Whiteface Sky Race

A bit of a delayed race report. But here it is!
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After months of a hectic work schedule. A lot of 12+ hours days. I had a week of hiking in the Adirondack’s to look forward to.

I went up the week of July 4th to chase Jeff around in his quest to hike all 46. Then the Whiteface Virtical weekend was the 9th and 10th. I was registered to race the Sky Race – 2X up and down Whiteface and one alpine loop. Totalling 15 miles.
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The week leading up to this was full of unusual pre-race stuff. Hiking 3 high peaks, then “running” 2 more. Backpacking, camping and 3 nights of hammock sleeping. Plus I saw a bear!

Hammocking in Wilmington

Hammocking in Wilmington

I Volunteered on Saturday for the vertical K – Starts at the Base and runs up to the Summit Chair lift – about 2.5 miles and 3,300 ft.

Vertical K

Vertical K

Vertical K profile

Vertical K profile

Some people are crazy enough to do both the Vertical k and then the Sky Race on Sunday.

I’m not a fan of endless hills. But Mountains are different.

In true Whiteface weekend fashion – the weather was not cooperating. Saturday had lightning – which delayed the start about an hour. Sunday was drizzling, cold, and lots of fog.

Sky Race map

Sky Race map

Sky Race profile

Sky Race profile

The Sky Race starts with a 2.5 mile climb up to the Summit chair lift. It’s a nice grueling hike, which only took about an hour. You reach the top and have 2.5 miles of down to look forward to! The down is runnable, but steep and slippery in places. It was fun to be fast and careless thanks to the cushion of mud – and a decent that only took about 20 min.
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I got to the base aid station with quads that were toast – but an alpine loop to look forward to. This is a 5 mile loop from the base of the mountain – which is all runnable. Running felt nice at first, but after a while my legs had nothing. I spent the last 3 miles of the loop debating on dropping. I was sure I’d be unable to climb the mountain again… no way.

After about an hour and 20 minutes on the loop… I reached the base aid-station again. I grabbed some food. Stood there for a while – told Strat this was hard. And started walking to the start of my second ascend…. what?
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I saw Joe Azze on the way up – he snapped some awesome photos.

This photo is great. I feel like it captures how awful yet how awesome this race is.

The 2nd time up was brutal. As expected. Legs were toast. Back was aching. I was thirsty (of course didn’t carry water – it was too cold to dehydrate….. right). I really wanted a pb&j at the Summit. I came up to a girl who had passed me on the alpine loop, and we spent most of the ascend together. We would go back and forth. Taking turns stopping and just staring up… and thinking “whyyy… ???”

Then I discovered crawling. CRAWLING felt awesome. So much easier. I kept moving from then on. Told the girl to crawl. She was surprised too. Got to the top and saw Jan – got my pb&j. Started down, life was good.

I was excited to be done soon. Another “20” minutes – This down took me about 30. I could feel the trauma I’ve done to my quads. I pushed them through this last down just as careless. I thought about the DOMS that would follow for the next week…. always a good feeling.
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The Finnish was awesome. Surrounded by friends and team mates. Seeing MPF/RNR crew always helps to keep going – grateful for their support.

This is definitely one of the hardest races I’ve done – physically. Probably my favorite race from this year. Along with Cayuga Trails 50. I was destroyed for about a week after this. The first time I’ve gone for runs where running up hills felt better than going down.

View the details of my race on Strava
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If you’re looking for races to do next year – you should save these dates!

April 15 – Breakneck Point
June 3rd – Cayuga Trails 50
July 8th and 9th – Whiteface Sky Races

whitefaceskyrace2016

Photo by Joe Azze

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What’s next for me?
I applied to Hellgate 100k. And got in. So that’s the plan for December 10th!

The end.

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2 more high peaks down

Last Saturday we were camping at Wilmington Notch in the Adirondacks. I must say it is a great campground – Nothing fancy, simple and cheap ($18). We had a group of 7 people and 2 sites. We all gathered at one site for food and campfires. We lucked out on the weather too. I had been watching the weather all week – and all I saw was rain. The drive up to the ADKS was all rain…. but then we got to the campsite, and NO RAIN! Saturday was our hiking day, and it was a bit cloudy, but we still had great views. Most importantly no rain!

We hiked from Marble Mountain road, up to Esther (4240 ft), then up to Whiteface (4867 ft), then down to Connery Ponds. The hike took about 10 hours –
8:30 am – 6:30 pm, and about 12 miles.
Here’s a map – Not the correct trail routes, but just to give you an idea of the path we took.
hike

Here’s some more pics…

Esther Summit

Esther Summit

Me and Kyle on the way up to Esther

Me and Kyle on the way up to Esther

Nearing the top of Whiteface - Apparently you can drive to the top...

Nearing the top of Whiteface – Apparently you can drive to the top…

The top of Whiteface in sight

The top of Whiteface in sight

Whiteface Summit

Whiteface Summit

These stairs go down to a parking area... we went down them looking for the trail.... then discovered it was up and over the other side

These stairs go down to a parking area… we went down them looking for the trail…. then discovered it was up and over the other side

Still on whiteface

Still on whiteface

Going down was steep and Rocky. Also see those lakes? That's where we had to go.

Going down was steep and Rocky. Also see those lakes? That’s where we had to go.

Kyle and I getting ready to descend Whiteface

Kyle and I getting ready to descend Whiteface

Hiking up a mountain seems hard, but nothing compared to hiking down! Going down just seemed endless, and steep, and rocky! I fell a couple times. Other people fell too. By the bottom, my knee was killing me, and my feet were aching. Which I totally expected, but it was all from the downhill.

Sunday morning we had to drop our friend Nick off at the Adirondack Regional Airport. I had no idea how small it was!

ADK Regional Airport

ADK Regional Airport

They pretty much only fly into and out of Boston. Lucky for Nick!

Nick and Kyle

Nick and Kyle

5 high peaks down – 41 to go! The end.