FKT: Ethan Linck - Watermelon Loop in the Sandias (NM) - 2020-10-03

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 23m 21s
GPS track(s)

I set a new overall unsupported FKT on the Watermelon Loop on the morning of October 3rd, 2020, running the standard route (direct to the Tram Station) in 3:23:21. (As an aside, this was a carbon-free attempt—I biked to and from the Michael Emery trailhead from my house near UNM, then jogged to and from the start of the Pino trail as a warm up / cool down.)

It wasn't a particularly clean run, but I'm happy with the effort. I hadn't been on the section of 365 from Elena Gallegos to the bottom of the tram before and managed to get off route three times the first few miles, albeit only briefly. I also had issues with the quicklaces on my shoes for the first time ever, losing another minute or so. But performance-wise my only real mistake was going a little too hard up the first part of the La Luz trail, something I paid for on the rockslide and later the last roller on the Crest, where I briefly walked while eating gels and generally half-assed things. (I guess more water would have helped too; I ended up drinking 16 oz from my single handheld and eating 3x 250 cal gels. I did not resupply food or water anywhere along the route.)

In general, though, I think I pushed things throughout and paced appropriately. My descent down Pino wasn't particularly inspired but did the trick; the deadfall from the cold snap and windstorm last month definitely slowed my roll a bit. Not sure if I'll get back to this any time soon but I'm convinced I could shave a bit more time off there and would enjoy trying—it's a really great, challenging route. 

Passed Brian Babyak at the Tram Station (~2:10 or so into my attempt) on his own scouting run; looking forward to seeing what he can do on this some day and excited the Sandias are starting to see some action.