photo by Gianina Lindsay / snapAcidotic
Dave Dunham let me to crash with him, Tim Van Orden, and Jamie Woolsey the night before the race, saving me from a multiple hour drive the morning of the race (to and from). I ran a warm up with the team, did my thing in the woods, as the group turned around and headed back to the lodge at Loon Mountain for the 8am men’s start. As a ran back, I saw Ed Sheldon running funny, leaned over, slowly, with two others keeping him company. The company looked as concerned as I was puzzled. As I caught up, I asked what is going on, thinking the worst, that Ed hurt his back? With the sun directly in his line of sight, he hit his head on a sign a few minutes earlier near the entrance to the condos. He had 1 inch cut and blood to make you wonder if he would even bother racing 15 minutes later. I gave him my toilet paper and he applied it on the wound to stop and clean the blood. We were back at the lodge in minutes as he went inside to clean up. I went back to my car to get my racing gear on. Five minutes later, I ran over to the start to find Ed all cleaned up, with a bandage, ready to go. I would not see him again until 2.5 miles into the race. Tough guy for sure!
It was great to see all of the CMS runners at the start of the race. The went off quick and I seemed to be buried behind 100 runners in no time as we climbed the dirt road in the US Mountain Running Championships. No surprise. We had some downhill mixed in the early miles to break up the 3100 ft of ascent to the top of Loon and the Upper Walking Boss. I settled into my race pace in the first few miles, passing a few tactically to ensure I had good visibility in the shaded trails. I passed William Jackson after two miles and set my sights on Ed Sheldon who was running pretty well considering what happened earlier. I got by him on one of the climbs. I grinded up all the hills, passed a few men in the process, noting who had a 40-44 age group bib on the back. The 2nd half of the 6.3 mile race was in the open sun and it was getting warmer. I would say however, conditions for air quality (no humidity) and temps were perfect. The miles went by quickly for me despite the hard effort climbing and occasional downhill. I took it easy going down the hill to the Upper Walking Boss on purpose.
Then I came upon UWB with a timing company table and equipment right there to time the segment going up. Pretty funny actually to see how slow or fast you are against the race after the fact.
I tried to take little steps, big steps, side steps, run, jog, hike, walk, et cetera. I found no comfort or relief from the fight with 30% grades up. It was steep and tricky enough in a few sections to get on all fours to ensure you got up the rough patch. I got passed by teammates Dan Verrington and William Jackson (hiked by with his long stride) over the next 11 minutes up. Although the course line was straight up, I was wobbly at best, legs weak, just trying to stand up and keep going up and not fall over. Chris Smith went by too earlier but he was close enough at the top with 200m to go that I got motivated to get out of hike mode and run the last of UWB. I made it up and could hear people at the finish line. I reached the line in 1:05:08. If you add in the women’s times, this placed me 87th overall. I seemed to have placed 4th within my 40-44 age group. Here are the fullresults.
CMS ended up getting 1st place in the men’s open, masters, and senior divisions. The women picked up gold in the open and silver in the masters. Several picked up age division win’s outright such as Dave Dunham (top 50-54) and Todd Callaghan (top 45-49). They were followed by other teammates as the Seniors swept with Dave, Erik Vandendries, and Jeff Hunt going 1-3. Tim Van Orden was the 2nd 45-49 runner.
Here are my splits per mile to give you an idea of what this race is all about. You can tell where the climbing was.