John "lakewood" Fegyveresi

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reunions, Running, and Riding

Photo credits: K. Durst, K. Schimelpfenig, et al.

Having way too much fun at the O24

Well, I've certainly had some fun these past few weeks.  Late last year at the finish line of the Mountain Masochist 50, I met a fellow runner named Jim. Turns out that Jim is a professor in the Geosciences department at my old undergraduate university (Case Western Reserve University).  We chatted about it and he casually extended an invite for me to come some time in the Spring to give a seminar talk in the department.  I tentatively agreed, but with my South Pole deployment looming, I honestly wasn't sure I'd really be able to commit seriously.  I just wasn't sure what sort of commitments I'd have in the spring after South Pole...and I was already planning to go to the IPICS conference in Tasmania.  So while the thought of revisiting my old University and giving a talk was thrilling (..although technically I went to undergrad at CWRU for Engineering), I wasn't getting too excited just yet.

But somehow, things found a way to line up.  Jim contacted me about a month ago and told me that they could squeeze me in late in April right at the end of the Semester.  As extra motivation to get me to come, he told me about a 24 hour event that many in the department would be running called the O24. I knew I had 3 Days at the Fair scheduled for 2 weeks later, but I thought what better way to get in one last really long run before race day than a 24hr!

So...very long story short, is that everything fell into place and it all turned into a really fun weekend.  I drove down to Cleveland from Vermont (stopping in Rochester along the way), and made it plenty early on Thursday to get settled in and practice my talk.  Cleveland was just as I always remembered it....grey and rainy.  It was a bit weird that as I looked out my hotel window, I could literally see one of the buildings I used to work in before I quit my job back in 2007 to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I spent a few hours wandering around campus and visiting my favorite old coffee house.  It's amazing how I haven't been back to campus in over 15 years, yet it was like I never left. Even the menu at the coffee house hasn't changed.

View from my hotel in Cleveland

On Friday, I gave my talk to a room full of students, faculty, and various researchers from multiple departments, and it was the first time that I truly felt a talk went just as I had hoped.  I was well-prepared, I had some fun ice-breaker slides, and I was successfully able to merge detailed science, with more general overarching concepts. I normally am very critical of my own talks...but for once I came away confident and pleased. After the talk, I was told people genuinely enjoyed it and that they were excited to have me back on campus.

Jim took me around campus and I was able to meet with every faculty member to hear what is that they research.  I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of projects going on in such a relatively small department...and the lab facilities they had on site.  It also brought a smile to my face to chat with Ralph Harvey on campus.  The last time I spoke with Ralph on the CWRU campus, was in in 1996 right after he made his first meteorite discoveries in Antarctica.  Now, 20 years later, we were right back to talking Antarctica again, but this time including all of the fun projects I've been able to work on.  It's crazy how some thing really do come "full circle"

My talk announcement at CWRU

Telling the audience how as scientists, we all need
to work on being better communicators

Picture with the Dean of the College, who was at my talk
and who also ran the O24!

The next day, I drove down early to the East side of Cleveland near the small town of Kirtland.  There, I set up a small station and got ready for 24 hours of fun running.  I knew the weather was calling for a lot of rain, and that 3 Days was on my schedule, so my plan was to just have fun and never push hard.  I just wanted to take it easy and aim for maybe 70-80 or so miles.

The day started well and I never felt rushed.  I jogged along at a nice 9:30 pace and rather casually ticked off the first 20-30 miles in a couple hours.  I never really paid attention to my mileage or place during the event....for me it was all about the company and the scenery.  The course was a one mile loop, but on a very lovely crushed gravel, wooded path.  It was a superb little loop and even had a nice little climb of about 60 feet in the middle.

There really isn't too much to say about the race other than it went just as I'd hoped.  I took a lot of breaks, and even sat in my car for about 30 minutes for a "nap" at one point during the wee hours.  The rains went for over 12 hours so it was getting a bit tiresome.  I called home a few times, chatted as much as possible with other runners, and just smiled at the thought of running an event near my old college town.

Finishing a loop

Chatting with one of the 
other CWRU professors (Beverly)

Enjoying the course before the rains came

Running with Steven and Rhonda-Marie from Canada.
Rhonda-Marie was also at Barkley this year.

