FKT: Regina Massingill - North Franklin Mountain Loop - 2024-03-23

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
5h 34m 32s

I love coming out to El Paso once a year for some mountain training. This year, other plans held me back from coming in February, but I hoped March would still provide some cool weather. I decided this would be a fun route to tackle, and a really good way to ensure that I wouldn't wimp out on my mileage goal for the day.

I started later than I'd hoped, thanks to a terrible night's sleep, and then some GI distress over breakfast (I hate to blame it on the not so high altitude, but maybe?). About 1/2 mile from the start there was a Park Ranger at the check station checking passes; since I had pre-registered for a Day Pass, he had my name on his list and I barely even had to slow down. I've done most of this route a couple times as part of the Franklin Trail Run so I knew what was ahead of me. I settled into a steady pace on the relatively smooth first 10 miles. I crossed paths with a few friendly cyclists, which made me feel less lonely out there. It was a cloudy morning with a nice breeze so I made good time for the 1st half, just slowing down a bit to get over the northern pass. About 18 miles in, the sun started coming out, and I had less breeze now on the east side of the ridge. I took a 5-minute pit stop to re-apply sunscreen, check on my fluid and food status, and pull out the music before tackling the final climb. I'll be honest, it was less than fun, and the heat had me cursing my late start. After way more walking than I had expected, I finally reached Mundy's Gap and gave the reins over to my legs to send it down the mountain with whatever strength they had left. I made it back to the car with only 1/2 a packet of peanut butter and zero fluid, so I'm very glad this didn't take the full 7 hours that I thought I was prepared for.