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Snakes on the trail

Arrived home Monday from my cycling journey across the great state of Wisconsin. Clothes aren't even in the washer and it's time for master competitor to transition into preparation for the next great adventure of the summer - the Rattlesnake Trail 50K near Charleston, WV on July 10.

The "Snake" is one of my greatest 50K's of all time. The promoters do an excellent job with runner services. One year they trucked in a generator, which powered a freezer, so that all finishers could have Popsicles and ice cream bars.

And it's a great race course in Kanawha State Forest. Six major climbs, six descents, plenty of rocks, a few obligatory snakes and in some years, a black bear or two.

I've been hitting the trail loops near my apartment in Boone. Instead of being the wimp I can be, I'm opting to look for the hills and methodically shuffle up and over the crest of each. And I met with a great surprise when finding that many of the paths had been groomed with winter tree fall removed. Summer is upon us and the forest begs for our attention.

I'm feeling the effects of the ride. My legs are like stumps. Ran on the Appalachian State University track where a summer football camp was in session. A ball came across my path and a youngster motioned for me to throw it back; I did, my shoulder almost exploded, and the pass fell 20 yards short.

It's time to put stick-and-ball athletics on the back burner, and do what I do best.

Run, Tommy, run.

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