The third and final day of the Western Mass 3-Day and it was, well, different.
First were the crowds, as participation tripled with the addition of Barb and JJ to the starting field. Second was the course, long-distance today, 12 km. Third was the format, mass start. Fourth was the time of day, start at 7 am.
And so how did it go? The course
had just two controls, the first a trail/stream junction several kilometers north of the start/finish, and the second a trail junction just a few hundred meters south. The cynic might say, given that the Mid-State Trail runs right through both control points and the start/finish, that this was in fact just a glorified trail run. But I am reminded of a certain feature on the Silvermine map in NY, I can't remember for sure, it's either a "trail, slow running" or "trail, difficult to run." Whichever, that glorified rock field pretending to be a trail is still quicker than what we had today, which if mapped according to IOF standards would have had many many sections of trail with vertical green stripes overlaid, good visibility, lousy running. Because there was no sign of any trail maintenance since the wicked ice storm early this winter, and as Jim Henderson surmised, the woods were a mess.
Lots of downed branches, usually stuff you could step over or around without too much trouble. Hard to find/follow the trail in places. Just generally slow going.
But it actually seemed to suit everyone just fine. A mix of run and walk and bob and weave, and before you knew it we were at the first control (59:26), just happened to be right about an hour. And then back the same way, a little quicker (54:24) since we got lost less and were moving just a little faster, then a little to the south to pick up the second control (2:59) and then the final mad sprint back to the finish (3:18), where, as it turned out, no one could make a decisive move. The official results show we finished in a dead heat.
And then Barb was off to work, and JJ was off to work, and I was off to home (via Dunkin Donuts) with plans for a nap front and center.
A fine way to wrap up a fine event!
Note: Had my rogaine pack on, 6 pounds.