Saturday, January 23, 2010

Barr Camp

Memorial Park. Here congregates the Incline Club, a running group of 100+ who specialize in hills, mountains, anything with- well, an incline. It was my first time running with such a group. Taking a look around, I noticed the groups within the group; there were the novices, the intermediates, the advanced, and the hard-corers. And then there was me, the newbie, the only newbie, it seemed. By the end of today, I would be the newbie no more.

Thus it begins. Like a hundred or so Paul Reveres, we take to the streets of Manitou Springs, Colorado as if to let something be known amongst the locals. Not that the Redcoats were coming, that's for sure. Rather that we, the Incline Club, were coming and that quite strongly. We ran through the roundabout, we charged up Ruxton, and finally set our sneakers on the natural dirt of Barr Trail. And up we went. And up. Switchback after switchback, we runners experienced the change. It was a change in air and scenery, and of ourselves. Some of us, myself included, stopped for a second and looked down upon Colorado Springs. We realized, by beholding this marvelous view that our many conveniences were abandoned for a while but would surely be there when we got back... It seemed to never end. Breathing was getting harder with the climb in altitude, thus making it harder to run, but yes, like the crazy runners we were, we continued our little Sunday morning jaunt.

We eventually came to Barr Camp. The turn-around. A little hut nestled in mountain pines, Barr Camp serves as a half way rest stop where the runner, or hiker, can delight in hot chocolate or home made energy bars. Indeed, some runners took ten here. But others, myself included, just sat for a minute, stretched, and started running down. And we RAN. With gravity being on our side, we were unstoppable. We trail blazed that Barr Trail and heaven help the upward hiker who was in our way. To run down an icy trail safely, the rhythm has to be such that the foot just taps the ground, not giving it enough time to slide. Achieving the rhythm can be tough, but when you do you are a trail running god. The thrill is just that intense. With the sun of high noon shining, the Incline Club made it back down to Memorial Park without a scratch.

What a fun morning. I can hardly wait for tomorrow, Sunday, when we run the Ute Pass Trail.

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