Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dirty Spokes 2010 Trail Running Series

This was the inaugural running of the Dirty Spokes Trail Running Series. This was a six race series that took the competitor to various location across the northern arc of Atlanta. While putting on trail races is not anything new to the Dirty Spokes Team, this series was well done. For those looking to enter trail running with the short distances or just looking to have fun in the woods the series was not a let down.

The races ranged from 5k to 8 miles with all sorts of surprises from the wall in Canton, many a water crossing, and capping it off with 2 mile up hill followed by a 1 mile down hill.

It took a few races to get use to things since this was my first venture into trail running. After figuring out a few things including changing my training habits and going out to have a good time, the series really became very enjoyable. When you talk to other runners you get all sorts of advice. Some of it you do not get until you really figure it out for yourself. Once you figure out what works for you and what you want to accomplish the rest starts to fall in place.

With the close of the series it was a nice reward to have completed all 6 runs and also place second in my age division in points. I will say that I just racked up enough points by going to all of the events.

I am thankful to the Dirty Spokes Team for putting the series together. I do know I am looking for to participating in additional trail runs in the future. For now I am looking to recover a couple of sore points, get back to hiking and backpacking, get into a bit of mountain biking, and keeping an eye out for any trail runs that pop up around the area. As the adventures come my way I will log each of them.

See you on a trail......

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sawnee Mountain 3.5m Trail Run

The sixth and final race in the 2010 Dirty Spokes Trail Run Series took advantage of Sawnee Mountain hiking trail system. The trail is a pretty rocky mostly double track set of trails. Sawnee Mountain Park is maintained by the Forsyth County Park and Recreation department. Like with the five races before, 8:30 AM start time started the run.

There were a lot of entrants for this race. There must of have 200-250 people. It was nice to see such a good turn out. The weather was not too bad despite the overnight passing thunderstorms in the area. The run started in the parking lot with a quick loop around the parking lot to spread out the field a bit. Once out of the parking lot the real work began. It was time to climb the 2.1 worth of uphill. Did a combination of running and speed hiking the hills. The first mile and a half took you up the Lower Laurel Trail which pass by the South Old mine shaft. Past the mine shaft started the Indian Seats Trail which gives the runner a quick view of the Bettis Tribble Gap entrance parking lot area. That point continues pretty flat until the hard right to the top of Indian Seats Trail. This was pretty much a speed hike to the top. The hike to the top does give you a great view of trees and quite a bit of Yucca plant. Once to the top it is nothing but downhill. There is however one catch. The steepest parts of the downhill are also the rockiest. About halfway down the trail changed from Indian Seats Trail to Upper Laurel Trail. The downhill part of the Indian Seats was a challenge. Made pretty good time going downhill. Got in line with a couple of runners to keep a solid pace. It was not until after the full decent and last major turn before the sprint to the finish to the visitor center where a rock reached out and grabbed the shoe. Went down using my hand and hip to slide a bit which allowed for a quick popup and continue the pace. Wondering a bit if the camera guy actually got the spill or not. The sprint to the finish was a good solid run crossing the line in about 37 minutes.

The results of the ascent and descent of Sawnee Mountain have been posted.

Thank you to Dirty Spokes, sponsors, and volunteers for a great race and an awesome series. Looking forward to seeing the calendar for 2011.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Central Park 5m Trail Run

The fifth race of a six race series completed. The fifth race of the Dirty Spokes Trail race series was held at Central Park on the mountain bike trails. The trail was a two loop 2.5 mile mostly single track. The trails are undergoing some work by the Forsyth County Park and Recreation department. Like with all the races before, 8:30 AM start time.

Along with the 2.5 or 5 mile trail race option before getting start there was a 3/4 mile kids race. There were kids of all ages running. It was hard to tell which group was having more fun, the parents/adult watching the kids or the kids themselves.

