Friday, December 10, 2010

The Chubster

Pete has a description of the 50k course (with pictures) up at his blog. Feel free to study it carefully and print out for the run. A text-only version of the route goes like this (copy and paste into a text doc, print and bring to race):

1. From Nick's house (look for banner over driveway half a mile up Overhill Drive on right) take Overhill Drive to 38e, left and then quick right into Horsetooth Mountain Park (.7)
2. Take Horsetooth Rock hiking trail (by the facilities) from car park (.4) (1.1)
3. Right on Service Drive to Southridge service drive (.2) (1.3)
4. Left on Southridge to Audra Culver (1.1) (2.4)
5. Left onto Audra Culver trail to Horsetooth Hiking Trail (.7) (3.1)
6. Left onto the rocks at end of Audra. The trail is somewhat undefined up the rocks but re-emerges. Follow to north summit of Horsetooth (scrambling required to get on summit) (.4) (3.5)
7. There may or may not be a trivia question on summit that needs answering for proof of summit tag.
8. Reverse steps past Audra turn-off, following Horsetooth hiking trail (look for 'foot traffic only' signs) down to Soderberg service drive (1.5) (5.0)
9. Left on service drive to Spring Creek trail intersection (3-way) (.5) (5.5)
10. Right on Spring Creek, making a left after .4 to stay on Spring Creek on the left side of the valley to Stout (1.0 total) (6.5)
11. Hard left on Stout up the ridge (1.1) (7.6)
12. Left on Herrington (.2) (7.8)
13. Right on Spring Creek (1.1) (8.9)
14. Cross Towers Road and continue straight on Mill Creek trail, being sure to take a left after 1.8 miles to stay on Mill Creek @ intersection with Loggers (3.0 total) (11.9)
15. Marathon and 50k take a left at the Milk Creek Link intersection (shortly after you enter Lory State Park) to Howard trail (.3) (12.2); JV course takes a right down to south valley (.4). At south valley, JV course heads right, reconnecting with other courses, but water will be available .1 up the trail to the left at Arthur's TH, if needed. Pick up directions from no. 23
16. Left on Howard (2.1) (14.3)
17. Right at Timber for scramble up to Arthurs Rock summit (.2) (14.5).
17.5 Marathon route follows Arthurs Rock Trail down to the Arthurs TH (1.3) from the summit. Pick up directions from no. 23
18. 50k route backtracks from summit and continues on Timber, making a hard right after .8 onto single track. Follow Timber all the way down to picnic area at intersection with West Valley Trail. Water is available from a pump at the Visitors Center 200 meters up the service road (north) from picnic area if needed (4.5 total) (19)
19. Right on West Valley to Well Gulch (.9) (19.9)
20. Right on Well Gulch to Overlook (.4) (20.3)
21. Left on Overlook to Arthurs Rock trail (1.6) (21.9)
22. Left on Arthur's Rock to TH (.3) (22.2). Basic aid (water and potentially a few other bits and pieces) will be available at the TH.
23. Right on South Valley to Nomad. Just before you enter Horsetooth Mtn Park, there is an unmarked trail intersection. Continue to the right/straight to enter Horsetooth Mountain Park(1.5) (23.7).
24. Immediately after entering Horsetooth, take the right fork (Nomad) up the hill to connect with Sawmill which should be followed up the hill to the Loggers intersection (1.1) (24.8).
25. Right on Loggers to Carey Springs (.2) (25)
26. Left on Carey Springs to Towers Road (.5) (25.5)
27. Right on Towers Road to Westridge trail (.9) (26.4)
28. Left on Westridge to Wathen (1.5) (27.9)
29. Left on Wathen to Spring Creek (1.2) (29.1)
30. Right on Spring Creek, being sure to head left at 3-way by the creek to stay on Spring Creek after .4 and then staying straight at .8 towards Horsetooth Falls (.9 total). (30)
31. Left on Falls trail all the way back to the parking lot (1.0) (31)
32. Out of the parking lot, left on 38e, quick right on Overhill back to my driveway and the finish (.7). (31.7)


The 50k route will be approx 32 miles with somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,500' of climbing (yowzer); the 'marathon' looks to be about 25.5 miles with approximately 6,500' of climb; and the junior varsity (or el Chubbo Pequeño) route clocks in at 21.5 miles and 5,500' of vertical gain. Pete has marathon data here.

By popular local demand, we will be doing three separate starts (from my driveway) @ 7:00, 8:00 & 9:00 (12/18). With the three starts and three route choices, hopefully ya'll can figure out the right combination to get you back to the finish (my house) between 2:00 & 3:00 for tall tales, Pearl Izumi giveaways and whatever food, beer and wine you bring to the table.

On the 50k route, I think faster runners will be clocking a time close to 5 hours at a steady effort, which means mid-pack runners will probably be closer to 7 hours (is my guess). Pete (a 19-hour WS finisher) ran a 28-mile version of the course (6,500') at what he described as a slow-to-steady pace in just over 6 hours. I ran the JV version at a similar effort level in just under 4 hours . I know those time examples are somewhat subjective, but it should give you an idea of what to expect in terms of getting it done.

Chubby Cheeks 50k

Map splicing, dicing and arrowing by the multi-talented Mary Boyts.

22.5 mile (JV) topo & elevation profile

Marathon elevation profile minus 1.3 to and from my house (150' down at start, 150' up at end). Google map tracks here.

For 50k profile, insert longer and not quite as steep descent from third climb, followed by one mile of flat, 600' foot climb and descent over 2.5 miles, then pick up from bottom of third descent. Almost complete data is available from Rob's webite.

Expect to get lost, so please print out a map and bring the above directions. There will be light flagging at key intersections indicating a turn. If you reach an intersection without flagging, assume to head straight, but check map to be sure.

Water will be available at 19 miles & 22 miles in the 50k, at 16 miles in the marathon, and at 12.5 for the JV.


No whining, no bitching and no blaming the race director for getting lost.

This is a self-timed race ('group run' if asked by someone in a uniform), please bring a watch.

No performance enhancing drugs (Brownie).

Be extra nice to your heavily pregnant hostess, but feel free to launch volleys of smack talk at your host.


  1. Are we going to have to pay a fee to get into your house? I mean, you're pretty big now, having your pic in TrailRunner mag twice this month...

  2. Yes JT, just pay me. I'm his agent. Mr December will be signing autographs later in the day but please don't touch.

  3. Looks like good fun Nick, see you this weekend!

  4. Hey Scott - that's Mr. October. Look forward to seeing y'all.

  5. Pretty sure you won a race just about every month of the year, so you can definitely pick your own name.

    Question: barring any big change in the current weather, do you recommend traction of any kind?


  6. Tim - definitely no need for traction right now, and looks like we're pretty much clear for the rest of the week. Couple of patches higher up, but not much. See you Sat!

  7. Nick is now so big, his dirty laundry was featured in an ad for shoes...

  8. Step 23 of the directions is slightly incomplete (at least according to 2014 maps and signage). It states:

    23. Right on South Valley to Sawmill. Just before you enter Horsetooth Mtn Park, there is an unmarked trail intersection. Continue to the right/straight to enter Horsetooth (1.5) (23.7)

    Just after entering Horsetooth Mountain Park there is another fork between Shoreline and Nomad trails. Nomad must be taken to connect to Sawmill.

  9. You are indeed correct, Rob. Thanks for vetting. That trail (Nomad) heading up the hill after you enter Horsetooth is a new addition since these steps were written up. I will edit accordingly.