Pitchell 100k …ish?
One thing I really like to do is ask people what races they have on their calendar. It gives me ideas of what to run. My calendar is never full enough. I’m signed up for a marathon on Sunday but I hear about a 50 mile race on Saturday then I sign up. Tapering sucks so I don’t really do it. I love running races, meeting people and running new places.
I remember I asked my good friend Charles what he had coming up. Charles and I go way back! I met him the first time I ran coosa.
Charles told me he had a race, well fun run, called the PITCHELL 100k. I asked him what it was. He said it was the craziest shit I could do. When someone makes a statement like that it peaks my interest to say the least. He told me you start at midnight on top of a mountain, take a shot of moonshine, howl at the moon and run to the top of another mountain 67 miles away. The run takes place in the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina.
I did some more research…
Its 67 miles from the top of Mt. Pisgah to the top of Mt. Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi. 67 miles following the Mountains to Sea Trail. Sounds easy enough right?
Well after emailing the RD, Adam Hill, he told me it was about 30,000 ft of elevation change. “Now that sounds more like it”, I thought
Adam Hill is a kick ass dude. He never runs races where you have to pay for them. He runs for the love it. A man after my own heart. He’s a funny guy too.
Well I told him to put me and my buddy Eric’s name on the list.
I signed up Eric for the fun run and then I sent him the link to the web site. I said I couldn’t believe he signed up to run too hahahahahahaha.
All I got in response to this was… God dammit!… ohhhhh what the hell lets do it.
You see people this is what friends are for, signing you up for something you don’t really want to do.
Lets skip all the in between and skip to me and Eric driving 100mph blindfolded to Adam’s house for the pre race meeting. (only kidding! We were only going 95mph)
We arrived at Adam’s house in Asheville not really knowing what to expect. I walked in to a guy playing guitar and people eating and laughing. Not what I had expected. With 6 hours before the run people were having a beer and a laugh. I loved it. My kind of ultra crowd.
I met Adam and some of the others. Awesome dude with a SWEET BEARD! Eric and Adam got along really well I guess it was the beard connection. I had some scruff but I think they scoffed at it.
Adam explained the course to us as I sipped on a local brew. He said the first half from the top of Mt. Pisgah to the Folk Art Center, mile 34, was essentially all down hill and easy. Usually took him about 6 to 6:30 minutes to get there. The 2nd half was to be night a day of the first part, with over 10,000 feet of climbing! He said the run got harder and harder as it went on. The last 20 miles were the hardest.
I personally really like races that get harder because most races get easier. Screw that I want Everest at the end of it!
We were going to have to run 67 miles and so we needed a lot of food! TO THE BI LO WE WENT!
Eric, a real deal vegan, was getting sick watching me shop. For dinner I picked up a half opened mac n cheese bowl, some nasty Bi Lo chicken fingers, and pork rinds. Bi Lo is the local grocery store where everyone is a star in case you didn’t know.
My race food for the drop points included pork rinds(hey it was buy 1 get 1 free), chicken noodle soup, a bunch of lance peanut butter crackers, 10 bags of Gu chomps, RAMP!!!!(a mountain dew knock off) and some chips.
I put everything into ziplock bags when we got back to Adams.
Ill cut to the chase. Everything was ready. We all got in our separate cars and followed Adam to the Folk Art Center, the “half way point”. Here we dropped our cars, to be used later as an aid station.
We now loaded into two cars and headed up to the top of Mt. Pisgah. We stopped at 5 different points where the trail crossed the road. We dropped our aid bags off.
It was funny to see actually. Eric and I were in the back of a van with 4 others jammed in with us. I had a ski mask on and it was about 1130 at night. I felt like we were going trick or treatin’ or about to commit a heist. Either way Eric and I looked at each other nervously. Eric had never run this far before. Neither of us really had any idea of where we were or where we were going. We just knew we followed the white dot blazes on the side of trees.
After all the aid drops and winding around mountain roads for 30 minutes we reached our destination. A parking lot 1 mile or so from the top of Pisgah. As if 67 official miles wasn’t enough you have to hike to the summit of Pisgah and down from the summit of Mitchell. These “bonus” miles aren’t included in the 67 miles.
