This morning, my friend Erik Boucher picked me up and we went up to Sunday River to scout some trails for the Mountain Epic trail races next Autumn. The original plan had been for a half dozen of the Trail Monsters to head up and spend two days on the mountain, but with the Mount Washington Road Race this morning and a bunch of the guys running 33 miles on the Pemi Loop 2 days ago, we were only met by Ian Parlin (who did actually run the Pemi Loop a few days ago) and by a teammate of mine, Dan Crooker.

I’m glad that Dan decided to meet up with us; he knows the mountain very well and with his help we managed to scout just about all of the trails we wanted to run and didn’t need to stay overnight.Sunday River Loop with Elevation

The original distances we’d been thinking of were for the most part a bit short of what we found out there. The 1-peak short loop will still be about 4 miles, but the 5-peak medium loop is closer to 11 miles than 7, and the 8-peak hard loop is about 15 miles instead of 11 miles. There’s a lot of fun terrain, though.

We started by hitting some single track and heading up to North Peak, which is pretty central to the routes for all 3 races.

We wound up running the opposite direction to Jordan Peak than we’d originally planned on by going up the Kansas Trail, but we decided that that was a good direction to be running in so the course will likely wind up going that way. (There will probably be a detour up to Spruce Peak before Jordan Peak, though, rather than after as we ran it.)

After hitting Jordan Peak, there’s a very quick descent halfway down to the bottom before climbing back up to North Peak. We got some pretty rapid turnover heading down there; Ian took some video so I’ll link to that if he puts it online.

At North Peak, our guide needed to head back home since he’d already been out there with us for 3 hours, and Ian went back with him to get the GPS coordinates of some different single track trails than we took on the way up. Erik and I continued on to hit the last few peaks before heading back.
Mountain Polaroids of the Run
All in all, we were out there for about 4 hours and 42 minutes, 3 hours and 31 of which were actually spent running (or walking, as happened in many of the steep places.) We covered just over 15 miles and managed to hit all 8 peaks.

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