Despite my easy pace, and my many breaks, somehow I still managed to break 100 miles and crossed the final timing mat with 105 total.  This netted me a really nice buckle to add to my collection.  One side story to the O24 event was that there was a 15 year old girl running this year (Angela) who managed 66 total miles...which totally blew my mind. When I was running cross country in junior high school, I remember thinking the 5 mile turkey trot was a long run.  The best part was, I don't think Angela ever stopped smiling.  Great stuff for sure.

Really nice buckles at this event!

After the run, I napped for several hours in my car, and then drove back into Cleveland to meet up with an old friend that I haven't seen since 2008. In some sense, I thought it would be a little weird meeting with him honestly, but it was as if we had just hung out yesterday.  It was fantastic catching up with him and I have already invited him to come and stay with us up in New England if he ever gets up this way.

On to a more silly/fun story...

I have once again dusted off my motorcycle endorsement! For years I rode a motorcycle and after many close calls with cars, I decided to "hang up my helmet" as it were.  But a few weeks ago I stumbled across a craigslist ad up here for a small scooter for sale and I couldn't resist.  My car has over 130,000 miles on it now and I'd love for it to last at least another year.  My daily commute to work though is about 13 miles each way on back roads, and those miles are adding up fast.  I kept telling myself that I wish I had a cheap and efficient way to get to work.  I looked into biking, but that's really far for a daily commute (not to mention very hilly here).  I also looked at the public transit here, but the closest stop is about 5 miles away and it only runs every couple of hours (although it is free).  But when I saw the craigslist ad for a near-mint condition scooter, for a few hundred bucks, I jumped on it.

I went to look at it and having a fair amount of motorcycle "tinkering" knowledge, I could tell that this machine was well taken care of.  It definitely looked as though it had been just sitting in storage for a long time though (which could be bad depending on if he left fuel in the tank).  The owner agreed to put a new battery in it and throw in the helmet if I bought I couldn't resist!

Since getting it to my place and registered/insured...I've managed to clean it up nicely. I changed out all the engine and gear oils, and changed out the spark plug.  I also did a quick clean of the carb, and took care of a few other minor things (most notably silencing the horrific and obnoxious turn signal beep).  Lastly, I mounted my old milk crate on it, and strapped a bicycle netting over it so that I could use the scooter for small grocery store runs.  I even mounted a small bottle holder just for fun! So far, it's been running swimmingly and I couldn't be happier!  Plus, it gets over 85 miles per gallon, so it's really efficient.  For every day I commute on the scooter, I will save about 0.6 gallons of gas, or about $1.50. More importantly, for every day I commute on the scooter, I will decrease my CO2 emissions by 12 pounds per day! (1 gallon of gas burned makes 20 pounds of CO2!). I do realize that scooters, particularly 2-stroke ones are actually much "dirtier" burning than cars, but in my case thankfully, I'll be riding a much cleaner 4-stroke.

This whole project has made me realize just how much I miss tinkering with a bike.  Even if this is just a silly twist-and-go scooter, it has made me remember just how fun it can be tooling around on two wheels. I don't know how long it will last, as it is a cheaper Taiwan-made scooter...but for now, even if it just gets me through one summer of fun riding, it'll be worth it! And since it's a 125cc, it can handle just fine at 45 mph.

This was the scooter when I went to pick it up.

Taking the seat out to get at the plug and carburetor
(Milk crate and netting also installed)

Carburetor was definitely a bit dirty

The spark plug was quite old and worn as well

After her maiden grocery story run 

In just a few days I'll be headed back to NJ for my fourth running of 3 Days at the Fair.  This time though, I'll be running as part of Team Fegy. That's right, my mom will be joining me. What does a good son get his mother for her combined mother's day / 65th birthday? 3 days of running in circles of course!

So with that, I guess I'm off to enjoy the nice weather! Vroom vroom...


Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Tasmanian Adventure

Standing at the Southernmost accessible point in Tasmania

A lot has happened since my last substantial post here.  Since returning from the South Pole, I was mostly playing "catch-up" at work...trying to spin my projects back up to where they were before I left.  But then, after being home for just a month, I literally hopped on a plane and headed right back to where I had just come from.....the South Pacific.  This time, I was headed for an international conference in Hobart, Tasmania.  The IPICS meeting (International Partnership in Ice Coring Sciences) was one that I had applied to attend several months ago, but honestly wasn't holding out hope that I'd actually get to attend.  The travel alone was incredibly pricy, and despite two of my abstracts being accepted, I just didn't think that my new job would approve me to go.  But then, I was awarded an Early Career travel grant through a partner University, and voila, suddenly it was looking more plausible.  At the last minute, I did get word from the higher-ups at my new job, that I was officially approved for the international travel, and it was GO! I have never spent any time in Australia, other than at airports, and here I was destined for the one place I've been wanting to spend time since I was about 5 years old:  Tasmania!

