Monday, May 4, 2015

Hyner View Trail Challenge 25k

The 10th Annual Hyner View Trail Challenge 25k & 50k was held on Saturday, April 18th.  It was my first try at Hyner and I was nervous!  Standing at the starting line, all I could think was, "Man, I wish I had run more hill repeats."  Check out the elevation profile and you'll understand why.

But there are only three "hills!"
From the race website- "The course is set up to challenge each individual both mentally and physically. There are three major climbs and three major descents over a course filled with vistas, stream crossings, and single track paths. The HVTC is part of Trailrunner Magazine's Trophy Series and is the 2nd race in the Central Pa Trophy Series."

Where's Waldo?
I'll give you a hint- top right corner.
The 50k started at 8am and the 25k kicked off at 9am.  I was standing in a sea of about 1000 people and each one of us knew about the bottleneck that was about to happen.  So everyone sprints like heck across the bridge trying to get a better position and then we all come to a screeching halt once we reach the trail.

Go!  Sprint!  Screeeech!!!
After walking a really pleasant single track (Thank you, Bottleneck!) you start up Humble Hill to the race's namesake, Hyner View.  I enjoyed this climb of the race most of all. 

Things are about to get real.
It was at the bottom of Humble Hill that I ran into Brian Kunkle.  He and I had officially met once before, but this was the first time we chatted.  He writes a good blog of his own that you can check out by following the link.  I hung with him to the top of Hyner View where he disappeared down the other side and I never saw him again.  Downhill and I are still working on our relationship.

The view is stunning and the photo does it no justice.
The first descent really wasn't all that bad.  It was the next climb that had me hating life.  I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I almost didn't realize I was climbing because of all the rocks and creek crossings.  I was actually happy when I reached the climb called "S.O.B." because I knew I was officially out of that rock nightmare.  The S.O.B. is a butt-ugly climb where you quit literally have to claw your way to the top because it is that steep.

Photos courtesy
Perhaps the worst thing about the S.O.B. is that you think you are done climbing, but take another look at the elevation profile, you actually continue to run at an incline on a jeep road for a little bit longer before beginning your final descent.  The last descent was a beautiful run, and I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if my quads would have not been on fire.
Almost home.
Eventually you reach the road and cross the bridge once more.  I refused to walk, even though my legs were toasted.  As a cruel joke the course finishes on one last hill, but then you can celebrate at one of the best post-race parties around!  Or, like me, find a nice patch of grass to lay down in and focus on not hurling.

Smiling because the man handing out water to finishers was wearing a CJ's Resolution Challenge shirt!
My thought bubble would read, " Don't throw up.  Don't throw up.  Don't throw up."
A bit about the race- it was amazingly well organized from registration through post-race party.  Parking was no big deal, packet pick up was easy, finding porta-johns was not a problem, and getting to the start was just a short walk across the road.  The course was well marked and groomed.  The three aid stations were well stocked and manned by super volunteers.  The post-race party seemed like it would have been a blast, had I not been warding off puking.  
I finished my first try at Hyner with a 4:14:02, a 15:18/pace.  I placed 24/141 in my AG (F 30-39) and 269/1003 overall (includes hikers.)  I was unable to walk normally for about five days, thanks to some burned up quadriceps.  If you had asked me at the finish line if I'd be back next year you would have gotten a resounding, "Hell no!"  But if you ask me today, you'd find out I can't wait to return.
Photos courtesy of See PA Run. Thanks, Bo!