Recon Report: Ashland State Park

Yesterday I traveled to Ashland to check out the course for the Mud, Sweat and Gears Duathlon being held October 4, 2009.  The park is a nice little state park, and was closed to vehicles due to budgetary constraints.  I parked outside the gate with the other vehicles, pulled the mountain bike off the truck and suited up.  The only map I had was the one I pulled off the Massachusetts DCR website, which to put gently, lacked detail.

No matter, I plunged down the first trail I saw.  The trails were hard packed, wide double track with some loose rock and some roots and rocks embedded in the trail.  That said–it’s a fast course.  It rolled on quickly with little bits of climbing and nice downward slopes.  There was one very steep hill which I needed to dismount for.  And pushing the bike to the top of the hill was an exhausting effort, leaving me so winded at the top  I could barely remount with any precision.  After the big hill was a very fun descent that rolled and turned and eventually dumped you into a small creek bed next to the reservoir.

Without a map I tried to explore the network of trails–unsure of what route would actually be used for the race.  At one point my trail spit me out into a beautifully landscaped condo park.  I made my way out and asked a traffic cop on the main drag how to get back to the park.

Excuse me, I was back near Boston.  The Pahhhk.  Good thing I speak Bostonian.  No one outside a 50 mile radius of the city would understand the directions that cop gave me.

I digress.  After about 7.5 miles of riding I returned to the truck and took off my cycling jersey & helmet, stuck the baseball cap on and started my run.  I got about .5 miles into the run when the stabbing started in my side.  I slowed down, raised my arms over my head, and exhaled deeply, inhaled deeply.  A little relief.  But not enough.  I stopped and rested, trying to reset.  I walked a little.  Pain.  I tried to jog.  Major pain.  Intense pain.  Stop me in my tracks pain.  I tried to remember–what if this happened in the race?  Push though it Karen!  My body responded with “screw that lady, we are hurt and we are stopping.”   

I was so upset that the stitch in my side prevented me from running.  I am still disappointed in yesterday’s experience.  I’d be really bummed out of that happened next weekend.  I guess this is why we train–to work out the kinks before the event. 

So–any suggestions?


PS–My gf’s Raleigh performed splendidly, despite the traditional pedals.  Sweet bike!


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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

One response to “Recon Report: Ashland State Park”

  1. Leah says :

    Oy. I’m sure it was just a fluke. Were you well hydrated, etc.? Just be sure you have nutrition with you on the bike and you use it! I’m sure you’ll be fine for the race. Just try to have fun!

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