With the cold wind howling we hiked to the summit with the first use of our head lamps. I had my Petzl MYO RXP head lamp. THANK GOD! A couple of the people had complained after about their head lamps not being bright enough or dying. The trail was rocky, steep, rooty and dangerous to say the least. If you couldn’t see it then it was 100 times worst.
We made our short 15 min hike to the summit of Pisgah. We got to the true top of the mountain which had a couple of steps that led up to a wooden perched overlook. There was a giant radio tower. A perfectly clear night you could see all the lights of Asheville below us. The moon was shining in the back drop of ridges around us. It lit up the ridges just enough to allow us to see what was around us.
Sorry that my Go Pro camera can’t really film at night.
With everyone on top of the wooden overlook Charles unveiled his mason jar of moonshine. We passed it around. It went down like NAILS! It made me howl at the moon. I looked at adam who had one bottle, some adidas 5k road flats on with no socks and a smile on his face. This guy was truly the real deal! He yelled,”Everyone ready?GOOOOOO!!!!” Before I had time to tie my shoes and throw all my stuff on I was running down a mountain waiting for the moonshine and beer to hit me.
This section back down to the parking lot was steep and didnt really have dirt. It was all sharp rocks that were the mountain itself. I followed on the heels of the 3 guys in front of me, Adam, Brad, and Mike. Adam up front and me in the rear. We hit the parking lot and I stopped to take off some clothes and tie my shoes. This was the last I ever saw of Adam and Brad. After hitting a long down hill I passed mike who then passed me again on a flat. I was really trying to pace myself and he looked like he was running a 10k.
After about 40 minutes Mike was gone. I was alone. It was dark with the moon as my only friend.
Every so often I would hear a car or truck a mile or so off in the distance. The trail really interwove itself around the blue ridge parkway. I remember about 3 hours or so that I felt really alone and scared. It was creepy. I came across some erie signs, that would be completely normal during the day. You can see these in the video. I remember seeing a sign that said “EXPERIMENTAL FORREST”. As I passed this sign the trail lead through a thick rhododendron forest. The trees engulfed the trail. It was like running through a thicket with a path cut out. The tunnel of Rhododendrons ended finally and the air turned cold not just cool but a frigid lonely air with the smell of death on it. I got chills down my spine. I began hearing things. I stopped a couple of times and killed my head lamp. I realized just how alone I was.
Sleep deprivation was taking its toll on my body and mind. I began walking a lot here. The trail opened up into a ATV double track. I was wondering when Eric would catch up to me. Later I would find out he was battling demons of his own. I need a morale booster. The darkness of night and un forgiving technical trail wasn’t giving me a break. My legs hurt. And I was only about 5 hours into the race.
Shortly after this desperation I came to a road crossing which led me over a bridge. I stopped on the bridge and sat down. I looked up at the moon as if it would give me some sort of solace. It gave me nothing. I got up to walk down to the trail, when a car pulled up along side of me. It really scared me. It was like 4 something in the morning and I had no idea where I was. Then this car pulls up next to me. I was thinking of what I would do. Run if I had to…..into the woods. Before I could decide what to do a voice called out,”Son what are you doing?” I looked up and it was a Buncombe country police officer.
Relieved I replied,”How’s it going sir? Sorry I am in the middle of a night hike/run from the top of Mt. Pisgah to the top of Mt. Mitchell with some of my friends.” Puzzled and still on his guard the man looked me up and down. I then added,” I am on my way to the Folk Art Center its the half way point. I promised I am not doing anything sketchy. Thank you for checking on me it’s kind of scary on these trails at night.” The man’s expressions didn’t really change. “Well you be careful out there.” He said as he sped off. I continued to walk down the shoulder of the road as the white trail blazes indicated. A car
was now coming towards me. It was the officer who had doubled back. He was most likely making sure I wasn’t doing something I wasn’t supposed to. I waved and pushed on. Muhahahah little did he know we had all been drinking moonshine!
