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