I took the day off from running on Friday 9/27, mainly due to running out of time. This always seems to happen leading up to trips out of town.
I'd had great runs at Vail in the fall in years past, so I was not averse to stopping for a run on the way to Carbondale for the weekend. This was also the weekend for UROC, and the finish line was in Vail and it might have been a mob scene, but I figured I'd check it out anyway and get a nice fall run in.
From the scenic pull-off near Frisco:
The Vail resort trails are great in the fall, and parking in the garage is still free (until winter), so I went ahead and stopped for the afternoon.
I got my gear together and headed into town. The UROC finish was all set up, and runners from one of the shorter races were streaming in. Unfortunately almost nobody was there, and I overheard people wondering what was going on. I guess watching one runner arrive every 10 minutes is not all that exciting, but it would have been nice to see some crowds there.
Bryon Powell was over in a corner with a laptop, typing away on a phone, and I gave him attaboys for irunfar.com's great coverage (I'm also an occasional $ contributor).
I then headed up one of the service roads past incoming runners, and onto the Berry Picker trail.
Looking east up the Vail valley:
It had snowed, and there was still coverage in the woods. It was amazing.
As usual the aspens were great, and it wasn't even peak time yet.
High up on the mountain, Berry Picker empties out onto the service road again, which was unfortunately covered in shoe-sucking mud. You could still see a silvery sheen on the upper parts of mountains where the heat had not yet reached to melt the snow on the trees (center).
Eventually I reached Eagle's Nest, which is close to the top of the resort, and enjoyed the warm sun and spectacular weather. There was the same "culture" clash there as on Pikes Peak, where you top out and meet folks who used mechanized travel to get to the top -- in this case, a Vail gondola. I admit it was nice to fill up with water at the lodge before heading back down.
This view of Vail Village could almost be in the Alps:
I grabbed lunch at Joe's (Vail does not have to be pricey) and then headed over to Carbondale for the rest of the weekend; I was taking Monday and Tuesday off.
Mount Sopris on the drive south of Glenwood Springs:
Distance was 10.14 miles, time 2:59 (moving 2:09), elevation gain/loss 2,288 feet, avg. pace 17:40 (moving 12:45), and best pace ~9:00.