Monday, March 8, 2010

The weekend

Here is a short account of a long weekend

I got up at 3:00 AM on Friday morning and was out the door at 3:30. I drove 225 miles (non-stop) to Duanesburg, NY for the first of what I hoped would be 7 County High points. Al had mentioned that there might be some difficulty getting where I wanted to go due to seasonal roads not being plowed. The first road I wanted to take was in fact unplowed so I took a slightly longer way around and ended up where I wanted to be. The Schenectady county high point was located on a nice ridge with some views of the surrounding farm land. The house closest to the HP looked pretty quite as I walked up their driveway. I didn’t want to wake anyone up (it was only a little after 7:00 am), so I quickly made my way into the woods and stomped around to the highest point and checked out another area before jogging back out to the car. Total was about 600m and 15’ of climb.
Back to the car and forty miles later I was in the little town of Salt Springville. The road I wanted to go up was another seasonal unplowed road that basically ended at a farmhouse. I parked on the side of the road and knocked on the homestead door but got no response. It looked like a nice climb to the top so I put on my snowshoe and slowly ran up to the summit then bushwhacked a bit to get the county line and ran down it to make sure I hit the high point in Montgomery county. Total for this was about 2 miles round trip with 600’ of climb.
Next up was a 35 mile drive to Sangerfield. I was again blocked by a seasonal road but found my way to within about 1.8 miles of the high point. I parked at the beginning of Tassel hill road (Oneida County). The road sign had a “No trespassing” sign right under it so I stopped into the nearby farm to make sure it would be okay to head up the road (it was). I was the first one up the road since the last snowstorm, but the snow had a solid crust that could be run on. I made my way up with a couple of stops for pictures and came down pretty quickly. The day was very sunny and warming up nicely, a great day to be outside. Total for this was 3.5 miles with 500’ of climb. At 10:30 am I was off to my next destination.

It was only 10 miles to my next stop, the very scenic Crow Hills. There were a bunch of windmills on top and the view was most excellent. This was the only climb of the day that would not be a county high point (this was a “Triple Divide”). Total was ½ mile with 60’ of climb.

Fifteen miles later I was back to county high pointing. I parked at the base of Morrow Mountain the county HP for Madison NY. This was a short run up the auto road that was firmly packed from snowmobile traffic. Total for this was 2 miles with 300’ of climb.

Next up was a 20 mile drive to Fabius for the Onondaga County HP (Morgan Hill). I asked for some advice from a local homeowner as I wasn’t sure where to enter the woods and didn’t want to trespass. I found the intersection of Morgan hill road with the road I was on and headed in. The first ¼ mile was groomed snowmobile then it was all bushwhack as I headed up the hill. The woods were very open and the snow was still pretty firm so it wasn’t that bad. Total for this HP was 2 miles with 515’ of climb. I was starting to feel a little tired, it was now almost 1:00 PM and the driving and running was starting to add up.
The trip to Tioga County was a bit tough with the road I wanted to hit being another seasonal one, but I found another way to the place I wanted to be and parked at the entrance to yet another seasonal road. This HP is privately owned (and for sale), I had sent an email to the owners and hadn’t heard back so I assumed it would be okay to hike it. The road had about 2’ of snow on it but the crust was holding up and I was able to easily run up to the top and back. Total 1m with 100’ of climb.

The final climb of the day was Virgil mountain (Cortland county). I didn’t take the direct approach at the ski area assuming that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near the hill if there was skiing going on (I found out after that I could have easily gone up a powerline next to the ski area, it would have been a lot more climb but saved me over an hour of driving). I was stymied at every turn trying to get close to the top of the mountain. Most roads were seasonal or unplowed. I finally navigated to within a little over a mile of the top and headed up the road. I was definitely tired on this one and the climb was not easy. The woods were pretty open for bushwhacking but there were a lot of thorns to deal with. By the time I was back at the car I was pretty bloody, but reached all of my goals for the day. Total for this one was 2+ miles with 400’ of climb.

I headed for Syracuse and made it to the hotel by 5:00 PM.

Totals for the day 12.5 miles of running with 2,500 of climbing along with 425 miles driving.

I took about 300 pictures while watching the US Snowshoe championships. It was kind of fun but also depressing to not be able to race. I did get in 8 miles of running including 3 miles warming up and warming down with the team.

I was up at 4:00 AM and out of the hotel by 4:30. I headed out to help out at the Hawley Kiln snowshoe race and wanted to get in few hikes first. I reached Windsor MA by 8:00 AM and hiked up the 53rd highest peak in MA (Forbes Hill – 2,110’). The hike was nice, out in the open and afforded some great views of Mt Greylock during the 130’ climb. I hiked up and jogged down and was back in the car heading for my second “triple divide” of the weekend.
The Hudson-Connecticut-Housatanic Triple Divide is located on a 2,100’ hill in Windsor, MA. The tricky part was locating a way to the top. The area seemed to be mostly posted and the top appears to be privately owned. I approached from the west and was able to quickly bag this without seeing any trespassing signs or signs of life. Sometimes the early morning hours are the best time to bag. I was able to get this done and make it to Hawley by 9:00.

I checked in with Ed, but they really didn’t need any help. Ken Clark (who won the race at Constitution hill the day before) suggested that I run the race. I figured I could handle 4.6 miles if I didn’t do a warm-up (other than walking). I walked over to the kiln to take in the mystical healing powers, I drank the last of my Moody Spring water that Ed had sent me (double dose of healing) and headed back to get ready. I didn’t bring any light gear or any racing flats as I hadn’t planned on racing so I ended up being way overdressed for this.

Tim Mahoney and Tim Van Orden took off like they were shot out of a canon. I settled into 5th place and tried to stay relaxed. Just before the single-track I moved up into fourth and started to feel pretty good (maybe it took the first .7 to warm-up?). I moved into third just after the mile mark but could not see the Tim’s ahead. TiMA was coming off of a DNF at DH Jones with a ligament problem and TiVO was a day removed from racing in tough conditions at the Nationals. At about 2.5 miles I saw Tim, but I wasn’t sure which one it was. I caught TiMA just before we exited the single-track and got back on the snowmobile trail. I began to regret going ahead of him as I was running out of gas. I looked back at 3.5 miles and he seemed to be closing. The last long climb was brutal, I felt like I was barely moving, I was definitely happy to hit the top and exit onto the final .7 miles. Most of the last downhill into the finish I spent looking back to see if Tim was going to kick and catch me. I hit the line pretty tired but pretty happy to make it through. My foot felt pretty decent (no worse at least) and it was fun to be back out in the woods competing. Despite being the day after Nationals (and the snowshoe marathon in Vermont) the race got over 60 finishers. I decided to skip the final peaks of the day and quit while I was ahead.

½ mile splits from Hawley kiln:

443/430(9:13) 456/334 (8:30) 457/414 (9:11) 501/528 (10:29) 422 (.6 downhill)

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