On Wednesday I headed up to Sunday River for a run on the 12 mile Mountain Epic course. I had run part of the course earlier in the year with Erik (the RD), but I knew very little about the first few miles that climb up from South Ridge Lodge to the summit of White Cap. As it turned out I screwed that part up pretty good and found myself on the top of Locke Mountain after about 35 minutes. It was only a short run over to White Cap, and then back again along the correct path of the course and I was able to follow the course without any trouble for the rest of the way.
So after White Cap it was a run along the ridge to Locke Mt and then Barker Mt, then a long downhill stretch that hit North Peak along the way and finished up at the base of Jordan. Then began the second big climb of the race all the way up to the summit of Spruce Peak. From Spruce there was a nice little stretch of Single track over to Aurora Peak, then a little drop before making another climb up to the top of Oz which is the highest point on the whole course. Unfortunately this peak has a lot of tree cover and the views aren't as good as many of the other peaks. Oz to Jordan was pretty easy, but I still took the opportunity to catch my breath here and get something to eat before continuing on.
The summit of Jordan comes about 8 miles into the race, and then it's 4 miles of downhill to the finish, and the first two miles are steep enough to trash your quads if you're running hard. I took it relatively easy, knowing that the last 1.5 miles are on gnarly single track I wanted to save something for the finish. Despite running conservatively I was definitely feeling a bit fatigued near the end and I took a good digger on a sharp bend in the single track. Luckily the ground was soft and I bounced back up pretty quickly. It will definitely be interesting to see how people handle these trails at the end of the 12 mile race.
I had somewhat arbitrarily decided that I wanted to run the course in under 3 hours, since no one has ever run it from beginning to end I wasn't sure what to expect but I was happy to finish a few minutes under the 3 hour mark. I'd like to think that in the race I could easily take 20 to 30 minutes off my time since I won't be stopping to take pictures and I won't have to try to figure out where to go. I was caught off guard by how hot it turned out to be this day, I was expecting temperatures in the mid 60's but it got up into the high 70's which made it a little more challenging when trying to run up mountains. I carried with me a hydration pack with 100 ounces of water, and surely the weight was somewhat of a factor that I won't have to deal with during the race.
I also took some video during my run and I hope to get that edited and posted this weekend.
For more info about the race coming up on October 11th visit the race website: www.mountain-epic.com
distance: 12.32 miles
elevation: about 3,500' each way
weather: mid to upper 70's, clear and sunny
conditions: mostly dry, some wet patches, some overgrown areas, very mixed terrain
gear: Inov-8 Roclite 295, cycling socks, shorts, t-shirt, EMS Mantis Hydration Pack