As I grew nearer to day light my mind started playing more and more tricks on me. I had been up for close to 24 hours at this point. I would see a light on a house off the trail some 400 yards or so and think that it was another runner. Then I would stop and the light wouldn’t move. Then it would move. Really it was just me moving around the light making it appear that it had moved. I started to get in a vey bad mood. I was pissed off. I fell desolate, alone and angry. At this point I told myself that when I got back to the folk art center I would quit. I was done.
About 5 minutes later I slapped myself in the face and said, “What the fuck man you feel fine you are just tired. Power nap in the car and wait for Eric. Then go kick ass.” Speaking of Eric, I wondered where he was and why he hadn’t caught me. He’s a faster runner than me. I was worried about him. I thought he might have gotten hurt and it would be my fault for signing him up for this.
Finally I as the sun broke I saw a sign that said 2.5 miles to the Folk Art center. It seemed short but I was reenergized.
People talk a lot about the sun rising during a 100 mile race and them feeling really reenergized. I know the change from darkness to the light feels great but I was not instantly energized. It was more of a boost when I read the sign. I knew there was more RAMP (mountain dew knock off), food and a nap waiting.
I snaked around some trail and then went through a tunnel under a road. It chilled me to my soul. There was graffiti, broken bottles, used condoms and a stench I will not forget. Someone had been having some fun and or living down here. I sure hoped they weren’t there now!
After running quickly through the tunnel and making some noise, I proceeded over some rail road tracks and into a field. It was a sort of pasture. I saw a sign that said, “ WARNING ALL PETS ON LEASHES!” This seemed odd. It was still dark here and I shined my light around to see a couple
I finally crossed a road where I saw a sign that pointed to the turn in for the Folk Art Center.
I WAS THERE! 7 hours 10 mins from the top of Pisgah to the Folk Art Center, 34 ish miles. I came out of a small trail head and saw my car. It looked GLORIOUS in the rising sun. I opened my door, chugged an Ensure(old man juice) and passed out. I was dead to the world.
Next thing I know is I heard a couple of bangs on my window. I open my eyes to see butt cheeks pressed up against my window 6 inches from my face. It was Eric. Now anyones normal reaction would be to jump back. I however just cursed and rolled over saying,”NOT AGIAN…NOT AGAIN!”
It woke me up. I actually felt revived after the 20 minute or so power nap. I had now slept 20 minutes in the last 24 hours. Eric hadn’t slept at all for the last 30 hours. We talked about how shitty of a time we had during the night. Eric’s head lamp had crapped out. So he couldn’t do fast or he’d bust his ass.
We chugged some more RAMP! and got on the trail. 12 hours to finish 33 miles. Easy enough…. Or not? As soon as we started on the trail on the far side of the parking lot I was greeted with my first real climb. A short climb of maybe 100 ft, but still harder than anything yet. This second section was to boast over 10,000 ft of climbing in 33 miles.
The first 4 or 5 miles were very nice. The early morning sun shone through the trees. The light light up the incredible array of colors the leaves had started turning. Every color was accounted for and then some. Beautiful rolling but steep hills. We encountered several day hikers on this section. It was nice to see other people, as sketchy as they looked, because it reminded me I wasn’t alone in the woods. The previous night I had felt entirely alone. Eric and I shot the shit and laughed about me wearing a ski mask. I WAS COLD AND IT WAS ALL I HAD OK!?!
We now came to the Blue Ridge Parkway yet again. We crossed over the the rolling hills stopped. We began to climb. This was to be our first real climb. We climbed gently for about 20 minutes. We climbed on the side of the mountain never making it to the top. A couple of times the trail opened up down to our right for some jaw dropping views of a valley with mountains on the other side. We could see where we had come from but not where we had to go. We knew it would be up from here.
We came to our first water drop after the Folk Art Center. There was water, Gatorade and Coke. I had gotten confused with what Adam, the RD, had said. I thought there was going to be food at these stops along the 2nd half but it was only that there would be Powerade and coke. I had brought A LOT of food with me for the first half and I now had a big ziplock of junk with me. I looked like a moron, which I frequently do while running.
We topped up the bottles and headed off. I knew it was about 5-6 miles between water drops.
