“Our course is designed to reward those who have trained and punish those who haven’t!” – Not the encouraging words I had hoped to hear during the first mile of the Hyner View Trail Challenge, as I found myself running within earshot of one of the race organizers who was gleefully reciting the above mantra that is found on the Hyner View and Rothrock Challenge websites. Sporting a healthy elevation gain of 4,226 feet over 16ish miles, I was not feeling particularly confident in my lackluster training regimen leading up to race day. Luckily the weather was just about perfect for the race, hovering in the mid 50′s with plenty of cloud cover and the potential for a bit of passing rain. This is a tough race, but the grueling course encourages camaraderie (misery loves company, after all), and the excellent organization makes the race feel much smaller than it actually is. The trail is technical, and the views are incredible. Those views don’t come free, however. The hill climbs on this race are brutal, and there are three major ridges to conquer. I generally lost a few spots with each climb, but made up lots of time by bombing down the long, technical descents. My knees are definitely going to make me pay for that strategy in a few years. With 4 well-stocked aid stations, I chose to run sans hydration bottle, assuming I might need my hands for scrambles and to break the inevitable tumbles. I ended up finishing MUCH better than I had anticipated, and celebrated with plenty of post-race beer provided by Yorkholo Brewing Company in Mansfield, PA. If you ever get to Mansfield, make it a point to stop by! One of the best parts of trail races? There is always good beer at the end!
Speaking of beer, we had meandered our way northward the previous night, carb-loading on great beer and pub grub at Selinsgrove Brewing Company and the Bullfrog Brewery en route. Selinsgrove is currently pouring the Snake Bite Stout, fairly light in body with a nice hop kick at the end. Certainly worth a quaff! Growlers from each made it into the cooler for post-race celebrations. While sitting at the Bullfrog, we happened to meet two folks who were headed to Hyner the next morning as well. One of these fine folks noticed the Ithaca HHH logo on our growler of Hopsfyxiation, and as luck would have it he had just founded a SoChesCo Hash in Chester County. Stop by and see them if you are in town!
If you’ve never been to the PA Wilds, you are missing out on one of the great land legacies and landscapes in the country. The PA Trails Trophy Series is a great way to explore some of the best wilderness areas in the commonwealth, and tackle some awesome races with solid company (and good beer at the end). Many thanks to The Nature Conservancy, Western Clinton Sportsman Club, sponsors, and volunteers for putting on an awesome race! See you next year!
Total Mileage: 456
Next up: Rothrock Challenge!
*I apologize for the lack of scenic photos, but I left the phone/camera in the car!