I'll get back to the banditry question, but I thought I'd mention I actually did some training for a change. Londell and I went up to the Superior Hiking Trail for an all-nighter; check out his blog for details. For those who are planning on running the 100 miler and haven't been over the course (ha ha ha ha ha ha... sorry), I found that most of the legendary hard parts of the course are a little over-rated. Yes, the Sonju Lake section has bad footing - I saw Londell's foot disappear as a rotted root collapsed beneath him - and the Manitou River gorge is steep and rocky, especially going down - and the Beaver Dam crossing probably was a nightmare when underwater, but was a breeze when dry.
The thing is: no one part is impossible. It's just that you're doing it for 100 miles and, when you've already been running for 24 hours on that stuff, every obstacle gets that much harder. After the run, my fingers were swollen and my feet hurt from sliding in wet shoes for hours (we ran through tall wet grass on a non-course adventure), but after an hour, my hands were fine and my feet were okay in five hours. After a one-hour nap, I felt like I could do it again. Guess I will, in a month. Looking forward to it!
I bought topographical maps of the trail and one can see from it that it's not the highlights that make it tough but the environment of those bits. After one climbs out of the Manitou gorge (a steep 600 feet), the course continues generally uphill for many many miles and it's 10 miles between aid stations there. When one's run 100K already, this is really tough. At night, it'd be even harder.
Londell tells me that Mt. Trudee and the Temperance river gorge are the hardest parts and I haven't run them yet. I'm guessing they're as over-rated as the others. Anyone care to go up there next week and find out?
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