This was race # 1 within the USATF New England Mountain Series. This was the 5th year of the race in Huntington, VT, home of Kasie Enman. Her house and property host the race via Sleepy Hollow Inn and XC Ski resort. This was my first time there and was excited about car pooling with Matt Veiga and William Jackson. Matt made the 3 hour trip each way look easy. After arriving super early and warming up on the last mile of the course with Chris Smith (SRR and training partner this past Tuesday for 5 X 1K) and some CMS guys, the race took off up the hill.
The temps were in the low 50’s and a few light drops of rain dropped upon but overall, dry aside from mud here and there. The course, as I saw the profile was three up and down efforts through a 6.3 mile course on wide xc ski trails and single track. I went out conservative, based on my placing after 400m, but the breathing was heavy (welcome back to racing).
There were spots of slick mud that were easy to navigate on the flats and climbs with my ol’ New Balance 100’s. However, it was dicey on the steep drops after the mile. I lost a lot of time on the first stretch going down, getting gapped by Chris Smith and Dave Dunham. I mean from next to them and then out of sight after 3 minutes. I gingerly moved my way down the hills preferring to stay on my feet. From the bottom of that hill (1.75 miles?), I took a more aggressive approach and reeled in runners one by one. Up, down, flat, did not matter. I felt strong and carried momentum where I could but respecting the miles ahead. I was not familiar with the runners in the race other than teammates so it was cool to have them as a beacon after not seeing them and then I would see a CMS singlet coming back into my target.
Much respect from competitors on some single track which was really appreciated when they stepped aside once I was on the heels for 30 seconds. Dave Dunham, was my last beacon to catch with 800m to go on a downhill stretch, giving him a love tap on the ass as I went by. It was easy to cruise down the hill but had to deal with a 100 yard up hill to the finish in a field. I just held Dave off at the end. My time was 49:51. Overall, I was as happy as I have been in the last seven months with my racing effort. 22nd overall, 6th guy in his 40’s. The post race after a 1.5 mile cool down was capped with a Burrito bar. It was a good appetizer before Matt, William, and I stopped in Richmond, for some sandwiches at Hatchet.