The Kingdom Challenge Half Marathon

Pre-race dinner the night before: sliced cabbage, fried in sesame oil with lentils, black beans and Lee Kum Kee black bean paste; 1/2 lb of ginger snaps; wine. Slept w/ a roll of toilet paper next to me. Luckily it was fast-acting and I crapped a hatload twice before leaving the house in the morning.

Race day: Gilbert showed up at 6:45am. I brought all my gear due to indecision. Forgot check-book, drove back, got more gear. At the race start couldn't decide what the hell to wear - including footwear. Eventually settled on shorts, long-sleep light-baselayer Patagonia, beanie and my KSO's. Yep, figured I'd test drive them on a long run. No problems. Got a bunch of attention. as you can imagine. "Oh, those are so cute!" Yeah, my itty, bitty, widdle toes is all happy babies.

The Race: I don't look back so didn't see that Gilbert was on my ass the entire time. He chased me for the full 13.1, never letting me out of his sight. We crossed the finish line probably 45 seconds apart (official times aren't posted to the web yet and I didn't stick around to find out).

My goal: 1:45. My time: 1:45:01.1 (8:01 min pace)
- ranked 27 out of 155 overall
- ranked 8 out of 21 in male 40-49

Andy's goal: sub-2. Andy's time: 1:45:57.9 (8:05 min pace)
- ranked 32 out of 155 overall
- ranked 9 out of 21 in male 40-49

My PR of 1:41 was on the ultra-flat Leaf Peeper in Waterbury. But this sucker had enough hillage to take my pace down to a 9-10min pace in the steepest parts. I think it's about 600ft of gain, all in the middle, with the highest elevation at about the mid-point of the race between mile 6 & 7. The pitch was suprisingly steep, roughly like the winding hill on 302 going through Crawford Notch just past the AMC Lodge. Not surprisingly, I did most of my passing on the hills. Those were brutal enough to really do damage to many runners.

But we were able to maintain an average 8min pace overall. At this pace I think we could both do a flat Half in sub 1:40.


Galehead, N&S Twin

Twelve miles, three 4k-footers, perfect weather and conditions underfoot and great company. The five of us (tMail, The PM, Riley, Spanky and me) spotted a car and trekked the Gale Brook Trail, returning via North Twin.

What really made the day was that there was no wind and conditions that just made each photograph a perfect picture. Sure, the subject matter was spectacular, but normally I can cull out about half of the shots for posting online. From this trip I only left out a few - I just couldn't decide.

The PM's Trip Report (Pics Here): Beautiful day out on the trails. Some highlights...

1) Leaves on the trails like a paintbrushed carpet of crunchiness
2) The blade-shaped frost in the woods, on the rocks, etc.
3) Watching TMail launch up S.Twin after spilling some salmon juice on his the hinge of his knee brace. Supersonic booms were heard.
4) Taking in the beauty of the day from S. Twin and stopping for tea. We don't do this enough (altough sometimes the weather will not allow it!)
5) Seeing very few people but getting the response of "Yeah, it's open but they only take Canadian..." when I asked one group if the ice cream shop was open on S. Twin!
6) Discovering "Weiner Valley" and it's mysterious features. Mansfield's features have nothing on this sexy valley.
7) River crossings - Riley the dozer and Spanky the Circus Dog.
8) "Salmon on my nuts"
9) Getting home to "drink" MuthaZ's hot sauce.... mmmmmmm, the heat of love
tMail's Trip Report (Pics Here)

