When I told Yuri I hadn't taken more than three days off all winter he was surprised and didn't believe me. But yet it's true. For some reason I spent all winter tromping around in the cold rain and snow, dragging a bicycle around like a madman. Now that my "race season" is done (two whole races, lol) I decided to take some time off the bike and out of the woods. I worked hard all last week and didn't even go to Pisgah once. The only time I rode a bike was on two minute gas station beer run. I spent the time off being super productive and doing very important experiments like using margaritas for electrolytes. But Saturday I dusted off the old trusty mountain bike and went for a quick little Pisgah spin. From 477:
477 > Buckhorn Gap > Clawhammer Rd. > Black Mtn. > Avery Creek > 477
Ten miles is just right sometimes.
On Sunday I had the idea that me and Terri would drive up 276 and then she would drop me at the Mountains to Sea trail and I would run to Graveyard Fields while she drove there. At 5.7 miles with 2800' of elevation gain it sounded like a perfect training run for the Rock2Rock run.
It was a gorgeous cool spring day in the mountains and driving up and into Pisgah couldn't have been nicer. The last time me and Terri had been up to the parkway there was three feet of snow but now everything is green and vibrant and alive.
We found the trail without a problem and I jumped out of the truck and started running. The first stretch of trail traversed Green Knob and it was as good as it gets. It would switch back and forth between a fine ribbon of polished single track winding through a high mountain meadow to a nightmare of rocks and roots perched precariously on the side of a cliff. All the while I was greeted to 360 degree panorama views.
We made the first BRP crossing in good time and were feeling good and saw Terri for a minute and kept going. Duma was not happy about leaving Terri a second time and was not interested in running up another mountain. I had to drag him up and over the next knob and then had to yell ahead to Terri not to let him see her. We crossed the road again and plunged right back into the Pisgah sweetness.
We made the next crossing still making good time and feeling good so I told Terri we were going all the way to Graveyard Fields and wouldn't pop out at the next overlook. When we entered the woods again and started climbing all hell broke lose. This stretch of trail had not been cleared of dead fall yet and was impossible to follow. Suddenly running was out of the question and just finding a route through it was very, very tough. It was a nightmare and if there was any way I could have bailed I would have. Instead of making good time we were suddenly inching along and Duma would repeatedly sit and refuse to budge for several minutes. We found a seep somewhere in that nightmare and he was able to rehydrate and cool down and after awhile we resumed clawing our way down the trail.
The closer we got to Graveyard Fields the better the trail got but also the steeper it got. Now that the trail was somewhat clear I was tired and running was especially hard. We kept moving forward and I was able to get Duma to cross the double bridge over the triple waterfall without too much of a problem [this is one of my very favorite spots in Pisgah!] and then up, up and more up!
After a full two hours we spit ourselves out at Graveyard Fields where Terri was waiting patiently.
She injured her foot at the Dupont Half Marathon last month and can't run right now but had fun taking pictures and was a good sport about me taking two hours to run less than six miles!