I approached the Wachusett mountain race with some level of fear. I skipped it last year due to concerns about the final technical descent but figured I'd give it a go this year. This week was a bit tough and I really felt the 12k race in my legs throughout the week...but on race morning I felt pretty decent. I don't like the heat and humidity but you have to race in all kinds of conditions.
A big group of CMS guys (and a few ex-CMS runners) headed out for the 3 mile warm-up. I changed into Inov-8 trail shoes (even though the first 1.3 miles of the race is on pavement) and headed out for another mile with some strides. It was quite humid and the rocks on the trail were slick. My plan was to work the uphills as hard as possible and "survive" the two single-track sections. Finishing without injury would be equal to a victory in my book.
Over 200 headed off up Mile Hill road and I found myself in 12th place in the early going. I'd hoped to keep Tim Van Orden and Todd Callaghan close, but they floated away in the first half mile. I moved up to 9th place by the time we turned into the state park and started to descend. Teammate Sam Wood was a couple of steps ahead and Matt Veiga was a few strides ahead of him. I tried to keep them in sight on the descent, and 1/2 mile later we popped out on Balance Rock Road (dirt) and started to climb.
I worked the uphill and slowly reeled in Sam. Veiga gapped us a bit and just as we entered the steep single-track Sam blew by. I kept a steady (slow) pace on the climb and went back by Sam and slowly crept up on Veiga. I hit the top of the climb in 23 minutes and figured I had about 10 minutes of donwhill running left.
I pushed hard on the dirt road section and closed a bit on Veiga and got a little breathing room on Sam. On the very long straight I could see Mike Quintal up ahead. I was very cautious over the last half-mile making sure I didn't roll an ankle on the crappy footing (MQ took a nasty spill with 400 to go). I ended up finishing in 8th place and 3rd master. Todd had a solid run taking fourth overall in a quick 29:45 with TiVo 33 seconds behind him (and 1:23 ahead of me).
We gathered up a group and headed out for another three miles then called it a day. In my book a good day, since I did not get hurt. On to Pack Monadnock!
PLACE TIME NAME Div/Tot CATEGORY TOWN CLUB
1 29:01 Brandon Newbold 1/33 M30-39 Nottingham, NH Whirl
2 29:04 Eric MacKnight 1/22 M20-29 Clifton Park, NY ARE
3 29:10 Jim Johnson 2/33 M30-39 Madison, NH CMS 4 29:45 Todd Callaghan 1/43 M40-49 Beverly GCS
5 30:18 Tim Van Orden 2/43 M40-49 Bennington, VT CMS
6 31:09 Mike Quintal 3/33 M30-39 N. Andover CMS
7 31:30 Matt Veiga 2/22 M20-29 Lynn
8 31:41 Dave Dunham 3/43 M40-49 Bradford CMS
9 32:01 Sam Wood 3/22 M20-29 Laconia, NH CMS 10 32:04 Brian Ruhm 4/43 M40-49 Nashua, NH GCS