Monday, October 14, 2013

Over the Mountains--From the Adirondacks to Mammut Headquarters and Back!

Let me begin by saying that my Trip out to Burlington, Vermont was Amazing!!!!!  I had some travel difficulties that I will explain in my post, but overall, it was well worth it.  Here's Why:

1. I had the chance to see the Adirondack Region for the first time
2. I set a summit record of Gore Mountain (3,600 feet in 2 miles)
3. I met all the amazing people at Mammut
4. I got some cool Mammut stuff
5. I got to see a little of Burlington, VT
6. I took a Ferry on the way back!
7. I saw some great fall foliage!

Leaving the farm country of Cortland, NY

Sign at Hoxie Gorge State Forest

Hoxie Gorge State Forest near Cortland, NY

Ok, so my story begins with me heading out in my Honda Accord on a perilous journey, through the wilds of the Adirondack region.  I began my trip from Cortland, NY around 9am. The plan was to be in Burlington around 1-2 to preview the HQ and get to meet everyone at the Mammut race/event.

I headed out to Syracuse then to the Utica area then out into the southern section of the Adirondacks near Lake Pleasant.  The drive was going great.  Around noon or so I would stop for a detour at Gore Mountain because while on this trip I desperately wanted to peak bag my first high Adirondack peak. Because of limited time, I thought that Gore Mountain would be a easy mountain to find and run up and down with not getting lost.  Driving into the Adirondack region was better than I imagined. There was lovely trees, rivers, mountains that are unlike any other mountains I have ever seen. The whole wilderness experience was awe-inspiring. Reading about the region in my Park Management classes was so amazing to know all of this intell and knowledge about the Adirondack Park but to actually see it was something special.  As I drooled out my window like a dog going for some yummy steak, I was fully enamored with the whole Adirondack Ethos!  Winding along the road passing through little towns and villages I just fell in love with the place the same as many others have before me.  In no-time I had made it to Gore Mountain.  Ok, it was time for a peak summit.  I got my running vest ready, my phone to map my run on Strava, my running shorts and gear and off I went.

Here are some photos I took on the descent of Gore Mountain:

Trail Map--Going from Base Lodge to Top Summit

Base Lodge

Mammut MTR 141 shoes!

High Peaks in the Distance--Had to be careful with the cliff drop-off

THe Road to the Peak

***The Run---Well, the run started off...HARD! I was gasping for breath from the get-go.  Running up a steep ski slope is tough work and really is a grind.  I slogged up the slope little by little with the occasional power-hike thrown in there to allow for the body to rest a little.  Before I knew it, I was right near the summit. I mentally pushed and told myself "Push Cole, Push!!!" Before I knew it, I had made it to the observation deck at the top and some burly-looking grounds guys came out and asked my what I was doing. We went into detailed conversation about the Escarpment Run in the Catskills and how it is crazy and that I should look into that race. I do not know if I have the ability of signing up for a body thrashing as that race I have been told is a body-thrashing type of race.  After about 20 minutes or so to reach the summit. I took some sweet photos and then headed for the dowhill fun.  It was interesting to feel the cool air as the base was at the time at 56 degrees and at the summit it felt like the 40's. I was very pleased with the run.

The Top only a few hundred feet away

What a view up near 3,000 feet

The photos do not do the views justice! It was breath-taking seeing both the Adirondack High Peaks on one side and the Green Mountains in Vermont on the other side!

Coming down the slope--Beautiful Fall Foliage at Gore Mountain

***I headed back to my car and pushed off for the rest of my trip. The time was now near 1:20 or so.  

As soon as  I got back on the main road, I looked and saw that my phone was almost dead.  Oh no!  I did not print out any maps or anything so how am I supposed to make it.  As soon as I was heading to Interstate 87 which I knew I had to get off near Ticonderoga to catch a bridge across to Vermont where I would take 22A North to Vermont 7 into Burlington.  Before I could do anything, my phone died. It was at the worst possible time!


