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.
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.
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.
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.
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?