Pikes Peak Sports

Running, Cycling, Hiking and Climbing in the Pikes Peak Region

Prior to 2012 I had never run more than 7 miles so the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Garden of the Gods 10-miler would be my longest run ever. Fortunately my good friend and regular jogging partner, a Triple Crown winner in his age group, trained me very well. Our first time out we did about 7 miles of the 10-mile course. The next time we did another 7-miles that included the portion of the course we had not run the first time. By the third time I was ready for the entire 10-mile course. I would run it three times in its entirety prior to race day and I concur with my teammate Shelley Hitz, knowing the course very well is a big advantage. First of all there are no surprises, i.e. "OMG, another hill! It helps you pace so that you really know when and where you're going to gear down and grind up those hills. A lot of people feel the Garden is a very tough run because of the hills. No doubt but on the other hand, they are long gradual hills, what I call "pulls." If you train on anything like the Incline, then the Garden's hills are going to be tolerable. To a certain extent, the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Summer Roundup at Bear Creek, while shorter, is as tough or tougher than the Garden because the first half of it is mostly uphill. Back to the Garden, in the past there has been an informal group that meets on a weekday to run part of the 10-mile course, every week leading up to the race. It's a great way to meet other runners, familiarize yourself with the course and do an easy 4 miles or so. If, like me, you don't run more than 5 or 6 miles at a stretch, breaking down a long course is a good way to take some of the intimidation out of it. Another good place to train is the Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy, it's a scenic 13-mile loop, the approximate distance of the Ascent. Of course it doesn't come close to approximating the lung-sucking elevation gain of the Ascent but if you can do the Falcon, you should be able to do the Garden of the Gods 10 miles with few or no problems.

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Comment by Bill Beagle on May 10, 2014 at 11:54pm

as I've said, as the "Retread" on this year's team, I feel obligated to pass on what little I know. That Tim B. is somethin' isn't he....getting that info about the Falcon Trail and everything else out there. He is on TOP of it!

Comment by Shelley Hitz on May 10, 2014 at 9:32pm

By the way, when I googled the trail name, this page on PPS came up!!  http://www.pikespeaksports.us/page/air-force-academy-falcon

Comment by Shelley Hitz on May 10, 2014 at 9:29pm

Thanks for the tips Bill!  Since this year is my first time doing the Triple Crown, I appreciate learning everything I can that can help me.  I may have to check out the Falcon Trail!  :)

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