On Friday, I took the day off from work to hike the southern Presidentials with Peter and his friends. They were on a spiritual quest. Peter asked me to go so I said yes.
The day started with a car spot at AMC Highlands and then up to the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail parking.
I’ve never hiked this trail and it was spectacular. The granite slabs started about half a mile before the hut. They were very hikable since they were dry. Some of the rocks were wet due to being in the clouds but not too bad.
Mount Washington was socked in and the plan didn’t include it. In the distance the leaves were in full fall foliage mode. As we continued toward Monroe the mountains was socked in but soon it would change.
Since I had hiked Eisenhower last year and during the full traverse in July I remembered everything about the trail. I just love the loop going up because it’s so gradual and 360 views. It wasn’t very windy at the top and since it was a Friday not super crowded.
As we got to Pierce the fog started to lift and we began to see more peaks around us. We headed towards Jackson and I remembered how miserable I was in July on the traverse. My feet were dead and legs were not cooperating. Today, I was in better shape and shorter mileage – I love Jackson again.
The grey jays were friendly and the clouds were gone. The sun came out and the views – oh the views! It was a good day to atop Mount Jackson with a group of Peter’s friends.
The key to long hikes – bring interesting, fun people. Although I didn’t need any of these peaks for the 48 in my 49th year – I did get to cross them off on the grid.
This weekend I hiked 36.7 miles (Friday was 12.3, see next post)
Saturday and Sunday went sort of as planned: two days of hiking, bagging five peaks.
Saturday I hike North Twin to South Twin and down and up to Galehead.
I hiked solo and ran into a young man from Dover, NH who I chatted with most of the way. It was sunny and warmish and while I carried 2.5 liters of water and a filter, I worried about water all day. The views from the false summit of North Twin were amazing – I just love that blue of mountains in the distance.
After hiking the southern Presidentials yesterday (see next post) my legs were fatigued but somehow I was able to make it to South Twin. At the summit of South Twin I debated about Galehead. I think I had enough water but the route down to Galehead is relentless. 0.8 miles of downhill stairs as I remembered from the Pemi Loop last year.
I knew I just had to get Galehead done. I’ve been so close too many times so I just did it.
The stairs were relentless but actually not as bad as I remembered. Then onto Galehead. One sign said 0.4 another a bit later 0.5. My watch: 0.3 – an easy climb to Galehead with an outlook before the summit and back down to the hut.
As I started up South Twin I started counting. This works in running and it worked today. Getting back seemed not as hard and I was happy to be done with it. The up and down back to North Twin was okay and I had enough water. I ran out of water at mile nine knowing that at mile 10 or 11 I would get water from the Little River. I alternatively ran/hike the final two miles through the gorgeous fall foliage.
It was a good day.
Total mileage: 13.25
Passaconaway and Whiteface
On Sunday I hiked the loop counter clockwise. I may have been one of two people that did. Everyone I passed, and about eight dogs, went clockwise.
I chose Passaconaway first because, again, I got close to the peak twice the last few years and either was too tired or just skipped it. I had to do it, so I started with it.
The hike up Dicey Mill is really gradual with a few steep sections and then I turned right to go up to Passaconaway. A trail runner passed me and then after about five steep pitches I reached the summit with a little cairn.
I got confused about how to take the loop trail down so I went down the way I came up. Then on to Whiteface.
Despite being socked in most of the day, there were a few views of the wilderness breaking out.
I passed a pile of rocks, the true summit and up to the granite slabs.
I wasn’t looking forward to them and thank goodness they were dry. I think going down is the better option. Whiteface is definitely not one of my favorites but the loop is fun to run.
I finished the loop with two summits in 4 hours 26 minutes – 11.26 miles.
16 4,000 footers to go by November 14 at midnight.
The Sunapee Triathlon was a great day. I loved seeing all the tribikes on bike racks as I drove north to Newbury. It felt like race season was back on!
I arrived at Sunapee State Park way too early. I was worried about missing a shuttle but it ended up being walkable from the parking area to the transition. I didn’t have to use a shuttle at all since I was so early. I walked around the beach and decided to stretch and get ready early in transition. And I’m glad I did because as I was sitting next to my bike a high school friend, Kristin said hi. I couldn’t believe it. It seriously has been 30 years since we saw each other. Even with a mask I recognized her immediately. I loved hearing about what she has been doing since high school. She has done a bunch of ½ Ironman distance triathlons and was as excited as me to race.
