I decided to do the long run yesterday morning back in the trails that we started the camp with. This would be beneficial in a number of ways; tired, fatigued legs would incur less damage due to the forgiveness of the trails, the course was beautiful, and going out the way we started, to name a few.
I gave the assignment of running out 1 hr 5 min at least, knowing that the return trip would be a bit quicker and wanting everyone to run at least 2 hrs. We started out of the parking area down the steep hill that we'd have to ascend on the return trip for 1 mile then bared right onto a dirt road then right onto a trail. Everyone was running very gingerly which made me grin, thinking that it was a good solid training camp. Jeff Molson and I hit the Damn in 41 minutes and before starting up the more technical single track, we waited for the next group of Juergens, Steve, and Bruce to come along. Soon, on the single track, it was just myself and Steve. We reached a bridge at the 55 minute mark that had a bunch of signs/arrows giving trail selections - one being Avalanche Lake, 1 mile. We headed that way and soon started the very, very technical climb straight up. In fact, we were not running much at this point yet our heart rates were well up there. We even came across a ladder made out of tree trunks to ascend. The trail became more and more amazing and enjoyable, discovering new things. At 1 hr 14 minutes, we reached Avalanche Lake, and man was it worth the trip. The lake meandered endlessly through two huge cliffs, sitting ontop of this mountain in the middle of nowhere. Steve and I took it in for a moment, and then turned back, not wanting to hold up the others at the parking area. As we left the more technical section and opened our strides more, we found ourselves running at sub 7 pace. Steve mentioned to me, "I never would have imagined I could have done everything that we did during this camp!" That made my camp. I go about putting these camps on so that people could challenge themselves and accomplish more than they maybe realize they were capable of. I try to pull this off with a fun, entertaining twist. I think those that have attended would agree that for the endurance enthusiast, it's a great vacation!
Anyway, I'm jumping ahead. Let me describe Saturday first:
Saturday seemed like race day. There were so many athletes out on the course, it made things quite fun. The weather was low 60's and sunny with quite a bit of wind. In fact, there was more wind than I have ever witnessed up here. The wind seemed like it was in our face all day. Ange took a group out at 6am, and I took another group out at 7am. My group was to ride the course - 112 miles. This is a big feat on it's own, but following what we did on the previous days combined with the competitiveness of tons of "others" on the course would make the challenge that much more interesting. As we climbed out of LP, my intentions were to see where everyone was at. I wanted people to do their own thing today, not letting others dictate their pace. As I rode comfortable the first 7 miles, I turned to realize the only one with me was Bruce cook! I decided that I would pull Bruce through a loop and let everyone else do their thing. Bruce sat tucked in nicely and we rolled through the 56 windy miles in 2 hrs 50 minutes. I waited a bit for the rest of the group to come along, but when they weren't coming, I headed out and figured I'd try and catch Trephina and Roy and see how they were doing. Both of them were riding 86 miles, their longest rides ever by far! I caught them after the downhill and assessed how they were before rolling on. I came out of the out and back and waited at the convenient mart there for the campers to come through. First came Bruce, then a threesome of Jeff, Gus, and Scooter. Next came Ange and Jen who was also having a "firsts" day, then Baker. I decided to head back up 86 myself and get my car and come back and check on everyone. The wind let up a bit and I cruised through the second loop at 2 hrs 39 minutes riding time.
After everyone finished their brick runs, we drove down 86 to the gorge at a beautiful spot on the river and soaked our tired legs in the running water. It felt great! There were some pretty fatigued people at dinner that night and I reminded them of what they had accomplished. Athletes seem to only remember their last workout. Lot's of wine and beer were drunk that night and then we, of course, headed to Ben and Jerry's.
Three camps in the books this year thus far! I have to commend Jeff Molson and Gus "Daisy Dukes" Ellison for attending all three! They are a bit whacked.
I have found the ideal camp locations between Tucson, CT, and LP.