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 Memorial Day Masochism Part 3 
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 Memorial Day Masochism Part 3
Memorial Day Masochism Part 3
Table of Contents:


Introduction
Day 1: Slide Peak TW72
Day 2: Pineland Farms 50K – New PR
Day 3: Wildcat “D” TW72

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Introduction

MDM Part 1 2005: Sarah and I spent our Memorial Day weekend camping in Crawford Notch and working on her peak-bagging of the NH 48. That weekend I ran up and down Mount Cabot Saturday, Ran my first ever marathon in Burlington, VT on Sunday and Monday we Hikes Adams with Bob and Geri which led to the “Bikini Incident.”

MDM Part 2 2006: Camping in Crawford Notch that included Saturday hiking Chocorua, Sunday running the Vermont City Marathon setting a Marathon PR of 3:40 and Monday hiking Davis Path to Crawford, Resolution and Stairs.

MDM Part 3 2007: Once again we settled into Crawford Notch for a weekend of endurance. Saturday we hiked Glen Boulder Trail to Slide Peak to work on my Trailwrights list. Sunday I ran in the Pineland Farms 50K Trail Challenge in Portland, ME where I set a new Personal Record for the 50K Distance and Monday some friends joined us for hiking Wildcat “D” to bag another peak on my Trailwrights List. Below is our story.

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Day 1: Saturday, May 26, 2007
Slide Peak via. Glen Boulder Trail
Distance: 5.6
Time: 6 Hours


With 61 of the Trailwrights completed, Sarah and I made plans to continue to chip away at my list. After an awesome breakfast at our campsite at Crawford Notch General Store and Campground, where we enjoyed views of the cliffs of Mount Crawford and watched the Saco River rush on by, we drove to Glen Ellis Falls parking area to begin our journey.

We took the Glen Boulder Trail admiring the many Painted Trillium that had decided to bloom in numbers this year. Hobblebush was in bloom and the small streams were trickling away from snowmelt still present up high. We meandered our way along at a snails pace, taking various pictures of the vegetation and waterfalls. A Group came up behind us who were hiking with Dogs.. the dogs came first, soaked, muddy and off their leash. As they rubbed against our legs rushing by, we were loaded with slime. Then, they’d stop, shake like wet dogs do, and we were covered. The group was friendly and we laughed with them at how hard their mutts were working. They all seemed to be enjoying the day as much as us.

Soon we emerged from the trees to get a view of Glen Boulder up ahead. Hard to believe that what looks pretty huge from down on Rte 16 isn’t REALLY that big at all. We got some magnificent pictures from the boulder and began to soak in the views on this perfect Saturday.

As we worked our way slowly up the ridge, the winds picked up to about 40+mph. A few times we were knocked about, forced to regain our balance. We started to get tired and hungry, so we stopped to eat lunch at the first spot out of the wind we found. Peanut Butter and Jelly’s per the normal and we loved every last bite. We even indulged in some Fruit Snacks we picked up on for “dessert.”

As we worked our way higher we re-entered the trees to find some snow left over on the trail. At its deepest we post holed a FEW times into 2-foot deep snow. It did take some time to pick our way through this section as we tried not to post hole and to stay upright. Snowshoes would have been overkill as would any other traction device but our poles deemed helpful.

Not far into the wooded section, I found what appeared to be a herd path and wondered if the summit of Slide Peak was off the trail. I took off my pack and headed into the fir. Sarah followed, sinking in from time to time and grumbling how. “This better not be a campsite.” As we crouched along we came out in a clearing and indeed it was a campsite. Sarah gave me “the look.” We smiled and headed back to the trail to carry on.

We hiked along to see a father and son pass us on their way down, another party of 4 and 2 young men who had spent the night in Huntington’s and were making their way to Pinkhams. But as we finally emerged out of the trees on a walk through snow which seemed like forever, we finally reached the peak.

