After a week’s worth of Green outings, today I pedaled my bike the 24min over to the Cragmoor trailhead for a jaunt up what Joe likes to joke with me is the “Superior Summit”. (With Green being the “Weaker Peak”, of course, in Frogger parlance; all of this has to do with faux-snobbery and summit aesthetics. There is no doubt, Bear’s summit cone decisively trumps Green in height, unobstructed views and exposure. Green is simply closer to my doorstep and more consistently runnable).
After switching bike shoes for MT110s and stashing my helmet and shoes in the bushes I tested the running waters with an 18min very light jog up the broad graveled path that leads to North Shanahan, the Fern Slab and the posts at the mouth of Fern Canyon. Everything felt great (it seems hiking has eased me back into a modicum of cardiovascular fitness), but I exerted some discipline and immediately fell into a hike as I entered the canyon. Within minutes, however, Fern’s absurd grade and techy footing made my hunched over, hands-on-knees gait seem like the obvious (only) choice and I grunted and sweated my way to the summit, often even going so far as to reach out and use my hands for stability and power, four-wheeling my way up the peak.
Comparing my hiking times to my typical running times was interesting. Typically, when fit and healthy I’ll run from the mouth of Fern to the Nebelhorn Saddle in a mid-9 to low-10min split, gaining the actual summit in another 13-14min. Today, hiking every step, my Horn split was 10:50 and it took me another 13:25 to get to the top for a 42min total climb from Cragmoor. So, there seemed to be almost no benefit to running above the Horn and maybe a minute’s worth of benefit below there. I’ll be curious as to how these splits develop in the future as I continue to work the running back in.
In other news, I am on the cover of South Africa’s Go Trail online magazine this month, with a feature-length interview (pg 18) and some NB Trail Minimus commentary (pg 44) inside.