The course this year started at Lafayette Place and traveled up Little Haystack, then taking the Franconia Ridge Trail to Mts. Liberty then Flume. We traveled down the Flume Slide Trail, then right back up most of Liberty on Liberty Springs Trail to the ridge and continued over to Mt. Lafayette, the highpoint of the course at 5,249'. Then the plan was to go down to the Greenleaf Hut and down Greenleaf Trail to the base of the notch, then right back up Cannon Mtn. via the Kinsman Ridge Trail. From Cannon, we descended Lonesome Lake Trail to the Lonesome Lake Hut, then up F'ing Jimmy to North Kinsman. We would then make our final climb up most of Cannon Mtn. via the Cannonballs to the Hi-Cannon Trail then descend that to the finish (and after party). The statistics ended up being around 32.5 miles and 14,000' of climbing. The volunteers were awesome this year and helped everyone out with water and the food spread at the end was great. Thank you to everyone who helped out!
Strava activity here: https://www.strava.com/activities/364766270
|View down into the notch towards Cannon Mtn.|
I decided to start the run at 5am to try to get some good photos from the ridge, for some reason I thought I could get there in 45-50 minutes to catch the sunrise, but I ended up taking just under an hour and missed it by a little bit. I headed out in front for the first climb and steadily made my push up to the first summit. I felt good on the first climb and the downhill/running was fun along the ridge trail, making my way to Mt. Liberty then Flume. Soon enough it was time to head down the Flume Slide, the part of the course I was unsure of my ability to get through unscathed. We ended up having pretty dry weather leading up to the day and the slide trail was not as slippery as it could have been. I didn't fall, but came close several times and before I knew it I was at the bottom and into some nice runnable trail for a stretch. Getting to the first aid station at the junction of Liberty Springs Trail first of the 5am starters felt good and I grabbed some water before making the long climb up Liberty Springs to the junction of the Franconia Ridge Trail. Getting back up to the ridge in 3 hours 30 minutes, I was moving along okay considering all the climbing we had already done.
|Topping out on Little Haystack, with views of Liberty and Flume|
|Summit of Mt. Liberty|
|Early morning views looking at Franconia Ridge from Flume|
|Heading down the Slide|
|Great open ridge running|
|Last shot of the ridge before descending to the base of the notch, from Mt. Lafayette.|
|View looking at the summit of Cannon Mtn.'s fire tower|
|View from outlook along the Kinsman Ridge Trail on the way up Cannon Mtn.|
Somewhere in this stretch, I smashed my right knee on a cut branch that I didn't see on the side of the trail. Normal bumps and bruises are to be expected in trail running, but this one was a bit more and limited my downhill ability and flexibility on the descents for the remainder of the run. This was unfortunate, for me, because I didn't have much left on the climbs at this point and normally rely on my downhill ability to carry me through the end of these long training runs. I even thought for a second that I should head back down to conserve my knee in case something bad actually happened to it. I used my (better?) judgement and continued the climb up to North Kinsman's summit.
|View of Cannon/Cannonballs and Franconia Ridge, all the peaks of the day.|
|Viewpoint along the Hi-Cannon Trail looking at Lonesome Lake|
|All downhill from here! Coming down the Hi-Cannon Trail.|
|Map of the course|
|Elevation profile with peaks identified|
Summit of Little Haystack (in hrs. elapsed): 1:03, 3.3 miles
Summit of Mt. Liberty: 1:33
Summit of Mt. Flume: 1:49
Back up most of Liberty to the Franconia Ridge Trail: 3:30, 12.2 miles
Summit of Mt. Lincoln: 4:16
Summit of Mt. Lafayette: 4:34, 15.7 miles
Base of Franconia Notch (mile 20): 5:35, 19.5 miles
Summit of Cannon Mtn.: 6:34, 21.8 miles
Summit of North Kinsman: 8:13, 26.5 miles
Shoes: inov8 Roclite 295 (old style)
Socks: DarnTough VT Herringbone
Pack: Ultimate Direction SJ (old style)
Hat & Shorts: The North Face Better than Naked series
Gels: Honey Stinger Gold and Acai/Pomegranate
The next thing coming up on my schedule is to attempt a sub-7 hour Pemi Loop sometime in September. I have a few friends that are interested in joining me, we just have to work out the date that works, and hope the weather is decent for the run. I have done two Pemi Loops in the past couple years at a moderate/reasonable photo taking pace and I think I am ready to leave the camera at home and put in a hard effort on the course.
After the Pemi attempt, I have the TARC 100k trail race in Hale Reservation that I am preparing for. I will start to increase the miles and intensity over the following month or so, and hope that I can cover the distance. I have not run 62 miles since I ran the Ghost Train 100 miler in 2012, so I don't know what to expect for how it will turn out. Following up that race, I hope to maybe make another attempt at the Midstate Trail Through-run (95 miles), as well as getting some redemption at the TARC Fells Ultra 40 miler in early December.
Following up these efforts, I plan to work on my career as an architect - and begin studying for and taking the Architectural Registration Exams. These consist of a series of seven exams that normally take about a month each to study for, so I figured I would make an attempt to complete a few over this winter and a few over the following winter in hopes I can complete them in a couple years.
My wife has been very instrumental in my running, and I owe a lot to her patience, support and understanding of my time-consuming passion of running in the mountains. It has come time to work on my focus on the family and I plan to do that through bettering my career and getting registered as an architect.