Monday, January 17, 2011
Pine Mountain Recreation Area - Cooper's Furnace
Still thawing out from last week's "Snowpocalypse", I was itching to get some trail time. John Cremers, a GUTS member I recently met at the Red Top training run, had posted on FB that he wanted to introduce some runners to this trail system near his house - I jumped at the opportunity. With snow still covering a majority of the trail and a starting temp of 32 degrees, I could not wait to get my trail on!
The location of this trail could not be any more perfect. Travel north on I-75 to exit 290. Exit the interstate to the right and make a right at the first light. (at the Wendy's) Travel on Hwy 20 Spur for about 3.2 miles, just after seeing the sign for Bartow Beach Road, the parking lot for Pine Mountian Rec Area & trail head will be on your right.
The trail network itself is not that large, the East & West loops are each about 6 miles - but the payoff is the gnarly single track & elevation. We started out on the East Loop (at around 900 feet elev.) and hit the trail running. Immediately greeted by uphills, my HR jumped. I thought to myself, "Oh shit, this is going to be a long morning, John is going to drop my a$$ in the first five minutes!" No sooner than I thought that did the trail start to level off. We ran some nice rollers and worked our way back towards the US Army Corp of Engineer's land & Coopers Furnace. The Furnace is really cool & there is also a great picnic & play area for families during warmer seasons.
After showing me around the furnace, we got back on trail and started to head over to the otherside. the footing was still pretty good; the real climbing had yet to start in earnest. As we hit about 4 miles on the day, John looked at me and said, that this next mile was going to be tough, we were heading to the "summit".
The footing on the switchbacks heading to the top was a little more difficult; we managed to run most of this, hiking at the steepest parts. We went from 900 ft to 1562 in about a mile...good climbing!~
(This photo of the summit was "Borrowed" from the 'net)
After enjoying the view for a few minutes and talking about the Indian Mounds in the distance, we began our decent. Man, talk about fun. The back side of this loop was steeper than the front and the trail was icier. We were sliding & "skiing" at certain sections, having to grab onto tree limbs to stay vertical. The best part of climbing is getting to run back down!
This trail network is a hidden gem that I can't wait to revisit. The climbing to the summit reminds me of going up the front of Kennesaw Mtn and the view is equally beautiful. from talking with John, Pine Mtn is a lot less crowded than KM. Thanks John!
Weekly weigh in
1/17/11 195.4 (up .2)
Su - 77 minutes zone 1/2
Mo - Strength
Tu - 50 minutes zone 2
We - 30 minutes + Strength
Th - Trackwork
Fr - rest
Sa - 30 minutes ( I might race a 5k)
su - 88 minutes zone 1