Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wachusett Mountain Road Race

I kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with one of the first Mountain races I ever attended several years ago. The Central Mass Striders hosted the 25th Annual Mount Wachusett Road Race which is also part of the Mountain Series. It is about 3 miles up and 3 miles down and comes out to just about 10K. The last 2 miles are on trail with the rest on the auto road. There are few breaks on the way up to the top which is nice.

CMS had an impressive group in the race with the likes of Tim Van Orden, Matt Veiga, Todd Callaghan, Dave Dunham, Steve Brightman, Ed Sheldon, & Erik Van Dendries. These guys are consistently in the front of the mountain series races. I took a back seat in the first mile, trying to look good with Dave Dunham but the pace was too rich for my blood.

I found a pace that I could negotiate with up to the top and this put me a few strides behind Michael McGrane from the BAA. I put in a good push from 2 to 3 miles and got ahead of him rounding the summit “King of the Mountain” optional finish in 22:33. Then it was a good stretch of descent on the auto-road. This was tough on the legs while I put the brakes on to modulate the beating. It was nice to finally reach the trail where I felt I could extend a full stride.

19th place at the top of Wachusett

Someone caught up to me on said trail. I never turned back to peek, instead forged straight ahead. The steps behind me faded on one last hill to climb with about 800m to go in the race. I rounded into the finish with a time of 41:44 and in 10th place. I turned back and Michael was just four seconds behind me. He made up some time on me on the downhill showing how good he is running downhill.

I was 19th at the top. Some runners in front of me there either backed off considerably or did not take the option of running the 10K. CMS packed in 7 out of the top 10 places in the 10K.
Upon my finish, I see that Ed Sheldon is bloodied up pretty good from head to knee. As always, in good spirits, he took it in stride and kicked my ass after tripping up on the trail on the way down. Water and paper towels got him cleaned up. He is one tough SOB! I took on some water for myself and found Dave Lapierre about 20 minutes later in the parking lot for a short but needed cool down. I hung out for the awards and bought some new CMS fleece hats for the team from Karla.

10th place at the finish

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