Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

With warmer weather here and summer approaching, rattlesnakes are on the move and making their way out of hibernation dens.
Both bull and rattle snake encounters have been on the rise and in fact, just this past weekend several hikers in Colorado Springs suffered rattlesnake bites.
Due to this news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading out on the trails.  However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I’ve encountered on average 1-2 rattlers a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county rangers and open space experts, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.
Our 14er training group hiking Mount Morrison in July. We saw a 6 foot long Bullsnake on the trail that day….

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Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

We are fortunate to live in a state with so many beautiful trails and a myriad of trail races to choose from.   If you are new to the state or just getting into trail running and looking to take on your first trail race, choosing the best one compatible with your fitness and ability level can be a daunting task.

Our 2018 lineup has been broken down into four categories including our favorite races and events for beginners and also those seeking a little more adventure and/or quad busting action.  Check out our recommendations below and happy training!

Beginners:

Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 5th:

  • Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.

The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails.   The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run.  The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from.

Elk Meadow trail race, June 2nd:

  • Includes a 5k and 10k option

The trails at Elk Meadow park are relatively tame and any climbing is done gradually through a series of switchbacks winding through the thick evergreen forests.  The 5k course will mainly keep runners along the base of Bergen peak where you will run through beautiful open meadows filled with yellow and green grasses and wildflowers.  The elevation here is the greatest challenge so make sure those lungs are ready for the higher altitude (around 8000 feet).

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2018 Resolution Adventure Bucketlist

2018 Resolution Adventure Bucketlist

When most people set New Years resolutions they set goals like “eat healthier”, “lose 5lbs” or “exercise more often”.  While quite vague, these goals also lack a certain element of excitement to me.
My resolutions take a different shape, in the form of various adventures and races I’d like to accomplish before the year’s end.  I’ve compiled a list of my 2018 bucketlist goals and I’d love to hear about yours too!   Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below.

Zion trail half marathon:

April 20th, 2018
I’ve got a bone to pick with this race.  I completed the run back in 2015 when the storm of a century blew in the night before the event and was forced to trudge through ankle deep, thick, heavy mud and an anticlimactic course.  The route was changed last minute due to the poor conditions and so we were unable to experience the adventurous terrain and views as advertised.  The original course included a 1500 foot steep and rocky ascent complete with a section where a rope was included, right down my alley!
I finished in 4th place just seconds behind a women that I was neck to neck with for the last mile.  I want to go back this year with an improved strategy, experience the full course and go for a top finish!
My race report last year HERE. 

Pic of the cool part of the course I didn’t get to do in 2015. Photo credit: Fast Cory

Taking my son up his first 14er!

I did my first 14er when I was about 9 years old.  My dad took us up Mount Sherman, a great peak for beginners and kids as it is never too steep nor technical.  My 6 year old Wyatt has been on many adventures with us (including several 14ers in womb), has done several 5k’s and kids trail races and is excited and ready to train to summit this same peak over the summer.  We will take the West Slopes from Iowa Gulch route which is an easy class 2 with just over 2000 feet elevation gain over 4.5 miles.  I can’t wait to share this amazing experience with him!

Skyline traverse:

Boulder, Colorado is where I discovered my love for trail running.  In previous posts you can read about my many misadventures spending countless hours exploring the myriad of trails, more times than not getting lost while learning how to navigate and master steep terrain and long technical climbs and descents.

This summer, I’d like to complete the Boulder Skyline traverse where you summit 5 of the most iconic peaks rising from the flatirons and beyond.  This run is a doozy, at 16.4 miles in length, you will gain over 6,300 vertical feet.  It is not an adventure for the faint of heart, or weak of legs for that matter.  The run is best done with a running buddy or group as you will need a shuttle (leaving one vehicle at either Mnt Sanitas or South Mesa trailhead) and make sure to pack plenty of snacks, water, first aid and toilet paper.

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Running high: 5 tips for your next high altitude adventure

If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be triffled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath.  All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of  physical fitness or acclimatization status.

With the popularity of high mountain races (Leadville trail run series, Spartan Breckenridge obstacle course races, etc) and summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.

Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains:

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Trail running tips for stroller pushing parents

Before I had kids I was trail running almost daily.  I live in Colorado where I am surrounded by steep and rocky trails, and after my 2nd son was born I was wondering how I would keep up my favorite past-time with a double jogging stroller.

Well, I am here to tell you that trail running with kids is easier than you think!  Here are 7 tips to help you get back out on the trails:

#1.  Get a good stroller.

The word “good” is relative in this sentence.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a stroller; sometimes a second hand stroller might be better for trail running; the trail is going to beat it up.

Ensure the stroller has knobby tires, front shocks and good suspension; it is important for the snow and ice.

Stroller Hack: If you can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a new stroller, but want to ensure your stroller is ready for stroller trail running regardless of the climate. Switch your wheels out. Purchase knobby tires from your local bike shop for the back tires and purchase a BOB front wheel. It is significantly cheaper than buying a new stroller.

#2:  Strap em’ in and lock it up.

You may be thinking “of course”, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t strap in their kids.  On a trail that is rocky or with any kind of incline/decline make sure that they are in tight!   If you have a front tire that has a swivel option, make sure that it is locked.  This will ensure that when you hit bumps or rocks the front tire goes straight over them, giving you and your kids a smoother ride.

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You can even trail run with kids in the snow!

 

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