Yesterday I met Yuri at the Big East Fork Trail Head for nice little Sunday run. Our route was Shining Rock Creek > Art Loeb > Greasy Cove > Big East Fork.
It looks like this:
12 miles, just one big climb and then a long gradual downhill.
We started out up the creek instead of up Old Butt Knob so the dogs could have water along the way. It was still quite the climb and the leaf litter made the already difficult terrain that much more demanding.
I was feeling good and was running more than I should have been and near the top I tried to do a tricky jump over a fallen tree but came up short and fell onto it with my left thigh taking the full force of the impact. I was really hurting and for a quick moment feared a serious bone injury, it was reminiscent of my crash on Farlow over the summer that left me with a badly bruised knee cap. But I could still run so I knew I was just being a wimp and was really okay. Just below the Shining Rock Ledge is not a place you want to get hurt.
We hit the Art Loeb and the climbing let up for a quick moment before heading up Flower Knob.
We hung out for a minute to check out where we had been and where we were going. Here I am in my new WNDC shirt.
For fun I headed up to the 6000' Grassy Cove Top. It really was downhill from here.
When we made the turn onto Greasy Cove just past Ivestor Gap my left knee really started to hurt from my fall. Luckily Yuri was carrying enough gear for us to spend a week out there so he dug out some advil for me and down we went.
Greasy was a technical and treacherous beast. Dropping over a thousand feet a mile it is quite steep and running down it with a foot of leaves covering an endless barrage of rocks and roots and made for the ultimate concentration test.
My knee was really bothering me and by the time we hit the creek I was looking forward to the end. But we still had five or so miles of kick ass Pisgah single track. The high views from the top were long gone but now we were never far from the water which added a whole other perspective to the forest.
By the time it was over my knee was completely done. No more running it was telling me. But Yuri couldn't help but head a half mile down the road and back to make it his first half marathon.