Tim Bergsten created this Ning Network.

I've been running Pikes Peak for the past 16 years.  Whether it's the Ascent, Marathon, or both, I haven't missed a year.  The training is the best part of this adventure.  I've met so many people running in, around, and on the mountains around Colorado Springs.

I run with a club called the Incline Club.  It was started by a some people who wanted to get better running up Pikes Peak.  Matt Carpenter and Larry Miller are two of the charter members.  Both of these guys got me off my ass and running, starting when I joined the club on Nov. 30, 2003.  This is one of our typical runs from Sunday, May 22, 2016:

It's called it Longs Ranch Road.  However, it is a run that connects 4 different trails/roads to make one beautiful loop.  The run starts at the Pikes Peak Marathon start line.  We head up Manitou Ave, up Ruxton and to the Ute Indian Trail (which is adjacent to the start of the Incline).  Then run about 3 miles to Longs Ranch Road (LRR).  This is where the fun begins.

 LRR is a bear (actually it's 3 of them!).  Baby bear is the first section that is somewhat gradual grade where much of it is runnable.  You know you're done when you see the first J pipe sticking out of the ground on the left side of the road.  Mama bear is steeper and less runnable, and is more rutted.  But the views are better as you climb. Once again, you see a J pipe on your left to let you know you're done.  Papa Bear is more difficult and, for me, pretty much not runnable.  It's just plain steep!  The last J pipe lets you know you're done.  

After the bears, the hill is gradual for about 1/3 mile to a point I call Contemplative Rock (on the right side of the trail), and then it's downhill for about 1/2 mile.  I took a right in the fork in the road to take Bob's Road for another 3/4 mile on gradual uphill until it connects to Barr Trail.  This is where the Bob's Road aid station is for the PPA/M races. 

From here, it's about 5.5 miles downhill on Barr Trail back to downtown Manitou.  If you've not run this route before, I highly recommend it.  It gives you some pretty serious hill training for the uphill, plus it's not well traveled, so very little in the way of crowds until you hit lower Barr Trail near the Ws.  And outside of the Ruxton/Manitou Ave, it's all on dirt.

The pictures:  1.  Waldo Canyon Burn Scar from Mama Bear.  2. My time to the top of Papa Bear.

3. View of the Peak from Contemplative Rock.

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