My “rest day” yesterday: The Manitou Springs Incline

Yesterday was supposed to be a “rest day” for me. Sometimes a rest day consists of no physical activity at all and sometimes my rest day is something less physical than CrossFit. Yesterday was the latter.

During a holiday weekend many cheat and I am one of those people. Now, I don’t blow it out of the water but by the time today is over I will have had beer three of the four days and some cookies. I choose my cheats wisely. I don’t eat buns with my burgers or eat potato chips, but I do drink some beer and if the desserts look good, I’m all in.

I cheated a bit Friday night with beer and fried pickles. On Saturday I had beer and some wings at Hooters. On Sunday it was a few cookies at a BBQ and today it will be beer again and who knows what treats might be out and about. Oh, and on Sunday morning I made myself cinnamon raisin pancakes with banana on top and coconut syrup (actually 100% Paleo).

After that breakfast I really felt like I needed some activity, so I called my buddy and asked if he wanted to do The Incline. He said “yes” so within about 45 minutes we were on our way down to Colorado Springs (Manitou Springs to be exact) to hike The Incline.

The Incline is an old railroad incline that washed away a few years ago. It consists of a bunch of railroad ties sort of haphazardly built as steps up the side of a mountain. In one mile distance you travel 2,000 vertical feet up the mountain. It’s steep, real steep. Even the false summit is supposedly “flat” but that is relatively speaking as the incline before and after the false summit is straight up, or so it feels like.

I made it to the top in about 49 minutes and was gassed. It is so steep and when I would stop to take a few deep breaths I would almost lose my sense of balance and fall backwards – which would have been disastrous. As you hike up you are constantly looking down at the next step you have to take, and in some places navigate over exposed pipes and some really shaky looking ties, so when you stop and turn to take in the view it takes just a second to get your balance. Not to mention your legs might be a bit weak.

My buddy never made it to the top. I waited for about 50 minutes for him before I got a text saying he was on the trail down. It worked out because it gave me an opportunity to run down the trail from the top back to the bottom. The trail back starts off pretty darn slipper with a lot of loose gravel and steep declines, but after a bit it evens out and is a basic switchback for about three miles back to the bottom.

All in all I think I spent about 90-105 minutes moving. The one tip I will give if you plan on taking on The Incline yourself: get someone to drop you off at the trail head. Parking was scarce and we walked about a half mile from our car to the trail head. And that half mile to the trail head was up a pretty solid hill, too. Manitou Springs is full of little shops and what-not so if you have a wife or girlfriend who isn’t up to the hike but likes to shop: take her a long. She can drop you off at the trail head and come and get you a few hours later.

My rest day turned out to be a really good workout and add “Murph” this morning at CrossFit and I think any extra calories consumed this weekend have been burned.

I took quite a few pictures during the hike and here they are.

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