Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Covered Bridge

"Run at Mohican. Meet at the Covered Bridge."

This was a Facebook post from Don Baun. Although I can't join in this weekend, for this run, it just stimulated my Mohican yearnings, and our runs from Mohican.

My first introduction to running at Mohican was via Regis Shivers. I was an ultra-newby. I had just stopped by his house, to meet him, and his friend Jerry, another Mohican veteran, when I got the invite: “We’re running Mohican tomorrow, wanta come along?"
Folks, I was just off my first ultra (50K) finish and IT-Band injury. My long run before the injury was 7 miles. Now I was planning on 13+ miles at Mohican! I happily joined up.

This was where I met Tanya Cady and Roy Heger, two very experienced ultra runners. This is where I was running with Regis, who kept falling with a lot of alarming regularity (it turned out to be new bifocals) on these beautiful trails. My most favorite memory is running on the Orange Loop (the mountain bike trail) above the campground, thinking "oh there is no way I could run this at night" --which is now, such a happy memory, whenever I run this section at night.
On the same "Orange Loop" (mountain bike) section I've remarked to Cheryl Splain on numerous occasions, we must hit and activate the secret "biker sounds" on this section. I cannot ever remember running this section, without hearing a Harley cycle down on the road. Spring, summer, fall, winter, I seem to always hear a Harley through here.

The Covered Bridge is where we stage many training runs out of. It's usually a simple post on the Yahoo! Mohican Page: Hey, running at Mo, run the Orange/Purple/Red-Green Sections, meet at the CB at 8 am...

Experienced and late arriving runners can figure out where we are, and meet up. The Covered Bridge is the little Star of the previous Mohican 100 race Courses. Meeting at the CB means you can cover as little as 4 miles, and run as many as 50+ miles, meeting back up at your vehicle for refueling.

The Covered Bridge, and the little hike to Lyons Falls, is a big tourist attraction. There is limited space at the CB for parking, and I'm sure sometimes us runners hogged it all.
In 2008, a person found out what it meant for the "no parking" sign. I finished a Red/Green Mohican loop, to find branches covering the entrance back up to the park. A tree fell, right on a car in the "NO PARKING" zone. I guess the Park meant it about the no parking there! (It was not a runner!)

Many shivering pictures taken quickly in front of the bridge as the last late comer arrives, quickly snapped so we can head out on the trails. New runners to Mo arrives, are welcomed into the family. New friendships are built as folks find others with similar paces. No one gets left behind, because there are usually plenty of seasoned Mohican runners who can find shortcuts and trails-or not-to add or cut off miles.

Running at Mohican seems to be both preventative and curative medication for many a tired soul. There is something about the beauty of the pine groves, the single track through the woods; the water crossings are there to wash away our troubles. Even that last mile back to the Covered Bridge-whether it’s splashing through water filled trail next to the river, or the 12 bridges on the Hog Hollow Trail (Green Loop) is beautiful.

Even though it’s usually a huge relief to see that Covered Bridge again after covering 10/15/32 miles, it’s a bit sad to know that it’s almost time to leave.

The Covered Bridge always has “tourists” about. I, of course, do not consider myself a tourist. I’m a Mohican Runner. I go farther than 2 miles from the Covered Bridge-I-WE-stray far into the forests. Splash and wade through the water. Marvel at the ferns. Whine about the big climbs.

Soaking the legs in the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River, in the shadow of the Covered Bridge, has also become part of the tradition. But usually after the soak, it’s time to get the smelly runner body in the vehicle, to wait for the next email: “Run at Mohican. Meet at the Covered Bridge.”

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