At 7:30pm on Fri, Jun 9, 2017, I started for a new attempt to break my own Dog Mountain Fastest Known Time (FKT), which I had set on Jan 30, 2016: 8 climbs in 17:20:06. For more info, see Octuple Dog Mountain. Since then, I have made 4 unsuccessful attempts to either do more than 8 climbs and/or beat my time for 8 climbs. But alas, each and every attempt had ended in a failure.
Today, the stars finally aligned and I was able to do 9 climbs in 16:24:30. To the best of my knowledge, this presents a new Fastest Known Time (FKT) for both 8 and 9 climbs.
In fact, as far as I know, no one has ever done 9 climbs in a single push, so this would be an Only Known Time (OKT) then. Of course people have done single, double, or more Dogs faster than I did (e.g., see Strava or former Dog Mt. race results), but that’s not the criteria here. As before, the goal was simply to do more loops and in less time. The average roundtrip time per climb was 1h49min (that includes the refueling times).
The weather forecast announced a high probability for rain and wind. Yet, I felt this might be perfect for setting an FKT. And it was. During the entire attempt, it rained several times, the summit was often fogged in, it was windy, and drizzly. However, the ground was barely wet. Overall, I feel the weather and trail conditions were close to perfect. It’d rather have drizzle than heat. I wore a rain jacket the entire time to keep me warm. At night, I also needed a hat and warm gloves. Because of the fog and drizzle, the going was rather slow at night. It was hard to see things.
As always during this time of the year, the flowers on the upper slopes were sheer endless. However, because of the weather, the crowds stayed at home and the parking lot did not fill up during the day.
This time, I decided to try a new route for the climbs. In the past, I’ve taken the longer but flatter routes for the ascent and descent because I assumed one could run more and faster overall. This time, I opted for the steepest route for both the ascent and descent, knowing that I would be slower, but that the route was also shorter. I think that ended up working great overall! In any case, the elevation gain is the same for all routes.
As the figure below shows, climbs 4 and 5 were the slowest because it was night and I was terribly tired. At some point during climb 5, I collapsed by a tree and fell asleep for a few minutes. After that I managed to somehow find my mojo again and was able to make good time on the last 4 climbs. Overall, I was much faster than my predictions, which rarely happens.
I usually fuel with gels, but this time I only had two or so. Instead, I fueled with bananas, watermelon, Pringles, and Snickers. In the early morning hours I also had an oatmeal. Besides drinking water (without sugary additions), I drank a mix of hot chocolate and coffee several times. That seems to go much better on the stomach than pure coffee.A huge thanks to the friends who came out to motivate me and for all the strangers who cheered me on throughout the night and day!
Who’s next? There’s room for improvement! I’ve seen enough flowers for a while…
- Date: Jun 9, 2017
- Number of climbs: 9
- Elapsed time: 16:24:30
- Average roundtrip time per climb: 1:49 (109 min)
- Distance: 9 x 5.8mi = 52.2mi
- Elevation gain: 9 x 2,800ft = 25,200ft
- Style: self-supported, solo
- Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1030506510. GPS was on 10s interval.