1. The Springletrack is a group run in the Gunks, not a race.
2. The 26 mile course is on as much single track as possible and is in the Spring (thus the name)
3. It follows the classic fat-ass format, no aid, no registration, and NO COURSE MARKINGS AT ALL, THAT’S RIGHT NONE!!
4. We have had a staggered start for the first 2 years. For 2015 I’d like to have a mass start at 9:00 am from Spring Farm on the Mohonk Preserve. If you don’t think you can finish by 4 pm (that’s 7 hours) start earlier whenever you like. It is a fat-ass after all.
5. Since this starts on Mohonk preserve property, you will need to buy a day pass if you are not a member ($12 fee)
6. The directions (link above) are very clear about where to go, and the trails are mostly easy to follow. Buy the NY/NJ trail conference map and draw a line on it.
7. You get a sticker if you do the whole course.
Distance : 26.8 miles
Finish : 6:48:03
This year had been a horrible winter in NY. We had a fluctuate temperature every week with prolong snow storms. And the storms were a pretty heavy ones, which covered the whole trails around NY with a pack of snow and ice for months.
Until these past couple of weeks, the weather got a little warmer, despite a few cold surprise one every few days. So when I heard the trail had almost been clear up from the snow, I had an obligation to get my feet back on the trail.
Early in the morning, I drove to Ellenville, NY, to meet up with Keith and Jeff. We arranged a car pool, and drove to the starting line. I knew Keith from the Leatherman Loop 10k a couple of years ago, and we ran Bear Mountain 50K in 2013.
The weather was a little colder than I thought, so I packed a shell for a precaution. We headed a few minutes shy of 9am. The first 6-7 was an easy rolling hill along the blue mark trail. There were a few long uphill and technical area, but it was not that bad. When we got into the river crossing, Mike Siudy caught up with me. Somehow I didn’t see the bridge, maybe I was avoiding a herd of school kids that were playing in the stream. I just jumped into the water and hopped over. I followed Mike pace, which faster than I was planning to do. Still dealing with ankles and whatever connected to them, made me want to run carefully. We took a short photo break on the first scenic point, before we hit the parking lot (9 mile something). Many runners stash their water and food in this parking lot. While Mike replenish his water and food, I was wondering around, looking for a trash bin. I found people throwing away vodka bottle and Mc Donald wraps on the trail. Damn you lazy city dwellers.
We hit the yellow trail for a while before we got back to blue. It was a little wet with few patches of snow on the trail. I told Mike I gonna hang back and see him at the finish line. I started to feel discomfort on my shins when I ran by the little stream. I walked a little to loosing it up, while I tried to figure it out where was the next junction. Then I met Tim and Jane, they told me we were in the right course and I found out I had. 5 miles extra in my GPS milages.
It was a good swirling single trail with a few small climbs before we got off from the Blueberry Run Trail and arrived on the Castle Point. I was sweeping back and forth along the edge to find the lavender mark, which turned out that a hiker was sitting on it. When I hit the bottom of the crag, I was a little not sure where was the turned, so I ended up walking with map on my right hand and direction from my phone on my left.
Tim and Jane caught up with me again and I decided to follow them. Tim had a tracking GPS running on his watch, so that was a treat for me to not holding map and phone while I was running.
I found out that Jane sprained her ankle on mile 3 or something. But they still ran pretty fast. Just after the Mud pond around mile 16, a big rock on the sharp turn grabbed my toe. I was that close to turn my face into an oatmeal. It was a good safe but my shin and ankles was flare up. I let Tim and Jane disappeared into the woods. I took a little breath and leak. Then started to hobbling, shuffling and eventually started to run again.
On the junctions between the Lavender, Red and Teal trail blazers, I missed read the direction and I ended up running down to the Verkeerdelkill Falls. I did not go all the way down there though, I met with a group of hikers and they told me there were no runners ahead of me. So I sat down and re read the direction and headed back to the right course.
From a few hundreds meters, I saw a couple of runners were running into the correct direction on the junction. When I caught up with him, they told me the right direction to follow the teal blazer. From there on, it was a good 4 mile-ish of awesomeness. I was running and climbing by the edge of the ridge, the view was stunning on my left. Half way through, my shin and ankle started to acting up, so I ended up with power hike for a while.
When I got into the Old Smiley Carriageway, I turned left. I just realized that I was running out of water. I only had, probably, a couple gulps left. I started to run down a little faster, until I got into another junction when I had doubt. I refilled my bottle with water from the stream for emergency, and tried to figure it out where I was and where to go. I ramped up my pace. I thought, the sooner I got back to the finish-line where I parked my car, the sooner I could get water.
When I got there I saw Mike and the other guys were there. We hung out until the last person finished.