If you’ve never done a trail race and are curious whether trail racing is for you, you don’t have to build up the courage to do the Pikes Peak Ascent, the Leadville Trail 100 or one of Colorado’s other grueling ultra-events.
The Bear Chase at Lakewood’s Bear Creek Lake Park (Sept. 28-29) is a great option for a first-timer. The climbs are modest compared to the more extreme events in the mountains, and while there are some rocky stretches of trail, much of the trail network is pretty forgiving.
“It’s extremely beginner-friendly,” said Tracey Hulick, who finished second in the Bear Chase 50-miler last year. “You might trip and fall, but you’re probably going to fall on dirt. So many of the more technical (races), if you trip and fall, you’re going to fall on rocks. There’s really not much climbing; it’s more undulating.”
Terrain aside, the course is easy to navigate, too, Hulick said.
“It’s really well marked, so you don’t need to be so concerned with bringing a trail map or having it loaded to your phone,” she said. “They do a really, really good job of having colored markings and signs and having people anywhere you could potentially take a wrong turn.”
You can choose from five distances: 10K, half-marathon, 50K, 50-mile and 100K.