View from Butternut Cabin at Sleepy Hollow today
For my long run this Saturday I had to do 16 miles. My running coach Jack suggested a 12 mile run through the Hinesburg Town Forest to Sleepy Hollow Cross Country Ski Area (running the Jedi Loop) and back. (Plus a loop on the Circling Sun trail and then a couple miles down and back up the steep dirt road). This turned out to be a very hard but good trail run today! Scott ran the 12 miles with me to Sleepy Hollow and back. He was a trooper and ran strong. It was a very technical run (for us!!) on wet and muddy trails with slippery rocks and roots. We were either running up hills or down hills. Some were rather steep and long! It was tough since it was also our longest trail run ever! I recently ran a marathon and have done a few 20+ mile training runs on dirt and paved roads. So I am still a newbie getting used to longer runs on the trails. And I’m still working on building up a good mileage base. This trail run and many more like it should be good preparation for the Vermont 50K trail running race on Sept. 25, 2011.
Sleepy Hollow’s mountain bike trails have a Star Wars movie theme with names like Skywalker, Hans Solo, R2D2 and Princess Leia. And there’s a big loop called the Jedi loop which goes around the whole area of Sleepy Hollow. It consists of several mountain bike trails that all connect. It’s a long, hard but fun loop to run! It seemed like we were either running up or downhill!
We parked our cars at Hayden Hill West for the Hinesburg Town Forest. We ran on Maiden which took us out to the Hayden Hill East parking area. With all the rain we’ve had, the trail was wet and muddy in places but not terrible. It was fine to run but we were careful on certain spots. Once we got to Hayden Hill East, we headed down the dirt road and took a left on Texas Hill Road. About 100 feet to our right we found the connector trail called Hayden Hollow that would bring us to Sleepy Hollow. Thanks to Fellowship of the Wheel for maintaining all these trails in the Hinesburg Town Forest and at Sleepy Hollow!
Running up Hayden Hollow was steep and long with plenty of switchbacks. We took it easy and I had Scott set the pace which he ended up doing the whole 12 miles. He did very well up the hill. It was steep and technical in places. We eventually got to Yoda which is a Sleepy Hollow trail that took us to the Butternut Cabin. This was also a long climb!
View from the Yoda Trail at Sleepy Hollow today
Once at the Butternut Cabin we took a few photos and peaked into the cabin. We do some cross country skiing here and love to ski up to the cabin. But we hadn’t been in it until today since people can stay the night during the winter. So it was cool to check out the inside of the cabin. Seems like it would be very fun to stay the night, especially in the winter with a woodstove and a short ski back to the main lodge!
We bought Nathan Hydration vests that were great!
After our photo stop at Butternut Cabin we headed down the Skywalker trail and then Light Sabor which were mostly downhill. These trails were very wet and technical in places. Lots of mud too. It seemed like that side of Sleepy Hollow was the wettest and muddiest. But it was still feasible to run. We took it slower and walked over very slippery rock sections. It was easy to stay on the Jedi loop by following small yellow road signs with black arrows. Jack ran here a few days ago and made sure the signs were pointing in the right directions! With lots of trails at Sleepy Hollow, we could have gotten off track in some places without those yellow signs! Thanks Jack!
Round Barn at Sleepy Hollow
Eventually we made it to a trail called Millennium Falcon which was a long climb and and then a good descent. At this point we were still having fun but knew this would be another climb and toughed it out! Scott was still leading the way and running strong for someone who is just starting to train seriously! The Jedi Loop then took us to a trail called Tatooine that climbed back up again but wasn’t as steep. And it seemed less technical and a bit more dry. We then got onto a fun trail called Geidn’ Better. This had some fun banked up downhills and was also a bit dryer. I would like to mountain bike this section! It looked like a blast on the bike. This trail took us to the main lodge at Sleepy Hollow. We signed in as Fellowship of the Wheel members since it’s free for us to use the trails as base members. I even got to introduce myself to the amazing runner, Kasie Enman when we stepped inside the lodge.
After taking some electrolyte caps, having a raspberry cliff shot and snapping a couple more photos, we were on our way again to climb back up to the Butternut cabin. It was a mile and a half climb with some nice singletrak, switchbacks and some banked corners. But we were both feeling the effects of the run! We took the climbing slowly and did fine. Scott was still leading the way! I was very impressed at this point! Once we got to the cabin, we took a few more photos and caught our breath! Then it was a good long descent back down to Texas Hill Road. We were actually amazed at how much of a hill it was that we had climbed earlier. The descent back down Yoda and Hayden Hollow was indeed long! It was almost as hard running back down. I could really feel it in my quads at that point! Once we hit the road, we ran slowly back to the Maiden Trail. Once on the Maiden trail, Scott said he hit the wall and wanted to walk and run back to the car very easy. He wanted me to run at my own pace since I had 4 more miles after Maiden and he would be done with his 12 miles shortly.
My last 4 miles were a little tough but I stuck it out and did well. Jack suggested doing the Circling Sun loop for an extra 2 miles. This turned out to be a grueling uphill climb on a wet logging road. I was not too happy about this trail! I didn’t see any signs until I got to what seemed like the top of the hill. Then I saw a red FOTW sign and headed right. It was a steep, hard, twisty, long descent. I thought it would circle around but it ended up at another logging road. I didn’t know which way to go and was afraid of getting lost out there by myself. Much to my dismay, my only smart choice was to climb back up that steep crazy trail! It was a slow run back up but I made it. And then the downhill hurt too! I was glad to get back to the gravel road. My last 2 miles were a run down the Hayden Hill Road which was very steep and then back up it. Jack said it would be good hill work. He wasn’t kidding! That was a tough climb but I made it back to the car in decent condition! I have to say I was glad the run was over! It was hot, sunny and I was ready to be done at this point! I actually could have run more miles on the roads as my legs felt much better on the nice even gravel. I’m still happy we got out and did this epic trail run! It was hard, challenging and lots of fun! We both did a ton of hill work today! Phew!
I think once we have more base miles on the trails, this trail run will become easier. And if it ever stops raining, the trails will be much better to run! As I’m typing this and sipping on a glass of wine I actually don’t feel any worse then a 20+ mile run on the roads. So I know I’m getting stronger! Rome wasn’t built in a day! The miles will come!
Our reward after the run at On The Rise Bakery in Richmond, VT! These were amazing!