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Traversing the Tsali 50K

I think my Garmin had a brain fart.  

I was nearing the finish at yesterday's Tsali 50K near Asheville, NC.  My "battery low" warning came on at around 6:30...hey, what about the 8 hour charge this watch is supposed to maintain? The watch blipped and chirped, then seemed to resume. But it finally checked out and went into sleep mode.

Until I started the drive home, when it took on a mind of its own and turned back on.  So what I now have is a 29 mile 50K at somewhere around 15:30 pace, then another 30 miles at 1 min/mile pace.  It does help skew the overall average, but I didn't feel good about accepting the stats.

What I did get is an interesting route map from the course at Tsali. I cropped and enlarged it, for your enjoyment (posted above). Have you ever considered using Garmin run loops for Rorschach testing?  I have my own interpretation of what the Tsali loop represents, but you can make your own determination.

So here's what we had: Three major loops, run counter-clockwise, most running next to tributaries off Fontana Lake.  The trail was undulating yet smooth; this is a mountain bike and horse riding area and I'll look forward to coming back with my 29er.  It will make for great dirt touring with few ground aberations along the way. What's interesting is the twisty trail composition.  Seemed we were curving left then right then back again all day, just as the Garmin map tracking illustrates.

The Tsali jog was accomplished in part with my ultra buddy Rob, with his buddies Rick and Mike. Rob had walked this duo through the Georgia Jewel 100 mile...Mike and Rick retooled it as the "Georgia Cruel."  

We did a lot of talking and walking, some running, as we discussed many topics.  Mike was highly interesting; he had a 31 year career as a prison warden, has now moved into academics, and teaches criminal justice courses at Tennessee State University.

I felt beat up at the finish.  It was a 7:13 day, nothing to be crazy about regarding time but if I plan to do one of these a month, it sometimes pays to hold back a bit.  If things shake out well in the next couple of days I'll be headed to the Charlotte 50K in February.


  1. I would get excited about a 7:13 ultra finish in that kind of terrain. Sounds like a fun time!


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