Wow, what a weekend! First it was the Timberman Sprint on Saturday followed by the Pemi Loop on Monday (ultra day hike).
Timberman sprint was a blast! This was the first time I did the sprint there as I’m usually racing the half on Sunday. Given the fact that I did Placid 4 weeks ago, the half would be a bit too much to perform well. It was really nice to do a low pressure race on Saturday and then get to watch the half on Sunday. Saturday wasn’t really on the radar for me given other commitments I had last week so the race really snuck up and I had limited rest going into it.
Saturday morning I awoke and headed to the race with Tim, Cait, Pat, and Chrissie. The weather was great and the day looked fast. The swim was really fast and comfortable with my typical spot next to Pat in the water. This time, instead of trying to out swim him, I chose to sit on his feet and then out sprint him in the final 100 yards :-). Thanks Pat!
I planned to ride hard as I knew I needed at least a 30-40 second lead going out on the run if I wanted to beat Tim. I got out and into second place within the fist 6 miles. The guy in front was riding a bit too fast for me to catch him and I came into T2 about 50 seconds down with Tim about 5-10 seconds back (not enough). Tim proceeded to pass me and the guy in front of me on the run for the overall win as I just hung in and took 3rd.
Cait won, Pat had a solid top 10 finish and Chrissie came in 6th overall woman in her 3rd triathlon….not too shabby!
Next Up: Pumpkinman Half Iron where I hear we will have a fast course and some good competition!
Sunday was a nice day to relax, watch the half iron, and carb load for Monday’s hike. The hike is one that I’ve wanted to do for a while: The Pemi Loop in New Hampshire; 31.5 miles and about 10,000 feet of elevation gain through the southern White Mountains. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love ultra day hikes and is what got me into endurance sports in the first place. I also believe that long day hikes are a great way to build strength and durability for ironman athletes. The ironman run is more like a long day hike than a run in most cases. It’s an exercise in peripheral system toughness (mental and physical). Based on that, I had planned this day into our season plans over 10 months ago.
This day was going to be great! It was a great group of Tim, Cait, Pat, Chrissie and myself. Chrissie and I have pretty solid hiking experience. Tim has one experience last year with me doing the Presidential Traverse (a 24+ mile day with 10,000 feet vertical). This was his first and last hike but nonetheless experience. Pat and Cait had almost no hiking experience going in but obviously have great fitness after doing IMLP a month ago. Given this wide range of experience levels, it was going to be an interesting day!
The weather looked great so I hoped we could beat book time by at least 4 hours and finish in 16 hours (book time of about 20:30). Given a trailhead start time of 5:00am, this would have us out of the woods by 9:00pm.
Right off the bat we set a solid pace up to the Bonds and we were well ahead of book time. As the day wore on it looked like we would finish in the 13-15 hour range which proved to be correct. We hit the final summit at Mt. Flume at about 12:30 with about 2:00 left to the hike. Around this point is when everyone started to get a bit delirious with the fact that we had just hiked about 26 miles. Below is a picture at that point:
We ended up finishing in 14:38 which was about 6 hours ahead of book time and with no major injuries. What a great day to get in good aerobic and strength work in the Whites. I’d love to hit this one again with the objective of breaking 10 hours which I think is doable for me. The record for this is about 8:30 which is blazing fast.