8:30 started off the 2.5/5 mile race. The first mile was in the shade with a bit of rolling hills after circling the two baseball fields to spread the field out a bit. Running the first mile felt good. Started off at a strong pace. After a mile and a 1/4 the trail would zig zag in and out of the direct sun. This would prove to be the challenging part of the race. There were three main sections under tree cover with the last mile in direct sun on a single track through a grass field. This is the first race in the 80 degree heat at 9 AM. With a quick splash of water, tackle the second lap as the 2.5 mile runners peeled off to cross the finish line. The second lap was working against me until I got in a groove with another runner. The pace was good considering the heat of the morning. There were a couple of uphills that were spent fast hiking instead of running. Emerged from the lasted shaded section to bare the sun for the finish line. I stayed with the runner which turned out to be a good thing. The encouragement I got was passed along near the end to help get across the finish line.

A good race with more sun light and heat than I expected. Most of the hikes and run have been late at night or early in the morning. This race showed that I need a lot of improvement in dealing with the heat. This month was a busy month with not as much training as I should have done for this race.

Once again the new Vasque Transistors did not let me down. One spot on the trail between the smart wool socks Vasque's I did not feel any of the water on the feet. Another good run in this shoe.

Another good trail run in the books. The sixth and final race in the series is coming up in July at Sawnee Mountain. This will prove to be the biggest challenge on the series. Time to work on some hills and a bit of heat.

The race results are already posted.

Next up is the 3.1 mile at Sawnee Mountain

Thank you to Dirty Spokes, sponsors, and volunteers that made for another enjoyable race.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mt. Tabor 8m Trail Run

The fourth and longest race of the Dirty Spokes Trail Run Series has been completed. There was a chance of thunderstorms for the race but could not have asked for better weather. There was cloud cover blocking the hot May heat which worked to our favor. The trail was a 4 mile loop put together by Sobra at Mount Tabor Park in Dallas Georgia. As usual the race started promptly at 8:30am.

There was a fairly large crowd at the race. Started the morning with a 2 mile kids run which was a blast to watch. The younger kids really go into it for sure. The 4 mile and 8 mile started at 8:30 on the same line at the top of the parking lot heading down the hill before entering the single track trail. This was one of the tightest single tracks. The first mile or two on the trail left little room to pass. The trail was in very good condition despite the rain during the week. There were only a couple of mud holes to navigate down. The trail had a good mix of roots, rocks, and hills. The hills unlike previous races were more rolling and shorter. There was little need to hike the hills. Emerging from the woods between mile 3 and 4 lead to a grassy/weedy section that lead back out to the grassy shoulder back to the top of the parking lot .2 miles away. Round the corner, grabbing water, this completed the first of 2 laps.

The pace for the first lap was moderate. Was more enjoying the scenery and pacing with traffic. The second pass would be a different story. Picking up the pace made short work of the two miles until the grassy/weedy field. By the second lap the field was very spread out giving the opportunity to pick the pace. The quick pace gave way to a few problems with the hills in the weedy patch but hiked those to then pickup the pace to finish with a quick sprint to the finish line.

Given the distance and the rolling hills I am pleased with the race. This trail run was very enjoyable. The was very little in the way of distractions so the series theme of ditching the city really came through on this one. The interesting point to note was this race was suppose to be on the Silver Comet trail. Very nice venue.

Lastly this was the first race with the Vasque Transistors. I am really please with how they performed on the trail and navigating through the mud.

The race results are already posted.

Next up is the 5 mile at Central Park

Thank you to Dirty Spokes, sponsors, and volunteers that made for another enjoyable race. Really looking forward to the fifth and sixth challenges in the series.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chicopee Woods 10K Trail Run

The third race of the Dirty Spokes Series is in the books. Was not really sure this one was going to happen. Several bands of thunder storms rolled through the area overnight and early in the morning. Luck would be on our side with an 8:30 start. The trail was the Sorba bike trail near the Elachee Nature Center in the Chicopee woods.