As excited as I was to be spending time in this beautiful part of Australia, I was honestly more excited about the meeting/conference.  I went to the IPICS meeting back in 2012 (it happens only every 4 years) and it was the best meeting of my entire graduate school tenure.  It truly is the meeting that focuses most directly on the research I do...and brings in just about everyone else in the world that also does similar research.  There were several hundred scientists, researchers, and graduate students in attendance this year, and I sat through nearly every single talk, presentation, and special session.  I presented two posters related to my work, and was asked some great questions.  All in all, it was a fantastic conference that really paid off.  And, in addition to all of this, on the day before the official conference started, a group of Early-career ice-core researchers hosted a "Ice Core Young Scientist" meeting that was geared towards graduate students and recent grads just starting their careers (like myself!).  For me, this was probably the most beneficial component of the entire conference, as many mid-career level scientist gave advice on navigating the tricky and often frustrating world of the early-career scientist.  I learned betters ways to apply for grants, better ways to write manuscripts, and better ways to seek collaboration.  I even heard many speak of the current setbacks with a life in academia, particularly when a spouse or partner is also involved.

Early Career Ice-Core Young Scientist (ICYS) Sub-Meeting
(I'm sitting in front row)

At any rate, a trip to someplace like Australia just wouldn't be a proper trip for someone like me, if it didn't also involve a LOT of running and/or hiking in fun places.  While at the South Pole a few months prior, I had made arrangements with some folks to sign up for, and run, a trail festival immediately following the IPICS meeting in Tasmania.  Many of my coworkers from South Pole were planning on backpacking around Tasmania that same week and we were hoping to put together a solid "reunion" of South Polies at a kick-ass trail festival.  I'm getting a head of myself here though....I would be remiss if I didn't first talk about the running around town in Hobart, and my many adventures up the local mountain: Mt. Wellington (a 4000' technical climb only a few miles away).

Every day after the conference ended, I'd spend most of the evening thrashing around in the Park/Preserve behind my quaint little air-bnb.  There was plenty of climbing involved, and I could usually get in a fun 5-8 mile loop on beautiful trails.  The other nice thing was that as busy as Hobart was as a city, as soon as I stepped out that back door and headed into the Preserve, I never saw a single other soul....unless you count Wallabies.  I saw dozens of those little guys.

A wallaby greeting me on my evening run.

A typical "loop" in the Knocklofty Perserve

When I wasn't busy playing around in the Preserve behind my place, I took on the loftier challenge of bagging Mt. Wellington Summits in one push.  It took me a few times up and down the mountain to figure out the most direct/shortest route.  This route was about 13 miles total, but had about 3-4 miles of road running.  If I opted for the trail-only route, it made it about 15 total.

In total, I summited Mt. Wellington 5 times during my 7 day stay in Hobart...each climb totaling about 4500 feet of gain.  The trail system going up the most-direct mountain route was no joke either, about 1000' per mile on very technical and rocky tread.  It was loads of fun, which is why I just couldn't help myself from doing it so much.  I even did a night climb up it mid-week with my headlamp.  Generally each ascent involved running the lead-up, power hiking the major climb (4 miles), and then running most of the way back.  My best round trip was a little over 3 hours.

Direct-route up Mt. Wellington from my air-bnb

Mid-climb, looking back at Hobart

Looking out from the vista near the summit back at Hobart

On the Summit benchmark with 
view of transmission tower and parking area

During my week in Hobart, I totaled over 100 miles of running/hiking and well over 30k' of gain.  In retrospect, this was probably not the wisest thing to do before heading to the Tassie Trail Festival to run over 100k...but like I said, I just couldn't help myself.  I figured I spent over 24 hours on planes to get there, I was going to milk the trails for everything I could. was on to the Trail Fest.

