Monday, September 28, 2009

Marland AT-Check!

First off i'll say the trip was a success, but not without a few issues. I'm breaking up the stories into 3rds not including the drive up and back.

I didn't know EXACTLY where i was going, because i somehow forgot to get directions to the drop-off and pick-up point. And with my wife following us in her car it makes it bit more stressful doing multiple u-turns in the middle of nowhere. Regardless we made it to Harper's Ferry to drop off Erich's car which we were hiking to, but it just happened to take about a hour and a half longer than it needed to.

1st third (15-16 miles):
We reached the trail head at the Pen-Mar border right at 11. We packed everything up and left a few unnecessary items and then left. We started 2 hours late which turned out to be a good thing. The first third of the trip was in total darkness and went really well except for going off trail a solid 10 times. That section of the AT isn't marked well and it was dark, so no surprises. The first casualty occurred towards the end of this portion when somehow my pack came unzipped and a few things fell out including food, fire kit, and the water filter. The food we found and after double checking we found the fire kit, and checked again, but hours later i realized the water pump was not in my pack. So someone now has a brand new Katadyn Water Filter Pump. bummer...

Around 5am i finally got wicked tired and Erich took over the lead. We were aiming for halfway at sunrise but we found some cliffs which we thought faced east and decided it would be nice to watch the sunrise and take a break. We stopped around 6:45 and completed nearly 16 miles and the next 4-5 miles were flat/slightly downhill. So far so good. We took a quick power nap, rubbed our feet, watched as the sky became lighter (there were clouds, so no sun).2nd third (15 miles):
This section started off terribly. I preface the next little bit with-we were sleep deprived.

So, getting started, we reconnected with the AT from our lookout and started to hike. Thinking that the city in the distance was Fredrick and that we watched the sunrise from the east, it seemed that we were hiking the wrong direction (North). I got Erich to hike back to the cliffs and we pondered how this could be. It would take too long to detail everything out and just how confused we were, but finally we looked and Erich's compass (for the 2nd time) and it said "west", which according to the map would be correct.
The whole "sunrise" happened behind us, being that we were facing west and "Fredrick" happened to be Hagerstown. Bummer. To further illustrate our sleep depravity, Erich trusted me over his GPS compass, which he had checked earlier before we got terribly confused.

It was a nice afternoon, speckled with brief showers that never were intense enough or long enough to get out the gortex until about mile 28 when the rain came down hard and was not showing signs of relenting like previous spurts. This continued the rest of the trip. Not too much else to say except every step hurt like hell until my feet finally went numb.

Before the rain had started we were starting to really feel the effects of the trip, the lack of sleep, and the mundane section of the AT.

3rd...third (14 miles):
I only have one picture from this section and it was immediately as we were starting.
It was raining and raining hard the rest of the trip, so the camera stayed put inside the dry pack of mine. Plus, at this point we were too exhausted to think about being jovial. Most sentences were littered with expletives and phrases like "shut up" and "i don't care" or "you're hallucinating".

In between the 2nd and 3rd sections, we took another power nap exactly where Erich is standing in that picture.

Walking was immensely painful and at this point in the trip there was no pep in our step, i remember saying "we are moving slow" and not being able to lift the pace.

The last sections of the hike was as follows- 4 humpty-humps (not big enough to be hills/climbs, but a noticeable elevation change), a 2 mile descent characterized by terribly awkward switchbacks, 3 miles along the river on the C&O Canal, and finally 2 miles of an incredible steep climb back to the car. We blazed up to the descent and then Erich cracked hard and the descent did him in. We hit the Canal road right at dark and made it to the car nearly 2 hours later. Finally arriving at 830 at the 7-11 we parked at.

Drive Home:
Long and characterized by me saying "are you ok to drive?" and passing out as i was saying i should drive.

45+ miles-21 hours-1 Katadyn Water Pump
The trail was easily the worst and most boring section of AT i've done. I'm glad to have knocked it out quickly. The ridge was littered with large rocks, making walking a tricky mess in the dark, rain, and through exhaustion.

I'm looking forward to more but not all at once.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Hike

About 2 years ago i thought it would be a great idea to hike the Maryland section of the AT in 24 hours or less. I've heard of people trail running it, but due to my inability not to get injured running long distances (10+ miles) that option was excluded. So taking on a slower pace seemed reasonable and possible if i didn't mind hiking 8 or 9 hours through the dark.

This trip, i believe, will put me and my hiking buddy at about the same "completed" portions of the AT. I'd like to finish it sometime in the next decade, but this past winter's trip fell through, hiking in the summer is not an option, I'm married, and work full time. So i take it small sections, when i can during the winter. I make exceptions during fall/spring. But winter hiking is where its at.

Last fall instead of hiking a large portion of the AT i did 9 or 10 peaks in the Daks. My wife allows 1 big trip a year. This year I'm trading the AT again for the Daks because they are so much more fun and the conditions (during the winter) are more harsh, which i enjoy. So now the Daks are cutting into my completion rate, but its whatever...I'm having fun.

