Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hardrock training in the Whites, take two!

So this past weekend, June 19th, I decided to do my last long back to back training weekend in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. If you read last week's blog post, you saw that Jeff List and I had a great back to back workout on no sleep, this weekend I drove up on Friday after work and made it to Bob Najar's cookout just before it was ending....after one relaxing beer, Jeanne Peckiconis, Craig Wilson and I headed over to his house in Conway to get a good night's sleep before the 2 days of fun began.

 The group starting on day 1
Chris, Christine, Bob and Bodie in front, Steve, Garry, Craig Rich and Mike in back

Day 1...Starting at Pinkham Notch at 8:20AM, we climbed up Tuckerman Ravine Trail to Huntington Ravine Trail to Nelson Crag to the summit of Mount Washington to watch the road race. The climb was fun as usual and it was even more fun seeing the expression on Chris and Christine's faces when they saw Huntington ravine headwall from lower down the trail. We reached the Mount Washington Summit at around 10:35am, so a little over 2 hours into our workout.

 Chris and Christine coming up Huntington Ravine trail

Chris, me and Garry on the Auto Road
Photo by Christine

After watching the race we went to the summit for some pizza and coke, then started down the Great Gulf Trail around 12:30, which is about as dangerous going down as Huntington is going up, maybe more-so! It is a near cliff with loose boulders and rocks, following a trickle of water that would become the river we would follow most of the afternoon.

 Looking over the abyss of the Great Gulf Trail we're about to descend

Garry sits on a log and rests feet when we cross the river

As the afternoon continued we reached the Madison Gulf Trail, which turns in the direction of Pinkham and our end of the day. Garry and I had stopped waiting for Chris and Christine after they told us they would easily find their way back....Garry started in cruise mode and living in Colorado makes it such that I am struggling to keep up with him, so I backed it off a notch, saving something for tomorrow's Presidential Traverse.

 1.9 miles to go!

I soon reached the Auto road, which is the start of the Old Jackson Road, where we can cruise into Pinkham. Garry looked beat and said he was....soon I was not hearing his footsteps behind me as I cruised the road in full flight, for me. I felt great.

I reached Pinkham at 3:55 and Garry was just a few minutes behind me. We showered, I dropped him off with his girlfriend, Nancy at the base of the auto road and went back to find Chris and Christine. I did and we talked for a bit, but i was hungry....time to get to Bob's for the eats and drinks!

Total for the day was around 12.5 miles in 5.5 hours. My guess is around 5,000' of climb give or take a little.

At Bob's "Robin's Nest" in Jackson I had a great meal of salad and a Ziti dish that Bob Dunfey made, all good washed down with a few beers and great conversation after which Craig and I headed back to his place for a good night's sleep.

Day 2, up at 4:30am for some eggs and bagels for breakfast, then head over to Crawford to drop the car off. Along the way we saw a huge bear strolling through someone's front yard looking for something to eat. Craig guesstimated it at about 250 lbs.

 Start of day 2
Bob Najar, Charlie, Me, Craig, Kim Goff and Bob Dunfey

After getting a ride over to our start at the Pine Link Trail, we began around 7:10AM. It was my hope to do this Prezi as fast as I could, finishing around 4PM. Bob Dunfey and Kim Goff took off with me after I enjoyed some of the climb with Craig and Bob Najar.

Some of the terrain we ran along
This is Madison to Adams

We weren't quite sure of the route and actually missed the Madison Summit, taking a trail that skirted around it up high, taking us to the Madison Hut. Oh, well....I've been up there before and the around trail was a little longer than going directly up and over. At the hut we ate some of the leftover breakfast waffles and pancakes, filled our bottles and headed out. Bob and Kim kept falling behind me as I was a stronger downhill runner on the rocks. We went up Adams together and I waited for them down at the Gulfside trail, which we were running to Mount Washington. After that I didn't see them again until the top of Mount Jefferson. I was talking to a hiker when Bob's head came over the horizon. Again we started together, but within minutes they were nowhere in sight, so I ran on in the hope to just stop quickly at Washington, fill my bottles and keep going. After going over Mount Clay, the sunshine was warm and the trail was dry, but I heard rumbling to the Northwest...