This was the inaugural year for the Tassie Trail fest ( and while I knew that it would likely go well, I was a little worried about logistics.  You just never know how the first year of any event might/could go.  The biggest issue for me was that the festival was way up on the North end of Tasmania, which required me renting a car, and making accommodation arrangements in the town.  The small town of Derby was hosting the event, and most of the course was on newly-developed mountain bike trails.  Derby used to be a tin-mining town, but after they closed the mines down, the town decided to develop a fantastic network of trails to hopefully draw in the lucrative mountain biking community.  For us, this meant running on some of the most beautiful and well-groomed trails I've ever seen.  The one down side to Derby, is that there were basically zero resources in town.  There were a couple of small cafe's, and a few corner stores....but really nothing else.  I managed to secure a rented room in a old motel-style bar...above the bar.  Needless to say, it wasn't always easy getting to sleep at night over the raucous noise below me down in the bar.

The festival itself featured several events stretched out over the entire long-weekend...and all of the events were marathon or shorter (although the marathon was actually about 28 miles).  During registration, they offered a "slam" package for the entire weekend which would involve running 5 total events, with upwards of 100k total distance.  Of course why would anyone NOT want to do the weekend slam?  Right?

So my schedule looked like this for the weekend:
Saturday : 7:00 AM : Trail Marathon (28+ miles, 45K)

Sunday:    7:00 AM : "Recovery" Trail race (10+ miles, 16K)
                11:00 AM : Trail Half-Marathon (14+ miles, 23K)
                 7:00  PM : "Recovery" Trail race (10+ miles, 16K) - Same course as morning

Monday:   7:00 AM : "Dash for Cash" Trail Sprint (1+ mile, 2k)

Total Distance : ~102K or ~63 Miles

Overall, I did fairly well and am pleased with how everything turned out.  I took it very easy during the full marathon, finishing about 30 minutes slower than I probably could have, but then picked it up for the remainder of the races.  Considering my heavy training week leading up to the event, I was pleased with my 5th place overall placing in the SLAM.

Results for "MultiDay Madness Slam : RESULTS

I would say that the mid-day half-marathon course on Sunday was my favorite of the weekend, and I absolutely enjoyed that portion of trail.  It was the most rugged and remote as well. The one negative to come of the race series was due to my heavy mileage week, and the technicality of that week, by the end of the Series, I had a very sore and overused knee.  It took over a week of resting it for it to come back to normal (only to be re-agrivated at the Tammany 10 once I was back home).  Below are some pics from the event.  Many of these pics were taken at the event by the various photographers and credited to them (see the Tassie Trail Fest website for photograph details).

As far as my South Pole friends....well only one other of my Antarctic Program cohorts made it (Curtis) and he came in 2nd overall! Curtis also won the South Pole Marathon that I participated in back around New Years.  He definitely inspired me to run faster throughout the Trail Fest.  I'll hopefully see you in Maine in a few Months Curtis...

Marathon Course

Early on during the Marathon

10-Mile Recovery Run Course

Mile 2 of the 10-miler

Coming across the footbridge towards the finish line
at the 10-miler recovery run.

Mid-Day Half-Marathon Course
(no pictures from that event)

Evening 10-mile recovery run before the sun set completely

The 2k Sprint loop

Trying my darndest to bust out ~6 min miles early in the morning
after a very-long weekend of over 100 kilometers and 10k+ elevation gain.

Finishing the 2k sprint and crossing 
my last finish line of the slam.

 Before leaving Tasmania for home, I had to satiate my appetite for "all things remote".  I've talked many times on here about my love of extreme, remote, or odd geographical places.  So I figured with 1 more day on the rental car, where could I go that would be memorable in this regard.

What I decided on was to see if I could get to the Southernmost point in Tasmania, and therefore Australia.  To be fair, there are a few small islands off the coast of Tasmania that I wasn't about to swim too, nor was I about to charter a special trip to the Sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island (the TRUE Southernmost point of Australia, not counting their Antarctic stations).  For me, I just wanted to see if I could to the practical Southernmost point, and maybe within sight of the nearby islands.  After some quick reading online, I plotted my route to the Cape Bay Peninsula and the small hamlet of Cockle Creek (the Southernmost Road in Australia).  This trip would require a ~10-mile roundtrip hike out to the coast, and if I wanted to make the true southern point, I'd have to bushwack through some nasty and very unsafe terrain.  Still, I figured I go as far as I could.

From Hobart, I plotted my route as such....

Road route to South Cape Bay

Once there, I'd hike to the trail terminus
and then assess whether or not I could get
out on to the peninsula

I arrived in Cockle Creek, registered with the rangers office, and began the 5-mile hike out to the South Cape Bay Coast.  There was some fun signage at the end of the parking area listing the road as the Southernmost Road in Australia!

Australia's Southernmost Road!

