Quad Rock Spring Training Runs

As we round the corner and start looking forward to spring, it’s time to start putting in some longer miles in preparation for the summer racing season. To help get those long training runs banked, we’ll be organizing a few spring outings through March and April culminating with a loop of the Quad Rock course on April 5.

As we did last year, we’ll be hosting an informal Quad Rock Training Run from the race start/finish area at Soldier Canyon in Lory State Park. There will be multiple mileage options, from the full 25 mile loop to shorter, abbreviated versions of the course. We’ll look to get started at 8:30 on Saturday April 5. We’ll be providing burgers and veggie burgers for a post-run BBQ. Park regulations limit beers to 3.2, if you want to bring something to drink. If you want to chip in for the cost of food & site rental, we’ll have a donation jar, proceeds from which will go to race beneficiaries: Animal House Rescue, LCSAR, and Friends of Lory State Park. As an added bonus, Pearl Izumi will be at the BBQ to demo their super-popular E:Motion shoe line.

Details

Date: April 5th.
Start: 8:30am at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 4:00pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.) Only 3.2% beer is allowed in the park.
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($7 day use per car if you don’t already have an annual state park pass. Carpooling strongly recommended.)

Other Runs

Kicking things off on March 23, there will be a run of between 21 and 36 miles around Horsetooth Reservoir. Dubbed March Mileage Madness, the run starts from Alex May’s house on the west side of Fort Collins. The shortest route – via the valley trails on the west side of the reservoir – is 21 miles, while the longest route which heads up into the hills of Horsetooth and Lory on the west side is about 36 miles with a good bit of climbing. Routes can be altered to find a middle ground between the two distances. Watch for updates on this one and Round Mountain (see below) via the Fort Collins Trail Runner list.

round-up-profile 2

29-30 miles & 10k’ of vert. Good Lord!

A week later, we’ll be meeting at the Round Mountain trailhead for a run on the infamous “Round Mountain Ladder,” a 30 mile, 10,000 foot jaunt up and down Round Mountain just west of Loveland. Although it’s only 4.5 miles to the summit, we squeeze 30 miles out of the mountain by out-and-backing from each of the mile markers along the way, with a final summit at the end. The group dynamic of this workout is invaluable in getting the work done. Shorter versions of the workout include: out and backs to mile 1, mile 3, and the summit; or 2, 4, summit; double summit; single summit, etc. This one is scheduled for 6:30am from the Round Mountain trailhead on Saturday March 29.

The training runs are open to all abilities and regardless of whether or not you are signed up for Quad Rock in May. We hope to see you at one or all of them.

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Quad Rock Training Run, April 6th

There will be a course preview training run on April 6, beginning and ending at the Soldier Canyon trailhead (the race start/finish). All abilities are welcome to attend and we will have many local runners attending to guide those coming in from out of town, but please also print a map from the Course Map page to bring with you.

Samples of the new Pearl Izumi E:Motion trail shoes and ultra apparel line will be available for runners to test after the run. First Endurance EFS gel will be available at the start to sample on the run (please bring an empty gel flask as most of the EFS will be from refill jugs, although we may also have a limited number of EFS gel flasks). First Endurance Ultragen recovery drink will also be available after the run.

Details

Date: April 6th
Start: 8:30am at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 4:00pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.) Only 3.2% beer is allowed in the park.
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($7 day use per car if you don’t already have an annual state park pass. Carpooling strongly recommended.)
Schwag: we sure hope so.

For further details, please visit the Training Page on the race website.

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Quad Rock Training Preview 4/15

The Quad Rock training preview is coming up this Sunday, April 15th.

We will meet at the official race start at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead in Lory State Park to run the first 25 mile loop.

Group start time is at 8am. Pete will be available at the start at 7:30am if anyone new to the area has questions or needs any additional information.

This is not a guided group run so every runner is free to run at their own pace and modify the route to run whatever distance they want. Our goal is to simply coordinate a common start time to give runners an opportunity to meet and run together. We usually get a very good turn out from the local trail running group on weekend runs so there is a good chance that any runner from out of the area will have a chance to buddy up with locals who know the trail systems. If you end up starting earlier or later or run at your own pace by yourself, there will be plenty of other trail runners out in the park to cross paths with throughout the day.

There is a $7 Day use fee to access Lory State Park. Feel free to join and post to the Fort Collins Trail Runners list if you want to try to coordinate a carpool.

Water will be available at the pump at the entrance to Lory State Park at the visitor center and at the Horsetooth Trailhead. Be prepared to carry water to cover the 10.5 miles from the start to Horsetooth and the 14.5 miles back to the finish.

The course will not be marked so please make sure that you have a map and review our course description for directions.

