Great day out on the Smarts-Cube section of the Appalachian Trail today.
Ben Nephew set the 2:46 one-way FKT on a southbound effort during the first half of his double traverse FKT. I decided to try the one-way FKT northbound because the north slopes of Smarts and Cube are much smoother for fast downhill running compared to the south slopes. I figured the rough ground on the south slopes wouldn't slow me down very much at climbing pace. To set target splits for the run I scaled Nephew's northbound splits down to a total of 2:46. Would be interested to know how others think about the fastest direction for point-to-point runs when the start/finish are at about the same elevation.
The temperature was below freezing at 7AM this morning at our house in Lyme Center so I took my time getting started. My wife dropped me off at the trailhead at 10. After a short warm-up I started my watch at 10:11AM on the Dorchester Rd centerline and ran one-way northbound to Route 25A.
Pretty ideal conditions for an FKT attempt - high pressure, cool (40-50 degrees), not a cloud in the sky, no wind. The only challenge was the deep beds of fallen leaves in sections. I had to slow down during some of the descents to avoid tripping or rolling an ankle on buried rocks and roots. I was running with a new pair of VJ XTRM shoes and was really happy with how they handled all the technical running. I picked a weekday to avoid dodging hikers but actually ran into a handful of groups along the route. Guess others had the same idea.
I was feeling good and well ahead of schedule at the Smarts fire tower so i decided from there to push for a finish under 2:30. I downed one gel near the bottom of the north slope of Smarts Mtn. and didn't feel like eating anything else the rest of the run. I didn't start out carrying any water but filled my empty 20 oz. water bottle at the bridge over Jacobs Brook South Branch just before Quinttown Rd. Screwed on a Sawyer Mini filter and sipped the bottle on my way up Mt. Cube.
I stopped the watch after 2:24:47 on the Route 25A centerline. We had shuttled my car around yesterday afternoon, so I hopped in and drove back home to Lyme.