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Training Log Archive: danfoster

In the 7 days ending Apr 17:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Adventure Racing2 3:57:00 7.59(31:13) 12.22(19:24)
  Gravel/Mixed Terrain Ride1 2:06:00 25.6(4:55) 41.2(3:03)
  Fat Biking1 1:33:00 9.4(9:54) 15.13(6:09)
  Dog Walking1 30:00 1.5(20:00) 2.41(12:26)
  Total5 8:06:00 44.09(11:01) 70.96(6:51)

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Saturday Apr 17 #

Adventure Racing 3:12:00 [3] 5.3 km (36:14 / km)

Packraft training on the Squannacook and Nashua Rivers - my own personal Two Rivers AR, complete with giant rootstock.

Another cold, raw, day after two days of Nor'easter-driven snow and spitting rain. But at least the rivers are running now! 3.4 ft on the Squanny gage. Trekked in 1.7 mi from the car through Groton Town Forest to an old ford across the river, where the current was ripping and audible long before I arrived. An intimidating spot to launch into, and probably crux of the trip.
There's a perfect, boat-sized eddy to launch from, and the first paddle stroke takes you out into the main current, under a sweeper (more of a face slapper), and then you immediately need to cross the river to avoid a half-river strainer, and then the river disappears around a tight corner with the promise of more debris in fast-moving water, just out of sight.

It actually wasn't that bad, and I'd scouted it with Jess earlier this winter (it snowed on us that day, too). I spent the first quarter mile hopping from eddy to eddy, making sure I could catch them before proceeding downstream. The water velocity mellowed out, and the game now became how to pick a way through the frequent strainers and river-wide obstructions. I lost count of the portages, although only two of them really took much effort. At this flow, I was able to butt-scoot over a number of submerged logs and some of the marsh grass, and shoot a few of the beaver dams through gaps that barely seemed wide enough.

The wildlife was incredible. Lots of wood ducks. Nesting geese. A chickadee with a perfectly-cylindrical nest hole carved into the end of a rotted-out tree limb. And in the most peaceful, wild backwater, the river backed up to the Shirley Rod and Gun Club, which added a "woodpecker-esque" rat-a-tat to the otherwise enjoyable surroundings.

It took me well over an hour to work my way down 1.7 miles of the fast-flowing Squannacook, mainly due to the frequent obstructions. Once I paddled into the north-flowing Nashua, the river was clear (despite a river-wide disaster area just upstream of the confluence) and my pace quickened considerably. I paddled over to get a closer look at a mink, who darted into a riverbank hole when he caught wind of my approach.

1.5 miles down the Nashua, I passed the fancy boathouse of the Groton School's crew team, and then pulled ashore to deflate the boat, doff the drysuit, and step back into soaked trail runners for a quick hike back to the car. Having stowed all of my gear in my pack for the packrafting portion of the day, I was very happy to have access to my bag of gorp again, and chowed down on the trek and drive back home to a warm shower.

Thursday Apr 15 #

Adventure Racing 45:00 [3] 4.3 mi (10:28 / mi)

Setting a few orienteering flags out for a 6hr practice AR this weekend with friends. Jess managed to roll in something while I was getting my ear talked off by another mountain biker, and earned herself a bath back home. Wanted to head back to the adjacent no-dogs wildlife refuge to set a few more flags, but the nor'easter arrived earlier than expected, and I'll get plenty wet enough when we do the actual event.

Wednesday Apr 14 #

Gravel/Mixed Terrain Ride 2:06:00 [3] 25.6 mi (4:55 / mi)

Mixed road/gravel Assabet loop with the Cisco Daves. Tacked on the Delaney field loop at the end for extra vitamin D. Dry, sunny, bugless trails - what a great day to be out!

Monday Apr 12 #

Dog Walking 30:00 [3] 1.5 mi (20:00 / mi)

Spent a second night out in the hammock (this time on the back porch, after a dog walk in the dusk), since I wanted to see if I could improve my chilly butt in 45 degree weather, and give the tarp a chance to do its thing with some rain moving up from the south.

Despite heavier layers, I still felt cold through the bottom, and after a 3AM wakeup to "water the lawn", I grabbed my ultralight summer bag (mandatory gear from Untamed) and sandwiched that between the underquilt and the hammock bottom, and enjoyed a comfy remainder of the night. Woke up to the orange glow of sunrise, light showers, and a dog nose announcing it was time for breakfast (hers, with mine to follow).

Sunday Apr 11 #

Fat Biking 1:33:00 [3] 9.4 mi (9:54 / mi)

It was mid-70s here yesterday, and the house was up to 77 inside by evening. With overnight temps dropping from 60 to 47 (not for another hour - it's nice when the overnight low is 3 hours after you wake up!), it seemed like a perfect night to try out the new camping hammock. After a picnic dinner on a nearby hill with Jori and Jess, I loaded up the fatbike with hammock, underquilt, and sleeping bag, and then waited around for it to get really dark. The Pest instinctively knew that adventure was brewing, and had to be lured away from the bike several times before I could slip away.

Set out at 8:45 into a moonless night, in balmy conditions. Despite my effort to go slow and not get overheated, I was sweating in shorts and t-shirt by the time I reached the grove where I intended to camp. Along the way I passed a couple deer grazing in an open field, and encountered another set of glowing eyes right where I was going to bed down for the night. I actually continued on for a bit until the eyes turned and dashed off, confirming I'd be sharing the spot with a young deer and not some coyote hungry for hammock burritos.

Took about 20 minutes to set up camp in the darkness, and then I settled into what seemed like a hanging sauna. I was still putting out a lot of heat, and when I unzipped the top cover to vent out, I was looking up at a starry sky through the bare-leaved trees. I get the appeal of hammock camping now! Drifted off pretty easily while gazing up at the stars and listening to the noise of the forest (and the muffled, low, background noise from the highway).

Woke up a number of times throughout the night, with my butt and back getting cooler - I'm not sure this cheap underquilt is up to the task. I was enjoying the forest noises and the connection to the surroundings, so I skipped the earplugs. With them in, and with a little bit more insulation on my back, I think I would have slept quite nicely through the night.

At 5AM I emerged from my cocoon, packed my bags, and was on the trail 20 minutes later. Passed three more deer in the darkness, and then dawn began to break. Decided to loop in some extra miles instead of heading straight home, and passed a bunny in the dewy grass on my way to a short break at the heron rookery. Made it home just in time for a hot breakfast of eggs and toast, with some much-needed coffee!

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