I'm pretty sure the weather forecast for today called for sun and maybe a few clouds, so I was surprised to find a heavy snow falling for the first hour of today's run. I certainly didn't mind the snow, it was about time this winter started acting like winter. Despite 2-3" of fresh powder over the trails conditions were actually some of the best we've seen all season.
I was uncertain about trail conditions going in to today's run at Bradbury so I didn't expect to run the Beautiful Loop, but I was hoping to get in about 22 miles by doing some repetition on the snowmobile trails close to the park. With a bunch of Trail Monsters racing tomorrow, and a few others having other trail adventures elsewhere there was a small group today, just Jersey Dave and Zak. Dave's plan was for only a few miles, and Zak was up for whatever so we set off on the snowmobile trails on the east side of Bradbury amidst quickly accumulating snow.
Zak and I were pleasantly surprised when we got to the power lines at 5 miles to find that all of last week's wet nastiness was frozen solid so we agreed to try to make it around the BL. The new snow was light enough that it didn't hinder our pace and we
moved along at an average of around 9:30's for the first 7 miles. Despite the good conditions we didn't even consider the river crossing at 7.25 miles, instead following the bushwhack we did last week. From a distance the river looked frozen and snow-covered, but probably wasn't solid enough to support our weight. Once back on the power lines the terrain was a little rougher and a lot hillier and our pace slowed quite a bit. Neither of us were feeling very energetic today and the up hills felt like a lot more work than usual.
I was dreading Lunchbreak Hill at the end of the run, and even suggested an alternative route but Zak kept us on track and we charged up the hill. The view from the summit of Bradbury was really quite nice today, once the snow passed the sun came out and we could see clear out to Casco Bay. But we didn't linger too long, just headed down the Terrace Trail and finished the Beautiful Loop for the fourth consecutive week. I definitely wasn't feeling up for a 22 miler today, but was pleased to log our fastest time for the BL this season, even if it was mostly due to better conditions.
It's worth mentioning that my right ankle has been bugging me all week since rolling it at some point during last week's long run. Not a major problem, it doesn't seem to effect my running other than that I notice some minor pain on uneven terrain. Of course, I haven't actually given it a chance to rest so it's not surprising that it's still sore.
distance: 15.35 miles
conditions: best so far this year, 2-3" of fresh powder over packed/icy base
weather: stow storm and sunny, low 30's
gear: Inov-8 Roclite 295 with screws, sock liners, wool socks, OR gaiters, tights, 2x long sleeve shirts, gloves, mittens, buff, Nathan HPL #020