Ted E. Keizer is trying again: Next week he will attempt to better the speed record for hiking the 273-mile Long Trail, a mark of four days, 15 hours and 19 minutes established four years ago by Connecticut's Ed Kostak.
"This is all about fun and adventure and being with friends," Keizer said. "It's not about a crazy mania. It's about pushing the limits. Definitely, it's an extreme sport, but it's not meant to be some sort of obsession."
Keizer and his support crew of friends and family -- each sporting a canine alias and collectively known as "the Dog Team" -- swung and missed at the Long Trail record last summer. A series of pitfalls combined to sabotage the attempt and leave Keizer hallucinating and babbling incoherently 17 miles shy of the Massachusetts state line.
"We had an enormous amount of unfortunate circumstances, many unforeseeable," Keizer said. "It was pretty much a disaster."
A standing front that baffled even the Weather Channel's anchormen soaked the state during the entire week of the attempt. The phones went out at one of the team's base camps, cutting off communication between support crews, and the main support van broke down. An expedition meticulously planned down to the last minute, mile, pound and calorie unraveled in the August rain.