So this is what my elbow looks like after the spring loop. I think it looks a whole lot better than the dead guy we passed on the highway on the way up. What you say? Dead guy??? Yup. That’s how the day started. Spuds, Snobody and I were cruising along nicely at about 5 AM on Rte 8 in Waterbury when we came across an accident scene. The police had managed to put up cones and flares but forgot to cover up the poor fellow who had been hit by two cars while walking down the middle of the highway. Wow, I’ve never seen that before. Kind of made us wonder if it was some sort of omen for the rest of the day.
I’ve been hearing about the legendary spring loop for years now. I’ve always felt too intimidated by the distance to attend but since I signed up for the Highland Sky 40 mile race I figured this would be a good year to try it out. We had a huge group starting at 6 AM hoping to beat the heat. Half of us were in it for the long haul and the other half were sampling the course up to the start of the AT. It was great to have so much company and we spent much of the first 12 miles speculating how long it would take the 7 AM group to catch us. We opted out of the magical bit but admired the peak from below. Looking back now it was definitely the right decision to skip it. It was getting towards the heat of the day by the time we passed it and dropped off the partial loopers at their cars.
Suds kindly provided us with a huge jug of water from his car and said he would look forward to seeing us again at the convenience store. It was very reassuring to know we’d see a friendly face at our next stop. The next section was 14 miles on the AT. Mid way through the heat started to take a toll on us. Despite best efforts to drink as much as possible dehydration began to set in. Brendan decided to stop at the next road access and Suds & Mr. B were kind enough to take care of him while the rest of us continued on. I was quite surprised to note that Spuds was in good shape considering how hot it was. He typically suffers in the heat and has problems staying hydrated. Perhaps all the water he drank the day before was paying off?
Back to the trail and no sign yet of the 7 AM group. They must be catching up with us soon……..
I was assured that the final section was “the shortest third” of the course. This is where I managed to catch a stick between my feet and gracelessly tumble down a hill, hence the blue and green elbow. It felt like one of those Tom and Jerry cartoon wipe outs. Loopy and Downhill were kind enough not to laugh at me despite the leaves I was picking out of my teeth afterwards.
Now we were almost done and there was still no sight of the 7 AM crew. How could they not have passed us? We kept wondering where they were and continuing to move on. It was at about this point that Spuds experienced a total breakdown. Severe dehydration and cramping set in quickly and completely hobbled him. Suds found him leaning against a rock with his eyes closed and a pale grey complexion. Spuds is sure that he must have looked terrifying, some sort of vampire ultra runner. So once again, Sudsy saved the day for the loopers. He called for help and helped Spuds down to the closest road to be picked up and brought to the cars. Thanks Sudsy!
Loopy, Downhill and I (unaware of Spud’s condition) opted to finish out the loop on the park road which goes by a wonderful water spigot. It was so nice to clean off 30 something miles of sweat, dirt and blood from our bodies. We then walked the rest of the way down to the cars and waited for the 7 AM crew to finish a few minutes later. I still can’t believe that we stayed ahead of them the whole day even if they did the magic part and we skipped it.
All in all it was a challenging day, very long and very hot. But the company was great and the scenery wonderful. I had a good time and look forward to my next loop. Hopefully no dead pedestrians or vampire runners next time.