We started on what would be a good hour and a half climb. Nothing really steep just slow. We ran a couple of sections but I led the two of us and made sure we walked this. As we passed hiker after hiker we finally came to the top of a peak. As was normal for us, we stopped and took a bunch of photos and video.
This peak was above pretty much everything around us. We could see where the trail would lead us, along a ridge. We looked along the ridge. It was like a roller coaster. A roller coaster from hell is what it was. About 45 miles into this bad boy too. We would go up 150 feet down 100 feet up 75 down 100. just up and down. That I could handle but it was so rocky and so covered with leaves that it was mainly not runnable. I couldn’t get any rhythm like a nerdy white guy trying to dance. It was frustrating and Eric and I could be heard cursing. It helped to have another person to let out my emotions to. We both kept saying ok were going down but theres another peak so were going to have to go back up. Down to go up ughhh.
I was getting worried because I had just run out of water and God knows how long we’d be on this ridge. Time was at a crawl at this point. I did not feel too bad but I knew I needed water and I had no idea how long it would take to get it. It was getting hotter. It was about 12 or 1 pm at this point and we had been going for over 12 hours. The cold night had turned into a hot day.
There was no course map, I had no idea where we were and no idea how far it was until water.
I was starting to get cotton mouth and just at that moment we came across about 8 hikers with a dog. Eric and I looked half dead and half crazy I am sure. I said “How’s it going party people?” They laughed and replied “ You guys must be part of that crazy race.” “YES, unfortunately,” Eric hollered.
I then smelled a familiar smell. Coming from the rear of their group. Something inviting yet un inviting. It was the smell of woodstock, jimi hendrix, the 60s. It was mary jane. “Smells good back there boys,” I mumbled as I smiled big. One of the guys with sunglasses on (obviously because his “medicine” made his eyes sensitive to the sun.) stared at me with a smile. His buddy uttered,”Want a toke bro?” I haven’t smoked weed in years but I really had to think hard. I was hurting tired and out of it. What could it hurt? Eric pushed me forward and made the decision for me. “He’s already got cotton mouth. He’s good.” The last thing they told us was that it wasn’t far to the road.
Well about 15 minutes later we go to the road that wasn’t so “far” away. We looked for the water drop. Adam and his counter parts had gone the day before and dropped water etc on the trail just before the road crossings for our aid. We popped out of the trail onto the road…No water. Eric and I figured it was on the other side. We crossed the road busy with the fall leaf watchers. We reenter the trail. NO WATER. I was beyond thirsty! My stomach, mouth and head craved water. We were 50 or so miles in and I was VERY dehydrated. It had been over an hour since I last had water. I was now in the danger zone. I looked at Eric. ”Shit man, I didn’t see anything. It must be further up the trail,” he assured me.
I put my head down and grit it out.
Of course we had a nice climb a head of us. And it was hot. The sun beat down and beat me down. Granted it was only high 70s. Forever was an understatement. Time stopped. The sun slowly flickered through the trees like an old highlight reel. I was steadily going insane with dehydration. Like a man strapped to the floor with a drip of water hitting his forehead every couple of seconds.
I began to hear things that weren’t there. “What’d you say man?” I kept asking Eric. He hadn’t said a word.
I spotted the oasis! I sprinted zig zagging down the trail to the water jugs. I must have chugged a half gallon of water. I filled one bottle with Powerade and one with water and then downed more water. Recipe for a cramp but I didn’t care I hadn’t drank for a good hour and half.
As soon as we got there we left. I made sure that we started walking forward as oppose to sitting there and wasting time. The last 3 hours had boasted some of the most beautiful and fun trails I have run.
We were around mile 52 or so according to Eric’s Garmin. I remembered Adam saying the last 20 miles was the hardest. The trail had gotten noticeably harder. More up and down, more rocks and more roots.
The next thing I recall was coming to a couple of scenic overlooks. The trail would come right through the parking area. It was kind of cool to see people coming and stopping at the overlooks. They looked at me, with no shirt on running, like I was crazy. Little did they know….I was.
We came to one overlook where a lot of people came up on the trail. There was a good hundred people hiking up a few 100 feet to the top of the mountain, which ever mountain it was. The trail was nice and wide and runnable. Eric and I ran this section. I couldn’t be walking if other people were around. It was a pride thing.
