Sunday, April 18, 2010

running down a dream

To start last weekend's ride Dennis and myself 'time trialed' up the Black Mountain Trail to Buckhorn Gap. It took us 60:40 to make it to the Turkey Pen Gap intersection and another 30 minutes to get to Buckhorn Gap. We were booking it and riding as fast as we could. You can get a bike up there faster than an hour, but not much faster.

Saturday I could have taken the bike right back up Black again to see how fast I could do it but where is the fun in that? Besides I have a race to train for so I figured my best option was to ditch the bike and run the dog straight up to the top of Black and then back down again. At 6.5 miles with 2500' of elevation gain statistically speaking going out and back on Black to Turkey Pen is quite similar to what the rock2rock has in store for me. So, it sounded perfect.

And perfect it was. I was really wondering how long it would take and how hard it would be. I opted to take a pack and travel heavy. The climb was hard but I ran all of the way to Pressley Gap and at just 40 minutes in I was right on pace with my time on a bike. What is faster in Pisgah - running or biking? That is an interesting question with too many variables but it is bound to be close. For me, going up single track seems to be faster on foot than pushing a silly bicycle.


A fast trail runner could be up there much faster. I had to slow to a walk for a few steps on the way up. Feeling it:


On the trip back down I had been running my hardest down the steep pitches on the way back to Pressley - just really giving it my all and having fun on the rocks and water bars much like I would have been on a bike - and then I came into one of the level and buff sections when suddenly out of nowhere I tripped and went down hard. I landed in a pile of twisted bones with the dog and his leash twisted about and looked up and spotted that the wild Irises have started blooming.


My plan had been crank out Laurel > Pilot real fast after the run but that sounded too unnecessary so for the first time in memory I dusted off the road bike and went for a casual afternoon ride instead. At the base of the Bearwallow climb another rider caught me and we chatted for a bit. When it started to get steep I decided my best bet was to jump hard and try and scare him off which worked well for awhile but left me spent and bonking the rest of the way up the mountain. I let him go and settled back and enjoyed the climb. Last time I had been up here there was three feet of snow piled around. That's the Pisgah Range in the distance.


Terri had access to some free entries for the Falafel 5k in Asheville on Sunday and was volunteering and sort of helped convince me to to do it. So I did it. When I woke up my legs were already shot and sore from the day before but whatever, it is only 3 miles, so whatever. I can do anything for 30 minutes.

I ran all winter with my dog training for the pisgah36 before it was indefinitely postponed. We had a nice little loop and did it four days a week, in the cold and the snow and the sun and the ice, so it isn't like I haven't run before. And I keep track of how long I run but not how far I run as I really don't know that. Anyway, I went out there and ran and had fun. I ran hard but held back some as I kept expecting a killer climb that never came. I had no idea what sort of pace I was running at and was thinking I had a half mile or so to go and should start sprinting when I crested a hill and saw the finish line and it was over. Oh, well.

Later Terri came back from her volunteer assignment and asked how I did so I told her my time (22:22). She said that was really good and mentioned we'd have to stay for awards as I probably placed. It had never occurred to me that I might 'place' but she explained that there are age groups and what not so I walked over there and checked the results and sure enough I placed. Third in my age group. How funny is that? They gave me some Falafel and a gift certificate.


So, yeah I do a little running sprint on a whim and get third but the best I can manage in a bike race is first to DNF, lol.

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