Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Horsetooth Rock FKT Attempt
I run at Horsetooth Mountain Park on pretty much a daily basis, yet I have never timed myself from bottom to top and back, probably because it is just too stressful to do for no decent reason. The catalyst for my speed attempt was a chat last week with Joe, who mans the booth at the upper parking lot. We chat on a regular basis and the other day as I was ambling into the parking lot he called me over and asked if I'd ever timed myself to the top of the rock. I told him no, to which he responded that some guy had asked him the other day what the record was and if his time might be the record. I asked him what that time was, and after learning that it was 46 minutes and change (up only) I told him that people have probably hiked it faster, and that I was confident that I could round trip it in less time.
Although he didn't know the precise route this other guy had taken, I decided that the logical route to take (although by no means the fastest) would be straight up the Horsetooth Rock trail, from the map at the upper parking lot hiking trailhead (by the restrooms), staying on the hiking-only trails to the highest point on the Rock, which is approximately 2.5 miles and 1,500 feet of climbing, with a short stint of class III scrambling up the Rock. This route is mostly rocky, rooty singletrack, with a short stretch of service drive, some stair climbs and some rock running at the base of the Rock. A quicker route would be up the Soderburg and Southridge service drives and around the back via Audra Culver.
So anyway, I set off from the trailhead and hit the Soderburg bench in 4:55, the Rock singletrack in 8:00, the "two-mile point" in 19:45 and the summit via the north side of the Rock in 26:17. I turned straight around and headed back down retracing my steps in 17:36 for a round trip of 43:54.
After consulting Jonathan Vigh's Fort Collins FKT site, it looks like my time is an 'open' fastest known time (FKT) for the longer north side. It seems the standard FKT route is the faster service drive/Audra Culver route, for which the official FKT was 27:05 up, 17:32 down and 44:37 round trip (Matt Bedoukian). With an 'unofficial' shortcut, the ascent record was 26:58 (Matt Bedoukian). Jonathan Vigh still holds the open drop record with a 15:36 descent - 2 minutes quicker than my drop. Jonathan also holds the Horsetooth South records: 43:36 (rt), 15:23 (down).
If you've done it faster or know of somebody who has, then let me know. Until then, I'll put my ascent of 26:17 and round trip of 43:54 out there as Horsetooth Rock FKTs. Now, go beat them!