Snowfield we had to cross just before Jefferson

The fog was incredible now and off and on during the day. I reached one sign to see which way to go and standing in front of it I still couldn't see it without putting my nose right up against it. It said Mt Washington .5 Miles. I followed the direction it sent me, but something wasn't right, the auto road was in front of I jogged up the auto road only about 100 yards to the Nelson Crag Trail and took it to the summit. I went into the summit building at 12:30 and had a slice of pizza and a coke because the ranger said a bad storm cell was moving in...and bad it was. 70 MPH winds, hail and lightening. I soon saw Bob and Kim inside and they were drenched, having been caught in the storm. They were not letting anyone out of the building at this time and the Cog railroad was shut down until the storm passed, which took a good hour and 40 minutes before we could leave.
So what else to do but eat some more! We were concerned for the rest of our group, Bob Najar, Craig and Mike.

Soon Bob and Kim were getting warm and drier and the green light was on to leave the building and the decision had been made to stick together because the conditions outside were still pretty bad. I checked my watch, it was 2:10PM. Near zero visibility and high winds nearly blew us over. In the thick fog it took us awhile to find the actual Crawford Path we would run to the end, we finally did and ran on as best we could. at this point it was mostly hiking because of the wind and wet rocks. The trail was a river.

I eventually realized that no matter how slow I went, I would still pull ahead of Bob and Kim, but waited for them at critical intersections and would then move on. I had to move at my own pace to try to keep warm until we reached the Lake of the Clouds Hut, which I did reach soon. And when I did open the door, there's Craig standing there stretching! They had made the very wise decision to bypass Washington during the storm and just plow on through to LOC Hut.

 Group shot before leaving Lake of the Clouds Hut
Me, Bob, Bob, Kim Craig and Mike.

We soon got going and split into 2 groups, Bob Najar, Bob Dunfey and I would go hit all the summits, while Kim, Craig and Bill would stay on the Crawford Path. To hit the summits you just had to do the small loops from the Path, so it wasn't much longer than staying lower.

 Me and Bob soaked
I'm pacing Bob at the Vermont 100 again this year

Not much more to say other than fog, off and on wind and never finding a sign leading us to Pierce....The downhill trail went on and on and I was getting tired and hungry. We finally reached the right turn to the road to the cars and we ended around 6:15PM.

So I figured that the day was around 20 miles and the total time was 11:05 with the running time being around 9 hours, taking out all the time spent at Mount Washington and the huts, climb was around 9,000'.
I was satisfied with that.

One thing I'll mention is the bombproof  LaSportiva Imogene's passed the test and will be escorting me through Hardrock in 2.5 weeks.

Equipment used:
Shoes: LaSportiva Imogenes
Socks: Drymax Trail Lite
Pack: Nathan Elite 2V Plus
Shorts: Patagonia Long Trail
Shirt: Hardrock shirt, of course!
Fuel: Eggs in the AM, Pancakes at Madison and 2 slices of Pizza, a coke and hot chocolate at Washington. No gels, bars or anything like that.

To view all of my photos I took on day 1 go here
To View Chris and Christine's photos of day 1 go here
To view Bob Najar's photos of the Prezi go here

That's it, all the hard work is done! On to the big one!

This will be my last post until after Hardrock...


Johann said...

Wow, that is awesome! Great photos as well! Thanks for sharing.

RunSueRun said...

Wow Steve, you've sure been in some, er, "sporty" weather in the mtns. of NH. Thinking the MSGT Death Run, that one time on Moosilauke, one of the MMDs where everyone bailed. The list goes on. :)

Best wishes for HRH - will be following online!!

jeffrey wilbur said...

Hey Ill miss you out there, but I moved deb closer ;) have a blast and I expect to follow you to the finish online!!! Vicarious enjoyment, better than none - jeff