Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camp Saratoga 5K trail race series 2012

Photo courtesy of

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Near ideal conditions Monday night allowed me to log a solid time (22:08) for the first race of the Saratoga Stryders' 5K trail race series at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park. Not a PR for me on that course (I ran it faster twice last summer), but not far off.

It's amazing how many variables contribute to a runner's outcome in any given race. On Monday evening my legs felt strong, I was reasonably well rested, I hadn't eaten anything I regretted earlier in the day, the weather was a coolish 72 degrees, the trail surfaces were firm and slightly damp. But my head was foggy and I wanted the race to be over before it even started. When the starting gun went off (actually just a "Go!") the first several hundred yards was congested and I had trouble getting around other runners and establishing a good pace. Halfway through the first mile I settled into a comfortable race pace and got my focus back. I didn't concern myself with my 1- and 2-mile splits, and was somewhat surprised when I finished at just over 22 minutes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beat the heat: get next winter's ski pass now

Don't miss tomorrow's early purchase discount deadline if you're considering buying a Gore / Whiteface season pass for 2012-13. The unrestricted full season pass for adults is $739, a $19 increase over last year. The adult non-holiday pass is $585. Junior passes (ages 7-12) are $299 and age 6 and under is $30.

Since our family gets in 20+ days at Gore / Whiteface, the season pass is a no-brainer. Breakeven is less than 10 days, based on weekend and holiday rates of $75 and $79.

Early purchase discounts are also available at Willard ($290 adult season pass), West ($400 adult season pass deadline was June 1, now $585) and Hickory ($250). Willard and West offer additional family discounts.

One more option may warrant consideration for some skiers: the Ski Areas of New York Gold Pass for $888. The pass has no blackout dates and can be redeemed at the ticket window for one lift ticket per day at any SANY member area (just about every ski area in the state). Unfortunately there is no SANY Gold Pass junior rate.

If money is no object, $10,000 gets you a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Gold Pass. The pass is fully transferable and is honored for unlimited acces at any National Ski and Snowboard Association ski area nationwide. A significant portion of the purchase price is tax-deductible ($8500 last year) as a contribution in support of the U.S. Ski Team.

And if you can afford that, you can afford to hop a plane to Oregon's Mount Bachelor, which is re-opening this weekend for summer skiing. That sounds like the best way to beat the heat to me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gilligan Mountain: 06/16/2012

At 1420 feet, Gilligan Mountain's summit elevation is lower than most High Peaks parking areas and trailheads. But if you're looking for an easy, rewarding family hike or just a quick fix of beautiful High Peaks views, this off-the-beaten-path mountain fits the bill.

View of the Dix Range and Boquet River Valley from the first overlook on the trail to Gilligan Mountain, just 0.3 miles from the trailhead.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
The first viewpoint on the Gilligan Mt. trail, just 0.3 miles in.

Between school activities, karate, lacrosse, and who knows what else, it's been difficult fitting in any family hiking so far this summer. On Saturday, we had just a half day available and decided it was too nice a day not to hike.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lake Placid Half Marathon: 06/10/2012

Pre-race registration for the Lake Placid marathon and half marathon is in the new convention center, adjacent to the Olympic Arena and speed skating oval.   

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

It's a good thing I didn't look at the course profile before entering the Lake Placid Half Marathon, or I might have chickened out. I don't mind a challenging race, but I wanted to beat my half marathon time from last year (1:39:47 in the Vermont Covered Bridges Half Marathon).

Whiteface dominates the view along River Road

The course is scenic but challenging. After starting in front of the Olympic Arena, runners proceed up Main Street, around Mirror Lake, then out Route 73 to the ski jumping complex. At the ski jumps, the course turns onto River Road and follows a beautiful, scenic route along the Ausable River for nearly 4 miles before turning around, retracing the route back and finishing with a lap around the 400-meter speed skating oval. This route is very similar to the run segment of the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon in July.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Upcoming mountain biking events

Smooth singletrack on county forestland in the Saratoga Sand Plains, K-P parcel.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.I've been something of a mountain biking hermit since (re)discovering the sport last summer: I ride solo on the same 8-10 miles of single track out my back door once or twice a week. I ride mainly for fun and for fitness, but I know I'd get even more out of the sport by riding with others and checking out some new trails. Some of the organized mountain biking events taking place in the Saratoga region and Adirondacks over the next few months may give me the opportunity to expand my horizons a bit.

Saratoga Mountain Bike Association's Mix Up the Dirt Festival on June 9 is free and open to the public. SMBA's trail system will be open for members and non-members alike to check out. There will be group rides for all ability levels, demonstrations, vendor displays, a barbecue, and a free raffle.

The HRRT “Hot August Nights” Race Series in Schenectady's Central Park is a 4-race series every Tuesday night in August at 6pm. The course, described as a "combo of flats, twisty singletrack (under the trees) and skinnies," is marked with white squares with black arrows and can be pre-ridden anytime. The race prizes caught my attention: "Beer and prizes will randomly distributed among all racers." Free beer is always indicative of an excellent event, and the mid-week timing fits well into my schedule. I've never done a mountain bike race before and fully expect to get my butt kicked.