1. Buck the Truck
2. Galehead hut leaving traces of smoked Salmon hopefully the bears move in.
3. Smoked Salmon, bright sky, warm sun!
4. Pop Tarts on Galehead
5. The ascent up S. Twin
6. Russian fighter jets.
7. Salmon love
8. Flycachacha
9. Tazo Tea on the summit of South Twin
10. The 60 minutes on South Twin enjoying the time with friends
11. Perfect weather
12. Uncle Daryl
13. Heat of love
14. Big Foot
15. PM and Mutha great day...relaxing, enjoyable, perfect weather, perfect day!!!
Mutha's Trip Report (Pics Here):
  • Only ran into a few folks on the trail. Quote of the day from a guy on South Twin: "It's better than sitting at a desk"
  • The PM's homemade smoked salmon was sadistically excellent. We polished that off and at home I ate an entire jar of it. This is not safe to expose the American public to and I personally volunteer to eat any remaining salmon until the threat is gone. If it didn't sound weird I'd say I was still licking my lips.
  • From North Twin, the ridge from Guyot to Zealand and onward (down towards Hale) has a character that is best described as 'erotic'. Maybe it was the light. Maybe not.
  • Major topic of discussion: food.
  • Best idea for a South Twin lunch-fest? Tazo teas + jet-boil = mmmmmm.


Finishing the 48's

[Note: this was originally sent as an email, but is being posted here for reference]

Maddog needs the Osceola's and Tecumseh to finish his 48's and the plan is to tackle them in an epic adventure in November/December. I need them for my 3rd round of 48's too, and am thinking of trying to finish them all this year by 12/31.

It would require a few epic treks and it's not that high a priority it would just be nice to get the list done. For the record, I've listed below the summits I need, grouped according to how I'd tackle them:

Kilkenny Ridge Traverse (Ouch! - or just do them individually and save the pain)

  • Cabot
  • Waumbek
Carter Ridge Traverse (Ouch! - gotta be done in one shot)
  • South Carter
  • Carter Dome
  • Middle Carter
  • Moriah
  • Wildcat
  • Wildcat, D Peak
Osceola/Tecumseh (w/ MadDog & others)
  • East Osceola
  • Osceola
  • Tecumseh
The Hancocks
  • Hancock
  • South Hancock
  • North Twin (to be tackled friday w/ the PM & tMail)


What's In Store For This Fall?

Gilbert, Trudy, Jake & Spanky and I are going for a trail run in Groton State Forest in an hour - part of our attempt to scope out the winter xc/bc ski terrain and to try to stay warm. Right now it's about 29° w/ light granular snow - not enough to accumulate, it's just spitting out there.

The rainy weather this summer resulted in less hiking than normal and rain is in the forecast for this weekend as well. While it may be a great time of year to get chores done, it begs the question of how to approach this fall/winter. In particular, while challenging conditions can make even a Franconia Ridge trek seem like high adventure, hitting the same old trails could become overly routine. Sure, we've got THE GRID to consider, but realistically that's a low priority for me - kind of an accounting procedure. I've also got this vague thing about hiking every trail in the WMNF, but like THE GRID that's really not a top priority.

So in addition to this winter being "The Year of the Ski" (like summer, 2009 was "The Year of the Bike"?), where do we go from here? We have to fill in the treks for quite a few months until the snow is deep enough to groom at the nordic centers.

I think novelty is good. Here are a few ideas from me and other contributors:

  1. Adams Slide
  2. Finish MadDog's 48 (The Osceolas and Tecumseh in a single, winter day hike) - via tMail
  3. BAMFORTH - winter assualt, no turning back, even if death calls on the cell phone - via The PM
  4. Shortened Presi Traverse - Madison Adams on day one, then Jefferson and on to Washington Day two (and out from there) - via The PM
  5. Hancocks when the snow gets deep - superior ass sliding - via The PM
  6. Mansfield - Hell Brook w/skis, drop on to ski area and poach a run down! - via The PM
  7. less for the trail/workout and more for the experience...apparently Waternomee (sp??) in the Moose range has a well preserved debris field and wreckage of an ill-fated DC-8. - via MadDog
  8. Bondcliff winter assault via xc ski - via tMail
Okay, that's all I've got at this point. But I'm working on it. Anybody want to add to the wish list for the Winter 2009/2010 season?