At the parking area and trail head at Cockle Creek

South Coast Track Trail Head (start of 5 mile hike)

Along the trail

One of many "Boardwalks" along the trail

South Cape Bay Peninsula in the background!

Once at the coast, I starting evaluating the feasibility of backcountry trekking out to the tip of the peninsula itself and after much consideration (and waning daylight), I opted not to go for it. It looked very dangerous, and it simply wasn't worth the risk.  Nevermind that getting there would take hours through the very thick brush.  I decided it was good enough to simply point out the spot with a smile...realizing that while I wasn't on the peninsula, I was still likely the southernmost person in Australia at that moment (other than maybe a handful of researchers down on Macquarie Island).

Pointing out the southernmost point on the main Tasmanian Island

From my vantage point at the rocky beach, I noticed I was able to spot a very distant, but also uniquely-shaped island far off in the distance.  After a quick glance at my reference map, I realized it was in fact Mewstone Island.  Not counting the Sub-Antarctic Islands owned by Australia, or the tiny 6 acre Islet known as Pedra Branca...Mewstone Island is the Southernmost Point.  Alas, this would be the closest I would get...but still, it was absoltuely worth the hike.

Zoomed out view of South Cape Bay

Standing at the Overlook at the trail terminus
Mewstone Island faintly visible in the distance.

Zoomed in view of Mewstone.

(Picture of Mewstone Island from the web : Rachael Alderman)

Thinking about all of these superlatives (Southernmost) and extreme points, it made me realize something oddly profound.  During all those times when I was at South Pole and I walked out during the evening to take a few pictures at the Geographic Pole, it never really occurred to me that at those moments, standing at 90.0 south, that I was the Southernmost person on the entire Planet.  Literally the entire population of the planet, all 7+ billion people, (except for maybe those on the International Space Station), was North of me.  That is a rather ridiculous realization.

I hiked back to Cockle Creek, drove back to Hobart, returned my car, and began my long journey back to the States.  This was a wonderful trip to Tasmania and I am incredibly grateful that I was able to do it.  I do not take opportunities like this for granted, and I hope that 2016 continues to be just as remarkable! I'm looking forward to what adventures await me still.....


All of Planet Earth, and all of her inhabitants, are North of me
That's a profound thought...and one that I hadn't fully realized
when I took photos like this....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tammany 10!

(pic credits : mt. peak fitness and others)

Delaware Water Gap Ridgeline (Looking West into PA)

I have run and/or hiked many a technical course or trail in my day.  Certainly there's the Rothrock 30k course, which is simply littered with all sorts of fun and difficult-to-navigate rocks.  Or, perhaps a better example would be the HURT 100 course which requires constant vigilance to avoid the myriad roots.  One of the best examples I can think of is the Manitou's Revenge course which was simply in a class of its own. Obviously there's also Barkley, but that's technical for different reasons.  There were certainly many sections along the AT, PCT, or even CT that required all sorts of tricky navigation or technical prowess...but nothing exemplifies this better I think than Eastern PA / Western NJ.  You ask anyone thru-hiker about their experience on the AT, and which parts were the "most difficult", you will often get responses about Eastern PA, or Western NJ...sections known amongst hikers as the "places where hiking shoes go to do".  The rocks are ruthless and relentless.  There no way to avoid rolling a few ankles, and shredding at least one pair of shoes there.  Just mention "Lehigh Gap" to any thru-hiker, and they will probably grimace and give you a look that says something along the lines of...."oh man, that section was dreadful".

Well, this past weekend, I decided it would be "fun" to run a 40-mile race on this terrain.  The race was the Mt. Tammany 10!, and I use the term run loosely, as the course was so incredibly technical and full of steep climbs and descents, that it was very difficult to ever actually run for any significant periods of extended time.  The course was also blessed with almost 13,000 feet of elevation gain, and the wonderful mental test of 10 repeated loops.  So just to be clear....the race was 10 loops, each with almost 1300 feet of gain, and each ~4 miles long.  Each loop had one large ascent, and one large descent...all littered with rocks that were nearly impossible to run around.  It was epic-ly brutal....but also incredibly rewarding and challenging.  Plus, the view from the highpoint over the Delaware Water Gap was simply magical, and the geology there is quite complex and storied.  (Lots of great glacial geology as well...if you're into that sort of thing...which I kindof am.)

