I did the Incline!

Today I headed to Manitou Springs to meet the Incline Club for a long run. Shortly before I arrived, I started feeling a bit “off”, and I had the feeling it wasn’t going to be a great running day.

The official run planned was the Ute Pass Trail-Waldo-LRR double (yes, that’s three things, I don’t pretend to understand). We started off, and within the first three miles on the trail I was struggling pretty badly, my stomach was giving me problems when I tried to run. I decided to turn around, but it was too gorgeous a day not to be outside enjoying it. I turned my sights towards the Incline.

incline photo

Officially, the Incline is private property, and by climbing it you’re trespassing. But that doesn’t stop folks from running… well, scrambling.. well, trudging up the 5000 steps. The average grade is just over 40%, and the steepest point tops out at 68%. Yes, at some point I had my hands on the railways ties ahead of me to literally climb!

inclineA single mile, and yet you see people stopping to rest as they “hike” the Incline. I kept myself moving forward save for one break 2/3rds of the way up. The secret of the Incline is that the top is actually a false summit, so you climb as far as you can see…and then keep going!

According to the elevation chart, the Incline is 1.02miles long. I had my garmin on, and it came in at .82, so I’m not sure how the measurement works (I started my watch at the base of the stairs, and stopped it as I got off the stairs). One of the Incline club guys told me he’d completed the Incline in 29 minutes last Saturday: even with turning my watch off for my break, it took me 39:10 to cover the distance! (Average heart rate – 164bpm). Once at the top and finding out there was in fact no free beer (hey, one can hope!), I headed back down the trail at a much more acceptable pace. By this time my stomach was better so while I didn’t run to set any records, I was able to make it back down to the parking lot in an overall time of 1:04:49 for 3.29 miles. Wow, that’s kinda funny to think about.

So now the bar is set and I can have a goal for next time!