The trail led to the summit of a mountain where there was an epic view. From this view I got the first glimpse of Mt. Mitchell. I saw some TV towers on the hump of Mitchell. We had about 15 or so miles to go. I smelled blood. I yelled to Eric,”ITS MITCHELL, LETS GET THIS BITCH!”
Eric looked down at his Garmin. He knew damn well that we still had miles to go.
I remember the section off the top of this mountain as the rockiest section yet. Sharp rocks and no dirt. Just running on top of rocks. Any step could be your last with a pretty substantial drop off to the left.
In the video you can see me sitting down and talking about how we have been going for 14 and a half hours. We sat down and took a break. Eric was feeling better than myself. I reached in my bag and realized that I was 2 GU CHOMPS away from being out of food completely. AHHHHHHH!!!
I was freaking out. First the water and now this. What could go wrong was going wrong.
The trail was such slow going that it was taking hours longer than we had expected. Thus I did not have the amount of food I needed. I was out of pork rinds and chicken noodle soup.
I sat for this 2 minute stretch and got to listen to the sound of the woods. It got me thinking
The forrest offers such an escape from real life. It offers views, sounds and experiences unlike anything else. But to get these you have to just sit and listen.
We pressed on and came to a lonely winding mountain road. It was freshly paved and devoid of all potholes and repairs. It lead us up to the Graybeard Mountain overlook. I knew what had to be done. I had to live up to the name of Run Bum. As Eric took some photos of the sick view, I walked from car to car in the parking lot asking for food. “Hi, I am sorry to bother you but…. My friend and I are in the middle of a 67 mile trail run from the top of Mt. Pisgah to the top of Mt. Mitchell and I have run out of food. Is there any way you guys could spare any food? I promise I am not sketchy. LOOK! I have a camera. If not then I completely understand.” I propositioned my fellow travelers in the parking lot. I had a lot of people shut me down before I even asked them. Eric said I should put the ski mask on and ask them again like,”GIVE SOME FOOD DAMMIT OR THE BABY GETS IT!” Of course I didn’t actually do that.
I had one lady give me a bag of half eaten cookies. Well I mean she opened them and ate half of them.
I came to the car of 4 people eating lunch. I hated this. I was asking them for food as they were enjoying lunch with a view. I had to ask though. It was me sucking it up and asking or not finishing.
I asked for what they could spare with a hint of shame in my voice. The guy kind of looked down and sighed at his food. He handed me a large bag of JALEPENO CHIPS. Upon handing them to me he grabbed one last handful. I was so thankful! “THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!” Before I could finish, his wife or girlfriend in the passenger seat handed me a paper napkin. In the paper napkin was 3 big chunks of fried potatoes. They dwarfed any french fry one could put next to it. Also included was a “pig in a blanket”, a small hotdog wrapped in buttery bread. MMMMMMM.
I thanked them many many times over. Eric was just in the corner laughing. “You know man you really are “The Run Bum.”
As this point I jumped back in front and really started pushing hard. Running more and walking less. I was going for broke. I felt like we were getting close. Every couple of minutes I would piss Eric off and ask him how far we had to go according to his Garmin. It wasnt getting any closer but I was becoming obsessed with time. We managed some 9 min miles. Which sounds slow. Being about 55-57 miles into a run and considering the up and down terrain, it was fast. After about 45 minutes of this, while I downed jalepeno chips to my stomach’s dismay, we hit a wall. It was just after the next water drop. I knew we were growing close to Mitchell. I could feel it.
We downed some Mountain Dew and crossed a road. I could see it was straight up. The last hour of increased pace had taken its toll on me. I was beat up and out of energy. I had consumed the potatoes and pig in a blanket. I now had a death grip on the chips, which Eric and I shared.
As we crossed the Parkway I saw the people who had giving me the food just 45 minutes or so before.
I smiled and waved. I am sure they were thinking that I was following them.