Bamforth Delivers

Big plans, big day, big head-cold. Speed, Gilbert, tMail and I hit the Bamforth and tagged the summit, dropped down to the Alpine Trail, poked at the airplane wing, bombed down Monroe, I hitched a ride with the Donnelly's to the truck, picked up the others, crashed a party at maddog's, ate a lot of meat.

mutha's highlights:
  • cold drizzle, rain, wind
  • tMail got sicker and sicker during the ascent (see pick at right of ragdoll tMail barely able to walk).
  • more cold drizzle, rain & wind, plus mud...lots of mud
  • and some rain
  • and it was windy
  • nobody on Bamforth (as usual) but crowds on the summit and down Monroe. The amount of denim was nearly unbelievable.
  • and it was like we were all completely unprepared in one way or another. and then when we got down, the sun came out and it was a textbook case of glorious, blue-sky fall weather.
  • great company, great beer drinking, good times w/ MadDog and his family and in-laws w/ zombie tMail dead on the couch, wrapped in a snuggly.
tmail's highlights:
The first stop en route to the Northeast Kingdom was the Ibex tent sale which was the influence of PM. 5 Ribbed Ibex Wool hats, 2 base layers, and hot chocolate with a dirty blond it was off to Muthaville, Vt.

Mutha and I did our normal errands, take the dogs for a ride, stop at the St. J Co Op say hi to Lauren, crash Pricechopper and of course Marty's.

Dinner was an incredible Pumpkin soup made by Mutha with Salmon and vegetables. I also sampled PM's Heat of Love.

Shortly after dinner things began to go dim...around 2.30am I woke to what felt like MD poured cement down my nostrils, someone dumped sawdust down my throat and my head was placid between two granite slabs. That lasted until 4.53am when i gave up and got ready.

Much of it then remains even further dark...we picked up AGilbert and Speed (who might have earned the nickname The Glove).

Next thing I was on Camels hump and next thing I after that I was in MD's kitchen and he was funneling motor oil down my throat. I remember asking him how much too take he said finish the bottle. I went into a MD induced coma around 3pm had a vital signs check around 5.50pm to go get a burn permit with MD, tour Jericho and then was checked again around 7pm for the ride back to Muthaville.

Getting back to the hike I had the worst possible gear one could have for the hike...including gloves i couldn't get on because my hands were so wet and cold. My jacket sucked, pants sucks, I sucked. O back to Speeds proposed nickname he wore no gloves the entire hike, through freezing rain, sleet and snow amazing.

Anyway Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I was off life support but proceeded to drink from the bottle that MD gave me as a party favor.

Went for a walk with Mutha, Spanky and Jake and things started feeling better...we also went for lunch at the Thai restaurant in St. J

Despite the grip of death...it was a great wknd with Mutha, Sue, AGilbert, The Glove, MD, Palin (who kept wrapping me in a snuggy), Jake, Spanky, Lucky, Mia and Twitchy (where ever the hell you disappeared to).

Sue and Mutha thanks again for the accommodations, meals, IV bag and medicine.


Gaps or No Gaps

The current plan is for a gap ride on saturday. I wasn't able to figure out from the last emails who's in and who's out - basically I haven't really been paying attention. I'm only good for a gap or two, and I still have weird quad soreness from the VT50 (it returned Sunday when I tested my legs at a 9min pace on my 6-mile loop).

With rain rain rain in the forecast I won't get any bike time in this week but I'll be happy to cruise along as best I can. But what's the body count? Are we down to tMail, g-$$$ and AGilbert? Great - hey mutha, why not go out cycling w/ Armstrong, Ullrich & Hinault? Yeah, great idea.


Getting Ready For Winter: Part I

A quiet weekend says one thing: nothing. I feel like it took the full week to physically recover from the VT50 and I ended up getting a cold Friday, canceling the Stark Mtn. run w/ the PM (who canceled also). Nothing on the calendar until the 10th when I tag along as support on the 20-Gap ride across all of New England. In the meantime, I'm waiting for the rain to stop.

MadDog's been working hard, g-$$$'s been riding his heart out, tMail's been obtaining super powers with his zombie ACL, Speedo's just registered for the Western States, Leadville and the Pike's Peak Marathon and Gilbert's in the 'Race Up Burke Backwards'. But the big question remains: when will the snow fly?