Monday, June 28, 2010

2010 Cranmore

I wasn’t sure how things would go at Cranmore, I was having trouble with arthritis in my ankles and unsteady footing is the worst thing for it. I tested things out on Thursday with a hard run at the Maudslay XC series (3m) and although the time was slow, my ankles didn’t feel any worse so onward to Cranmore.

This was the 7th time I’ve raced at Cranmore, going back to 1996 when I won a pair of snowshoes for setting the course record on the old 3 mile (up only) course. That race went up the access road and you got to take the lift back down. No such luck in the more current versions of this New England classic (a true classic, not one of these first year races billing itself as a classic).

A big group of us headed out for a warm-up on the flat trails around the mountain. Kevin T led us on some “new” trails that he had recently discovered. It’s always nice to get in a big group and just chat instead of worrying about the race to come. After a 2m loop I headed out with the remainder of the group for another mile. We went out on the section of trail where the randy bears had stopped some of the racers a couple of years back. No bear sightings this year.

Nearly 200 lined up at the start under (thankfully) cloudy skies and humid 70 degree temperatures. My hope was to go out conservatively and try not to blow up during the second loop. The primary goal was to test my Plantar Fascia and plainly and simply not get hurt out there. Mike Q and I went out stride for stride for the first 200m and I bumped arms with RD Paul Kirsch as we all tried to take the tangent heading into the climb. Soon after that Mike pulled away and began smartly working his way through the crowd. I counted my place as 20th when we got onto the first steeper grassy climb (pictured below). I was working hard but also trying to be conservative. I could see Todd Callaghan up around the top group and Alan Serrano and Dave Herr were around the top 10. These guys would be the competition since we are all in the 40+ age group. Everyone else would just fill out the field  :-)

I took the 1km split but didn’t look at it, since it wouldn’t have much meaning (except in retrospect). I know the course well and in years past the steeper sections on top typically brought some of the field back to me. This year was not an exception. I moved up to 11th place on the really steep pitch passing (among others) Serrano and CMS teammate Tim Cox. I hit the top in just over 17 minutes and tried to catch Dave Herr on the downhill. I was a bit surprised at how quickly I caught up to him but then he stuck right on me. He edged ahead of me as I slowed just a bit to eat a gel as we passed through the starting line and headed back up for loop #2. It took us just over 29 minutes to complete the first lap.

Dave took off on the second lap and I tried to go but was really feeling beat. I hit the 1km (8 seconds slower than the first lap) and kept trying to convince myself that he’d come back on the steeper climbs. By the time we got to the steepest pitch he was easily 30 seconds ahead, and I took a peek back and was about the same distance up on the next person. For the first time in a long time I could see someone other than Dave as he closed on CMS teammate Tim Mahoney. That was the last time I saw anyone in the race (other than people we were lapping or were heading up on the two-way section of the course).

I hit the top in 18:23, over a minute slower than the first loop. My hope was that I could close the gap on the drop and sneak under 60 minutes. I ended up losing ground and when I spoke with Dave after the race and asked him if he held back on the first descent he noted that he was “saving something”. So much for my descending well on the first loop. I was pleased to slip under 60 with a 58:52 which meant I completed the second descent 33 seconds than the first time around. All in all it was a pretty good day. My foot didn’t feel any worse after. CMS had a great team performance taking the win and putting six in the top 10.

Next up: Loon Mountain 07-04. This will be a real test for my PF, with a 1 kilometer stretch on Upper Walking Boss that takes me about 10 minutes to “run”. There is no safe word at Loon Mountain!

Splits at Cranmore:
Loop 1
553 – 1km
1702 - Top
2902 (1200) – lap 1

601 – 1km
1823 - Top
2950 (1127) – Lap 2


Pictures by Scott Mason


PK said...

It's exciting to see the Peligro artwork finally make it's public debut!

double-d said...

I love that picture. I have it on my work computer and every once in a while I look at it and crack up.