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.
I got a chance to hike to Osceola and East Osceola today. Oh my gosh. The slides are so hard.
I hiked Osceola last January and didn’t quite make it to the main peak but today, I did both peaks and feel like I really don’t need to ever do them again. Well, okay, let’s be real, I want to finish the grid in the next year or two so I have 10 more months that I have to do them in.
My friend Mark, who I know from racing Leadville last year, was up for a challenge and agreed to hike with me. The alternative was running 15 trail miles in Concord. I needed to get out of the city and head to the hills and he was game. Thanks Mark!
The slides were harder than I remembered from a year ago. They were so freaking hard. It was cold, too. Temperatures started at 12 degrees. I debated for hours prior to leaving Concord about bringing Winnie. I love when she hikes with me because I don’t have to worry about getting back to her. And she loves hiking. She did awesome!
There were two other dogs on the trail and they were so cute and happy. Winnie didn’t quite get along with one of them but we didn’t hike with them the entire way. (I think they didn’t get a long because they were a little too much alike; not exactly submissive but not aggressive either. Not every dog gets along and it’s okay). All three dogs just loved being on the trail with their owner and having a great day. So happy!
Mark and I started with spikes and after the first peak switched to snowshoes and then wore them for the rest of the day. On the slides I was walking like an ape, just trying to grasp a hold of anything to make me not slide down.
We were able to hike around the chimney and reached a socked-in summit. It’s okay – that hike was so hard I was just thankful to make it alive to the summit.
The hike down was tricky. We slid down a lot, and there were some scary moments when I couldn’t stop. But you know, it was so great to be in the White Mountains, with my dog, with my friend Mark and bag two 4,000 footers.
I needed to get out of the city. I needed to be in the mountains. I needed to have a beer at One Love Brewery and just escape life and endurance training.
It was a hard day. It was a F**king hard day in the mountains but it was life affirming and filled with all the things I love about my life: dogs, mountains, friends, checking off shit from your to-do list.
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.
While I’m not sure it is the proper name, I called our hike on Thursday, December 26 the Pemi Traverse since we hiked 25 miles through the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and didn’t loop it. It seems like the right name, though.
The day started with a car spot coordinated by Ross. The four of us left from Route 302 and walked 2.5 miles on Zealand Road to the Hale Brook Trail. The hike was steep in section but spikes were the right choice. The temperature was warm enough to warrant wearing just a wind breaker, hat and gloves. We were the only ones on the trail and at the summit, so far. I don’t remember ever being at the summit of Mount Hale alone; it’s usually crowded.
Mount Hale, 4054, done!
Now onto Zealand via Twinway. While hiking through the low laying areas, the snow was sand-like. The streams weren’t frozen, but icy, and at one point I stepped the wrong way over a stream, lost my balance and face-planted into a pile of soft snow. There were a few false summits and I was glad to reach the junction for a right hand turn and a .1 mile hike off Twinway to the summit.
Zealand, 4260, done!
We hiked over Guyot, 4580, but unfortunately it doesn’t count as one of the 48 4,000 footers.
Onto the Bondcliff Trail and a short 1 mile diversion over to West Bond, 4540.
Originally I was going to bypass it and keep on with Vicky who was having leg cramps, and didn’t want the extra miles. I bypassed this peak on the summer Pemi Loop run because I was exhausted. But on this hike I felt great and wanted to go for it once I saw the trail sign. It was soooooo worth it. Great views, no clouds and no wind. I hit my head twice on tree limbs dangling across the trail (Stop staring at your feet while hiking!) while on the final 10 miles of this hike. Ouch.
I hiked up Bond as fast as I could to catch up with Vicky. Hiking above treeline is amazing. By 4:15pm there was still no wind and the temperature seemed to be staying steady but I was losing light. Bond, 4698 done! I took a video and some pictures and continued on to Bondcliff.
I wanted to arrive at Bondcliff at sunset because it is my favorite mountain. I missed the sunset but it’s okay. Vicky was waiting at the top. I took in the amazing view and the colors to the west. I just love the rock formation and the feeling of being in the middle of a protected wilderness. There was very little snow and I could’ve taken off my spikes but I opted to keep them on; they made me feel more confident despite so many rocks. Dark was approaching and I wanted to hike the difficult descent off Bondcliff with Vicky so we headed down.
Bondcliff, 4265, done!
The slogfest back to Lincoln Woods began in the dark. It was my first time hiking with a headlamp in the White Mountains. We ran some of the trail and then really picked up the pace the last four miles. We made it safe and sound to our cars.
Things I learned on this trip, luckily not from difficulty but just knowing that so much could’ve gone wrong, and always thinking about worst case scenarios:
Always carry extra batteries for your headlamp
Never hike long distance that begin and end in the dark, alone
Hike with more gear and more food than you need
Stop staring at your feet and look around while you hike so you don’t get a concussion from running into trees
What a day! Here’s the crew stopping at Zealand Hut for some water.