I took a round about course to arrive at this year’s challenge. Back in the fall while training for my portion of the Steve Edwards 50th Birthday Group Challenge, I had big plans to crush the #3 COC gripper for my 30th. This idea crashed and burned just weeks after closing the #2 when something significant popped in my left palm. It took weeks until I could open and close the hand without significant pain, and its still nowhere near 100%. So no gripper challenge. Then I concocted a challenge that had nothing to do with my body - a challenge for the mind. I quickly discovered that playing the guitar aggravated the gripper injury in my left hand so that portion was dropped after only a few weeks. The remaining hour/day of reading seemed manageable initially, but right around a month into things the 5.5 courses I’ve been taking this quarter started to overwhelm my challenge efforts. Around the same time, I started to make significant gains crogging down at Amazon trail. I’m a sucker for physical challenges, and a new idea was rising to the surface - could I cover 30km of trail on crutches in a single push?
It seemed possible, but given that I’d never covered that much ground with 2 healthy legs, I knew there would be significant suffering involved in an attempt. Perfect.
With only a month until the big day, and a current maximum effort of 1-2 miles. I wasn’t going to have enough time to properly train for this sort of distance. Over the next 3 weeks I hit the trail every other day or so and increased load progressively in this sort of fashion: 1 mile, 2 mile , 1 mile, 3 mile, 1 mile, 4 mile, etc. alternating loading days with recovery days. Knowing that crogging is not natural at all (especially since the fixator makes one of my legs almost 2 inches longer than the other), I continued to devote much effort to prehab/stabilizer training as well. The weekend before the challenge I managed a personal best of 7 miles of coastal trail in about 3 hours.
So the Gameplan for 30km (18.5 miles):
I found a segment of the Umpqua River Trail that would satisfy my requirements. I didn’t want to loop or double back at all, because its far harder to motivate on trail you’ve already covered. The segment had two parts: Tioga (16 miles) and (Mott 5 miles). Other than the trailhead dividing the two there were no other access points. 21 miles would be a bit more than 30km, but it was close enough and I sure as shit didn’t wanna underestimate.
No one was interested in coming along, but Matt and Allison offered pickup service. The plan was to have them meet me at the end of the Mott section around dusk when, based on my calculations, I’d be finishing the 21 miles. We all assumed the trails proximity to the highway would mean plenty of cell service, so we could coordinate specifics upon their arrival. I discovered upon arrival that this was not the case. No service - a potential problem. Matt and Allison knew I had no plans of backing down, so I figured worse case scenario, they’d be hanging out in the dark for a few hours.
With no one accompanying me on the trail, I decided to do some video journaling in lieu of photos etc. The result is below.