On Veterans Day, 11.11.11, seven runners and two dogs joined me for an unsupported one-day westbound traverse of the scenic 35-mile section 11 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. This “7elevens” adventure run was to serve as a qualifier for our annual winter ALTAR pilgrimage.
Lily, Uwharrie and I met everybody at the finish at Woodlawn in a 15-passenger rental van at 7 AM. Lily graciously shuttled all of us to the start at Ripshin Ridge 45 minutes away. Our goal was to finish in less than 11 hours. We had a nice descent along Steels Creek to get the day started off right.
True to Adam’s pronouncement “It’s all downhill until the next uphill,” we soon began the first long climb of the day up to Table Rock and the precipitous rim of Linville Gorge. Charlie clocked over 8000’ of climbing for the day, which means an eastbound traverse, like last year’s, would have over 9000’. The perfect weather and abundant scenery served well to distract me from most of the physical exertion.
As the day progressed, I definitely began to feel the wear and tear a little more and started salivating over the idea of our post-run feast at Jalapeno’s. Despite a rather poor job of hydrating on the run, I still managed to finish in just over 9 hours behind Tim and Paul.
Charlie, Mo and Isaiah were not far behind, and Adam and Mike clocked impressive sub 8-hour finishes. The whole gang (canines included) seemed to make easy (?!?) work of the sub 11-hour challenge. Family joined many of us at Jalapeno’s for a celebratory feast. Congrats to each of the 7eleveners and thanks for a great day in the mountains (some of these photo credits belong to Charlie and Isaiah).