FKT: Tejas Ramdas - North South Trail (RI) - 2024-06-09

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
18h 37m 43s
GPS track(s)
RI_.gpx4.24 MB

First off, thanks to Eli Burakian and, by proxy, Aubri Drake, for info about the trail and water sources. Extremely handy. Thanks also to the good samaritans (George aka Gpop and Tyler) for helping with hitches at both ends and to whoever maintains the Douglas State Forest Shelter where I spent the evening prior to my attempt. 

As with any thru-hike, I find it really cool to meander through somewhat obscure places and observe things you never would if you were in a car driving to a destination. The trail ended up being somewhat tougher than I expected with more technical bits than I anticipated (I suck at that, still learning), and the occasional bit of bushwhacking/route finding/tree hurdling that added more time than it should have. Also ended up tweaking my left Achilles in the process. The route is extremely well marked but it's easy to get into a flow in the smoother runnable bits and miss the turnoffs (also largely a me problem). Weather was wonderful, about 60-70 degrees with clouds and the occasional shower.

I split up my nutrition into 3000 cals of solid food (fig Newtons, peanuts, jelly beans) and 2000 cals of maltodextrin mix. I thought I should eat the dry stuff first and save the drink mix for later in the day when it's hot and my stomach is complaining. Instead, it rained instead so I just became a sticky mess every time I scooped the mix into my flask. I was getting pretty low on blood sugar towards in the last third so I tried to eat some straight out of the bag (bad idea). Still need to figure out the mechanics of this nutrition thing out. 

I started at around 12:40 am and only made it 2.5 mi in after the first hour in the dark and 9 mi at the 3 hour mark, but caught up to 40 mi (including some extra mileage for having gotten lost so this was the halfway point) by 9 hours. I bumped into two hikers who were going for a 24 hour finish - the only two people I saw on trail all day. I was hoping that by maintaining my post sunrise pace, I could pull of a sub 17 finish with an adrenaline fueled sprint at the end. Instead, I hit another rocky section where I lost my way again. The low blood sugar did not help and I switched to a slower walk/run to prevent my Achilles from flaring up in the middle of a training block. My quads always become quite fatigued at this mileage so I also really need to figure out a way to improve local endurance. The third quarter (40 mi to 60 mi) ended up being my slowest one taking 5 hours. At 14 hours with about 20 mi left, I decided to not push for risk of bonking and do the bare minimum to get the FKT. This was still not easy because I enjoy walking too much and easily get lulled into a slower pace. I tried to sprint the last mile haha but only made it about a quarter of the way before I decided to walk that also in.

It was really cool to end at a beach and see so many smiling faces after a long day of solitude. This effort highlighted quite a few bottlenecks in my endurance capabilities that I have to work on. Overall, it was a great experience that reminded me of the joys of thru-hiking!