Thursday, March 20, 2014

the mountains win again

Everyone bails at some point. It is never fun and is always humbling but sometimes it just happens. It has been awhile for me but my number came up last Saturday at the Green Knob lookout tower. We were just four miles into a 18 mile run and as I struggled with a glove change in the freezing rain Jon suggested that we head back down to the parkway and then back down to the trail head instead of dropping the Lost Cove trail down into the South Toe valley and I happily agreed. I started the run already tired and the cold rain made me tired of winter and tired of running. Going back the most direct way seemed a lot more sensible than torturing myself with an extra seven miles so directly back down we went.

I'd gone into the weekend with the best of intentions of training, whatever that might be, for the upcoming PisgahProductions adventure races. On Saturday I got out for a really good roughly 40 mile mountain bike ride that pieced together all the seasonal trails in Pisgah.


This is one of my favorite routes and a short while into it I decided to see how hard I could push it and vowed not to stop until I got to the start of the mandatory hike a bike at the top of Horse Cove Rd. I was feeling very strong and that plan worked well. Clawhammer barely felt like a climb and before I knew it I was at the Fish Hatchery with Bennett but just a dream. I took my helmet off for the hike and just took it easy and used the walk as an excuse to eat and drink and enjoy nature but before I knew it I was riding down North Slope and back at the truck in under five hours after departing.

So on Sunday the plan was to start at Newberry Creek and do:

Newberry Creek > Orange Blaze > Snook's Nose > Lost Cove > River Loop > 472 > Newberry Creek

And from the start Saturday's heroics had left me out of gas and Duma and I were struggling to keep up the rear. The Orange Blaze trail is as big of an ass kicker as you'll find around here. Over the course of just a few miles it gained more than just a few thousand feet of elevation and what we call a run was more of a long, hard hike.

When we hit Snook's Nose it should have returned to running but I was still hiking. The rain had picked up and as we gained elevation the temperature dropped and the wind increased. By the time we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway the rain stung and then froze as soon as it hit my face.

 On the way up Lost Cove to the Green Knob Lookout Tower all I cold think about was how cold I was, how tired I already was and how long of a slog it was going to be back up the gravel road after dropping down to the South Toe River. I know it is the long painful climbs that make you want to bail and know that if you just push on through to the other side you will begin to feel better just as soon as you start to descend and then before you know it you will be better than ever. But no matter how rational I make it sound sometimes emotions win and just one more mountain isn't worth it anymore.


As predicted the descent was shamefully easy. I warmed up fast. Duma got a pep back in his step. Jon took off. What should have been a hard 18 came in at a hard 11.


No comments:

Post a Comment