By Teri Vance
Having just finished physical therapy school in 1994, Kevin Bigley and his then-girlfriend Tammie were having trouble finding good-paying jobs in Denver where they lived at the time.
They knew they wanted to live somewhere they could continue rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities. So they checked out the Sierra.
“We hooked up with some jobs out here and never left,” Bigley said. “We really fell in love with Carson City.”
Married in 1995, they opened Ascent Physical Therapy in Carson City four years later. It was the ideal location to settle down and raise a family, he said.
“You know Denver is known for being in the mountains, but you have to drive a ways to get there,” Bigley said. “Here in Carson, the mountains are right out your back door. After work it’s so easy to catch a trail and go for a run. Everything is accessible.”
While the easy access to mountain trails is the main reason he and his wife run his business and raise their two daughters, Makaela,17, and Logan, 14, in the capital city, he noticed many people didn’t even know about them.
Those who did weren’t always taking advantage of them.
As a way to promote those trails, and the business at the same time, he started the Winter Trail Race Series seven years ago.
“We wanted to highlight the trails being developed in the area,” he said. “This was a good way to introduce people to them.”
And it was a way to help people stay motivated to keep training over the winter months.
“When there’s rain, wind and snow, it’s hard to get yourself out the door and get your mileage in,” he said. “It helps them train during the winter so they stay in shape and maintain a base for what they want to do in the spring and summer months.”
The series — Be Bold, Train in the Cold — offers one race a month for five months and features trails such as C Hill, Centennial Park and Silver Saddle.
At the conclusion of the series of races — varying distances typically ranging from 5 to 10 kilometers — in March, Ascent Runs collaborates with local running clubs Silver State Striders and Tahoe Mountain Milers to host the half-marathon series Triple Trail Challenge.
The first 13.1-mile race, Carson Canyons Half, sponsored by Ascent Runs, showcases the recently completed Ash to Kings Canyon Trail on April 2.
The Escape from Prison Hill Half Marathon will be April 23 in Carson City. The final race, the Silver State Trail Half, will be May 21 in Reno.
Bigley says the trial runs are the perfect way to explore the wilds and get in some added benefits as well.
“We’re trying to help people get fit,” he said. “It fits into what we do as physical therapists.”
To learn more about the Winter Trail Race Series and Triple Trail Challenge, go to ascentruns.com.
For a list of local hiking, running and mountain biking trails, download the Visit Carson City app.