A July Pemi Loop (attempt)

I met my hiking friends at Lincoln Woods at 3:30 which meant the alarm went off at 2:00. We started shortly after 3:30 with headlamps hiking up Osseo Trail with the most elevation gain to start. It was a slog to Flume with a socked in summit but still beautiful to be up there. Onto Liberty and still no views but we felt the fog would burn off.

By the time we hit Haystack a gorgeous 360 degree view of the Pemi Wilderness and Franconia Notch made all the suffering worth it. 

From Haystack looking toward Lafayette

At this point everything hurt. The first eight miles my ankle was sore from spraining it last week and my balance seemed off. I used poles and they kept me balanced. 

The hike to Lafayette makes you forget all your ailments with spectacular views and rocks formations. At the summit a light wind kept the bugs away. As we headed toward Garfield I struggled with leg pain every time I lifted my right leg. I didn’t feel great but I was happy to be there.

I began thinking about what my hiking partners said, that the hike would be about 18 hours and we wouldn’t get off the trail until 10:00 or so. 

When I started the day, for some reason I was thinking we would finish in 15 hours. Mentally, I didn’t think I could end at 10:00 or later. So many things conspired to make this a day of not finishing what I started. 

I really want to finish what I start but many times over the course of my endurance-athlete-life I get mental blocks. My legs are dead or I’m having a bad race and I just want to be done. I’ve talked to other athletes who didn’t finish what they started, whether it was a 100 mile race or a marathon and they told me – they just wanted to go home and be around their family. When I’m stressed or think I can’t finish I just want to go home. 

When we arrived to a closed Galehead Hut where we were hoping to resupply food, I decided that I didn’t have enough food to make it over Twin and the Bonds. So I took the bailout option well….. And … because .. I couldn’t fathom getting off the trail at  midnight. 

As I hiked/ran down Twin Brook and Franconia Brook trail I was nervous. I didn’t want to hike alone at night so I ran as much as I could. My thoughts go to a dark place telling myself I would never do this again. I thought of all the things I did wrong: how I need to fix my injuries, train harder and keep working on mental strength. I hiked/ran about 26 total miles but my Garmin, that died at mile 19 didn’t synch to Strava so I have no elevation gain for the first 19 miles it recorded before arriving at Galehead.

Today, Sunday, I completed every run on my training plan that included 21 miles of running this  weekend. And I talked to Mark about running a Pemi Loop in the fall. 

I’m getting there – back to where I want to be: super fit.

Here’s Vicky on the Franconia. Ridge – a fun hiking partner. It was a great day to be above treeline.

Lake George Vacation, I Love New York

Peter and I took a three day vacation to Lake George last week. We thought it would be fun to get out of New Hampshire for a few days mid-week and avoid the crowds.

As it turned out Lake George was in full vacation mode: a lot of families and vacationers – All wearing masks and social distancing. 

We stayed in a motel on the lake so we were able to swim:

We biked to town for dinner both nights.

We wanted to hike Prospect Mountain but found out as we were driving that the hiking trail was closed for construction. However, Peter who loves talking to EVERYONE chatted with a woman in the coffee shop and found out about a little known trail on Big Hollow  Road that would get us there. 

We found the road and tunnel underneath Interstate 87 and parked. The trail followed Big Hollow Branch, a bubbling stream with algae on the rocks and many waterfalls and swimming holes. 

We followed the trail and alternatively a logging road. We realized that we would need to bushwack to get to the real Prospect Mountain and opted against it. So we didn’t quite make it to the mountain but it was a gorgeous walk in the woods of the Adirondacks. On the way down I brushed against a Stinging Nettle which caused a burning sensation where it hit my skin. Later causing bumps. It hurt so much. I initially tried to wash my leg and Peter broke out his first aid kit with a soothing ointment that helped. 

Stinging Nettle

The final day we woke up to a foggy, wet view from the docks. We stopped for coffee and headed home. The drive through Vermont reminded me of when I lived in Killington and Rutland. We hike Deer Leap next to the Inn at Long Trail. It was a short hike with limited views due to clouds but worth it.

