I travel a bit with my job so I like to keep a pair of running shoes and gear close in the event I come upon a time in my schedule (lunch break) and location conducive for a run. Such was the case last October when business took me to southern Wyoming. I had read about the Vedauwoo (vee-da-voo)area from other outdoor adventurists and this appeared to be an area very suitable for a single track trail workout. This area is a hotspot for the mountain biking and rock climbing world. I was training for a late season cross country race and one last road 5k in early November.
I paid a $5 parking access to gain entrance into the park. The day was warm – 65 degrees, sunny and the aspens were in full color. This day just had a good feeling about it. I had no clue where to start so I found a trailhead – Turtle Rock and took off on a well worn single track trail meandering through boulder strewn fields. My warm up consisted of 14 minutes of an easy jog – then I used a trail that circled a large granite mountain for a fartlek workout. 5 minutes at race pace – with a 4min recovery X 5 for a total of 25 minutes at near race pace. This was one tough workout. The elevation gain/loss, boulder jumping, and navigating sharp turns at race pace took their toll – but hey this was about effort and consistency with pacing. A fun – but really hard workout. I cooled down with a 14 minute easy jog. This workout simulates a longer repetition workout that was prepped with mile repeats conducted on a flat trail near my home in Montana.
I had miscalculated the impact of the elevation gain (7300 ft +) and by the end of the workout I was trashed. Running or racing with an elevation gain of greater than 25 -30% really takes a toll and will present lessons regarding early pacing that only experience will teach. If you go – use I – 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie. The turnoff is approximately 15 miles east of Laramie – on the north side of the interstate. You can see the Vedauwoo area from the exit – so travel approximately 1 mile following good directional signage. There is a parking area at the entrance – or if you prefer, travel into the interior of the park and locate one of the many trailheads there. Find a single track trail, mix with a good pair of running shoes, watch your pace (elevation) and enjoy. Note – this area receives quite a bit of snow so check weather conditions or the webcam located at the WY DOT website (Vedauwoo exit) to get an idea of present conditions.
This was a great workout – one that prepared me for both late fall races. How do I know? By reading the next day’s training journal entry which read “Easy run, 45 min total, legs wobbly.” Enough said. Enjoy.
Next up – favorite trail races of 2010.