FKT: Mark Beggs - Pin-Chin-Sky (aka Skyway) Loop (AL) - 2020-02-29

Route variation
one loop
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
3h 37m 10s
GPS track(s)

The weather was great, in the high 50s. Started at 11:45 at Chinnabee trailhead going clockwise. Got confused at several intersections in the first quarter mile, but then got going. The first mile always hurts, and this was no different. Learned that I really need to keep my eyes peeled for blazes, especially coming down the stairway to heaven. Made it into Adams gap at around 1.5 hrs, and was happy with my average pace so far. Figured if I could hang on with no issues for the remaining 10 mi, I'd have a chance at the record. (4:15)
Of course when I got to the first creek crossing, it looked pretty confusing, and the blaze colors changed. I thought, "and this is how quickly things can change." I have learned to trust my gut and not waste time backtracking, and found that luckily I was right. I was following white blazes, but at some of these creek crossings, there were both blue and red dots. This section was more runnable, and got my avg pace down to around 12 min miles.
I didn't bring a lot of water with me, and was getting low, so I quickly dunked my Sawyer mini bladder in a creek and fumbled to filter into my hydration pack while I kept moving. (Using inline quick connectors). I probably only got 16 oz, but should be enough. I topped off my handheld and added some caffeine and electrolytes for the final ~5 mile push. (Also fueling with gels) I was hoping to get a final boost of energy, but my calves and upper hamstrings were aching, and they didn't want to shut up. I was still able to cruise the flats well, but had to hike more on uphills.
At about 1.5 miles out, I was hanging in there and ready to gut out the last bit. I was coming down a technical hill approaching some family hikers. Apparently I was thinking more about passing them than about watching my footing, because I tripped and ate it hard. I tucked and rolled and hopped up like I meant to do that, with the family gasping in horror. I said, "I'm good!", But realized my right quad was not good. It took a hit, and I was limping. The pain never stopped, and the last mile or so was misery. I was out of water at this point, but I'll look at that like perfect hydration planning.? I made it back up to the Chinnabee trailhead and was so relieved to be done. Thankful for the perfect weather, and for the most part I felt great. Final time ~3:37.
Time for some recovery food!