Slide peak is an open summit with stunning 360-degree views. We glanced down into the Gulf of Slides, gazed at Boott Spur and dreamed of places south and west. The Southern Presi’s were amazingly clear on this gorgeous day and the wind not as strong. We rested, took pictures and then began our descent.

As we returned to the car I was excited to now have 62 of the Trailwrights completed. I’m awaiting word to find out how old the youngest person to ever complete the TW72 is as I think I have a good chance of becoming the youngest. But all celebration stopped when we noticed my car window was smashed and Sarah’s purse was gone. You can read about our disappointment HERE

Pictures from our hike are available HERE

Image
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Day 2: Sunday, May 27, 2007
Pineland Farms Trail Challenge
Miles: 50K (31.05)
Time: 5:35:15 – New Personal Record for Distance


It had been a mediocre 2 weeks for me. After finishing my first 100 Miler in April out in Illinois, I failed to REALLY take any solid time off from running. I even added some tough races. The Muddy Moose 14 Miler in shin deep mud 1 week post race, and a 30 Mile run on a track followed by the 7 Sisters 12 Mile Roller Coaster from Hell the weekend after. I began to take some time off during the week for 2 weeks with a 24 Mile run on the VT100 Course on the weekend in between. This past week I finally got back at it, chipping in some decent trail miles with plenty of hills and a day out on the pavement. I had no idea if I would be ready for this 50K race, but knew I was out to set a Personal Best Time.

The race course is a 25 kilometer (15 miles) off-road roller coaster on well-maintained trails that wind their way through 3,000 acres of forests and pastoral farmland. The trails are 12-16 ft wide, XC ski trails with mainly grass or gravel surfaces. 50K participants will complete two laps of this loop course. With a race description like this, the decision to sign up was an easy one.

Sarah and I drove 2 hours from our campsite in Crawford Notch to make it to the race on time this morning. And as I checked in and began to get ready for the race, I was delighted to run into so many friendly faces, new and old. The folks from G.A.C, bikernate from coolrunning, Bob Dunfey, Laura Bleakley and many many more. It was even great to see race directors Eric Boucher and Ian Parlin.

As Sarah and I started to head for the starting line, I saw Jonathan Whitehead who grabbed my attention. Jon organizes the MMD 50K in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in August, a grueling “fun run” of sorts that takes runners over the Northern Presi’s before running over the Cats and Carters. He informed me that he and 2 of his buddies had registered under the “Team Sherpa” team name for the Team Competition and hoped that was all right. I was ecstatic and welcomed their camaraderie.

All the runners were called to the starting line where I enjoyed talking with Tom Parent, another trail/ultra runner whom I’ve run the Pemi-Loop with before. But before long, cowbells were ringing and this great race was under way. The course wound its way through the woods at beautiful Pineland Farm. From time to time we’d poke out in a pasture where the sun was beating down on us all making for a hot hot day.

The neatest thing was how we’d all wind our way around the course and you’d see runners through the trees or across the pasture heading in the opposite direction, yet they were all of 3-5 miles ahead of you. It was GREAT fun. I made some new friends along the way. Some folks from GAC, Zeus Estrady and his buddy who was training to pace Zeus at this years Western States. I enjoyed hearing Zeus talk about his running adventures at Western States and a previous Vermont 100. The conversation was welcome company. I also got to run with Gabe Robinson from Manchester, NH. I was having such a blast.

From time to time we’d poke out of the woods and there would be Sarah, my fiancé, armed with the camera and enjoying her day exploring the grounds of Pineland Farms. She always gave me much needed encouragement and we even stopped a few times to exchange a kiss. But through all this excitement and pleasure comes pain.

Blisters began to form on my heels as well as on a few toes of mine. I was wearing my toe socks and for this reason was surprised. My shoes have not been the most comfortable as of late and I’m growing increasingly disappointed in them. At the last aid station before returning to the start/finish and the halfway point, I stopped to tape them up. But my feet were so sweaty that the tape just fell off. So.. I smiled and carried on anyway as uncomfortable as it may be.

