Every other Thursday the Fort Collins Trail Runners meet for a hard effort up Towers Rd. This is one of our most popular group runs. 20-30 runners consistently come out for each run.
Towers Rd is a 3.4 mile climb from the Soderberg trailhead up to the top of the radio Towers on Horsetooth. Total elevation gain is about 1,650ft.
Complete details and the latest results are posted on the Fort Collins Trail Runners blog here (http://www.fortcollinstrailrunners.com/time-trials/).
We go out at staggered starts according to previous times up the hill or, if you are a new runner, according to an educated guess derived from Nick's highly complex handicapping algorithm.
Slower runners go out first and try to hold off the fleeter of foot, with the racing action heating up at the crux of the hill just past the Westridge turn-off. We all usually finish within a few minutes of each other, complain about how slow we were and then head down the hill at a casual and conversational pace. All abilities are welcome and encouraged to attend.
6pm is our official 50 minute ascent start time. If you need more time, plan to show up early and start out at whatever handicap time you think you need. Most runners can make it up under 55 minutes and it takes about 60-70 minutes to hike.
The official route starts at the Soderberg trailhead sign and goes north on the Swan Johnson connector trail. Take a left onto Towers Rd and continue up, up, up. At the 3 mile mark the road makes sharp turn left and then dips down before the final climb to the top. At the top of this climb take the left fork in the road and tag the building at the far side of the clearing.
If you don't have a county park pass ($65 for the calendar year), there is a $6 day fee at the trailhead. If you want to try to find a carpool ride, you can post a message on the Fort Collins Trail Runners list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FortCollinsTrailRunners/).
I've posted more detailed info about the route with maps online here. (http://k9runner.com/maps/towers-road-horsetooth-mountain-park/)