On race day, we will have aid station junctions staffed with volunteers and all turns will be well flagged. Without course markings there are a few tricky turns to make note of:

  • At the top of the Horsetooth Rock trail, you will need to make a right to follow the Wathan sign post and then keep to your left to continue straight through to the Westridge trail that takes you back to Towers.
  • Halfway down the descent on Mill Creek, there is a sharp left hand turn to continue on course down Mill Creek. If you’re moving fast, the right turn onto Loggers looks like the obvious route and will add significant bonus miles to your training run.
  • After entering Lory State park at the end of Mill Creek, take the right turn to follow the Mill Creek link to the Arthur’s Trailhead. When you exit the Trailhead, start up the Arthur’s Rock trail and take a sharp left turn about half a mile up the trail in the meadow to connect to Howard.

For longer or shorter options, here are a couple suggestions:

19.8 Miles: Start out and follow the 25 mile route through to the Arthur’s Rock Trailhead (Mile 17.6). Skip the last climb around Arthur’s Rock and return to the finish on the 2.2 miles up the East Valley Trail.

34.6 Miles: Run the full 25 mile loop. Turn around and run the next section of the second loop back to the Arthur’s Rock Trailhead (mile 32.4). Return to the finish on the 2.2 miles up the East Valley Trail.

If anyone has questions, feel free to email me at pete@gnarrunners.com.

Pete

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14 Hour Quad Rock Pacing Plan

In the past few weeks, we’ve heard from several runners worrying over the 14 hour course cut-off for the full 50 mile race. To make sure that the cut-off times are fair and accurate for a 14-hour finish, I (Pete) went out and ran the full 50 miles myself last month. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the mid-race cut-offs at Arthur’s Rock (Mile 32.4) to 1:40pm and Horsetooth (Mile 39.6) to 4:10pm.

I ran the course in the middle of a very high volume block of training on very, very tired legs so my pace for the day was much slower than my normal training pace and significantly slower than what I would have run fully tapered and rested for a race. I also didn’t have the extra benefit of aid stations with more frequent water refills and volunteer help. I jogged the easy sections and downhills and hiked every steep uphill on the course and finished the full course in 12 hours and 24 minutes. For runners who normally finish toward the back of races and close to course cut-offs, the 14 hour race cut-off for the 50 mile event will be tight but not an unreasonable goal.

Based on my 50 mile pace, I’ve estimated the following splits for a 14 hour finish time:

Aid Station Mile
Leg
Distance
Aid
Station
Time
Leg
Time
Leg
Pace
Total
Time
Arthur’s
2.2
2.2
None
0:27
12:16
0:27
Towers
7.2
5.0
3:00
1:20
16:00
1:50
Horsetooth
10.4
3.2
5:00
0:40
12:30
2:35
Towers
14.2
3.8
3:00
1:00
15:47
3:38
Arthur’s
17.6
3.4
5:00
0:43
12:39
4:26
Soldier
25
7.4
10:00
1:55
15:32
6:31
Arthur’s
32.4
7.4
5:00
1:55
15:32
8:31
Towers
35.8
3.4
3:00
1:15
22:04
9:49
Horsetooth
39.6
3.8
10:00
1:05
17:06
11:04
Towers
42.8
3.2
4:00
1:10
21:53
12:18
Arthur’s
47.8
5.0
2:00
1:10
14:00
13:30
Finish
50
2.2
0:27
12:16
13:57
Total
50:00
13:07
15:44
13:57

The pacing splits for each section should be fairly accurate based on my own actual running time on the course. This pacing plan includes a very generous amount of aid station time which I think most experienced runners can significantly reduce. While 3-5 minutes at an aid stop doesn’t sound like much, if you know what you need ahead of time you can be moving through aid stations in under 2 minutes with the help of volunteers to fill your bottles or pack/grab whatever snacks you need from the table.

I’ve included very generous 10 minute stops at the 25 mile turn around and the last stop at the Horsetooth aid station. At this point in the race, you may need to pick up extra backup fuel from your drop bags and/or change clothing layers depending on the weather. I highly suggest minimizing your time at the mile 25 stop and mentally preparing yourself to get in and out and on the trail for the climb back up to Arthur’s Rock. The section from mile 25 to the Towers aid station at mile 35.8 is the toughest of the course both mentally and physically. But trust me, if you stick it out and get yourself past the Mill Creek climb and into the home stretch, you’ll be rewarded with a very enjoyable and satisfying cruise to the finish.

Aside from minimizing aid station time, you just need to keep moving efficiently. As long as you’re hiking the uphills, you’re making progress. Make sure that you maintain focus and run every downhill and flat section. The course doesn’t have many flat miles but there are a lot of long switchbacks and traverses that are easily runnable if you stay focused and take advantage of them.

If anyone has any questions about the course or pacing strategy, feel free to email me directly at pete@gnarrunners.com. This is a tough course and not everyone will be able to finish the full 50 miles, but we want to make sure that we give everyone the support and information they need to have the best chance at success.

Pete

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