One thing the June 8, 10-mile run in the Garden of the Gods proved to me is that I have a lot of work to do before the Ascent. The Ascent is 3.2 miles farther. And there are a few more hills involved. Looming like those hills is the second leg of the Triple Crown, the 12K (7.8 miles) Summer Roundup at Bear Creek Park. While preparing for the Roundup two years ago I devised a route that proved to be a pretty good training run for this particular event. I only did it once but it helped. I parked along Mt. Herman Road and jogged about 3 miles, on a steady climb, to a trailhead that provides access to the summit of Mt. Herman (9,000 ft.). On the climb to the summit you gain about 900 feet of elevation in roughly a mile. You’re rewarded with some great views (on a good day you can see Denver) that you should enjoy before heading back down. Completing the roundtrip, you’ve done about 8 miles which is a little more than the Summer Roundup, so this is a pretty good test drive. To get there: Take Exit 161 off I-25, make a left onto Route 105 and just head west. Do not turn when 105 makes a right turn toward Palmer Lake but continue straight on Second Street through Monument until this route ends at a stop sign after crossing some railroad tracks. Make a left at the stop sign and go about a mile and make a right onto Mt. Herman Road. Continue up the road and pass the main parking lot for Monument Preserve on your left. About a quarter mile or so up the road, just after the road transitions from pavement to dirt, you’ll see a Forest Service road on your left. Go past that and 30 yards up on your right you’ll see a pull-out big enough to park about 5 or 6 cars. Park there and begin your run up the road. After about 3 miles you’ll find the easily recognizable TH for Mt. Herman. Don’t make the mistakes I did (starting to late in the morning and taking only one water bottle) and get an early start because it will get warm and there is not much shade along the road on your way back down. Enjoy!