I completed another Project 50, Visit a New Trail, by running the Blackhand Gorge 20K.
Blackhand Gorge is a State Nature Preserve in Ohio. There was an Indian petroglyph of a black hand,engraved on a massive sandstone cliff along the river. It pointed toward the flint ridges, six miles away. It was destroyed in 1828 when canal builders dynamited the cliff for the construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal which runs through the gorge.
Blackhand Gorge Trail Race
My friend Luc is the race director of the Blackhand Gorge Trail Race where there is a 5K 10K and 20K staged on the three trails of the Blackhand Gorge Preservation.
I opted for the 20K to see how my knee would handle trails. The 20K course takes us on three different trails, so Project 50 (visit a new trail) completed.
The first leg is down across the road, over to the O&E Lock.
We run through the Lock, very cool!
We are on the Canal Lock Trail and the Marie Hickey Trail for these five miles.
Runners then return to the start/finish line, start down the bike path, then hop over to trail number two, Quarry Rim Trail. We do get glimpses over the quarry through the trees. I would like to come back over here and explore.This is a shorter trail, and ends back at the bike path, where the 10K runners turn left for the finish, and the 20K runners go right for more mileage.
There is about one mile or so of asphalt bike trail before runners (well just little old me) turn left onto Chestnut Trail. This will be a lollipop trail (an out and back with a loop at the far end).
I run into a few runners coming back toward me. One runner tells me earnestly “this is no joke!” and I laugh. This trail has a big climb out, then you descend. Yuck. What goes down must go back up. Where is this turn around?
I get to the loop, and realize I should eat something. The half marathon last week I ate a Payday bar and a gel. I don’t know why I thought I could get through a 20k trail race on less. I pulled out my Quest bar and ate it, felt quite a bit better.
I finished the loop, and started up it again accidentally, about four steps.Wait, didn’t I just do this? I looked around. I then saw the sign and knew the correct way to go.
Kelsey, the sweep was arriving and confirmed my direction. He let me know there was water back at the bike trail which was welcome news so I drained my water bladder on the trip back.
There was ice cold water back at the bike trail. I ran to the turn around on the bike trail, and then headed for the finish line.
The bike trail runs along the Licking River. There were kayaks and tubers on the river.
I was almost back to the finish line and could see the gorge/quarry on each side. I tried to take a few pics but there was too many trees in the way. Then I was done! Last of the Gorgians!
This was a great race! Trail was well marked, volunteers were great, and I enjoyed the ice cold water. I was glad to get out on new trails, and my knee allowed me to do so. I highly recommend keeping this race on your August schedule. There is a 5K, 10K, and 20K, a race for everyone! Thanks Luc and all the volunteers!