Tonight-meet up with a friend.
hit up chipotle.
drop off car at end point.
get dropped off at trailhead.
hike south.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Warm-up Hike

I did a little warm-up hike with some friends this past weekend. The reason i say "warm-up" is because i have a very extensive trip this Saturday. We left my house a bit late on Saturday afternoon and got to the parking lot around 5-515. On the trail by around 530, which is really late considering the distance and daylight.

Long story short...we never made it to the peak. we had about 600 more ft to go but we could see it. The reason we stopped is because those last 600 ft is a rock scramble and we didn't want to descend that in the dark.

Brad and Erich (Erich just got back form Iraq this past week.)

I love hiking...
Proof that Alissa went! This is where we stopped. (cell phone pic)

You can see the top up ahead of us, unfortunately...
Side note-forgot the headlamps. which made descending kind of difficult.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cycling Barriers

this may ruin my next racing season...

A little while back my wife and i bought a xbox 360. It is my first video game system ever. I still loathe video games (partially because they are addicting). I grew up not allowed to have video game systems. So when i purchased one, i played it non stop for 4 days...literally staying up till 4 am the first night. My wife was in Alabama visiting a friend and i was on a 2 week rest period from the bike, so i gorged on wasting time (and food and beer).

Since then, its slightly effected my motivation for cycling...go ride for a couple hours or go home and play Call of Duty? My inner self-hatred tells me most of the time i'm fat and slow, so i'll usually go ride, but still, its one more barricade to overcome, specially since we are approaching the cold hard winter. Which by the way, yesterday was miserable...low 60's in the mist/rain. Fenders help immensely. Dirt roads in rain = not a great idea...i kept reminding myself "i'm not in Paris-Roubaix, slow down, wrecking sucks".

Hopefully i dont have to permantly sell anything.

Oh, the reason we bought the xbox is
1.i love call of duty
2.wife loves the ever annoying Rock Band/Guitar Hero
3.Netflix streaming!

time to watch a doper win the vuelta...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

more of the same

more cold(er), more rain.

i've lost a bunch of weight over the last week or two, 5-7lbs of real weight (opposed to water weight). wasn't too hard. swap veggies and fruit for...pretty much everything. remain healthy and not too terribly hungry.

This next season i'd rather break the stereotype of a fat crit racer. I'm planning on honing in on as many road races as possible specifically the ones i skipped like Lost River and Page Valley. Poolesville, which was one of my favorites, will be the main goal i think of next season along with Fawn Grove Roubaix. I like Fawn Grove's course...short punchy climbs, a few gravel roads, "peleton" shattered through attrition. This year i'll have teammates to help me in poolesville though. No more- chasing a breakaway for 20 miles solo...between dragging the pack and being way off the front.

Also, Caps 1st preseason game is tonight against the Buffalo Sabers. GO CAPS!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

!!! w/pics

Went to see !!! (or Chik Chik Chik) to dance for a while. awesome show, but not quite as fun as LCD Soundsystem.

i hate "posing" for pics, but the wife doesn't mind.close to matching shirts and green tea bottles (w/out green tea in it)
Dave in typical form.
Warming up before the show.
Funny-Darryl=drunk Me=not. looks are deceiving

The sistersZach and Darryl's plan to hook up with chicks...hand them a note. 1-0. good results so far.

"you seem cool. hit me up on facebook. ******"And the show hasn't even started yet. sweaty everyone is after dancing for a couple of hours

Monday, September 14, 2009

Every morning is painful

Literally every single day my boss is at work he listens to two annoying talk show hosts. I dont know the earlier one, but regardless they are both extremely irritating.

The "show" that's currently on now is the Glen Beck talk show. I've never loathed someone so much. If i didn't have headphones with Radiohead and Saul Williams on, i'd probably box my own ears just to numb the pain.

Glen Beck has hijacked Christianity and posed himself has the republican savior.

In other news one of my best friends is back from Iraq. He's coming over Thursday. Looks like screwdrivers all around. There will be one more missing liter bottle of vodka. shhh!

Friday, September 11, 2009

not again

Yes it is raining and in the 50's...given the high 50's, but regardless this isn't a good sign. I had planned on not riding today, so it works out well for me. I did plan on swimming and/or running to continue to try and get a bit more fit, but i flaked on swimming this morning and i'm pretty sure i wont go again. I hate chlorine that much. As for running, my legs are still kind of sore (hence the no the taint needs a break), so i'd rather not waste my legs running and ruin any upcoming good cycling days.

In other (cycling) news. Ryder Hesjedal is doing awesome. great season.

**UPDATE** what did i say about Hesjedal!? yes...amazing. a stage win a couple hours after i posted that...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So i'm officially a CAT 3. no email notification or anything. i randomly logged into my usacycling account and saw my new status.

I dont know what took so long. i sent probably 5 emails with the correct format and then submitted via website. Then i got denied because i didn't list everything on the usacycling submission, so sent ANOTHER email saying "i've sent 5 emails with what you asked for" blah blah blah. and still no response. only to randomly log on and see everything is finally done.

i know they have to deal with the entire MABRA region but sending a quick email saying "processing" or something at least acknowledging my email would be nice, not to mention easy.