Saturday, August 9, 2014

50k Training Run: Pine Creek Rail Trail

This morning I rode out to Wellsboro Pa with a friend to log some miles on the Pine Creek Rail Trail in anticipation of next month's Pine Creek Challenge 100k. It is about 70 miles from Sayre to Wellsboro. We began our day's trek at the Darling Run trail head, just off of route six outside of town. This area also plays host to one of my favorite races,  The Green Monster, but for today there would be no playing in the mountains. This run was all about flat miles, as we covered the 16 mile section between Darling Run and Blackwell and returned via the same route.


We made the entire drive under cover of fog, and arrived to fog hovering about 1,600ft over our heads on the canyon rim. The early morning temperature was in the mid 50's, for which we were grateful, even if it meant stashing my longsleeve shirt along the trail to pick up on the return leg.

In the early going we had the trail mostly to ourselves, aside from a cyclist or two, unless you count the local wildlife, which was out in force during the the first half of the run.

This fine young lady seemed to like Tailwind, as she put her nose up, sniffed the air, and walked to within 15 yards of us while we talked at full volume.

This is how she and her friend looked when we first met, at a safe distance before coming in for a closer look at the strange two legged man-animals. Oddly, all the traffic on the trail this day was on two wheels. We encountered no other runners, and only met our first walkers one mile from Darling Run on the return leg.

The highlight of the run was this guy who rattled at us, just once, from the side of the trail, 10 miles into our day. After that one warning rattle he was content to warm himself in the sun while we snapped pictures (I zoomed in of coruse) from a safe distance.

This information would have come in handy, but unfortunately we did not read it until around mile 27.

Here we are 16 miles later at our turn around point. We walked a little further down the road into the sprawling metropolis of Blackwell to use the bathrooms, fuel up and adjust our packs.

Blackwell's rustic 1st Church of Satan... seriously, check out the pentagram

Sexy views like this one all day long.

I ran 32 miles (Garmin Map / Splits) and all I got was a blurry picture of this watch.

Look, pretty horses and tourists to greet us upon our return to Darling Run. Shockingly, two hours later, we discovered these exact same animals on a billboard half a mile from our houses on Elmira St. in Sayre.

The Pine Creek Rail Trail is shockingly beautiful. Mountain goats should not let the flat running surface keep them away. The scenery, wild life, and other friendly trail users keep things interesting all day long. Highly recommended. If you intend to do a long run, however, ideally plan on having a support crew to lighten your load and keep you refueled as needed.

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