Heading up the early single track trail... runners in both the Challenge and the Marathon ran together
Heading up to the Blue Ridge parkway on a rocky jeep trail
Miles 14 and 26 at the aid station along the blue ridge parkway. Amazing views of the mountains and their fleeting cloud cover.
A view of the alpine woods approaching the summit. The trail is actually pictured...Can you see it? We hit the summit 3:45 in to the race.
Me at mile 22 with cloudy and fogged in Mt Mitchell in the back ground left. Photo by Brad Smythe
Happy at the beautiful finish line. I manged to soundly break 6:30 thanks to Goat Powell catching me 3 miles out from the finish and making me run 7:00 pace miles to close......what gives man? I don't breath hard in ultras!
VHTRC folks enjoying the beauty of Black Mountain at the finish: Loomis, Goat Powell, Gretchen Powell, and BTB C-ville Running Company teammate Mike Mason
The Mt Mitchell 40 is one of the coolest races I have ever done when taken as a whole:
1. Course location: Awesome highest mountain in the east coast
2. Course terrain: great mix of road, Jeep trail, runnable single track, super steep technical trail
3. Distance: advertised at 40 miles the 38 was more than enough. I love 50k-50mil distances!
4. Beauty: the views from the town of Black Mountain, along the ascent and descent and from the summit are unbelievable
5. Aid / support: the town was out cheering us on, the race had 9!! aid stations some of which were packed in and had campsites and fires going
6. Weather: Always iffy, but we lucked out temps 40-60 and no rain, hardly any ice at the summit, crazy gusting winds and cloud/fog made it interesting
7. Companionship on the trail: lots of good folks out there and 6 miles with (including a finish)buddy Bryon
8. Effort expended: Perfect...Hard but enjoyable. I took a lot of photos, had conversations and really enjoyed it, but was competitive with myself and others too. I had three really good pressing stretches: miles 14-20, 22-31, and 35-38
9. How I felt (GI issues, legs, lungs, mentality)- NO ISSUES! Great day. One pit stop, 1400 calories of clif shot blocks ingested; along with water and coke at the aid stations. Legs were strong and held up to the descent fine, altitude was noticeable miles 15-26 when we were above 5200ft. But it was not too much. Mentally I am happy to be fit enough to be running NEAR the front of the pack once again. 22nd of 122
All things considered it was the best ultra I have experienced in 6 years.