Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rock 2 Rock 10k

Straight from the race website, "This is a technical and demanding course. A good estimate is to add about 60% on to your usual 10k time. You will not be able to run the entire course. There will be a single water station at the high point (Eden Rock)…roughly 3.5 miles into the course. Roots, rocks, downed trees, low limbs and very steep terrain are just some of the challenges…but the rewards are some sweet single track and an unmatched view off Eden rock…You will be amazed to be only minutes from I-40 and feel so remote.''
so why not give it a go.

Nestled in Camp Rockmont.....ain just outside of Swannanoa NC. An energetic crowd gathered to kick off the Mountain Festival weekend. E&I made the drive up for an outing in the mountains and to meet local friends Clay and Terri. Some chit chatting and not much warming up. We lined up and it was go time.

From the open field start the climb starts. Mostly double track then to some single track. Once the single starts the climbing slows to a fast walk. So about a mile and half in. The realization sets in that I possibly went out too hard for my current condition. That realization was soon all to real. Heart rate was through the roof and the breathing was labored. So the fast walking sections were a hidden blessing.

All along I knew Clay would be lurking, with all his not so secret hill training. He was a touch on the conservative side at the start. He would pick his way through the field to pull right up on my 6 in no time. Just as the steep section kicks in. At a fast hike pace the climb tops out a quick steep down hill. All to hit yet another steep hike to the pinnacle of the race. Grabbed two cups of water and started to chase Clay on the downhill.

This section really got steep in sections. The trail conveniently weaved through some rhododendron. Great for grabbing a hold and using for balance. By now Clay had gaped me putting two ladies between us. Wondering if was a planned move to discourage me from catching him, and it was.

Onto the final decent. The trail starts to level off a touch but the rocks keep coming. Finally I decided to let go and the leg turn over went along with it. Just focused on foot placement and not a face plant. Honed in on Clay. The flow was working for me. Hitting the line all the way down. Till Sultan came by me at faster pace. Held him as long as possible. Soon the trail would open to a gravel road and the pace picked up for the others. Now paying full retail for the previous down hill. My legs were starting to feel heavy and weak. As I was catching two ladies, they just accelerated away as the gravel went on. Soon as it started it was over. The road would let back onto the opening trail into the finishing area. A short hill gaining 15' or so had my legs going weak. Another corner to the finish. 1:02:4_ for a 10k with over 2000' of elevation gain and loss. Not to bad for a flatlander.

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