Our conversation was cut short as the time to leave transition arrived. I walked down to the beach and put on my wetsuit and waited for the swim lineup.
There was time for a practice swim and that water was cold. It felt better after sitting in it and then time to go.
Athletes entered the water every five seconds.
The first 500 yards I felt so slow. I sighted okay and seemed to warm up after about 15 minutes. After the first turn buoy the water was choppy and I was extra cautious about breathing in with my mouth wide open – I’ve done that before and inhaled water – bad!
Finally I could see the exit and still felt slow. I need to work on my open water swimming technique for next year.
On to the bike!
I feel like I pushed it the entire time. The uphills were tough and the downhill were scary fast. It was the first race for my Cervelo and it didn’t let me down.
It was cold, in the 40s for sure, but I wore my NorthFace windbreaker that has saved me on hikes in the 4,000 footers and one cold trail race at Jay Peak.
I initially thought I’d have to wear tights over my tri shorts for the bike, but I opted out, and no extra hat under my helmet; and these were good choices because I felt pretty good. With the temperature in the 40s on the bike, the one casualty ended up being my feet. Once I was off the bike I realized that my feet were frozen. When I put my shoes on in transition I knew something didn’t feel quite right.
I started running and it felt like there were rocks in my shoes.
I knew that feeling too well from other triathlons so it just took time for my feet to warm up and then they were fine.
I felt good on the run. I had a good stride then I looked at my watch and I was running 10 minute miles -booo!
But then at times I looked down and I was running 8:45 minute miles. It was a mix of hills and feeling good. I just looked my times on Strava and the last mile was 8:35 – hells ya!
I miss racing so much despite hating the day before a race when I am nervous and race morning that seems to last longer than the race itself. Looking ahead I think 2021 is going to make up for the bust 2020 was for racing.
I haven’t raced an Olympic Distance Triathlon in years and this distance is so fun! 1.5km swim, 36km bike, 5.1 mile run. Just under three hours. Yes!
While I love going long, short is a great challenge to push it the entire time. Well, I didn’t push it on the swim but it was a good lesson that I really need work on swim speed. When you go long, swim training is more about being efficient since it’s a long day. On shorter distances you really need speed on all three.
Now it’s time to focus on finishing 21 peaks in 7 weeks. I’ve mapped it all out and made plans for every weekend. The Finish the 4,000 footers in my 49th year plan will be the next post.
Since I signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene that takes place in June 2021, the White Mountain Triathlon, which I deferred to 2021 is on the same weekend. I decided to sign up for an alternate race and use my credits from the White Mountain Triathlon – so I’m racing The Sunapee olympic distance triathlon on Saturday.
When I signed up for Sunapee I knew that I would have to swim consistently for the weeks leading up to the race; and I have been. I feel like my swim fitness is enough now for Saturday. Swim fitness seems to come back pretty quickly unlike running and biking.
This will be my first race of 2020 and I’m pretty psyched for it. With all the precautions I know it will be unlike any triathlon before but I don’t care. I’ll do what they say and get this race done. It will be race #1 for my new Cervelo tribike!
While I’ve been trying to swim, bike and run as much as I can I’m also making a push to finish all the 4,000 footers in one year. I have eight weeks to finish 21 more peaks.
Some of the harder ones are left: Carters, Wildcat, Kinsman. Isolation. I will have my work cut out for me getting these done. But since I have completed no goals for 2020 this one just may be in reach.
On Sunday Peter, Pete and I hike Waumbek. It was a perfect fall day to hike it. WInnie and Goldie hiked too. This was Goldie’s 2nd 4,000 footer and Winnie’s 8th, plus it’s the second time Winnie has hiked Waumbek. There were no other dogs on the trail. I later read a race report that so many people were on the trails the day before, for the Flags on all the Peaks on 9/11, which was why maybe there were so few people on Sunday.
The trail is in great shape however no water at the water source. As we climbed it got colder and colder with a wind. I was sweating bullets, as per usual yet so cold, too. While Waumbek is touted as an “easy” hike, the climb is constant; just no rocks or granite slabs to contend with.
Pete told us about the blow down just past Waumbek’s peak so we had views of the entire Presidential Range. Waumbek itself has no views but we hiked a few feet past the cairn to sit down and gaze at the amazing views of the entire Presidential range. While the air was cold, the sun was warm so we took a break before heading back down. It was a good day to be above 4,000 feet.