What's in a name you ask? Well, it so happens there is a 'Fat Ass' on Tiger Mt every year and this loop is similar to that, just a bit longer. And in the other direction. Sort of. Whatever, it's a great loop. Today the plan was to ran it with Bill Huggins and Justin Angle. At about 6:00 AM Bill and I got a text from Justin; he was out. :(
But when I got to the start I discovered that Bill had invited three friends, yes!
Two of them I had run with last Wednesday and they were not slow… I was hoping to keep up.
ASIDE - In celebration of the most excellent weather we have been having I left my shirt in the car. As Bill and I walked up to the other three he introduced me as 'the naked guy'. Nice.
We rolled out at an extremely sane pace which was a pleasant surprise. In my experience Bill does not hold back much and he's a super climber so I'm always huffing and puffing to stay in contact - especially when we go up. Today I was doing fine. I learned later that Bill had recently taken some time off from running and was just ramping up again hence his less than lightning pace. Mind you, I was not complaining.
This loop is more or less up for the first half and then it's pretty much down for the second. What's interesting is that the second half is not that much faster than the first. I guess there are some 'bumps' on the way down and it's somewhat technical to boot. This loop also has some of the most incredible singletrack there is on the mountain! I recall riding my mountain bike on them back when there weren't so many rules here.
We kept it steady and I made sure to keep drinking. The climb ends in a steep section of single track followed by a short dirt road descent and then a the road kicks up in a 'wall' to the summit. Until to day I had only run all of the singletrack climb once and had never run the road. Today I ran it all! I was pumped up!
At the top I gulped two gels, chased them with more cocktail from my bottles and then we headed down.
God this trail is great! it's soft, it's narrow, it's densely wooded and it's just so freaking beautiful. After a bit I found myself enjoying it so much I had passed Bill and his friend and was slowly opening up a gap.
ANOTHER ASIDE - Mind you, we were NOT racing but this is the first time I have ever been able to do this. Usually it's me trying to hang on at pretty much every stage of runs like this.
I had to wait at a couple of intersection not knowing which direction to go and twice I felt so good I just turned right around and started jogging back up the trail until I met the rest of our group.
My legs may have felt good but I was also tripping up a storm. I almost bit it about five times in the second half of this run and one of the times I tripped I was out of control for so long it caused me to stumble all the way past Bill who had been about 20' in front of me at the time. Sheesh…! I did not want to pull a Superman down this mountain.
Finally I was alone descending (Poo Poo Point Trail?) when I ran right past Bernie Boglioli and Woody Cox who were out mountain biking with friends. I yelled and they recognized me. Small world… I used to ride on the same cycling team as Woody and Bernie and I have ridden together a bunch in the past. Very fun to see them out.
The last flat mile back to the car has historically kicked my ass. But I guess I was 1) trying got close strong and 2) trying to keep up with faster guys. Today we just jogged it in and I was on cloud nine. I had my recovery drink, we did some stretching in the parking lot (it was a DREAM not to have a time constraint) and then I drove home. A bonus day. And my second fastest time on this loop! That's freaking excellent considering I waited four times and backtracked twice and did not push it at the finish.
I recall having so much fun while running today that I was picking and eating Salmon Berries while moving. With a bottle in my hand. Mad skillz.
|5:00 AM - 2 bananas, 1 scoop protein powder, walnuts, strawberries, coconut milk, Udo's Oil
|2 bottles each w/1 tablet Nuun and 1 scoop HEED, 3 PowerBar Energy Gel
|My left big toe gave a tiny bit of grief but not too bad.
|Time of Day
|low 60s to upper 60s, cloudy, dry, calm, muggy
|people always tell me this is really 19 miles and I believe them as my GPS is notoriously inaccurate in the thick trees and on tight, twisty courses
|Hoka Combo XT
|Brooks Infinity Short III