Sunday, November 08, 2009
Finally something worth blogging about. The 30th annual Shut In trail race. Held the first Saturday in November. An 18 mile route from the NC Arboretum to the Mt Pisgah parking area located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Traversing the Shut In Ridge trail all along the way. Revered as one the most exciting trail races in the area.
What would be a perfect day to be in the beautiful Pisgah National Forrest. Its been way too long since my last visit to the area. Not much has changed especially the desire to stay every time I visit. This would be the longest trail race to date for me. With ample amounts of climbing this would be a true test of an ability to climb some hills.
Patience was something I was constantly reminding myself of. A reoccurring problem is to go out too hard and suffer the consequences towards the end. Today would be different. With a vague memory of the trail I was very content to just follow. Harder than it seems.
Many folks were wearing road shoes. This was not the appropriate choice for rugged singletrack with a heavy covering of fall foliage. Lots of slips and blunders were to be had by many. Amazing how ones MTB handling skills can come in handy. Handling the treacherous downhills better while out in front. Funny how that works.
To recall the hardest part of the race was the final climb. I came through the final rest stop at 3 hours with a faint smile on my face. The final climb winch I was amply warned was brutal, but somewhere in the past three hours I had totally forgotten the warning. A climb that brought most all to a slow hike and some to a squat. With the throbbing pulse pounding in my eardrums. A slow hike to the top was all I could muster. It would take at least 30 minutes to ascend. Now with thrashed quads a short decent to the finish. I was finally done.
I would like to give a more detailed step by tricky step. However it seems to be more difficult to dissect all the near misses and elated excitement of just making it from ridge to ridge. Any way this race would be my first time to surpass three hours in a run. So possibly a good confidence booster for future races.
In total 3:36 for 18 miles, 67th of 196 overall. Rolled my right ankle twice. Managed to stay upright the entire time. Also another new goal of mine. So to say this race had a great vibe to it. Water stations at every 2-3 miles with plenty of screaming spectators. It was truly a great race to be a part of. Hope to return next November for the chance to better 3:36.