Tuesday, September 17, 2013

VIRGIL CREST PREVIEW: 3 Days To Go---Thoughts, Projections, Sponsors

This Fall has been crazy. With all the back-to-school spike nights at Confluence Running, from school starting, to the start of a much long anticipated Fall racing season, life has been going at full-tilt.  The weather has finally cooled down from the 80's and 90's we had about a week or so ago and it feels like I can run forever outside.

What makes the Fall one of my most favorite seasons?

I love the fact that Fall is one of those seasons where people's lives begin.  School starts, people come back from their summer vacations at work, sports such as Football begin, all the amazing holidays, my birthday is during Fall!  It has been very hectic but there is something about that crisp autumn air that calms me down.

In a few days,  I will be running my second official 50 miler.  The first one was a huge success at the Cayuga Trails 50 even after my twisted ankle at mile 18.  It just goes to show that if I stay dialed into my nutrition, I should run a very successful race.  The Virgil Crest will not be your average 50 miler. It has about 10-12 thousand feet of overall gain/loss and the terrain of the course is some of the toughest most technical trails around. Think narrow, muddy, rocky, steep and winding single-track that will truly test your strength.  Not only is it a tough ultra, but a beautiful one.  The whole Virgil Mountain Complex has some amazing off-road options. From the seasonal access roads, snowmobile trails, to the Finger Lakes and North Country trails, this course will offer the best of Upstate New York.  I have run at Greek Peak at least once a week to prepare my body for the obstacles I will face from the dreaded Alpine Loop to the summit of Greek Peak from the Finger Lakes Trail (2 mile climb average 12% grade) to the Rock Pile stream crossings and beyond.

In my training leading up to Saturday's Virgil Crest Ultra 50, I have done some great training runs alongside with having my highest mile week in 2 months: 93 miles.

Running Greek Peak Ski Slopes::::
Running on the slopes of Greek Peak in 90+ degree weather---(What was I thinking!)

Running In Binghamton After Work::::::
Running a steep 11% grade for 1.4 miles in Binghamton in Newtons as well

Coming off of the top of the hill I just climbed. The weather was perfect and in the Newton Energy, I was flying on those lugs!


Private Trails!!!!!

About a 5 mile loop!!!!  Going to snowshoe here in Winter!

Leading up to the race, I have run on some great training runs: The Greek Peak Run was a hot day and though I logged maybe 5-7 miles, I was sprinting up and down the ski slopes and that really taxed my legs.  I also helped Ian Golden, RD of Virgil Crest help trim some of the overgrown sections of the course.  Then one day after work, to get a little more mileage, I ran out along the hills in Binghamton and ran one road that shot straight up into the sky. By the time I had finally made it to the top, I was ready to come down.  The Cortland XC Course run was one of my favorites as one morning I slipped onto the course and was treated to amazing trails and no one else on them. Because it is a closed section, it is not used for public use because it bisects into a water supply for Cortland.  I noticed that the old Cortland Nordic Ski club had marked the trails.  I will continue to run out there.

Back to the Virgil Crest: the course record is 8:34 or so, that is my overall goal for the race.  If  I can piece together a 25 mile split under 4 hours, I think I will run a great time that will be under the record.  It has not rained in a couple of days which is great since that will help dry the trails out a little and make the creek crossings not raging rivers.  

The Climber Jersey given to the person who has the fastest alpine loop!
I hope I get the jersey this year!

Got to love the polka dots!

Beautiful sunset to a nice 85 minute run along the hills

As the sun sets, it is time to race!

Good Luck to all at the Virgil Crest!!!!  A race not for sissies!

Here is a great recap of a local trail race in Montrose, PA called the Salt Springs Trail Race. It was a first year event and it was so much fun. I ran the 5.5 mile option and had a blast running the wet technical single-track!

Kenneth Rowe's Photo of the steepest pitch at Virgil Crest-(Alpine Loop)
Cited from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=197454313770618&set=gm.631048786939952&type=1&relevant_count=1

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