The second loop was every bit as enjoyable as the first, I walked the course when I felt needed to and just enjoyed my day listening to the birds singing in the hot summer air. Cows mooed in the pasture and I could even hear sheep or goats in the distance. For some time during the second loop, a stunt plane was heard overhead doing loops and barrel rolls above us. This noise got annoying rather fast.

Drinks at the aid stations started to get warm in their cups, fruit that was laid out was drying up and candy melting. It was a hot day indeed and a HUGE thank you goes out to all those volunteers who try to make our day even happier. On my second loop, with about 4 miles to go, I caught up to a gentleman from Florida who traveled all the way up here to run his first Ultramarathon. He was very happy during the early stages of the race, though now he wasn’t talking much. I tried to offer him some encouragement in the form of laughter and reminded him it was almost over. He didn’t seem thrilled.

As I carried on my way I saw Bikernate making his return trip on the otherside of the woods. I offered him thumbs up and he offered one back. Seemed like such a nice guy and wished I had more time to talk to him pre and post race. I then began running with a guy named Jay Brock… this was his first Ultra having run the 25K here the year before. He was tired, spent and grumpy. I knew how he was feeling and tried to get him to stick with me for as long as we could. For a good 3 miles we walked together and ran together. We struggled up the final hills together and enjoyed some laughs together. The usual, “What was I thinking when I signed up?!” was present and I just chuckled with him as we carried on.

As we immerged into the final field, he wanted to walk more, I tried my best to encourage him to run more without words. He kept coming, on the far side of the field, he ran out of gas and I noticed him falling behind. I wished him well and headed for home. I crossed the street with a runner in front of me.. I sped up and tried to catch him and as we ran into the final stretch we were neck and neck. He sped up a little, so did I, he tried to break from me and I from him… he finally looked at me and said, “well, lets go kid.. RACE!” We put everything we had into our final kicks in a mad dash for the finish line. And even though the time indicates Thom finishing behind me… we were together.

As always during the race I thought of my grandfather. My grandfather used to have a tradition at weddings of ringing an obnoxious cowbell to get the bride and groom to kiss. A tradition that will be passed on to be through his last wishes at my wedding. But as I crossed the line at Pineland Farms, we didn’t receive your typical race medal, we got cowbells. I raised my high and rang it loud for everyone to hear, another race for Moe, I miss you pal.

I came in 48th out of 102 runners in the 50K with a time of 5:35:15. A New Personal Record for 50K. I was 17th out of 23 in my age group. Team Sherpa came in 3rd in the Team Competition, just 26 seconds behind the immaculate G.A.C runners. Sarah and I then enjoyed the post race celebration. A BBQ and free beer! I enjoyed talking with fellow runners some more, Jason Patch, Tom Parent, the gentleman from Scotland and race winner Leigh Schmidt. Now its off to Pittsfield for the Ultra Challenge June 9th! The Road to the Vermont 100 Continues and Fundraising is going great.

Sarah’s photo’s from the race can be found HERE

Image

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Day 3: Monday, May 28, 2007
Wildcat “D” via. Lost Pond and Wildcat Ridge Tr.
Miles: 6
Time: 5 Hours


Sarah and I woke up to the fog that had settled into Crawford Notch. Both of our legs were sore, though hers were sorer yesterday. As I crawled out the tent, I knew today’s hike was going to be every bit a challenge as I had hoped. Moving on tired legs is why I put myself through this weekend, its all great training and getting me better prepared for the Vermont 100.

Sarah and I ate our breakfast, packed up our things and headed for Wildcat Ski area where we were meeting up with our friend Bekah and Pete. Pete had climbed Wildcat “D” before, as has Sarah but Bekah had yet to summit a NH 4,000 footer. And me? I was again working on my TrailWrights list, #63. The four of us loaded into Pete’s Porsche and headed for Pinkham Notch Visitors Center where we would park for the day, hoping no one would break into HIS vehicle.

