Another weekend of a long run on the Beautiful Loop followed by a snowshoe race. I was expecting the trail conditions at Bradbury to be pretty good since there was more than 1 days worth of snowmobile traffic, but the trails proved to be pretty soft, still an improvement over last week though. This week's group included Valerie, Mindy, Sara, Christine, Mary and Erin, with Erik and Jim intending to join me on the 15 mile loop. Thankfully this week was significantly warmer than previous weeks and I even had to shed one layer within the first mile.
I was feeling really good, but Erik and Jim weren't as used to the snowmobile trail running so by about 8 miles Erik dropped back and then at 10 miles Jim opted to take a shorter road route back to the park. I made a theoretical increase in intensity over the last few miles, but the hilly terrain and soft snow meant there was no actual improvement in my pace.
After crossing Elmwood Road at about 13 miles I decided to take in the big hill on west side of Bradbury Mt instead of the lower snowmobile trail. From this climb I then diverted onto a snowshoe trail that continued to climb and eventually made it's way to the Boundary Trail on the west side of the park, then followed the Boundary trail to the summit. 350 vertical feet in one mile. That'll be the giant spike at the end of the elevation profile above. From the summit I took the Terrace Trail down, few things in this world are as much fun as hauling ass down that trail when it's covered in snow.
distance: 15.0 miles*
*I stopped my watch at a road crossing about 8 miles into the run and forgot to start it again until half a mile later which is why the elevation profile only indicates 14.5 miles.