This final weekend of April marks the beginning of true “crunch time” for my academic work. Having submitted rough drafts last week, I now have a series of upcoming deadlines that will propel me to the end. I will turn in my secondary rough draft of my critical thesis to my advisor by Monday evening for his final revisions, complete my creative thesis by Wednesday, submit my completed critical thesis the following Monday, and defend my creative work later that day. Later that week, I will finish my final woodworking project and defend my critical thesis. And then I will be done.
Safe to say, I cannot let a day go by without making progress toward these goals. This weekend, however, I was not willing to pass up a few opportunities to see new trails and to enjoy the simple thrills of springtime in Vermont.
On Friday afternoon, the warmest day of the spring yet, I rode my mountain bike around Blueberry Lake in Warren, VT with Maddie and another friend, and we had a blast getting lost down dirt roads and ATV trails, crossing streams, taking in panoramic views of the Mad River Valley, and zipping down Prickly Mountain Road, which is lined with some of architect David Sellers’ finest work. We did our best to earn our dinner at Mad Taco in Waitsfield, and I even stumbled upon the elusive Lawson’s Triple Sunshine IPA – the best “triple” IPA I have ever had.
Sunday featured my first race of the year and my first ever trail race. The 10k mountain run at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, VT featured just under 1400 feet of climbing, nearly 300 participants, and some light sleet at the start. What a difference one day can make in the weather – only in VT! The course was titled “The Dark Side” and certainly presented its challenges. I found the three major climbs to be brutal but rewarding, and I gained the most ground on the field on the steep descents. Overall, I placed 36th, and Maddie came in a couple minutes after me in 47th. She earned the prize, though, taking home 5th for women and 3rd in her age group!
Though I do not have an extensive racing calendar planned for the spring and summer, I know I will be competing fairly regularly up until my Germany trip. It was great to start the racing season off with a grueling course and a decent result. The Middlebury Maple Run is a week from today, and Maddie and I will be teaming up to defend our title in the mixed-relay category!