Saturday, March 1, 2008

Charlottesville's Rivanna Trail

Friday- 22.56 miles- Rivanna ring trail

I was spontaneous Friday and hopped in the car to head up to my favorite town Charlottesville, VA for some running on the Rivanna trail. This 20 mile loop trail encircles the town and the University of Virginia. It is great singletrack trail that goes through city parks, on private land and on a few streets to connect sections. This trail has been in the works for several years and when I lived there in 2000-2002 it looked vastly different than today.

Huge numbers of new houses, condos and townhouses have been built within sight line of the trail and a few sections have been finished or moved since I last ran there...and even one section that was open is now closed to use. Overall the trail is in great shape and well maintained and well marked. However, some unfinished parts and areas where permission to use is not markings exist. yikes!

Thus, I started off with some good maps and tips from Frannie at the CRC. This fared me well initially and then 5-6 miles in to the run none other than Jeff Wilbur runs up behind me. He was out on his daily run and happened to be in the same section of trail. We would run together for the next 4-5 miles just like years past. It was great.

After Jeff turned back to go back home to complete his out and back, I manged to find my way through some tricky stretches and really was doing well until 16.5 miles into the loop. Then I missed something...or it obviously wasn't marked well enough. Somehow I dumped into Quary park and could not find the trail. I ended up just running toward downtown with the idea of road running back to my car. I thought better of it after a mile and managed to backtrack a bit, forge the river, and re-find the trail.

I ended up running 22.5 miles (3:55 total time) but 3:32 of actual moving time or 9:25 per mile Stats and maps here. Not bad for unfamiliar trail. Now that I know the route I'd like to go back and have a go at 3 hours for the supposed true 20 mile loop.

Overall the nearly 4 hours with one bottle and one gel was a great training adventure!!

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