Linn Run Ski
On September 3, three PACCSA members decided to do the first of three time trials up Linn Run Road, Rector, PA. Located just east of Ligonier. Those three individuals were: Riccardo Monaco, Naomi Jarvis and Denny McDonough. The plan was to ski from Rector to the very top of the mountain, 7.03 miles or 11.32 km. Or, for Naomi, to ski from Adam Falls to the top, which was 5.17 miles or 8.3 km. The finish line was the end of the pavement, where the Summit Road intersects with Linn Run.
The incline was gradual at points, with two steeper sections. The last mile was not terribly steep, but it sure got one's attention. By that point, you're rather exhausted, anyway. I'm guessing that the average gradient is 4%.
The plan was for Riccardo and Denny to meet at 8:45, at the bottom of the mountain. Then we'd run a shuttle to the top. To our surprise, as we drove up, the road was closed. Just our luck on this beautiful, sunny, cool and crisp morning! A tree had fallen, which happens a lot on Linn Run Road, and it took out a power line. We decided we'd give it a try, anyway. The park ranger informed us, though, that they would be done in approximately 30 minutes, so we decided to drive back to Adam Falls to meet Naomi. It wasn't long after that the utility crew-truck came down. So, we were off to complete the shuttle. On our way back to the start, we encountered Naomi in the middle of the road, all geared up and ready to start her journey.
Upon returning to Rector, and getting our skis on, the temperature had started to get a tad warm, more so than earlier in the morning when it was 67*. Not to fear, though, as the ski was pleasant and only warmed up, for me, the last mile or so. Over all, I'd say that it was the perfect day for a Linn Run sojourn. This route is just gorgeous during the peak days of Fall foliage.
Riccardo chose to skate to the top, and I went with my normal forte, classic. Naomi decided to classic, also. Riccardo took off like a bullet after a few easy push-offs, and by the 3/4-mile mark, at the first slight bend, he was out of sight. I plodded along with trying to double pole, and kick double pole, as much as possible. On the steeper sections, and when I was failing to find the strength to collapse on my poles, then I'd change it up and stride.
Approximately 1.5 miles from the finish, the pitch starts to shoot upwards of, say, 9%. It surely gets your attention! However, at that point, you know you've got this mountain conquered, so just keep grinding away, no matter what. I was never so happy to see Naomi and Riccardo around the last, long bend. Hallelujah!
Finishing times for this first time trial, in my opinion, were pretty decent. Riccardo smoked it in 52:22 (he would go back later, after a stop at the Pie Shoppe, to give the beast another go).....Andiamo, Riccardo. Ah, to be young and full of enthusiasm. Naomi completed her stride in 1: 14, and I did one of my better times at 1:22.
The next time trial is September 17, a Sunday. Hopefully we can get a lot more PACCSA members to give Linn Run a go. This is excellent ski preparation for winter, or just down right fun for fitness' sake. The great thing about Linn Run, you can do a time trial to any point that suits your fancy, be it 1 mile, or 5K.
If you can make either of the next two outings, please contact Riccardo, Naomi or Denny. It would be grand to have a picnic afterwards, either at the picnic area atop Linn Run, or at Adam Falls. By October, and final time trial, the leaves should be at their splendor. So, please come and roller ski, or just hang out for a hike after.
By Denny McDonough
PACCSA member and groomer volunteer