This loop also has some pretty decent elevation change, and it's where James did a lot of his training for Barkley (and other ultras) so this run seemed like a good punishing workout. To the best of my knowledge no one had ever attempted three laps, James and I (and Zak and Jeremy) have all done 2 laps. Even though I had my house as an aid station 10 miles is still a pretty long way between stops so I had to carry a fair amount of fluid and snacks to sustain me on the loops. Not knowing exactly what to expect for conditions I wasn't sure how long each lap would take. I had been out on some of these trails at the beginning of the week and found a few icy spots so I planned my route to avoid some of the worst ice that I knew was still out there. I had post-holed early in the week and slightly hyperextended my left knee, another reason I wasn't feeling 100% confident in being able to complete all three laps.
|the first trail section from Hillside Ave|
|the gas line roller coaster|
|snomo trails in Blackstrap Preserve|
|the power lines at the edge of Blackstrap Preserve|
|deep water in some places|
|Skillins tree farm|
|nice dry trails along Blackstrap ridge|
As I neared the end of the second lap, coming down Blackstrap Road, I saw Nathan running up the road towards me. I had told him I'd be doing this run today and invited him to come along for part of it but since he didn't know the loop I didn't expect him to find me. But luckily his timing was good and he found me not far from home. It was nice to have his company on the third lap and his presence helped keep me slowing down.
|the Three Bitches, from the top of Bitch #1|
|power line mud|
|big puddles good for washing off the mud|
I was really happy to be able to keep my pace consistent throughout with only about a 1.5 minute variation in my lap times. I have to admit though that this is partly attributed to stopping to take most of the pictures in the first lap, then running the last one without stopping.
splits: 1:33:28, 1:34:54, 1:34:50
distance: 29.2 miles
elevation: 4028' gain
weather: upper 30's/low 40's
conditions: Lots of mud, a few icy spots, plenty of dry spots
gear: Inov-8 Roclite 295 (lap 1), X-Talon 212 (laps 2-3), socks, shorts, long sleeve shirt, gloves, hat, Nathan HPL #020