Deer Leap, Killington – in the fog. Yep hiking in Crocs.

We were hoping to eat at Inn at Long Trail but they didn’t have outside seating, and may have been closed. I really was hoping to have lunch at a restaurant on the access road but nothing was open. So we continued home and ate lunch in Lebanon. 

It was an amazing vacation in a place I’ve never been. I loved swimming in the lake and riding bikes everywhere. Love, Love, Love. 

Once we got back to town Peter decided that it was time to get clipless pedals for his bike. We went to S&W in Concord and he bought new mountain biking shoes and pedals. Now it’s time for trail riding and seeing who’s the better mountain biker.

Hiking Gunstock Mountain

Last weekend Peter, Pete and I hiked Rowe, Gunstock and Belknap Mountains with the dogs. It was a rainy, cool-ish day; perfect for dogs to stay cool.

We started up from the base area after the dogs swam in the pond. The trail to Rowe is beautiful. I felt like I was in a different world because the woods were so dark and foggy. Rowe is a quick summit and then on to Gunstock. Toward the top we ran into mountain bikers coming down. That would be a fun thing to do – ride this trail.

The top of Gunstock was socked in and it started to rain/mist more. Perfection!

Then we headed over to Belknap and Pete got to the summit tower first. With no views I opted out. There were perfectly placed puddles for the dogs to cool down in as we headed back down.

My favorite part of this loop is Brook Trail. There is a bubbling brook that follows the trail to the end and the dogs got to drink, play cool off in it for the last 30 minutes.

This is the first time I’ve hiked in the Belknaps and it certainly won’t be the last. Just to think that I will be working at Gunstock in a few short weeks is exciting and I cannot wait!

I’ll be hiking, running and biking these trails over and over again. What a fantastic place. Oh, and I did have excellent company this weekend!

Somewhere in the Belknap Range….

Tired dogs are always good, too.

Tired dogs in the parking lot.

Racing Update Ragged Mountain, Gunstock Trail Festival

I deferred The Ragged Mountain Stage race to 2021. 

I’m not happy about it but it’s a fact. Facts are facts, or so says Andrew Cuomo. 

I am not trained or ready to race. But you know what? I love everything about July so I’m okay with it.

Mountain Biking. Swimming. Biking to dinner. Biking in new places. Biking with new people. I’m really bike ready. I’m not mountain running ready. Next year, I will be ready. I will race the Ragged Mountain Stage race in 2021.

It’s been a strange year. I will say that again, I’m sure. And while I’m not happy that I’m not doing the stage race, I will train for the Gunstock race. I will. 

Tomorrow I hike Gunstock, Rowe and Belknap. I think it’s a good sign that all these things are happening or not happening. 

2020 – anything is possible and stranger things have happened – two phrases I write a lot on this blog and have so many meanings and connotations. 

I will start again. Monday – 50 miler training. Starting again – I know how to do this!

July 4th and Plan for the Week

While Saturday and Sunday during the July 4th holiday weekend was a no-training weekend, Friday morning I finally got a ride in along the coast of New Hampshire. I rode from my parent’s house up and down the coast in Rye and North Hampton. It was very windy in some spots but the views were worth it.

North Hampton Route 1A, bike ride heading north.

It’s a bit treacherous biking on Route 1A. I did almost get clocked by a car that weaved into the the bike lane. When I looked up I noticed he was looking at himself in the mirror. Tourists and locals alike, on recreation bikes and walking, were oblivious to cyclists. Next time I’ll do that mid week and much earlier in the day.

Saturday and Sunday was more of a swim-and-walk-the-dogs kind of mellow weekend which means I’m really off my training plan. It’s summer and while a training plan is good it just seems right to take each opportunity for fun despite what the plan.

Life is so good right now so no regrets. Ever.

Watched One Week, again, the ultimate Canadian road trip.

This week: 

Run: 40 Miles
Bike: 75 Miles (road and mountain)
Swim: 6,000 yards
Hike: Ragged, Sunapee (during the week), 1 4,000 footer during the weekend

There is the plan. Now it’s time to execute.