Experimental Atalaya Outing

Today’s outing is part of two experiments. One is to find good outings that are fully human powered – gasless from the doorstep. Back in 2001 I used to see how far into the Front Range I could get from my apartment in Highlands Ranch in a day on my mountain bike. Recently a Dirtbag Diaries story inspired me to try more of these kind of outings. I’ve found a few good hikes and bike rides in the neighborhood, but the great idea from the Dirtbag Diaries is to combine modes of travel. They did biking, buses, and climbing. I’m starting easy in comparison: bike 11 or 12 miles to the Atalaya Trailhead, then hike the 5.5-mile Picacho / Atalaya loop.

The second experiment began 3 and a half weeks ago. I had started getting stiff knees on my hikes, and suspected it might be related to my increased alcohol consumption of late. So I went dry, and decided to give it at least three weeks to see if my knees feel better after a long hike.

The hike and bike combo is great. I stay warm in the cold morning air pedaling up to the trailhead, then change into hiking shoes, grab my poles, and hit the trail. I hike fast up Picacho Peak, then Atalaya. There’s a light snow cover on the north facing slopes under perfectly clear skies. At the top I take a break, stretch, then begin running and poling my way downhill. Usually my knees complain pretty quickly when I do this, but when I run out of breath they’re still feeling great, and they hold up to my abuse all the way down. It feels terrific to have happy knees again.

Final results: human-powered outings are possible and enjoyable – I’d like to do more. I think I need to suspend judgment on the alcohol/knee relationship until a do a longer hike, but so far so good!

4 responses to “Experimental Atalaya Outing”

  1. Well, when I say running I really mean “gravity assisted hiking”. Runners don’t carry trekking poles, right?

  2. dylan running. that’s just silly talk.

    so uh.. read your diddy ’bout you thinkin’ there’s a correlation between the drinkin’ and the stiff knees. what you bean drinkin’? make, model, year, etc.

    also, not that it matters to me (no walking, hiking or running), it snowed in the rademachers (and everywhere else) 2 nights back. 360’s of dusted white mtns. not worth mentioning.. except the snow was still on the rademachers this morning! it’s supposed to rain / snow again tonite. i blame it on Global Warming.

  3. Yes, clearly a misuse of the verb on my part.

    The drinking pattern I had fallen into was to crack open a brew, often a microbrew from Santa Fe Brewing Company, Odell’s or such, whenever I felt like it. That seems to level out at 2 to 3 per day. Regardless of the knees, I feel better in general when I don’t do that.

    I’d love to get a timelapse of the Rademachers melting off, wish I could see it.

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