At any rate.  I had no plans of racing hard (as I had a really long and mile-filled week last week with several climbs up Mt. Wellington in Tasmania (4000' gain each), and a weekend full of running in the Tasmania Trail Festival (I'll write up a full report on all this soon).  I really just wanted to get in the full ~40 miles, and the 13000' of gain.  I thought I had read that the time limit was 12 hours (Turns out it was really 10, but I only found this out after the run).  Doing any repeat course is difficult.  Doing a course like this...10 times, is incredibly difficult.  I knew the mental challenge would be tough alone, so I tried not to think about it, and simply enjoy the beautiful day and think of it just as a 40-miler.

I drove down to the Delaware Water Gap area early in the morning and showed up just before the race start.  There were probably about 40 of us crazies lined up to have a go at the 10 loops.  I was simply geeked out to get to some good climbing.

Caught with my pants down....pinning on my number.

The first loop brought the true reality check.  The climb was tough, but manageable.  What really surprised me was the difficulty of the subsequent descent.  It was littered with thousands of small pointy rocks, arranged such that it was very difficult to find solid footing while trying to run.  It truly was mentally exhausting constantly scanning the ground for good footing.  It took a lot of focus.  I opted for no trekking poles for the first 4 loops, and soon realized that was probably a bad decision.  So at the start of my 5th, I grabbed my poles and never dropped them.

The course was set up such that you left the parking area and ran down the road to the trail head on odd numbered loops, but only returned all the way to the parking area after even number loops.  So when transitioning from say lap 1 to lap 2, we simply started another loop right from the trail head.  I had no real time goal other than to try and keep it at about an hour per loop.  This would result in a 10 hour race.  Seemed like a good number.

Coming in after 2 loops

My first few laps, were all in the low 50's for minutes, so I was slowly making a cushion for myself off of the hour-per-loop mentality.  But, as the day went on, my laps slowly creeped down a few minutes per loop, until about lap 7 when I bagged my first 60 minute loop.

Topping out on the climb

Rock hopping

Coming in after loop 8

After about 6 or 7 laps, it was tough to stay motivated, despite my adequate times, and decent performance. I simply was getting tired of the same loop.  So naturally, I tried to enjoy the scenery a bit more.  When I'd get to the top of the climb, I started spending a few minutes enjoying the vista/view and trying to take in the surroundings.  Sure it cost me a little time, but it probably saved me mentally. I was certainly struggling to maintain enough motivation to finish out the final 3 laps.

But I just kept ticking them off 1 at a time.  Soon I was leaving the aid station parking area for the last time starting loop 9 and I knew I was in good shape to finish.  I took it nice and easy on 9, and it was my slowest lap (about 65 minutes).  When I finished off the loop though, and began my final lap, it was a really great feeling knowing I was on my last climb of the day.  I really took it slow and tried to enjoy it.  I had over 90 minutes to finish the loop and still finish under 10 hours, so I knew I was golden on the time front.  At the top I spent about five minutes relaxing on a rock and enjoying the great view. When I finally started my last descent, my body was definitely feeling it.  I had not taken any salt all day, and many of my muscles were aggressively cramping.  I knew it was going to be a long drive home, so I tried to go very easy on that descent.

Very gingerly I popped out of the woods after 2 miles and ran the short road section back to the parking lot and very-happily finished with a time of about 9 hrs 27 minutes.  I was thrilled...and other than my body being a bit torn up, felt as though I completed my goals for the day.

I had some real problems with cramping post-race, and kept seizing up while trying to change my clothes. It was quite embarrassing actually. And the ride back home....well yeah...that was pretty rough.

Turns out that while there was a 12-hour time limit on finishing the race, the true Tammany 10 challenge meant doing 10 loops, with over 10k of gain, in under 10 hours.  So I had also completed the challenge.  My prize was a rock mounted on a wooden platform (with nameplate), and a homemade apple pie (Probably the single greatest finishers award I've ever won).

Here's the course online:  Mt. Tammany 10 or here (Garmin)

On a side note, I used this course as a test for some new shoes....and man did I put them through wringer.  I wore a new pair of Sportiva Akasha's...and they held up great.  They had just the extra beefiness I was looking for over the Mutants.  Great shoe so far.  I look forward to playing in them some more.

Working up the ascent

Finishing #10

My award (The pie is already gone)

Typical trail-tread

The course and elevation profile

At the end I chatted with several folks about the Barkley all while my legs were cramping up.  Some  lovely pictures were taken during these exchanges.

Grimacing as my leg is seizing up.

Had a lot of fun running alongside these guys all day.

Really great people at this event.