The point to point course begins near the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area on Red Creek in Laneville, WV. Following a 2 mile paved section, the trail ascends to Roaring Plains, Flatrock Plains and Red Creek Plains into Dolly Sods. The course proceeds north along the Allegheny Front to Bear Rocks. Here runners will turn west crossing Dolly Sods to the rim of Canaan Valley north of Timberline Ski Resort. A descent through Timberline leads to Freeland Rd and into Canaan Valley State Park.
The course climbs a total of 5474 feet and descends 4856 feet and is basically in three sections; the Plains, the Road Across the Sky, and Dolly Sods. Two significant climbs occur in the first 15 miles where a 2300′ ascent is followed by a 1700′ descent, and then another 1200′ climb. In the first half of the course highly technical (rocky), single track sections occur from mile 7-11 and 16-18. The Dolly Sods section has an exciting boulder-hopping section from mile 30-31. The course is 75% trail, 15% Forest Service road, and 10% paved road. There are eight aid stations.
The difficulty can be gauged by the fact that this 40 mile race has a time limit more commonly found on longer 50 mile races. The first ten miles are key, basically you are running up the entire time and must make the time gates in order to continue with the race. The only worry I have for this year is not making one of the intermediate check points and being pulled from the race. That would really bum my weekend. After picking my drop-bag at the half-way point I plan to tweet my progress so tune in on Saturday to Facebook and Twitter (key word: Hoyawolf).
I am running the race with Bob Holzhauer, aka the NOVA Sasquatch. He is fresh off a monster effort at John's Run, a 200 mile crossing of Maryland from Cumberland to Bethesda. We have turned this jaunt into a carnival complete with camping families.