I’m a bit late with this race report, but better late than never.
This race has been on my radar for a couple of years (mainly because I just really wanted an excuse to come down to the Adirondacks again) and this year it finally fit into my schedule. I've done a fair bit of day hiking and backpacking in the Adirondacks, but not much running (a few times when we did a family camping trip at the Adirondack Loj at Heart Lake last year) and no racing. Where I live, we don’t have hills that come anywhere near being able to simulate what I’d be racing on there, so I wasn't sure how my legs were going to react to the massive amounts of climbing and descending.
Anyway, on to the race report………
The course was tough, but great. 3200 ft of climbing, 3500 ft of descending over 11.5 miles, and a lot of mud. Most of the course was fairly tight single track, with some rock hopping, and lots of mud- there had been a lot of rain there that week, so parts of the course were well over ankle deep black mud, with lots of creek crossings (including one that was dammed by beavers and was mid thigh deep) and one nasty bog- I managed to hop from log to log, but slipped off one and went well above my knee- I was stuck long enough that I was able to catch my breath and get my heart rate settled a bit. From there it was a climb (literally climbing with hands & feet at one point) to the high point, which had an absolutely spectacular view across the valley to the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks- it was so beautiful! For the uphill portion of the course I tried to conserve energy- slow runs up some hills, walking up the really steep portions, and running hard on flats and downhills (the few that there were).
From the summit it was about 6 km of quad destroying descending to the finish line. It was very steep and muddy as we came off the summit, and I pushed as hard as I could- on that gloriously thin line between being in control and totally losing it. I picked off quite a few runners on that portion. About 4 km from the finish line we got onto fire roads. I picked up the pace even more and picked off a bunch more runners. By then my quads were screaming but I kept pushing hard until the end. I think my time and placement (2:08 and I think 16th overall) were pretty decent- especially considering the depth of the field- the word at the finish line was that the top 3 men were all XC skiing Olympians. All 3 of them broke the previous course record- amazing, especially considering the foot sucking mud on the course.
The best part of my day came during the award ceremony- my 12 year old daughter Abby was announced as the winner of her Age Group in the 3.5mile trail race! She really enjoyed running on the trails and was pretty pumped to have placed- I think she's hooked!
It was a really great event- beautiful and challenging course, friendly, and held in one of my favourite places in the world. I hope to come back and do this one again- next year I’d like to get under 2 hours, and break into the top 10.