Mysterious Weekend

Did Maddog do the death race? Don't know. I'm betting he did. MADDOG!

I still haven't been on my road bike but tomorrow (Sunday) buddy Brian and I are scheduled for a long haul, rain or shine.

Thor (Marvel Comics)Image via Wikipedia

My ass is going to kill me.

Friend Andy is off on his first presi. Hope he didn't get hammered by Thor.

Anyone else? Bueller? Bueller?

We'll get the official MadDog report soon. If he doesn't send it along tonight I'll just post his email from earlier today which sounded like a letter sent home from the western front. Dear Mom, I had my leg shot off but the bleeding has stopped. Cancel the order for my spectacles - no longer have eyes.

[The Report is in (via MadDog)]: they wanted to see no more than 10% finish.

so with that goal, the very first segment was to stomach crawl a mud stream with a barbed wire mesh above it. all transitions below had barbed wire trail - you had to stomach crawl over rock and mud, and bring your gear along it all.

everything you started with you carrried with for the whole day (15 lb pack, full size shovel, full size axe, a tree stump and your bike (w/o tires). so with that we:

dig and chop out a tree stump (mr stumpy was born)
2 hr up river run all rocks and slime
2 hr back river run
split 1/3 of a cord of wet oak
hike and tag a 2k footer on trail
memorize and recall later pres names
retrieve leggos from a pond, scramble up a mud run (covered in barbed wire) and reconstruct a leggo block from memory
2 hrs up river again
fetch a fresh egg, start a fire, boil water and eat the egg
put tires on bike (no chains on bikes at this point) ride downhill to a another farm
Nazi checkpoint people throw your bike into 50 deg gravel pit water hole 10-15 ft deep and murky (no visibility). you watch the point of entry wait til drops and dive to retrieve it. 50% of those that even got this far dropped due to hypothermia. I lucked out - my hit half way and stay afloat - just swimming to it and getting back almost took me out. Some of the cadets were in the water for an hour trying to locate theirs (and doing buddy hugs to prevent hypo)

barbed wireImage via Wikipedia

drop bikes, keep stump and pack. then weigh in and based upon body weight, I was assigned 35 lbs of rocks to carry. destination "up the mountain". at this point I was only able to walk 20 paces and then had to do a 10 rest count. this pattern repeated for the next 2hrs as the course brought you half way up the mtn on trail - falsely thinking you were making progress, then they took you all the way to the base, and put you in a major brook inside a ravine for a 2k ft ascent bushwack in the brook. It was so dense with fallen tree, debris etc. totally over the top, trying to ascent it and lifting a 35 lb bucket with rocks in one arm, and a stumpy in the other bucket.

near the top, dump your rocks and meet the checkpoint team on the summit for your next and final task. guess what? GO BACK down the mountain, this time fill your now empty 5gal second bucket, to the rim with water and bring it back up. so off mr stumpy and I went, I was trashed. 2 hrs + later I was back on the summit with the water for my next assignment. The guys tell me ok dump the water. You are free to get to finish however route you want. I walked in for the next 1.5 hours.

My arms are nearly ripped out from the shoulders, I had barbed wire snapped into my eye, legs and arms full of abrasiions and brusing, neck and shoulder abrasion and brusing from walk with the bike on my shoulders and falling constantly in the river.

Glad it is done.

They kept you wet and barbed wire scrambling all day.

mutha's trip report:
Not a lot to report, other than that I FINALLY got out on my road bike, thanks to Brian Howard. First ride of the year. Woo Hoo! Lovely weather, threatening clouds.

  • 52 miles (Montpelier to Morrisville and back)
  • a modest 1800' of elevation gain total
  • spent social time on way out - catching up on jobs, life, etc. took 2 hrs out. on way back, just rode. average speed just under 15mph.
  • my ass hurt
  • my neck hurt
  • my back hurt
  • my legs hurt
  • brian is pretty seasoned so he kept the level down a notch to keep my in view. but is was pretty hilarious. we'd be chatting away and hit a small hill. i'd put the bike into my smallest gear and stand. brian would keep talking, not change gears and pull away from me. i'd try to catch up on the downhill.
  • this ride never exceeded a 4% grade. i can't imagine doing a gap ride this year, let alone 6. i'll just end up walking the bike.
  • on a positive note, i coasted faster than he did. not sure why. maybe it's my greasy hair.

