Friday, March 13, 2015

To Trudge...

"Trudging…To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impuse to simply soldier on" -Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucer, A Knight's Tale, 2001.

A few weekends ago I found myself in Laramie, Wy for the 11th annual Twin Mountain Trudge. A quick visit to Alec Muthig's Journeyman Adventures webpage offers a glimpse at a "race" that is not only tough, but a little terrifying. All the research I'd done on the race beforehand only verified that it was indeed "as difficult as advertised" and "a punch in the face".

A quick breakdown of this event looks something like this: Free entry for the first 60 folks to sign-up with no wait list. You must carry recommended survival gear on your person for either an 11 mile single or 22 mile double loop. The course runs through the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest along the Twin Mountain massif through conditions that vary year to year. With a bottle of whiskey set at the half-way point of the loop, the only other aid you receive is at the start-finish area. 

This race has a sort of "underground, mini winter version of Barkley" feel, and wanting to finish two loops, I held back as much as I could on the first round. After getting lost for about 5 to 10 minutes by making a left that wasn't right, and having the hose of my hydration pack freeze up, making it hard to stay hydrated on the first loop, I finished up round one a little out of it. 

I took a few minutes to regroup, changing my shirt and jacket and switching out my pack for two hand-held water bottles. Lyssa dealt with "grumpy Jeremy" like a pro, and sent me on my way for round two, which went much more smoothly. I used the first 30 minutes to eat a few bars and drink most of one of my bottles. I found my mood lift and before I knew it I was heading up the last hill to Alec Muthig holding an ice-shot glass full of whiskey. I finished the second loop, took the customary shot, then went behind the car to die.

This is a great, low-key running challenge with top notch organization that you don't always see at larger events. It was refreshing to see Laramie's close-nit group of trail runners and I enjoyed chatting with them before and after the run. And yes, it is as hard as advertised. It's just good ole-fashioned suffering and I'll be excited to trudge again.

Tools of the day:
Brunton Compass (Christmas gift from soon to be mother-in-law)
Map (from the registration table)
Scarpa Spark Goretex shoes
Salomon Hydration Pack (1st loop)
Lightweight Nathan Pack (2nd loop)
Obermeyer Buff
Pearl Izumi Jacket (1st loop)
Patagonia Jacket (2nd loop)
2 Pairs Smartwool Socks
Space Blanket
A really loud whistle
Pearl Izumi running gloves
Smart Wool base layer (1st loop)
Ibex wool base layer (2nd loop)
OR mini-gaiters
A long sleeve shirt from a race a long time ago
Running tights…duh
a red beard
lots of cliff bars and Gu
probs some other things that I have forgotten

photos courtesy of Journeyman Adventures

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