I simply couldn’t justify the 15 hour round trip to Fort Collins for the 2nd annual Chubby Cheeks run (thus halting my streak at one), so I had to concoct an alternate plan.
Fortunately I met a few other local Durango ultrarunners earlier this week — so Saturday morning Leah, Nate and I carpooled out toward Cortez for some fun at Phil’s World, an intertwined network of mountain bike single-track that constantly weaves and undulates through rocky gulches and pinon stands. More exposed to sun than Durango’s trails, Phil’s provides a fantastic venue for winter running — and we couldn’t have asked for better weather: calm, sunny, and temps reaching the 40s.
As an added bonus, the UPS guy surprised me Friday night with the delivery of my new UltrAspire running vest — the “Spry” — just in time to put it through its paces. Similar to the Nathan HPL #028 “Krissy Vest” we’ve grown familiar with (the one without a hydration bladder), the Spry features some key design improvements: added pockets on the upper shoulder straps, pouches held fast by magnets, straps cinched more securely with metal buckles — all while maintaining that snug but unencumbering feel.
So with some food in the vest I ran clockwise, bearing left at every junction to hit every trail without retracing my steps. The “big loop” measured just over 18 miles, so I went ahead and tacked on the second loop (7 more), and the third (3 more), putting the run somewhere around 28 miles in all. While it lacks any sustained climb or descent, the single-track at Phil’s twists and turns incessantly, working every muscle group imaginable — a surprisingly good workout. Oh and the vest was fantastic — UltrAspire is really onto something.
If work allows me to stay in Durango awhile, Phil’s would be an awesome site to stage some sort of winter fat-ass run in the future. I’m currently awaiting news from my supervisor regarding next year’s budget and whether they’ll have the capacity to keep me onboard — I sure hope so!
That said, I had a blast hanging out with Nate and Leah after Saturday’s run, and hope to bring more Durango/Pagosa runners together in the future. There has been some talk about starting some kind of CRUD-style group down here…