Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nice Place to Run: Cedar Ridge Preserve (again)

For some reason, I waited over a year before returning to Cedar Ridge Preserve.  I ran there once last year, on New Years Day, as part of an NTTR club run (posted here).  This south Dallas park is about a 30-40 minute drive from home, so my only excuse for not going back is that it adds at least an hour to the time I schedule for a run.  I prefer to run out my front door, but the options there are limited.  I was reminded on Saturday why Cedar Ridge is worth the drive.
In the D/FW area, this is the only trail system I know of that offers hills, a variety of trail surfaces, easy access, and is closed to mountian bikes.  Now, I don't have anything against mountain bikes, but to have to dodge them and their ruts can take away from a trail running experience.

The parking lot was much more full than I thought it would be on a cold Saturday morning.  I saw some groups of ladies in an exercise class, several small groups of random hikers and/or birdwatchers (it is an Audobon park, after all), and a troop of Boy Scouts training for a Philmont trek.  I also saw 2 trail runners.  After passing a guy in black tights going the opposite direction several times, I saw him at a trail head and thought I'd catch up with him.  He was about 20-30 yards ahead of me at the time, and I never saw him again--he was going much too fast for me!
Then I ran into another guy I had passed a couple of times and stopped to chat.  His name was Mike, and it turns out we have run several races together without ever meeting.  We ran together for a couple of hours and had a great time talking about running and life.  We agreed that Black Tights was pretty fast--too fast for us!  We kept a nice pace, and with the company, I ended up going farther than I probably would have on my own.

Other than my 25 miles at Palo Duro, this was my longest run in the VFF Treks.  They did great, and this run convinced me to go ahead and run at Cross Timbers with them rather than shoes.  If memory serves, Cedar Ridge is a great triaing ground for Cross Timbers, with lots of short, steep climbs, and similar trail surfaces.  I'll need to get out here a couple more times before Cross Timbers, hopefully with Mike or some other good running company.

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