Sunday, June 5, 2011

Augies Road: the end of a nice back-to-back

Augies Road is now deeply rooted in my consciousness as one of the iconic, classic climbs of Brisbane Forest Park, and one of my favourite trails. It gains about 600m over 5km, climbing from the Northern end of Lake Manchester to near the township of Mount Nebo.

On Saturday, Mallani and I went to Mount Cootha to get some serious vertical into her legs at a leisurely pace. Mission accomplished: six full climbs and three half climbs - 1,047m vertical gain over 13.4km, in 3:00. I think she will now be able to handle the long climbs of Trailwalker without a problem. This session is also great for mental toughness - going up and down the same steep hills multiple times in a row keeps you firmly in the present.

Then, on Sunday, Mandy, Chris and I went out to Brisbane Forest Park to complete their final long run before Trailwalker. We started at the top of Mount Nebo, descended 200m off the side of the ridge in little more than one kilometre and climbed up the other side (same stats).

From there, we went down the gentle slope of Light Ridge Road, before trying to locate Taylor's Break off to the right. We climbed through lantana for ten minutes, then arriving back at LRR. Error.

We eventually did find Taylor's break, and there are only three things that you need to know about this trail:
1. It loses 200m and gains 200m in about 2km.
2. It isn't actually a trail.
3. As such it is the greatest trail ever placed on a map but never built.

From there, we went around the Northern end of Lake Manchester, crossing innumerable creeks and climbing a few rolling hills. I was a bit unhappy with the amount of walking going on, but Chris was under the weather and, after all, it was THEIR training session, not mine.

After many false starts, we began the climb of Augies Road. we ran for about 100m and then slowed to a walk. after the first 10-or-so % of the climb, it flattened slightly, and Mandy began to run. Being the competitive person that I am, so did I. But when Mandy stopped I still had plenty left in the tank, having hit a gel just before the fun began. So, on I ran. And on and on and on, grabbing some spectacular views and arriving at the end of the climb in good spirits and a reasonable physical condition (despite sore feet). That has to be the longest continuous stretch of uphill that I have run without walking (~4km, 500m vertical) and has me excited about putting in a seriously quick time for a Mount Barney Climb (4hrs? 3:30?).

After Mandy and Chris got to the top, we jogged it to the Volvo and stopped off at Boombana Cafe on the way home. It was really nice of them to bring me along on what was one of the most enjoyable runs of my life.

Across the weekend: 8hrs on feet, about 45km and 2,300m of vertical gain and the same of loss. Pretty slow pace, but this is somewhat compensated for by the amount of climbing.

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