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Rave Run: Soderberg Open Space and Towers Road in Fort Collins, Colorado

Towers Road is somewhat famous here in Fort Collins. I have heard about this route since before I moved here thanks to the trail running Yahoo group. I had meant to join the trail group since moving here, but it never worked out.  Thankfully, my new running partner was eager to run it with me. I have been to the area with my family hiking to the top of Horsetooth Mountain, but never ventured up Towers Road.

It is a rave run because it is a combination of beautiful scenery and a brutal workout. It is the perfect way to strengthen legs while increasing VO2 max. If I do this route enough, it should help prepare me for Boston.

We parked at the Soderberg Open Space trail head. We decided to run five miles before heading up the brutal incline. We knew that after running Towers Road, we probably wouldn’t be super keen on adding more mileage. Those first miles were truly a rave run. It was chilly, but the sun was quickly warming us up.

Enjoying the gorgeous morning

Running toward Arthur’s Rock in Soderberg Open Space

Running the trails in Soderberg Open Space during a beautiful Colorado morning

After our warm up on the trails, which wasn’t as easy as we thought. We headed up Towers Road. I thought that some of the smaller hills during the first five miles would prepare my lungs, but no. Even though I have been here four months, the incline in this altitude made breathing difficult. I told Jacquelyn to go on ahead. I wanted her to get her best workout in and we would meet at the top. She was hesitant, but eventually ran ahead while I power walked, catching my breath.

My running partner, at age 26, had a little more in the tank for tackling Towers Road in Horsetooth Mountain Park.

This was the last i saw of Jacuelyn until the top of Towers Road

I had been told that Towers is tough, but it was actually harder than I expected. I don’t know if it was the unrelenting incline or the altitude, but I had to mentally force myself to run. I am pretty sure that I would have taken a long time to get to the top (if at all) without the incentive of a friend ahead of me. About half way up, I saw our final destination. It wasn’t that encouraging.

Those towers in the distance were our final destination

There was a switch back toward the top and I saw that Jacquelyn was only a couple minutes ahead of me. I didn’t want her to wait at the top too long, so I pushed it up some last steep hills. I was hating the last steep hills and wondering why we decided to run this route.

When I reached the top, however, I immediately thought of the next time we could run it. As much as it hurt and I felt like I hadn’t acclimated at all to the altitude, I knew I was getting stronger. If I could run that road without stopping to walk (which would be no small feat), Heartbreak Hill in Boston would seem easy. Jacquelyn, who reached the top about two minutes before me, felt the same way. She immediately told me how brutal it was and discussed when we should do it again.

We made it to the top!

 

Towers Road goes up, up, up. The elevation increase is around 1700 feet.

The hard work to get to the top has a payoff other than strong legs and lungs. The trail has beautiful views of Fort Collins and surrounding valleys.

The views at the top were beautiful

Running down Towers doesn’t suck

At times it feels like we are in the middle of nowhere.

So if you are looking for a gorgeous run that will kick your ass, come to Fort Collins and head out to the Horseooth Mountain Park and jog up Towers Road.

 

What is your KICK ASS run? Would you consider it a rave run?

3 Responses to Rave Run: Soderberg Open Space and Towers Road in Fort Collins, Colorado

  1. lgsmash says:

    what a beautiful view! nice to ‘meet’ another colorado blogger – i’m in denver! the only tower road i’ve heard of is the one out to DIA but this looks like a really butt kicker!

  2. Denine says:

    Sounds like a beautiful run! I will definitely put it on my to do list as I live in Colorado Springs and always looking for new interesting runs! Just found your website via Pinterest somehow! Good luck in Boston!

  3. alissa081 says:

    And now I want to come visit you because that looks like an AMAZING run!

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