We reentered the woods. I looked down on the trail and found a ziplock bag of some cookies. Someone with our run had left them. I picked up the bag and downed a cookie faster than you can say “sasquatch is real.” Now it was the climb! ughhhh
Eric, sensing my weakness, takes the lead. Thank god! I was a cow being lead to slaughter. This climb was a bitch! It was destroying me. Eric was killing the pace and I just wanted to sit. I knew I couldn’t though. So many switch backs it was making us dizzy. Eric said, “I never want to see a switch back again.” Just as he utter this the switch back ceased and the trail began straight up. “I hate you,” I groaned. “This is your fault.”Then we both laughed with a evil yet pathetic laughter.
The trees got denser and denser. The forrest was closing us in. Sealing us in its belly. At this point there were a lot of downed trees in the middle of the trail. Hemlocks as Adam later told me. This made the going slower than slow.
Finally after 20 or 30 minutes of climbing we were on top. I felt like death. I was now out of food yet again. I was sluggish and staggering on the trail. I begged Eric to let me sit. He obliged. But as soon as my butt hit the rock I was to sit on I popped up. “NON STOP FORWARD PROGRESS!” I shouted. I kept on. The trees would open up every so often. I saw Mitchell one mountain over. DAMMIT WE WERE CLOSE!
I wanted this bad. We started to talk about where we were. We had to be close to mile 60 or so. It was getting late. Eric had been saying the last 4 hours that we would be finishing in the dark. I argued no way. Now it was appearing as though he would be right. It was about 5pm at this point.
The ridge running we were now doing really reminded me of British Columbia trail running. It was like I had died and woke up running in North Vancouver. If I hadn’t felt like such shit I would have been in heaven.
The ridge let up and we started down again. This was THE CRAZIEST GNARLIEST down hill i’ve ever run. It was all giant boulders. It never let up. This was not a down hill run but a scramble for your life. Being a fast downhiller, I still struggled a lot. The trail wasn’t so obvious here. I kept asking myself,”Does the trail seriously go down this?” The answer was of course it did!
Finally we say what we came to see, Potato Rock. Mile 60 officially. We took a lot of photos and videos here. It was SCHWEET!
Now back down the trail. The boulders would not let up! We battled them to the end.
Just then I came across a family. A mom, dad and 6 yr old boy. They were hiking. It was an awesome site to see a little kid out here powering down the trail. My steps were 8 of his yet he was motoring over the rocks with a smile on his face. I stopped to talk to the family. They told me it was less than a mile to the road to Mitchell. Well I knew we still had a good 7 miles of hard unforgiving trail before us.
Just then Eric came up and asked,”Is this the right way to Clingman’s dome?” We all laughed. Clingman’s dome was a good 100+ miles in the other direction. Silly man!
As it never ALWAYS gets worst, the rocks let up. We had some nice switch backs down to the road. Wild turkeys scared us a couple of times.
At the road we found water and gatorade. As I was out of water and we had maybe 6 miles to go I filled up with all Powerade. SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR aka calories.
We crossed the road where we saw a sign that said Mt. Mitchell Visitor’s center 2 miles, up the road.
We hit an intersection. A small trail that we had been on to the right, away from Mitchell and a wide open horse trail to the left. Adam had said something about this some 24 hours before. We had forgotten what he said. Everything was a haze. We took the horse trail. It was basically 100% flat. I was relieved. A time for a natural stride. This was to be the most non stop running we had done on the course so far.
We struggled to hold an 11 min mile pace. The trail was flat and thus held a lot of water and mud. My feet were soaked. After trying to avoid 1 puddle I said screw it and just ran though it.
The trail kept winding around and winding around and I really wondered if this was the right path. I then remembered the elevation profile I had been shown at Adam’s house. There was exactly 4 flat miles before the final climb to the summit of Mitchell.
I had downed both of my bottles by now and was out of food and water. It was growing darker and darker. The sun was setting over the mountains behind us. Eric and I were cursing. Our fun talks and jokes had stopped. It was now quiet. We grunted it out. We saw a road and both agreed that it was getting to dark. It was 7pm and the sky was painted orange with the sunset. We figured we would go to the road and flag down a ride.
Then we came to a T intersection. We saw markers for the Mountains to Sea trail going to the left up the mountain. I said come on man lets go! As soon as we stepped on to this trail the wind howled in our faces. It blew me back one step. It was cold and pierced me.