This pic is from mapmyride.com. The vertical scale is GREATLY exaggerated.
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Green River Reservoir: Kayak Heaven

tMail and I hit the Green River Reservoir (link takes you to google maps satellite image) in Morrisville, Vermont. The weather was smashing. The kayaks were smooth and quiet. The fish were biting. All was right with the world.

Trip reports on their way (All photos below courtesy of tMail. I forgot to put the battery back in my camera).

Mutha's Report:

I've been on this reservoir maybe half-a-dozen times and it never ceases to impress me. No motor boats allowed. No signs to the place (you have to have directions from the VT State Parks website or from somebody who knows. There are no signs. Really.)

We had hard blue skies with white puffy clouds that later filled the sky on our way home. The light breezes that popped up from time to time kept the skin temperature manageable, although we layered on a ton of sunscreen.

tMail was kayaking like a pro in no time. It was his virgin flight, and he got in and out without the slightest hint of anything other than pro moves. Quick, smooth and no wobbling... and with a knee brace on.

Lunch? No problem. Parked on a little island about 80ft long by 20ft wide.

Dessert? No problem. Stopped at the Wolcott Mountain Creemee Shop on rte 15 on the way home. tMail's first creemee.

tMail's Report:
Tippy Canoe and Tyler Too!

Mutha and I hit the high seas of Green River Reservoir and paddled our way up "The Boomhand" part Louisanna Bayou part African Bush. At any point a Aligator or Hippo could have come from the high grass to swallow us whole. We hit a dead end thanks to the work of some beavers that built and dam.

It was a great day to get back out into Northern Vermont and be in the outdoors.

We got held up at knife point in Hardwick they wanted my knee brace.

We hit the Cabot Visitor Center.

We robbed Buck's Furniture in Wolcott.

We also hit some Soft Serve "Creamy" Stand. I asked for a medium cup of German chocolate soft serve. The girl looked at me like I had 15 heads and said "do you mean a dish of creamy" I said "if you have that, that would be perfect"

Mutha took me through Vermont back rounds and excellent cycling roads.

What a day...thanks Mutha!


The MWRR as data

An extraordinarily beautiful day on the mountain. No wind and no rain other than some mist as we ran through the clouds only to exit above them at the summit and finish in beautiful blue sky. I took a few photos and collected a little data.

The first graph is a one-minute log of elevation vs. time from my Suunto altimeter. It looks pretty darned steady, which is a good thing. But the apparent linearity is a little bit deceptive, so...

... in looking at the send graph, I can see fatigue setting in after an hour. This second graph is of my average ascent rate, averaged over the 5 minutes trailing the data point. Up until 60 minutes my avg ascent rate stayed on either side of 50ft/min. I'm just guessing the steady drop after that is fatigue. The road got less steep out of treeline so maybe i just didn't pick up the pace enough - but regardless, this is the data. It's a good gauge for me for the future.

My pics are posted [Link].


Run Up Burke Mtn

Last training run: Spanky and I ran up the Burke Mtn Auto Road. It took 32 minutes to climb the full 1790ft (shown in purple on the right - click to zoom).

We picked the route because:

  • it was short (somewhere between 3 & 4 miles)
  • it was a mini version of the MWRR with a max grade of 18 and an avg grade of 9.7 (22 and 11 for the Bad Boy).
  • i could use it to guess at my MWRR time. if i consider the MWRR time to be 2.6 times this (based on 4650ft/1790ft) that puts my MWRR time at around 84 minutes at the fast end (assuming i keep up today's pace). 90min is more realistic for a goal time.
Anyway, that's the bottom line. I'm targeting 1:45 with a reasonable chance of hitting 1:30.


Ongoing Rain & Thunderstorms ...