This is what I exclaimed in the car. I was so angry.  I grab a car charger from my glove box and of course it is not working. I pull-off to the side of the road and then continue to plug and re-plug the jack, then my phone, then the jack, then my phone.  Of course, it is still not working.  This was perfect. My whole family is going to think I fell of the face of the planet. I had my regular charger but I would need to find a store where someone would allow for me to use their jack.  I used my best navigation skills and followed the signs for the Adirondack Highway (I-87).  I rounded the loop onto the highway and it was nice getting to go faster.  OK, so if I keep going north I could stop in Plattsburgh and then take the ferry over or I could get off near Ticonderoga and charge my phone, grab some lunch and figure this out (this is what I thought).  So I re-grouped and thought getting off near Ticonderoga I was close enough where I could potentially figure out where I needed to go. I saw a sign for Ticonderoga and BAM I was off of that interstate. At this point I followed the signs and was doing a great job. I saw some notes of a Champlain Bridge so I headed that way because maybe that was the bridge.  I needed gas really bad as I was almost out so I needed to stop badly.  Luckily I entered a 4-way intersection and took the route into Ticonderoga.  I stopped and filled up my car and then proceeded to a Walmart I saw earlier at the 4-way.  Off I went, grabbed some lunch at a nearby BK (Burger King) I know that is not good runner food at all and then went to look at some maps and get a car charger.  To make a long story short, I drove to the Ft. Ticonderoga bridge hoping I could get across. Oh, and that car charger I bought, it was not working.  So I was waiting for the ferry to come with a long 10 car line.  I got out of my car and noticed that the ferry could only shuttle one car across at a time. Great, I would be there all night.  So, I went back into town. This time, I went straight into the downtown and stopped at a small bed and breakfast and talked to a little old woman who directed me to take 9N to Crown Point and then take that bridge over. YES!!! I was back in business.  I flew to my car and off to 9N I went. I crossed that same 4-way intersection for the 4th time and then headed to 9N.   I noticed flashing lights in the distance a mile from the intersection and ....GREAT, a cop car had blocked off the road.  Apparently, there was a really bad fatal accident that had the road blocked off from Ticonderoga to Crown Point!  Well, I have no idea where to go now so I stopped in a local CVS Pharmacy.  I stopped in and was helped by some girls telling me to take this mill road.  I entered that 4 way intersection not knowing where to go  and used my best guess down the one road I had yet to go.  I followed it and it seemed like a lost cause until I passed a mill and kept going.  About 5 miles later, I made the turn onto 9N into Crown Point!  From here, I had lost that 2.5 hours of getting lost and still had at least an hour and a half to go. I eventually crossed the Crown Point Bridge into Vermont and I let out a huge sigh of relief.  

Vermont Bound-----I navigated the Vermont country roads and luckily had nice solid road signs were I found myself heading into Burlington.  I had made great time and decided to charge my phone so that  I could find the hotel.  I stopped at a local liquor store and was helped by some nice ladies.  I sat around and was glade to have my phone somewhat alive. There was a bunch of traffic but that was a good sign. I crossed some interstate road and landed at my La Quinta Hotel for the night. Sweet. Finally after a long 8 hour plus trip, I had made it.  I got some dinner and then rested up for the next day.

The Stampy Stomp 15k--Mammut Heaven!

It was great to finally meet the staff at Mammut.  I enjoyed having the chance to meet everyone and help with a little of the set-up (team morale at least).  It was a crisp day and I was ready to have some fun. My real focus was going to be for the Can-lake 50 miler to set a new course record there the following weekend.  I was still in a little of recovery mode from the Virgil Crest Ultra where I ran the current course record in 8 hours.  I was feeling a little beat-up from the race but nothing where my training was sidelined.  It was a great set-up at the event and for a first-year event, excited filled the air.

It was a lovely day, nice and cool.  

THe Mammut Tent

All the Amazing Shoes!!!!!!

New 2013 and 2014 Models! I will be rocking the light blue kits for 2014!!!!

The Mascot--Stampy--Coolest Logo Ever

THE RACE--------

The Fast Start at the Stampy Stomp 15k
The race went out hard which I have no done in a trail race in a while.  I latched on with a fast individual as we winded through the lush rolling hills of Vermont. I remained relaxed through 5k as we went back and forth with pace changes probably running around 6-7 minutes a mile.  The next section had the hills. Little did I know, we had some technical winding single-track and a few steep climbs.  At that point I gave the 1st place runner a little space-probably too much in terms of trying to close on some flat sections. Little did I know, there really was not any fast flat sections on the course besides the eventual finish.  I hung tough as 1st just slipped away from view. The way the trail was twisting and turning, I was a little hesitant on the downhills afraid to twist my already weakened ankle from a training run during the middle of the week.  I conceded first. I let him get away and tired to close the gap but I could not. Next year, I am going for it at the gun!  I finished 2nd running close to an hour for the run which was not too bad. We ran pretty quick! 

The Awards:::::

$200 Mammut Gift Card!!!!!  Trust me, at Mammut, they go big!  For Overall and age group awards, this race far surpassed some of the best events out there!  You need to be there next year!

It was an incredible event and an incredible day!   I really had a wonderful time with everyone in Vermont and I look forward to next year. On the way back, I also got to ride a ferry back to New York which was a fabulous suggestion. The views were spectacular and overall, it was a much easier trip home.  Thank you to Bill, Gribbin, Joanna, Tim, Everyone at Mammut! Thank you again.
2014 is going to be the year!  With my races at Virgil and the Can-lake, it is time to start looking to my next big challenges: Tussey Mountainback, Snowshoe Nationals, Worlds in snowshoe, Cayuga Trails, the Adirondack Marathon, maybe the Madcity 100k, the Manitou's Revenge, the ADK 80k and many other races and endeavors. Time to build on what strides we have made in 2013!

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