Monday, October 3, 2011

Peak Race Report

Saturday June 4, 2011

So as per usual, in true Team Robert style, we had a late night at Dustin's.  We don't see one another too often but when we do, it tends to lead to good storytelling and many a cold one.  The running gods were smiling upon us and granted us a clear, cool start.  It was looking like an amazing day to be in the woods.  

(Pre-Race with Julie)
We get to chat with Vic, John, and Dave (who's crewing/volunteering due to being sick) and catch up on how things have been going in Vermont. How they've been training for the VT100 and/or the Wakley Dam coming up in July.  It's funny how quickly we just pick up where we left off as if we had seen eachother more often than once every 4-6 months.  Andy gives us the run down on how bad Bloodroot is this year.  He's not doing a good job selling the 54 miler to me today.  I chat with Julie who last year didn't run with trekking poles and looked at me with envy when i passed her with them.  This year she's been training her butt off and has poles in hand.  No messing around.  (Her Recap here)

(Loni and I already doing the ultra shuffle)
The race starts out as it always does, three, two one, go.  But one of my favorite parts of this race is the immediate climb at the start.  So really you don't start running at this thing until at least 1/3 of a mile.  Gives you a chance to catch up with other runners. Joke about the brake neck pace, and lets the elite fast runners pack down all of the pucker-brush you've got to go through.  I decide early on that i would run today's race with Loni even though i'd signed up for the 50 miler.  When Rik decided not to come I knew i'd be alone for most if not all of the second half of the race and i just wasn't feeling it.  

It was a PERFECT day in the woods.  The climb up Colton was a bear as it always is.  A good wake up call only 7 or 8 miles into the day. This year with an extra long bush-whacking stretch of ribbon to ribbon trail.  I was having a blast in this section of trail so I'd pull ahead for a bit, then relax and chat with volunteers at the aid stations.  They'd give me puzzled looks when i'd sit down and chat while waiting for Loni to come around the previous bend. 
(Bushwack?  AWESOME!)

Somewhere between Colton's and Upper Michigan 1I had found a tennis ball on the trail and proceeded to kick it further ahead and watch it roll in a tire track until we would catch it and I'd repeat the process.  I swear i had it going for at least 1/2 a mile before i bounced off a rock and shot deep into the woods off the trail.  Just before Upper Michigan 1 we caught up to Vic Torrito. Another Vermont Ultra runner that i had shared the miles with years and years ago, and about 3 years ago told me at the Jay Challenge that running with me was "like running with your father 20 years ago."  The three of us would shoot the breeze and walk away the miles between Upper Michigan 1 and Upper Michigan 2.
(Getting the run down from Dave on the rest of the guys)

When the three of us trotted back into Upper Michigan the woman behind the table told me I was off to run Bloodroot next enthusiastically. I smirked and told her, not today.  I had nothing to prove. I'd run bloodroot the last 3 years and i owed that stretch of trail nothing.  I was having a blast with my two buds and that i was going to get off of the trail today before dark.  I knew not only if i did the 50k I would be home earlier, but that i might actually get some of the race BBQ that i pay for every year, but never get to partake in as there are rarely any PEOPLE around, never mind food left by the time i get in.  She tried to pier pressure me into the 50 mile but i wanted nothing to do with it.  I said, "well then DNF me, because i'm going this way," and was off to catch Loni and Vic who had moved on ahead knowing that i'd catch up.   

Leah caught up with us at the bottom of Tweed River and planned on running the last 10 miles in with us.  It was great to have a fresh set of legs and stories to tell.  Before we knew it we were at the top of Joe's at Cabin One.  The course had changed and it was breaking my brain a bit.  I was finally starting to slow down and trying to give words of encouragement to Loni and Vic who had been running into a bit of a wall themselves.  It was hard to do when you'd be on a stretch of what was once familiar terrain and then go right when we had gone left in the past.  
(View from Cabin One)

From Cabin One we took a steep decent down to the road to Cabin Two, which was the last aid station.  A couple of banana and cups of coke later we were off to tackle the last major climb and then the long steady switchback decent of the Fuster's Trail.  
(Easiest?....At Peak? I think not)
The work the Green Mountain Club had done in here even since the Peak Snowshoe race was phenomenal.  The blazes on the trees were second to none.  The amazing slope cuts, the switchbacks, the berms.  It would have been a pretty stellar time to be on a mountain bike.  Instead we plugged ahead.  With a turn or two to go Vic must have smelled the finish line and zipped off.  I had said to Andy to make this course more challenging they should not have runners cross the snowmobile bridge and make you walk through the river. I asked the question, is this cheating? Am i cutting the course?  Then i shrugged it off and splashed in while Leah and Loni took the dry route. 
From 2011-06-05 Peak50k

With one last chance for a photo op Loni and I pose by the Cow Scull before making the last climb up to the finish line at 9:13:55.  Vic had come in maybe 5 minutes ahead of us and was pumped that with our company he was able to knock a large chunk of time off of last years event.  

(Making a deal with the cow head)

(Post race, Both runners taking almost an hour off of their times the previous year)

And as i had predicted. I got to enjoy the post race bbq, i had finished with the sun high in the sky, Dustin had spent a good chunk of the afternoon with his dutch oven preparing an epic dinner.  Julie was out in the woods for another 7 hours.  Nothing wrong with that, but she had hit Bloodroot almost an hour ahead of me. That means i would have been out there another 8+.  Looking back on it, i'm still pleased with my decision.

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