The Spartan Race season in Eastern Canada ended last weekend so, after a much needed weekend off in the company of friends and a 12-pack of PBR, I’m starting to think “what now?”. As Krista’s away on Nanny duties next weekend, I’m planning to head down to New York State for a bit of hiking. I’ve wanted to try and do the Great Range Traverse in a day for a while, so this seems like a good opportunity. Backpacker Magazine ranked it #3 in their “America’s Hardest Dayhikes” article back in 2005.
3. Great Range Traverse
Score: 90 Miles: 25 Elevation Change: 17,600 feet X Factor: Endless ups and downs
There’s no small irony in the fact that New York’s tallest peak is merely the last challenge on this classic loop-and far from the toughest. The route scales nine peaks, including six 4,000-footers and the aforementioned 5,344-foot Mt. Marcy. But numerous cols and false summits, plus heinously eroded trail beds, wear you down physically and psychologically. From Keene Valley, the murderer’s row of peaks includes Rooster Comb, Hedgehog, Lower Wolf Jaw, Upper Wolf Jaw, Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Haystack, and Marcy, from which you descend the Phelps Trail. Gut-check moments include a half-mile of teetering above a 700-foot drop on a knife-edge between the Wolf Jaws – inevitably followed by a steep climb – and the southeast face of Gothics, a scary-steep, exposed descent over open slab rock. (The face used to have cables to aid hikers, but, fittingly, they’ve been removed.) There are long stretches of scrambling and ladder-climbing, and you’ll need to carry enough water for the day.
I figure after two Spartan Beast races in two weekends, it can’t be that hard. The fastest known time for the entire route is just under 6 hours. I know I won’t get anywhere near that, but I’m hoping I can get it done in about 10 hours.
A guy I met at the Spartan Beast race in Ottawa (a very nice guy called Adam Kwitko) produced a video race report for Get Out There Magazine, with a bit of help from Krista’s coach Solo. I even got to help out with the filming duties. Well, I held the camera while they did the bit on the Premium Rig obstacle at the start of the video. Here’s the full video. I think it gives a pretty good flavour of the types of challenges we faced.
The Eastern Canada Spartan Race circuit continues. Three consecutive weekends of running races and here we were, 650km away from home preparing for a Spartan Super Obstacle Race. The Spartan Race website indicates the following:
Spartan Super – 13+ kilometers & 21 obstacles.
What did we get? 15 kilometers, approx. 28 obstacles, 1,200 feet in elevation gain/loss and extremely muddy/steep terrain. I found this to be the most frustrating, challenging, beautiful and rewarding course to date. Every step taken there was a slip. The mud was never ending and tiring and it challenged both of us. Eastern Canada Spartan Races continue to improve their obstacles and increase difficulty in both terrain and distance. This makes the giant and I both nervous.
Washed up and back in Toronto tending to bruises and cuts. The race circuit continues with the Toronto Spartan Beast coming up in two weeks time. Aroo!
Eastern Canada Spartan Season Pass purchased in fall of last year and here we are. We had a good run of Spartan Races last year spanning from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
This year we are staying local (mostly) and hitting up the Eastern Canada circuit. Giant is going for his second trifecta this year (conquering the sprint, super and beast) and if all goes well to plan this will be my first. I managed several sprints and one super in 2012 and DNF (first ever) on the Beast course in Ottawa. 2012 brought us lessons in expectations (or how you shouldn’t expect anything), hydration, fuel and how finishing the course is never a given.
Time to crank up the Motley Crue and get the music pumping! Let’s bring in the 2013 race season with a fu*k yeh and AROO! Now gimme some mud!