Trail Monster Running

Visit the official TRAIL MONSTER RUNNING website for information on upcoming group runs, local trails, trail races and more, including the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival and the Bradbury Mountain trail Running Series.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snowshoeing The Brad

My original plan for Sunday was to run - in snowshoes - all three courses of the Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series races. I guess I forgot how hard work snowshoeing can be.

I got to Bradbury at 9 and met Ryan, James, Jeff, Sara, Christine, Mary, Julia and David, a pretty solid crew considering we don't have much of a snowshoe running history around here. After Ryan handed out a few loaner pairs of Dion snowshoes and helped people get fitted we headed out on the Northern Loop Trail where the Bradbury Squall race starts. This year the park is allowing snowmobiles to take the Northern Loop Trail to the summit of Bradbury Mt so the first 1/2 mile was on well packed snow. On the way out we passed Kevin who was returning from a run he had started earlier.

Once we turned off onto the Tote Road trail there had only been foot traffic, but enough to make the running still pretty easy going. But then we turned onto Krista's which is a single track trail that hadn't received any traffic whatsoever since the snow fell. That's not entirely true, there were some deer and rabbit tracks on the trail, but they weren't going to same way we were. After getting half way through the "trail" we completely lost it under the snow. Befuddled by the snow covered Krista's trail we decided to turn around and backtrack the trail to the Tote Road and approach Krista from the other end. It didn't take long to reconnect to where we were a few minutes prior but no one was sure if we'd actually run the trail correctly, in fact most of us were sure that we hadn't. Either way, we ended up creating a loop in the general area of Krista's that was about the right distance.

Once back on the Tote Road we cruised along a pretty good pace, it was nice not to have to break trail. When we hit the Boundary Trail we had a nice long downhill stretch that got crazy fast at times with a few wipeouts barely averted. The last half mile was back on the "groomed" portion of the Northern Loop trail which makes a nice way to finish the race. The time and distance for the run on the Squall course was messed up since we got lost on Krista's Trail, making the whole run about 3/4 mile too long and factoring in a few minutes of head scratching.

time: 58:52
distance: 4.30 miles
pace: 13:42

That was enough for everyone except me and Ryan (James had got an earlier start than the rest of us), after a short break we headed back out to run the White Out course. The first half mile was again on the Northern Loop trail which was very easy going, but then we turned up the Terrace trail which isn't steep but is the longest sustained climb in the park. It was running up this trail that reminded me to ask Ryan if he had an EMT for the race, I was beginning to think that I might need one.

From the top of the Terrace Trail we took in the Northern Bluff, then looped around to the summit. I like the fact that this race course takes in the places on the mountain where you can actually get a view, not that there was much of one today, but it's still nice to pop out of the woods once in a while. Ryan and I settled into a good pace as we made our way around the Tote Road again, this time in the opposite direction as before, also the downhill direction. By the time we hit the Boundary Trail I was beginning to notice the effects of yesterday's run catching up with me and the uphills got to be more of a struggle. Ryan pulled away a bit but was nice enough to wait for me to catch up until we got to the next downhill.

Running down the South Ridge trail is one of my favorite things to do in this world, and running it in snowshoes is even better. The trail drops about 200 feet over the course of 1/2 mile and has a handful of steep drops that put you right on the edge of losing control. The only bad thing about the South Ridge trail is that it brings you out at a lower elevation than the main parking lot (start/finish) and the slight climb back up, although gradual, always feels worse than any other climb in the park.

time: 49:28
distance: 4.13 miles

This seemed like enough snowshoe running for one day, neither Ryan or I were ambitious enough to take on the Blizzard course which would have taken us up to the summit (or nearly there) four more times. 

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