Stay on Orange-The Reverse Ring Report
After I completed The Ring in September, people first said congratulations and then that I was now eligible to run the Reverse Ring (the OTHER way on the Massanutten Trail) I of course said, sure, sign me up.
Since I am committed to running the Massanutten Trail 100, it was a no brainer to get some suffering and a very long run in as training for the race.
For the uninitiated, The Ring is a circuit of the entire 71-mile orange-blazed Massanutten Trail in the George Washington National Forest, on the ridgelines of the eastern and western ranges of the Massanutten Mountains around the Fort Valley, roughly between Front Royal and Luray.
Eighteen (?) runners lined up on a mild February morning. First stop, the climb to Signal Knob.
Now, Signal Knob, last fall, after 65+ miles of running, just about sucked my will to live. In fact, when I think of the Ring, Signal Knob kind of overshadows many other details of the run because it sucked so badly.
It was amazing to hit this section, fresh in the morning.
There is a long downhill off Signal Knob, then some tedious dirt/gravel road pounding until you reach Powell’s Fort. On the road section is where I took my biggest spill! All of a sudden, I was hitting dirt, on my elbow and side, water bottles flying ten feet down the road. I get up, a little shaken, and can’t even figure out what I could have tripped on this road!
First Aid Station was at Woodstock Towers, where Sniper informed me that Bill W. was just a few minutes ahead. I set out to see if I can catch up with Bill. The section through here is rather annoying. You are picking your way through the rocks on the ridgeline, then suddenly you are heading down…just to run and go back up again. I vaguely think I am on Short Mountain.
Next aid was at Edinburg Gap, where the famous Pesta corn chowder is offered. The gang informs me it’s 8 miles to Moreland, but runs more like 9 miles. It’s a beautiful day out there. The weather is mild, I’m just picking my way through the rocks, aware of the 330 pm cut off time. I get to Moreland Gap around 309 pm, okay to continue on to Camp Roosevelt. Quatro has told us there is aid at Crisman Hollow, that Eva and Cathy hiked in for us.
I get to Crisman Hollow Road around 530pm, thank Eva and Cathy, congratulate Eva on her TWOT finish, and take off to experience Waterfall Mountain-going downhill this time. I timed it-5 minutes. I think it took me 30 minutes to ascend it during the Ring.
I catch up with Bill and Bill here, and pass them. Darkness is fast approaching, and I want to get as much dirt (and rocks) covered as possible. I am feeling good through here, and there is a lot of downhill (or so it seemed.) This is where the beginning of my calorie deficit began, however. I have started using maltodextrin as my calorie supply. The Reverse Ring was my first good experimentation with planning with it. Consequently, I used up my malto in the 15 miles between Moreland Gap and Camp Roo. I did have other calories with me-gels, jelly beans, but I wasn’t consuming calories as steadily as I had been with the malto.
Camp Roosevelt is a welcome sight at 830 pm. Ernesto is getting ready to head out, but I need to get my gear together. I tell him to go on ahead and I will try to catch up.
I had a disorganized stop here. I spent too much time stuffing items into pockets of the jacket I was picking up-that should have already been packed. I was trying to both eat and change clothes at the same time. I should have sat down, got the calories in, and then packed up gear. Quatro was very helpful here, bringing me items, and some unexpected shrimp/sausage gumbo provided by Bur.