... will likely dampen plans for heading into the mtns this weekend. If anyone is thinking of braving conditions, let me know and I'll get my waders.

[Update 6/13, 7:30pm] Had a window of good weather, cranked up the OBP w/ Spanky the Wonder Dog in anticipation of the MWRR next weekend. It was kind of slow going - complex footing, trotted lower section where I could've cranked, etc. 84min to summit from parking lot. while that seems a little slow (42ft/min vertical), bear in mind that this felt like an 85% effort day, and there's a lot of non-elevation gain around the Greenleaf Hut.

Just a few pics HERE.


The MWRR Ramp Up: Mansfield Madness

Saturday, for those that are available, is the Puppet-Master's Mansfield Madness March: a speed ascent of Mansfield. Not for the babies or kittens or one-eyed Jacks. The plan is a rapid ascent up the Auto Road, followed by whatever it takes to get down. Probably lots of foot travel. Must bring own life-support systems.

[Update 4/6] Trip Reports:

Mutha's Trip Report:
Not to kill the joke with the punchline up front, but we did the run up the 'Quad Lift' line, hit the auto road and topped out. We humped over the ridge to the Chin and down the LT to the car, where the PM said: "Let's do that loop again". Up we went, this time taking the "Gondola Lift" line to the Cliff House, then after searching around in the trees, found the Cliff Trail, back up to the Chin and then down the LT again. Total time about 7 hours. May have more stats later.

Graph on right: first ascent. It's a hastily made graph so axes aren't labeled but the x-axis is minutes and the y-axis is feet. The initial drop is from the car, along the road, to the ski resort.

Short video is here.
Picture gallery is here.

The Puppet Master's Trip Report:
The video MuthaZ posted says it all... a f-bomb every 10yds or so got us up those wicked hills twice!

This was a great reminder that a mountain is not a foot hill and trail running flats/rollers is not a replacement for the hard ups, regardless of the mileage!

Big Boy is down and out today! He needed some help up cliff trail but he did great for the most part. He did get yelled at by a biker who thought he was going to jump on his wife. The guy yelled "Leash your dog." Which I responded "What?" Man repeats his "Leash your dog" comment. I rebut in my dog tired, easy irritated state, with some Scottish flair "Leash your mouth." Nothing like good man-on-man drama to end a death slog!

Highlights -
1) Watching MuthaZ blast up the ski hill on round one
2) Seeing nobody on the first loop until the way down
3) Bo, the porcupine killer
4) The mercy of not trying to run up the 2nd time, just a speed hike and some chatter
5) The searching for the cliff trail and the Roots sweatshirt which can home with me
6) Buttery French flowers and thighs of steel
7) Chocolate milk from the market
8) Coffee and some $3 granola bar on the ride home!

Pics (http://picasaweb.google.com/puppetmaster64/MansfieldDoubleDutch#)


The MWRR Ramp Up: The Burke Test

Tried a run up Burke Mtn, up the Ski Trails. From the base lodge to the summit tower is a little over 2000ft. Tried it on 5/15 and again today. Today I averaged over 50ft/min, topping out in just over 38 minutes. About 30 seconds were spent watching the dogs submerge in a pool of water and peeing (me, not the dogs).

The best part is, not a single part of my body is sore. I took it easy on the way down (taking almost an hour) so I wouldn't fry my quads.

The aggravating part is that this time of year the ascent should be heart & lung limited - but my calves and hamstrings were aching by about 30 minutes. This is a steep route though - on my toes for most of it (in my trail-runners) up intermediate and black diamond routes. On the MWRR I believe it's flat-footed.

The graph at right shows elev vs. time for the two runs, about 3 weeks apart. The both average about 50ft/min with today's run slightly faster (by 4min). At this ascent rate, my finish time for a 4,650' ascent is about 90 minutes. I see no reason why I couldn't maintain today's rate for the full 4,650'. The big unknown is running on a road. I may try running up the Burke Mtn road and seeing how the times compare, or doing a 'sunrise' headlamp run up Mt. Washington, maybe friday, taking off two hours before sunrise to hit the summit for morning joy.