FKT: Barry Howe - Miles Knob Loop (ME) - 2024-05-16

Route variation
Standard loop
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 43m 18s
GPS track(s)

Weather was overcast and humid but reasonably cool (high 50s) as I started up. This trail is rarely marked and it was easy to get off track. Even though I had scouted the trail just 2 days before, I found it difficult at times to follow the trail but I managed to avoid any serious detours or pauses this time around. The climb up to the red rock trail junction consists of an initial climb that is gradual by the standards of this route, followed by a down-hill jaunt before a more serious and extended climb. Throughout this "phase 1" part of the run, I focused on keeping my level of exertion below the red-line stage on the climbs and found that very brief stints of power hiking on the steepest portions of the climb allowed my legs to recover sufficiently to be able to take full advantage of any more runnable grades. I hit the red rock junction feeling much better than two days ago and again held myself back on the steepest climbs along the ridge so that I could really hammer the more runnable terrain. This approach made the ridge running and multiple punchy little climbs feel vastly more doable than just 2 days ago and I arrived at the great brook turn off ready to push hard down the incredibly steep grade. I knew my overall strategy required a very rapid pace on the steep descent and worked hard to follow through on that. Upon hitting the fire road section I was still mentally strong but feeling the fatigue of my run and had to work hard to maintain a respectable (but still not very fast) pace for the remainder of the run. In retrospect, I am amazed that I managed to break Xander's record while running so much slower on this final fire road section but for me, the pacing was exactly right for my strengths as a runner. 

Overall, this is such a great route, combining much of what makes New England trail running so challenging and fun.