Thursday, March 6

Trail Flu

Dave works every other weekend.  So when I texted him that he should do the Sheltowee Endurance Hiking Challenge it didn’t surprise me that it’s scheduled for a weekend that he has to work.  Dave and I have this peculiar friendship.  Once in about ten years we manage to coordinate and go off on some wild adventure together, get in all kinds of trouble with our families, and lay low for another decade or so. 

The last time we trained up for a big mileage two day multi-pitch climbing trip to North Carolina, specifically Looking Glass and Linville Gorge, and our efforts paid off.  At Looking Glass we climbed The Nose (I looked longingly at Hyperbola, but shied away at the last minute), Second Coming, and Gemini Cracks (in the rain).  We also backed off Sundial Crack at the top of the second pitch.  Then pushing on to Linville we climbed The Prow, and The North Ridge of Table Rock.  That was a pretty big ticket for a single road trip.   

We drove back late after the day at Linville, and as our wives awaited our triumphant return we were busy getting on the interstate in the dark and driving 20 miles in the wrong direction before realizing our mistake.  I admit this to my shame. But enough of ancient history…

For me, it seems, 2014 could be the Year of Longsuffering.  There are now three scheduled endurance events on trails in the Daniel Boone National Forest.  Two are in the Red River Gorge.  First (chronologically) will be the Sheltowee Endurance Hiking Challenge (SEHC).  It’s a 72 mile, 36 hour backpacking challenge along he mid-section of the Trace.  Then the Rugged Red Trail Half Marathon (TRR) will take place in September.  And finally the Sheltowee Challenge 50k (SC50K) will hopefully be held again in October.

But that’s not all.  Oh no!  A comprehensive list of events I’ll be pining to do in 2014—the year I said I wouldn’t do any organized events—looks something like this:

April - Redbud Ride and Sheltowee Endurance Hiking Challenge

May - Mohican 100k

June - Preservation Pedal

September - Hub City Tour and The Rugged Red

October - Sheltowee Challenge 50k

That’s a total of 477 miles of organized fun.  And me the raging non-conformist.

I told Dave he should be *cough* *cough* sick that weekend.  He could tell his employers that I gave it to him.  Trail flu.  It’s worse than Cabin Fever.  More contagious.  Harder to shake.  He had all the symptoms and then some.

So you might ask what this latest scheme is.  On the STA forum Steve Barbour, aka Traildust, aka the head honcho of the Sheltowee Trace Association and trail guru extraordinaire, posted this blurb on February 10:

First here. Last Saturday in April - April 26

Start Time: 6 am on Saturday April 26
End Time: 6 pm on Sunday April 27

Sheltowee Endurance Challenge
72 Miles in 36 Hours
Start Point - Cumberland Falls State Park
End Point - Livingston Ky Trail Head on Rt 25

This is a backpacking event with multiple checkpoints that require participants to clear a check point by a set time or be eliminated from the course.

Considering my obsession with all things Sheltowee, and of all things long-distance endurance, I had mentally committed myself even before I finished reading the post.  I get myself in trouble by doing this because there are actually three other people in my family and sometimes they like to do things too.

I don’t know if I’ll do this, but it will be on my radar for 2015 for sure.  Assuming I knock out the Rugged Red and the Sheltowee Challenge 50k this year then ramping up for a 36 hour endurance torture-fest should be totally feasible.  Am I setting myself up for the 2015 Cloudsplitter 100? Perhaps.

Knowing what I know now I would have forgone the Mohican.  But that darn Jeff peer-pressured me into it!

I don’t want to overcommit.  I do it too easily.  It allsounds fun.  Realistically I can’t do it all.  But if I could get Dave to come out of retirement…

Oh yeah, I said it!


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