Eric didn’t have the clothes I had. I stopped to put my layers back on. He flew up the trail driven to get warmer.He was a good minute in front of me.
We were now climbing up the mountain on a wide gravel road. I came to a sign on my right. It showed a map of the Mt. Mitchell trails. A small trail led from there upwards. The sign showed it was 1.5 miles to the top or 1.5 miles up this gravel road to the ranger post and the road. The 1.5 miles up the mountain and then down another 1 to the parking lot. I did not have a head lamp any more, I was out of food and I was freezing!
Eric had already made the decision for us he continued up the gravel road to safety. He was sprinting up stuff we had been walking before. I struggled to keep up. I was out of gas.
When the gas tank is empty you light the tank on fire. I had burnt the tank for fuel long ago.
After a good 5 to 10 minutes of hard running up this mountain we hit the ranger station. Eric was freezing and my stomach was starving.
I told him to get out of the wind, which we later found out was 40 mph gusts and 20 degree wind chills. We were simply not prepared for this, not even close.
Eric found the bathroom was unlocked. And went inside. I tried to flag down some cars.
All the cars kept going without slowing down. I felt helpless.
One family stopped but said they didn’t have room when asked for a ride to the Folk Art Center.
Finally a girl stopped. She rolled her window down and asked if we were the 2 hikers they were looking for. We were late and I guess they had started a search. She said she was going to go get the ranger. She sped off while we waited in the bathroom for the ranger. It was funny two guys huddling in the bathroom to stay warm. I drank a lot of the sink water. I needed food though.
The answer is NO we didn’t cuddle for warmth. Really only because we couldn’t agree who was little spoon.
The ranger opened the down me sitting on the floor. “Hello, Gentleman. Are you ok? This isn’t them we are looking for a man and woman.” “Were fine just cold. And need to figure out how to get back to the Folk Art Center.” “CHARLES AND PSYCHE!” Eric and I blurted simultaneously. The ranger said that our friends were just around the corner and he would go get them and they could take us home.
Relieved, yet worried for Charles and Psyche, we waited in the bathroom. I heard laughter coming from outside the bathroom and then the door opened. It ws dark outside now. A porch light lit up a familiar face. It was Charles. He had a big grin on his face. “BOY ARE WE GLAD TO SEE YOU GUYS!” “We’re ok just cold and hungry,” I replied.
We followed him to the car where Psyche was waiting. I can not tell you how many times we told them how thankful we were.
We headed down the mountain as the ranger closed the park gates behind us.
All I could think about was we went 67 miles but didn’t get to the summit. My legs felt ok I could have kept going. I just didnt have the right gear, enough food or a head lamp. I was ill prepared. I had no idea that the 2nd half would be such slow going. It was frustrating. It was eating away at me.
Eric and I both know we made the right decision. It wasn’t worth getting hypothermia and or dying.
I don’t look at it as us DNFing but really as getting pulled from the course. As it wasn’t a race and just a fun run. I try to tell myself it’s ok but really it still bothers me to this day. I have un finished business with PITCHELL.
The Pitchell remains hands down the hardest run I have EVER done in North America. I dare you to try it!
Adam and Brad ended up finishing. Adam finished in 15 hrs and 33 mins I believe!!!!!!! ADAM IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING RUNNERS I HAVE EVER MET. He is also a funny guy and a great singer.
HUGE THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING
ADAM HILL and his friend and family who made the run happen.
Charles and Psyche for telling me about the run as well as bailing us out at the end.
Eric for keeping me in good spirits the whole time and carrying my along the last bit.
La Sportiva for making a great shoe, the X country. I never slipped or fell. Except for one time I was being an idiot jumping off a wet log haha.
Petzl for making the MYO RXP. This head lamp allowed me to kill the technical night sections without falling.
Mix 1 Protein Smoothies. My post race recovery drink that allowed me to go run a 19:01 5k on a very hilly course the next day on 4 hrs of sleep and 67 miles the day before.
THANKS TO EVERYONE ELSE FOR READING AND FOLLOWING RUN BUM!
UNTIL THE NEXT RUN…….
now enjoy this video