Monday, May 16, 2011

Round Mountain

Round Mountain Summit
After two weeks of easy running and recovery, I went out today for one of the hardest runs I have ever done. Round Mountain is a 4.5 mile 3000 foot climb off of Hwy 34 between Loveland and Estes Park. I have run Round a couple of times and it is a nice trail and a tough climb. The plan for today's run from the mind of Nick Clark was to run up to the first mile marker then back down, then up to the second post and back down, then up 3 miles and back down, then 4 up and down and then on the 5th trip run all the way to the summit. The totals for this training run are 29 miles and over 9000 feet of climbing.

We met at the trail head at 5:30 am amidst a wet fog and mixed hail and snow. A surprisingly large group showed up for the early start in such cold and wet conditions (The FCTR are a hardy and commited group). The first couple trips up went smoothly and it was nice to be able to come back to car to make wardrobe adjustments and grab something to eat and drink.

Laps 3, 4 and 5 got progressively harder and I mostly hiked the last trip up to the summit. On my 3rd trip up, on a particularly slippery, rocky section, Scott passed me heading down and said with total sincerity, "This is the most awesome thing ever." I repeated this statement to myself many times over the next 19 miles and was thankful to be reminded why I do these things.

Mr. Awesome
As I worked through the last section of switch backs to the top, I felt the same way I have in the top miles of Pikes Peak (dead legs, dizzy and working hard for every step) even though I was at much lower altitude. I was glad to finally make it to the summit after 24.5 miles of running. I took some pictures, put on my jacket (it never did warm-up), ate some fruit snacks and headed back down the hill for the final time. Alex A. and Pete met me on my way down and ran with me back to the trail head. My total time for the 29 miles was 7:59:15 which is a long time to be running up and down a mountain, but it went by surprisingly quickly. Pete and I hiked back up short way to run the last half mile in with Cat (one of only 5 to complete the full ladder). It was great to be out running on a beautiful trail with so many great friends. It was definitely the most awesome thing ever!


  1. Awesome work out their today and great sharing some time with you on the trail. Why do we do these things??

  2. Mr. Awesome is obviously completely delirious. Did he manage to stay upright or did the ankle turn all the way over after you took the photo? Nice work getting the full ladder done today. We need to figure out a plan for our next awesome FCTR adventure.

  3. Awesome work Alex, and what an awesome photo of Mr. Awesome. Almost as awesome as he looked coming down Towers after the beer mile! That one needs to be blown up to poster size.

    Pete: Once Signal opens up, I know of at least two trailheads going up there, oh and it hooks into Lookout, so one possibility could be to summit Signal from Dunraven, head down to Pingree Park road, resummit, cross over to Lookout, summit, head down to Box Prairie, turn around and resummit Lookout before heading over Donner pass back to Dunraven. Off the top of my head, I'm going to say 30 miles and a butt load of climbing. Awesome!

  4. I think I now know the reason my downhill running sucks; too much time wasted bouncing from side to side on the trail and being awesome instead of simply running? Great photo!

  5. Mr. Awesome was running strong and smooth coming down from his trip to the summit and he slowed down and hammed it up a bit for the camera here and then switched back to his serious, powerful downhill running after he went by. Stay awesome Scott!

  6. Damn, I'll be in San Fran for your 6 hours of Towers. But one of these days I'll get up there.

    Good luck at Bighorn! Say hello to the Crazy Woman Saloon for me.