FKT: Shane Berry - Manitou Missing Link Loop (CO) - 2022-11-27

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5h 28m 18s

Well it wasn't my finest attempt ever but figured I might as well throw this up here as a new benchmark. I started from Bear Creek at High Drive around 1, running up to the loop at the Section 16 turnoff where I started recording. This was one of my harder runs I've ever done, as I was intentionally running it on tired legs as training and experienced my worst bonk ever. I ended up hitting continuous snow cover from mile 12 through mile 27, getting to be up to ~6 inches deep near Lake Moraine, which significantly reduced the runnability of the actual Missing Link trail. Still had a great time out there! Back in October I ran this loop starting from Bear Creek, but without doing Section 16, in 4:11, so I think the FKT absolutely goes in around 4:20 in better conditions.

I deviated from the route posted here at Pawnee Street., and I propose that my route become the new standard FKT route. Instead of heading down into Manitou, I stayed on the Intemann Trail all the way to Iron Spring on Ruxton. This route replaces 1.40mi and 214' of vert on paved roads through downtown Manitou Springs with 1.18mi and 319' of vert on mixed trail. Difficulty-wise these two routes are very comparable, with the on-trail route being slightly slower in my opinion. The on-trail route also makes things logistically harder, since you can either pay the hefty price to park at Barr Trailhead or park off-route and deal with an approach, as I did. However, in terms of scenery and aesthetics this route is far superior. The views from the Intemann Trail along here are just amazing, and it is one of my favorite sections of trail around the Springs. At the end of the day it is a pretty trivial change, but those are my thoughts on the matter.