over. Just seeing the ribbon of trail stretched out below sealed the deal. I’m in!
After about an hour of running, I heard a mountain bike coming up behind me and stepped aside to let them pass. It turned out to be 2 guys and as they flew by they said there were 3 more coming. I took a quick glance down the trail and couldn’t see the other riders, so I headed off in hot pursuit of the first two. I had a blast! I hung pretty close to them for about a mile, never getting caught by the riders behind. My plan to just take an easy long run was left in shreds somewhere along the trail. I felt good and was definitely in the groove – my feet machine gunning the ground, dodging rocks, taking ups/downs/lefts/rights.
I loved how the muscles and tendons around my ankles and tops of my feet were constantly firing and releasing, sometimes one side, then another, or all at once in response to the terrain. They were like gyroscopes in a jet aircraft keeping everything level and trim.
The riders had to dismount for a technical section and I kept pushing right on through. I built up a pretty good lead, and then all 5 of them eventually caught and passed me about a mile down the trail. That was short lived as I caught them about 5 minutes later as they hit the bottom of the hike-a-bike section to get back out of Horsethief.
We ended up swapping leads like this for about an hour. They would pull away from me on the flat and fast sections, and I would catch up with them when the trail climbed a hill or got rocky. It was funny to see them rushing to get clipped back in and pedaling before I caught them. The last time I caught them, I said I felt like that guy on the credit card commercial riding the imaginary bike with his friends. That made them laugh, then one of them shook his head while looking down and said, “You make us look weak”. It was a lot of fun, and some really good training! After that, we hit some extended flat sections and they pulled away for good. Leaving me with about an hour to go back to the car, and my pack getting very light as I had almost finished drinking all of my water.
The fun started to wear off a little… It was hot! I was alone, the water was almost gone, and the legs were feeling the effects of my earlier efforts. I could feel all of my smaller muscles that had been propelling me earlier start to give way. Like rocket boosters whose job was done, they sputtered before going dark and falling back to earth. Leaving me with the lonely deep inner muscles that wouldn’t go fast, but would get me back to the car ok. I really started to feel the leftover fatigue from the double marathon two weeks ago.
I finally made it back to the car, out of water and very thirsty. I stopped at the nearest convenience store and got a liter each of gatorade, water, and pepsi for the 4 hour drive home.
I took some pictures on the trail, see them here.