Friday, February 3, 2012

Events: Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon

The first annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is scheduled for March 31st.  The Pentathlon will benefit local land preservation efforts and local education.  It sounds like it should be a lot of fun.  If I could remove running and replace it with something else I would enter, but I'm no distance runner.

Course Map

 Running leg - 4.75 miles – Starting at Berkshire East go through the frozen or thawed mud parking lot and down the paved access road turning left onto River Road and then right over the Deerfield River and right onto Main Street/ Route 2.  After a third of a mile, turn left onto Riddell Road where the paved road gets steep.  Follow Riddell Road for a little over a mile to where the course cuts left through a large field with spectacular views of the valley. Follow farm roads to the Warfield House sugarbush where the trail turns to winding singletrack for about a mile.  At the end of the singletrack, follow a jeep road downhill to Zoar Outdoor where the transition zone for the bike leg is located.

Road Bike Leg - 23 miles - Head west on Route 2 for about a mile and then right onto River Road.  Follow River Road, staying right at the fork toward Rowe.  Climb through the center of Rowe and past Pelham Lake to a left turn onto Ford Hill Road.  At the end of Ford Hill Road, go right onto Monroe Hill Road and descend the very steep hill carefully.  Cross the Deerfield River and go through the tiny center of Monroe.  Go left at the T onto River Road. Follow River Road for about 9.5 miles to the Zoar Gap Picnic Area where you'll arrive at the transition zone for the kayak leg.  

Given the season and the steep roads, the bike course is likely to be very slippery.  Use extreme caution, especially on the descents.

River Leg - 5 miles - Zoar Gap Picnic Area to Long Bridge (Route 8A) in Charlemont.  The race course is a 5-mile section of class I-II whitewater at flows up to about 2000 cfs.  The start is at the boat launch at the base of the stone stairs near the cemetery at the Zoar Gap Picnic Area.  The first 1/4 mile is a moderate class I warmup before you head into Slamdance rapid. Slamdance is a class II rapid with a large boulder in the center at the bottom of the first wave train.  Go right or left of this boulder and then pick your way through the rock garden in the bottom half of the rapid.  More class I and easy class II follows for a mile and a quarter until an island splits the river.  Take the left channel where an easy bouldery class II rapid leads to the junction of the Cold River.  This area can be very turbulent when the Cold is running high.  Below here, class I and easy class II leads to the Route 2 bridge just below Mohawk Park Campground and, below the bridge, to a large, slow-moving pool at the Shunpike rest area.  A quarter mile below the Shunpike the Chickley River enters from the right where the main river makes a sweeping lefthand turn.  After a sharper righthand turn the current slows and you can see Berkshire East Ski Area straight ahead.  In another 3/4 of a mile, you'll come to the Long Bridge in Charlemont where the finish and the transition zone to the hill climb is on the right just after the bridge.

ALL KAYAKERS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR A TYPE III OR V PFD, A HELMET AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING (WETSUIT, FLEECE, PADDLE PANTS/JACKET, DRYSUIT) FOR THE WEATHER.  WATER TEMPERATURES WILL BE VERY COLD (33 TO 40 DEGREES F).  IF YOU SEE ANOTHER KAYAKER IN TROUBLE, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO STOP AND HELP UNLESS SAFETY BOATERS ARE ALREADY HELPING.  

Hill Climb Leg - 1 mile - Deerfield River edge at Route 8A bridge in Charlemont to the top of Exhibition on Berkshire East.  The hill climb starts at the south side of the Route 8A bridge and follows the South River Road east to the paved Berkshire East access road.  Continue through the frozen (or thawed muddy) parking lot changing to the gear of choice in front of the Main Lodge. Runners may switch to X-C skis, backcountry skis and skins, snow shoes, or running shoes with crampons taking any inbounds route desired to the top of Exhibition where the hand off to the skier is made.

Alpine Ski Leg – The downhill ski leg begins with an uphill trudge through snow to a start gate where skis can be donned for the descent. “Piners” should plan to ski through gates, and to stop and skate up through uphill gates and chicanes as they make their way to the base area where one last uphill gate awaits at the finish. 

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