Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 Pfalz Point Trail Challenge Race Report

Just a week after running the grueling 35 miles on the SRT, I was scheduled to run The Pfalz Point Trail Challenge. Again on The Shawungunk Ridge, but this one would be entirely within the Mohonk Preserve.

After running the SRTRun/Hike just the week before I was  looking forward to getting back out on the trails. I had lived a week with "my demons" that I picked up on the SRT.

I arrived at the Spring Farm Trail-head with ample time to check-in, use the bathrooms, double-check my gear/attire, lock the car, etc.

As a photo drone hovered overhead, I mingled with some familiar faces from both Rock the ridge and last weekends SRT. It was a beautiful morning with a crystal clear skies and a "Million Dollar View".

I was told by folks who have run this in previous years that it's critical to find a place in the start where you're not too far back where you get stuck behind the first-time trail runners looking down at the roots and rocks and yet not being too far in the front to block the "real racers" or burn yourself out trying to keep from getting run over by the faster runners behind you (on the single-track).

When the gun went off, I felt like I was in just the right spot. I clicked along well, with only a little difficulty seeing the trail beyond the feet of the runner in front of me.

I moved out to the edge of the trail and ran along the edge of the trail where I could see the ground again and waited for the pack to thin.

After a sprint through one field and through a wet meadow, we turned up and into the woods on the Blue Trail.

My eyes quickly adjusted to the shadows as I focused in on the rocks and roots along the trail as we hit the first climb of the day.

Turning right to the yellow Ski Loop Trail I found a moment to catch my breath as the the foot steps from behind were thinning.

A slight down grade and across Table Rock Trail we emerge briefly from the woods back and crossed the Spring Farm fields to a winding climb on The Northwest Trail (part of the SRT).

I walked the steeper portion of the single-track climb and resumed my run as I turned left onto the wide Cedar Drive carriage path, where again I was able to catch my breath and  get my heart-rate under-control as I prepped for the next long climb.

Turning right, I settled in with a small group of runners as we pushed our way up the 1 mile Spring Farm road climb. The climb finishes at the Mohonk Golf Course and it's just a brief moment to recover before the Guyot Hill climb.

Guyot Hill is part of Rock the Ridge and I've done several training runs through this part of the course and I knew there was still some deceptive little hills as we wind our way to the highest point 5 miles into the 10 mile run.

I felt really great, so I picked up the pace as I wound my way along the relatively flat  Bonticou Road carriage path and back across the Old Bonticou path which revealed the most amazing view of the Bontcou Crag.

Then came the final climb, a lot of power hiking back up to Bonticou Road. Knowing this was the last climb I pushed hard but couldn't seem to catch anyone above me.

Emerging at the top on Bonticou Road, I skipped the water stop where I finally passed the runners I was trying to catch on the hill and I started the final leg of the run.

I pushed the pace and took advantage of the downhill. Turning right onto Cedar Drive I was still feeling good and was pushing it hard. I passed a few runners and felt like I was really making up some ground.


One last right hand turn returning on Spring Farm Road, blasting into the sun and as the photographers, volunteers and earlier finishers cheer me on through the final stretch onto the finish.

Being careful to keep the rubber on the road on the downhill finish, I could see the pavilion and the finish line I pushed hard and blew past the finish at full speed.



Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 1:40:56





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