Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wachusett mountain preview

The USATF NE Mountain running series will kick-off at Wachusett Mountain on May 24. The six race series (best five results count) has typically started at Wachusett. This year runners may be in for a bit of a surprise. The course has changed from a road race to the summit to a road/dirt road/trail race with up and DOWN hill running to test your mettle.

Dan and I checked out the course last Sunday. Here is my description of the new race course.

The first 1.3 miles are the same as the traditional course. Starting at the intersection of Mile Hill rd. and Bolton rd. you climb without a break until the park entrance where you turn right onto Up Summit rd. The climb to the entrance is steady, picking up 480’. From the park entrance you drop down 295’ on Donbrowo trail. Donbrowo has reasonable footing and although it twists a bit it is generally straight down (nearly to the base lodge). At the bottom of Donbrowo you turn left onto Balance rock road which is a wide dirt road. While on Balance rock road you generally climb, gaining 175’ in about ½ mile. Then you turn left on Old Indian trail and really start climbing! OI trail is steep and has some rock and roots. The footing doesn’t matter much as you will be moving pretty slowly. Half-way up you head right on Semuhenna trail and continue climbing. Just after you pass three miles you will come to the Up Summit road. The Single track climb is only about ½ mile but it climbs 300’. Pretty much the rest of the way is downhill on good footing. Turn right on Up Summit road and immediately right onto North road (dirt). The downhill is steady but not so steep that you can’t run fast. From just after 3 to 4 miles you drop 250’. At 3.5 miles you turn right onto Balance rock road and continue descending. Keep you eyes open after 4 miles, at about 4.3 you may start seeing runners who are on the way out on Balance rock (Tom D and I are at the rock in the above picture) road. You continue to drop steadily on dirt road with good footing. From 4 miles to just before 5 miles you drop another 225’. The final section on the grass ski slope drops another 65’ and the last 1/10th of a mile is flat around the man-made pond and across the bridge to the finish line.

The total climb for the course is 1,048’ and the total descent is 925’ over the 5.2 miles. Totals by surface type 1.3 miles paved, 2.5 miles wide dirt road, 1.1 miles of narrow single-track, and 3/10th of a mile grass.

I think this will be a lot of fun! Not your typical road race, but none of the races in the series are. With Wachusett going off-road that leaves only Pack Monadnock as the only road race.


Dan said...

Dave, thanks for the course preview. Sounds better than the road version.

Trail Pixie said...

Dave, Thanks for the details! With the new "traily" course, by default, we will all set new PRs at Wachusett. I recall being thankful for a lot of the hard-packed dirt road in the Pack. MIght be interesting to break that down ratio some time—(pavement to hard-packed dirt). Thanks again. This will be fun.