The Incline: 2000 ft in one mile
Coming to Colorado Springs to work has some great fringe benefits. One of my favorites is tackling a climb known simply as the "Incline". It's an old cog railbed that climbs straight up one of the mountains below Pikes Peak. There are no turns, or switchbacks...just straight up and up and up. It's only a mile in length but you start at around 6500 FT and finish at 8500! If you've never gained that much altitude in a mile, it's not one you'll ever forget.
The air is thin and for a flatlander it's a daunting challenge to make it in under an hour. What amazes me the most are the locals. I met a guy today that hikes it almost every day with his parakeet riding atop his shoulder. I also met a gentleman named Greg that went to the top 610 times last year and today I caught him going up for his third time....today. And his 3rd ascent he did in 38 minutes. And oh by the way....Greg is probably 60 years old. Pretty amazing.
Special Forces teams climb it in body armor to get conditioned for deployments as well. Met up with one of my guys today and he left me in the dust.
I think the record is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes from bottom to top by a Kenyan marathoner who ran the whole thing. Once you've done it you'll realize how incredible that is.
Today I finished it....before the sun went down. In places there was thick ice and more than once I got a bit nervous about slipping and getting down a lot faster than intended. But I had a great time viewing creation while getting humbled by the mountain and the lack of hemoglobin.
There is something about climbing a mountain that calls out to us. Maybe it's that we want to conquer things that are bigger than us. My dad used to take me and my brother hiking in the mountains of NC as kids and it's something I've never outgrown. I simply enjoy pushing myself to do something difficult and meeting new and interesting folks along the way. A very good day
Time for some ibuprophen, all for now...more to follow