Date: 25 March 2018
Is it not funny how one always neglects your backyard? And I’m not talking about the weeds that are now thriving where once there was a productive and prolific vege garden behind our house. I’m talking about running trails and tracks that are so close that you always save them for another day.
Today we finally got out to Levin for the “trig track” – thanks Nina for suggesting the route. Friends have cycled it years ago and they said it was terrible as it goes uphill all the way. It put a bit of a damper on it, but I was still keen to see what it was like for myself. Never trust someone else’s opinion :-). Opinions are subjective. That said, here’s another opinion (subjective is it may be) of the track.
We met Nina shortly after 7am at the car park in Denton Road. The alternative would be to park closer to the SH57 end of Queens Road and run the first 2km on the flat path next to the road. That should get your muscles warmed up before attacking the hill.
We set off on the track and after a couple hundred metres, made a left turn on to the up-going MTB track. The track for the downhill demons were a little to the right, but on the uphill we could potentially outrun the average mountain biker, so no chance of collisions with speedy bikes.
With a gradual, but steep incline, we followed the single track path with lots of switchbacks for about 3km, after which we reached the 4WD road. It was a lovely morning with no wind. Overcast and with fog in the low-laying areas, as well as in the forest. It rained quite a bit the day before, but luckily the path was solid underfoot and we didn’t have to worry about muddy feet. My shoes did end up wet due to the grass, but it wasn’t submerged in water.
We followed the undulating gravel road on the ridge, before going down the other side of the hill towards Gladstone Road. It got quite steep in bits, but I never felt like my feet would slip from under me.
At the far end, we turned around and came back the same way. Only this time we followed the gravel 4WD road all the way back. The last couple of kilometres of downhill were very steep again, and I got quite aware of my quads and ITB on the right. Luckily we were in the last few hundred metres of the downhill when that happened.
We were soaking wet when we finished. Even though it was cool in the forest, we still managed to work up a decent sweat.
It is a good training course for hilly runs. Easy underfoot and sheltered from the elements. And even though you run in a forest, you can still see far through the pine trees, unlike indigenous forest or dense bush. There’s also a couple of lookout points which is good to give some perspective.
A good track that I would like to do again soon. Next time maybe follow Gladstone Road back to make a big loop (and resulting in about 5km of sealed road at the end).
With a cup of coffee from our flask, we made our way home.
I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen at the ROF. Truth be told, I just want to be done with it. If we haven’t entered seven months ago already, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I knew that attempting the ROF a month after our 100km Gone Nuts event is not ideal, but it is what it is. Having done the Round the Mountain course on tramps and at our 3-day fat-ass run before, I know there’s quite a few stretches that are not pleasant – not for hiking, and not for running.
Of course I’m stressing about the cut-off times, but the fact that many hours will be run in the dark (for slow pokes like me), also means that we won’t see a great deal of the landmarks. We will start off with about three hours in the dark, and that on very technical terrain. And we will most likely finish in a good few dark hours – that is if I make the two cut-offs of the first two legs! Running large sections in the dark will no doubt also slow us down.
But, fingers crossed for good weather and strong bodies. All I’m hoping for is to finish, in the allotted time, in one piece.