I headed up north to hike Cannon Mountain today with Vicky and Mike. It was raining hard in Concord and all the way up to Lincoln. Then suddenly, no rain. The Lafayette Campground parking lot had three cars in it (there were actual parking spots, imagine that) as we started up the trail to Cannon.
The snow was sand-like and the trail pretty steep for most of the hike. Despite a few icy sections, and the ladders, we made it to viewless summit.
It was a fun hike. A great day to be outside while it rained in Concord.
The last time I did this hike was July 1989. It was time to get on this trail and mark off number 10 of 48 at 49.
Saturday was a hike the Hancock Loop kind of day. The morning started out cold. When I left Concord it was 9 degrees and during the drive it hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. It was a high of 14 when I started from the Hancock parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway.
I know this trail so well. I’ve been on it five times already in the last two years. Attempting North and South separately in all seasons. Today my goal was to do the entire loop. In my mind I knew that if it didn’t feel right I would turn around: too icy, too cold, too scary.
All reasons to turn around.
At mile 3 I met my first hiker. A solo, woman on her way back to the trailhead. At 10:00 she had already done the loop – impressive. She told me she had an early start and the conditions on the ridge were amazing: no wind, some soft snow and no snowshoes needed. She warned of icy conditions going up and coming down but said all very doable. Running into her gave me the confidence that I could do this loop.
I’m so glad I did. Going up South Hancock was tricky. Icy spots had me grabbing trees and stumps to get up. Steep. Steep.
The ridge was awesome. Fluffy snow, cool views, no wind. I started to run when I could and felt giddy, laughing to myself at the pure joy of being at 4,000 feet in December. Joy. Joy. Joy.
A little more climbing to North Hancock and then down the steep trail back into the valley.
We hiked 9.5 miles; the most mileage Winnie has ever hiked.
Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.
The Peak Blood Ultra 30 Mile course was tough: two big climbs, so much mud, branches everywhere, and it was 30 miles.
I went out knowing that I would walk most of uphills and that turned out to be a good strategy. The first climb seemed to last forever and when I finally got to the top it was like my legs forgot how to run. I’m so glad I tapered this week and started this race on fresh legs instead of using it as a training run. While the course was hard I never had the ache-all-over feeling I had at the TARC 50K a few weeks ago.
The best part of the race was the aid station people. They were so wonderful and kind and helpful.
The best part of the day was meeting two runners, Janine and Bob.
I started talking to Jeannine in the parking lot and she was clearly nervous. She told me how she randomly signs up for races and didn’t know how she would fare today. Sounds familiar; it’s me since 2007. Her new nickname is #1 since she finished First Female. Pretty good results considering she said she is primarily a road runner.
Bob and I started talking after the first climb. He had an M Dot on his calf but Ironman talk came later – he is running the Leadville 100 and the Leadville marathon this year. He raced the 100 last year but DNF’d before dark now he has a coach and going to the camp. I had so many questions about his race, nutrition, gear. We talked about Leadville and triathlon for most of the race. It’s so much more fun to run with someone to take your mind off the pain.
At the finish I teased the race director about the three mile loop at mile 22. The trail wasn’t even a trail; it was bushwhacking. Bob noted that it was very Barkley-ish. My legs are so cut up from the briars. Why would they put that so close to the end? WHY WHY WHY? The race organizers were so fun and engaging to every racer. Such a fun day. Plus, I was completely surprised to be told I was second female and got a plaque.
It was a good day on an interesting, unique course in the mountains of Vermont so close to where I used to live in Killington. Driving to Vermont is always such a pleasure since it seems like such a different world as soon as you cross the Connecticut River. And it brings back such great memories of living in Vermont, oh so long ago. I drove by the river on Route 100 and remembered it was where my friends and our dogs would play during the hot summer.
I will do this race again. They change the course every year so running it once doesn’t matter. Despite cursing out loud about the mud and loose branches, I loved the course and the event. Highly recommend. It was an unknown adventure I signed up for since they don’t post the course prior to the race, and that is exactly what I got. Plus, I met some new training partners.
It’s Saturday and I just got back from a warm-up hike with Winnie.
4 miles around Marjory Swope
And hitting Jerry Summit twice for some added vert.
Now it’s time to head out for 25 miles. I’ve been fighting a head cold that is now heading into my lungs but it’s very minor. However, yesterday running up hills was hard!
I’m heading for the hills west of Concord and not sure what the mileage of the first loop will be. The plan is to come back to my house to refuel and then head out again to finish the miles. It’s wet and muddy out there but I’m up for the challenge.
Tomorrow is a hike up north for a 4,000 footer and then a 13 mile recovery run. This is it. This is what I have to do to get strong and be ready for 100 miles.