This race appears to be a favorite, despite the rain there was a good turn out. Starting line was on the bridge over the interstate. Nothing like a little hill before hitting the trail to spread out the field. The trails were in fair condition with all of the rain. The first couple of miles was the decent to the bottom. Very little in the way of rocks or major roots on the first couple of miles. After three miles or so the fun would begin. The trail got a bit more sloppy with a few creek crossings. Some were over wooden bridges while others were jumps. The first of the big climbs would happen around mile 4. After getting over the first, back down to the bottom where the water flows. With all of the rain the last creek crossing was more of a waist deep wade across. Crossing the rivercreek left the climb out of the hole. The continued uphill took its toll on many. Alternated between a fast hike and a jog. A couple of twists and turns later left you at the finish line.

I am please with the performance on the trail. The main goal was to relax and enjoy the trail. After a rain there is something to natures music instead of an ipod. Occasionally the roar of the interstate would remind you of civilization. The trail also demand full attention. There were many of sloppy spots that were fun to navigate. Glad the storms had passed and held off to get this one in the books.

The race results are already posted.

Next up is an 8 mile at Mt Tabor.

Thank you to Dirty Spokes, sponsors, and volunteers that made for a very enjoyable race. Looking forward to the fourth challenge in the series.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Running The River Ridge 4.5m Trail Run

The second race in the Dirty Spokes Trail Running Series. This was also the first race at Boling Park in Canton, Georgia. The race started promptly at 8:30. The first mile was on the crush and run track in the park. This first mile was a very fast mile due to a quick start and trying to start near the front of the pack. After the first mile, hard left turn into the woods onto the single track trail. Pace continued to be quick with the rolling hills and the bridges over the smaller creeks. Continuing down the trail until the 2 mile creek crossing. The creek was about 18 inches deep giving the shoes a good soaking. Unfortunately coming out of the water one of my shoes came untied. Making quick work of the shoe laces, got back to the race only to be hit with the first of several steep uphill climbs. Water station was available at 2.7 mile mark. This turned out to be needed. The climbs required more of a hike to the top instead of a run. After the hike of the second hill the runner was left with rolling hills, logs, and pine straw over the trail. The last half mile of the trail was the same as the first trail section which allowed the runners to make up a bit of time. Hard right out of the woods left a short sprint to the finish line. The legs fell a bit short on this run however I had a lot of fun challenging myself.

Nice first race in Boling Park. Thanks to Dirty Spokes and all of the volunteers that put this first annual race on and to those that designed the course. You cooked up a good one. Looking forward to running it again next year. As usual the Dirty Spokes crew have already posted the results.

On to the third race in the series....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Runnin the Rocks 10K Trail Run

First race of the Dirty Spokes Trail Running Series. The first race was at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia. The weather was decent with temperatures in the low 40s to start and no rain. The trail was in pretty good shape with a few mud holes to get your attention. The race started on time with over 100 runners in the 10k. Started in the middle of the pack with an easy pace. From the open field to a gravel road quickly led to the single track trail. The slow start was not the best choice as there were a lot of single track which made passing a bit of a challenge. The 10k trail used both the mountain bike and horse sections of the trail system. Despite the multi-use, the trail was in very good shape for most of the race. It took a couple of miles to get into a comfortable running pace. Ran with a group of three to four runners for the next several miles until the rolling hills got steeper. The water stop near mile 4 was at the top of the steepest we would climb. From this point the track was down hill with twists, turns, and small stream crossing. The group of runners began to pick up the pace. For some including myself that may have been a little too soon with 2 miles to go. After the last mile to go marker you quickly came up on the field with the finish line to be surprised with a shot back into the woods through a few twists and turns to emerge from the tree with nothing but an uphill sprint to the finish.

The race was exciting even though I did not do as well as I would have liked. The first race is in the books and looking forward to the rest of the series. Given a month before the next 10K in the series there are a few things to work on for next time.

The race was well run. The 10k results are already posted.

Thank you to Dirty Spokes, sponsors, and volunteers that made for a very enjoyable race. Looking forward to the second race in the series.