Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Great Range Traverse FKT Attempt

A happy post-run Jeff

I'm a bit late getting this up, but better late than never! A few weeks ago (August 16th), I attempted to break the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Great Range Traverse in the Adirondacks. It's a swell little route, somewhere between 23 and 28 miles depending on who you ask, with about 8,000 feet of vertical gain and a roughly equal amount of loss. On my way driving back to school for my senior year at St. Lawrence, I spent the night at Chapel Pond to get an early start the next morning.

The huge puddles in the Rooster Comb parking lot foreshadowed the wet conditions I would encounter later on in the day. I made good time up to Rooster Comb, almost exactly matching the splits for the current FKT. Unfortunately, after Rooster Comb I found the trails (mainly rocks), wet from rain the previous day. That, combined with a fairly bombed out (my road shoes may have had better traction...) pair of trail runners made it challenging to run. As I made my way through the range, I fell steadily off record pace, but still staying close.

I think the slab section after Gothics was one of the toughest spots for me. My old shoes had next to zero traction on the soaking wet rock, and it was sketchy to say the least. From the Basin/Haystack col up to Haystack and Marcy, I found it very challenging to run on parts I thought should be runnable. With the wet rocks and terrible condition of my shoes, I didn't trust my foot placement at all.

All said and done, I hit Marcy about 15 minutes behind record splits. Not knowing what I could do, I gave it my all for the final nine miles to the Garden. Given the slick trail conditions, I was sure to take a nice digger (though conveniently on some soft dirt).I finished with a time of 6 hours, 0 minutes, and 12 seconds. What a wonderful day! Such a gorgeous, brutal, route. I will definitely be back (though next time with shoes that aren't destroyed). Sadly, the GPS watch I used decided to fail me. It put the mileage around 25, but promptly deleted the file after I finished. I had swapped watches with my mom, and in doing so deleted a bunch of files so all her stuff wouldn't sync to my Garmin Connect account. Apparently I managed to wipe away the ability to maintain the files after the action is complete. Still working on that one... Luckily, I had a normal digital watch as well, which I took my splits on. My splits are below:

Rooster Comb: 28:40.77
Lower Wolfjaw: 1:19:20 (50:39.30)
Upper Wolfjaw: 1:42:58 (23:38.72)
Armstrong: 1:57:38 (14:39.72)
Gothics: 2:12:20 (14:41.78)
Saddleback: 2:34:54 (22:33.86)
Basin: 2:54:30 (19:35.91)
Haystack: 3:33:06 (38:36.31)
Marcy: 4:20:04 (46:58.16)
Johns Brook Lodge: 5:26:42 (1:06.38)
Garden Trailhead: 6:00:12 (33:29.14)

I completed this run entirely unsupported, carrying all of my own gear/nutrition for the duration of the run. I refilled my water bottles using chemically treated water taken from natural sources along my route.

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