On Saturday morning Erik, Blaine and I headed up to Sunday River to check out possible courses for the Mountain Epic races which Erik is putting together for this fall. We were lucky to have Dan Crooker, a teammate of Blaine who works at Sunday River, running with us. Dan knows the mountains very well and was a big help finding good trails and stringing together a good route.
We started out on some sweet single-track that's part of the mountain bike trails making a gradual ascent up North Peak. From there we followed wider and still gradually climbing ski trails (Lights Out and Kansas) up to the summit of Jordan Bowl. We paused here for a while to figure out the best way down and then back to North Peak, and finally decided upon descending on Lollapalooza which drops over 1300 feet in 1.5 miles. This was a pretty crazy stetch of running on loose gravel and rocks. I stopped a few times along the way to take photos and video, and to give my legs a break from the pounding.
We took another break at the Jordan Grand Hotel to refill our hydration packs and then set off on a long uphill climb to Spruce Peak. In the context of a race a lot of this stretch would be runnable but we were all taking it easy today and hiked most of the way up on State Fair, Cyclone, Aludra and Sirius. We back-tracked a little and then took Lights Out back down to North Peak where our group split up. Erik and Blaine continued on to Barker Mt, Locke Mt and White Cap (ending up with more than 15 miles total) and Dan and I headed back down the mountain via some more single-track. Some of these mountain biking trails can be hard to find but Dan knows where to go and once you're in the woods it's a whole different world from the wide open ski trails.
What Dan and I ran is close to what will become the middle distance race taking in 5 mountain peaks. There will also be short and long versions taking in 1 and 8 peaks respectively. Check out the video, this is going to be one hell of a race...
time: 3:19:26 (including all stops)
distance: 10.64 miles
weather: mid 60's, overcast, very humid
conditions: mix of gravel, rocks, grass, dirt and mud on big frickin' hills
gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 280, Balga socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat, Nathan HPL #20