FKT: Ja Shua Ried - Devil's Path (NY) - 2022-10-10

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
4h 24m 14s

First off, the colors are poppin (October 10th) and this was a beautiful outing.  The trail had leaves down and some slick rocks, but overall the conditions were great.  I wore the thinnest tights I have and no shirt and barely got hot under the 55 degree F, partly cloudy sky.  The sun dipping in and out made for tasty colors changes.
Water springs were flowing heavy on Plateau (mile 8-ish) and Westkill (mile 16-ish which was nice. Stopped at both springs to top off bottles, no filter needed.  This hunk of meat seems to need a lot of water even in cool conditions. I breathe like a hot dog 🌭 which adds to the parching.  Despite being a bit behind on water (I drank 4.5 liters during the run), nutrition was great. I got 1100 calories in during the run, half of which was Caffeinated Tailwind, then 2oz of Vermont Maple Syrup, a pack of honey stinger gummies, and a couple scoops of Gatorade powder.
I was stoked to be on pace for 4:19-ish, then bummed to cramp all up and down Westkill which required dramatic reduction in power output and some stops to massage the twitchy quads.  Can’t be mad though since this was functionally a C-race and I did no specificity for it other than a few short Spartan OCR mountain races in the 4 weeks leading up.

Play by play:
Started at 11am sharp. Had a relaxed morning getting in coffee, water, some oats with dark cacao and maple syrup, and some supps.
Kept the effort comfortable because I’ve noticed my cardio has been exceeding my muscular endurance lately and since I've been in Colorado for the past 4 months, I’m not as attuned to the terrain as last time.
I was 2 minutes ahead of Steve at Indian head and 3 on Twin. The 3 minute gap remained until crossing 214.  I think he was quicker at the plateau spring water spot (my bottle broke and I searched for the mouth piece in the leaves for a minute before aborting and just running with my finger over the cap hole) and he overall hit the descents harder, I think.  I made up time on runnable climbs.
I felt my adductors cramp on Plateau and gently reduced the effort. The cramps almost vanished by the time I hit the Hunter climb and I was able to run basically all of Hunter until I hit Diamond Notch where I again got water (katahdin filter here).  I was cramp nation from here on up.  Didn’t seem like a nutrition issue, but rather, a lack of exposure to the specific terrain, distance, and effort that left my adductors and medial quad twitching in submission to the wrath of the DP.  I knew I had it in the bag at Diamond Notch though, so I didn’t stress too much about backing off the effort and just getting it done. Steve had lost time in the back half, but I’m sure he won’t next time 😈.
I ended feeling way better than last time (I didn’t cramp last time so I was able to push harder) so that’s encouraging enough.  Stoked on the fitness I built all year and any altitude gains I brought back and still have from some months at the Durango Ultrahouse. Until the next time…
Watch Time : 4:24:14

Take aways:
-Ankle tape is best friend (as usual)
-take in as much nutrition as the gut can take
-maybe it’s a better move to push steady on the climbs and bank time there instead of tempt death on descents in hopes of shaving off a minute.
-VJ shoes are the only choice for wet rocks
-Best conditions on the DP are in May-June and September-October. 
-Weekdays are superior to weekends 
-Next time around I’ll get in some specificity weeks prior and go supported. I can see how I might slide under Jack’s time.
-DP slaps
-Chocolate milk slaps

P.S. I noticed that many segments did not show up on this effort.  After a thorough and very serious investigation, it appears that my gps consistently thought I was an acorns throw to the right or left at any given time (14-28% deviation from the segment, to be precise)


P.P.S. This route was originally run unsupported and was done so until Jack Kuenzel ran the fastest overall time (4:13:XX) in a supported fashion.  I am impressed by Jack's time because I think having support may be good for as much as perhaps 10 minutes and as little as 3 minutes, so regardless of which side of that time spectrum he gained, his performance is unquestionably the best.  That said, I like when a route maintains a certain style, and this route has springs flowing (no filter needed) 95% of the time at miles 8 and 16.5, and water crossing at miles 12 and 16 (filters strongly advised) 100% of the time, which heavily contribute to the practicality of runners sustaining their effort without outside support.  This makes sustaining an unsupported effort more than possible, but all else being equal, a supported effort would be faster. Maybe styles ebb and flow, and maybe both supported and unsupported efforts require equal yet different kinds of creativity and thus deserve appreciation.  Historically, FKT's on Devil's Path have been "unsupported" and I personally enjoy the "unsupported" style in those distances in which it is practical to do so; though our opinions on what those distances/durations are will vary amongst us.  That said, It would be new and novel for me to do a supported effort, and unless someone goes under Jack's time in an unsupported fashion, I would consider having another go at this route and have fun getting a crew on deck to support me in a similar fashion to how Jack was so that our efforts may be as apples to apples as the ever-shifting environment allows.  


Thanks for listening to my TED Talk.  Ciao for now.