Monday, May 28, 2007

It's Such A Gorgeous Sight

I’ve lived in Boulder over 16 years now and sometimes I still can’t believe how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place. Three weeks in a row of agility trials has left me a bit burnt out so I decided to give it a rest last week and try to get my butt up into the mountains a bit more. Saturday I went for a run on the Mesa Trail, or more accurately some of the lesser used trails that branch off of it. I started off at the back door of Chatauqua away from the maddening crowds of tourists and wound my way up the relatively quiet Enchanted Mesa to the nearly deserted Skunk Canyon. The wildflowers on Enchanted Mesa were spectacular, I’ve never seen such a huge display of color bursting out everywhere. Coming up to the top of a hill I was greeted by a postcard view of the Flatirons with wildflowers as far as the eye could see just as the line ‘it’s such a gorgeous sight’ from The Cure came trickling through my headphones. Yes Mr. Smith I do agree though I’m sure this scene it not at all what he had in mind when he penned the song.

It’s a steep but short descent down into Skunk Canyon then another steep climb out to join up to the Mesa Trail. I had the joint to myself, running into just one person running with a dog. I turned off the MP3 player to enjoy the sounds of the birds and the peacefulness of the woods & the canyon. I can hardly believe all of this is only a 12 minute drive from my house and I don’t come here nearly as often as I should.

I headed south on the Mesa Trail to a steep descent and decide to head back. I’m trying to be sensible about adding on mileage esp. when it’s hilly trails. I went back north on the Mesa Trail and turned off onto Enchanted Mesa which is less crowded and nicer than the Mesa Trail. The whole thing took an hour and a few seconds which is what is normally takes me when I’m not in super great shape. I’m not pushing for speed at all on runs where I’m trying to build distance but I have been trying to push the pace a little on my shorter early morning runs these days.

I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera so I came back on Monday with Jonny & Strummer for a leisurely hike. The pictures didn’t come out as nice as I’d hoped but I still can’t figure out my stupid digital camera for the life of me. I’ve been thinking of getting a nicer one and a friend who just bought a fancy Canon brought it over to my house so I could try it out and the pictures I took still looked like crap. I think I need to break down and sign up for a class but yeah I have time for that.

Sunday Jonny & I went up to Buffalo Creek/Wellington Lake so I could pre-ride the bike course for my triathlon next month. It’s only 10 miles and as it turns out about 7-8 miles is on dirt roads. The few miles of single track are smooth and completely rideable though there are some steep climbs with a few tightish switchbacks. It’s a beautiful trail though a bit eerie as it climbs through an area that was hit by a terrible wildfire some years ago. There were some wildflowers and groundcover that have regrown but the burnt out trees remain. It was pretty cool though I’m concerned about passing during the race since it’s very narrow in places. I’m afraid I’ll end up with a trail of riders stuck behind me because there’s nowhere to let them pass and I’m not stopping on a steep narrow hillside anyway.

The singletrack is in the middle of the course and the first 3 miles are a steep descent on a dirt road that’s mostly in good condition but has some bad deep ruts and is partly washed away in places. It was no problem riding it on my own but with other riders there it could get tricky to pick a line past the ruts. The other problem with this is that I have to come back up the same steep dirt road at the end of the ride. Did I mention this road was steep? It took me 34 minutes to climb a measly 3 miles. I said a lot of bad words on the way back up. The best part is that I get to run afterwards. Better start doing some hill climb bricks. Not that that’s going to help all that much at this point.

Since the course was only 10 miles and we’d driven nearly 2 hours to get there we decided to do some extra credit on the Colorado Trail. Beautiful sweet singletrack as far as the eye could see, I’d much prefer riding this to the horrible steep dirt road but it’s completely not practical for a race. Oh well. This will be an experience but I doubt I’ll repeat it next year. I’d rather ride my bike for fun on really nice trails all summer than race on dirt roads.
The photos were all taken from Enchanted Mesa trail in Boulder with views of the Flatirons (with wildflowers in foreground) and Skunk Canyon. I apologize for the hodge podge layout, Blogger does that and I don't know how to control it (doesn't look that way when I lay it out). You can click on any photo for a larger view.


  1. Wow, you are lucky. It is beautiful. And 12 miles from your house? The photos are great.


  2. Actually, 12 minutes (by car) from my house, a mere 3 miles or so. I am very lucky and so are the dogs as the trail allows dogs off leash.

  3. Oh, man, it's gorgeous! And your photos aren't all as bad as you make them sound, either. Picture postcard-like! Sometimes I wish I were there instead of at dog agility--again--

    I've given up on blogger's default photo formatting and stuck them inside tables. I can email you the html if you want it. It's not too hard.