We loaded up and headed out along the Lost Pond Trail. It was damp in the woods this morning as we took great care walking along bog bridges and roots. We knew how easy it was to slip and fall. As we reached Lost Pond we enjoyed the sounds of the many frogs who call the pond home, calling out to find a mate. We think.

Soon we reached the Wildcat Ridge Trail where we began the long climb straight up the side of Wildcat Ridge. We enjoyed each other’s company, great conversation and many laughs. We stopped for pictures and played in the minimal patches of snow we found along the way, never deeper than 8-10.” The day was gorgeous and the wind blew strong from the slopes of the Presidentials. Great views abound it was another great day to be in the whites doing what we love.

When we reached the spring on the way up, we worked our way through the blow downs to its source. Here Pete wiped his warm face down with cold mountain water. We carried up along the wooden steps bolted to the side of the cliffs. The trail was in great shape the entire way!

We began to wonder how far away the summit was until we saw a husband and wife walking in loafers. We knew it wasn’t far now. We tagged the top of “E” for good measure, walked around the beaten and battered summit building and finally reached the tower on top of “D.” We sat down and sprawled out, enjoyed PB & J’s, Cheese and a meat stick with white French bread. We ate and ate, soaked in the sun and enjoyed the views of Washington and his ravines. It was an amazing day up high and Bekah was so happy to have summited her first 4K.

We then headed down the Polecat trail which was wet and muddy in places. Moose tracks were scattered all over the place and looked like Bullwinkle had a hell of a time slipping in the mud in a few spots. At the bottom, we retrieved Pete’s Car then headed for Glen Ellis Falls. We hiked down to the Falls and enjoyed the cooling spray of the water which is cold as the snows up high.

We walked down stream a bit to a deep pool, Pete and I took off our shoes and shirts… and jumped into the Ellis River. The water was shockingly cold… even colder than the Atlantic in February! We enjoyed a few more jumps, welcoming summer as I do Every Memorial Day weekend, Hiking, Running, Hiking, Swimming in the frigid water of the North… Born Again.. for another great year ahead.

Pictures from our trip can be found HERE

Image

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Tue May 29, 2007 4:14 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Wow, you need to relax, John! :wink:

Seriously, these are amazing accomplishments on any day, but to do these back-to-back is just mind-blowing to me.

Being fairly new here, I haven't heard about the "bikini incident". Could we maybe have a quick recap?


Wed May 30, 2007 7:44 am
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Yeah SJ,

What's up with only 6 miles on Monday? :wink:

BTW congrats on your 100 miler!
Bill

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Wed May 30, 2007 9:28 am
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:lol: :lol: :lol: Bikini incident :lol: :lol: :lol:


Really you don't want to know :roll:


Thanks for the Wildcat Report and Pics. It will come in really handy doing trail work!


Wed May 30, 2007 12:42 pm
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The Bikini Incident...

Well... basically... I used some photo's Bob Hayes took (Bob and Geri) and they were put in a few newspapers without proper photo credit. So to make up for it, I owed him Prime Rib Dinner. Well.. Bob decided he would forgive the dinner if we hiked Adams with them on Memorial Day Weekend 2005, and if I wore a bikini on the top.

So... hike Adams we did on a foggy and VERY rainy day.. snow still on the peak and cold as hell with a 40 mph+ wind.. I stripped down and wore a bikini...

At the time I was a member of VFTT and I had no clue how to change my avatar. I gave Bb my password and he did it for me. Well.. he pulled one over on me.. making my avatar the Bikini photo. And what an uproar it caused! Some folks serously lack a sense of humor (would you believe that some people still hold this incident against me?!)

Anyway.. funny as hell!

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Wed May 30, 2007 7:55 pm
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Yeah, that sounds like a great stunt! :lol: I don't know why anyone would hold it against you, what's wrong with just goofing around? Good stuff.


Wed May 30, 2007 8:21 pm
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Bikini Humor aside, I hiked Wildcat E through A via the Ridge Trail on Sunday and what a great trip! A ruggued, but very rewarding trail!


Wed May 30, 2007 8:28 pm
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