Mount Ascutney hill climb was the final race in the series again this year. I headed up this Saturday for my ninth time taking on this “hill” which is very much like running half of Mt USATF New England Mountain . Washington
I met up with CMS teammate Tim Mahoney and we both set up camp and then headed up the road for a nice easy preview run of the course. We reached the parking lot (where the finish line is) in 42 minutes. After a couple of minutes checking out the view we headed back down. It seemed an easy decision to pass on the additional 7/10ths of a mile (trail) up to the summit tower. We ran down as easily as possible and hit the start line 35 minutes later.
After a nice dinner with JJ at the local brew-Pub we hung out with Paul Kirsch (the Mountain series director) and Frank Holmes. It made for a nice relaxing day.
I hit Dunkin’s early on race morn and then went through the usual pre-race prep. We headed out for an easy 3 mile warm-up and then I changed into racing flats and headed out for another mile with strides. I felt a bit flat (maybe from 18 on Friday and 16 on Saturday?), tired and a lot more nervous than “usual”. I figured I had a shot at my 40+ PR and had splits to run right around 31:00.
The gun went off and it seemed like an all-out sprint for the first half-mile. I found myself in 8th very early on and in 6th by about ½ mile in. Double-J was way out in front with Philip Kreycik who I had run back-forth with for a good stretch at
. They were flying! I settled in behind Tim Mahoney, Ross Krause, and Todd Callaghan. The pace seemed to become a bit more realistic after ½ mile and by the mile (8:00) I was back in the group. I moved ahead a little later after we passed Kreycik who was walking. Loon Mountain
I tried to put the pressure on as I moved to the front and Ross responded and stayed with me. We slowly gapped the other guys as JJ disappeared ahead of us. Ross and I were dead even at 2 miles (8:43/16:43) which was a couple of seconds under the pace I’d hoped for. I knew I’d need to gap Ross soon as there were some flatter and even FLAT stretches later in the race. Ross put the pedal down on the flatter stuff and pulled away. He had a couple of seconds on me at 3 miles (8:39/25:22) and I was definitely hurting.
The last half-mile of the race has a couple of tough climbs and I focused on reeling Ross in. With about 2 minutes to go I passed him and pushed for all I was worth. I was more interested in the time than beating Ross but I’ll take any opportunity to move up a place. I ended up crossing with my fastest last .7 and masters best of 31:04. Double-J finished exactly one minute ahead of me and Ross rolled in 9 seconds behind me.
CMS had a fine day with four in the top six and 6 in the top 13.
1 30:04 Jim Johnson M3039 35 Madison, NH CMS
2 31:04 Dave Dunham M4049 48 Bradford, MA CMS
3 31:13 Ross Krause M3039 32
,MA CMS Easthampton
4 31:43 Todd Callaghan M4049 42 Beverly, MA GCS
5 32:33 Tim Mahoney M3039 32
, MA CMS Holyoke
6 32:55 Robert Hult M4049 42 Harvard, MA
7 33:16 Philip Kreycik M2029 28
, MA Cambridge
8 33:44 Erik Vandendries M4049 47 Chestnut Hill, MA
9 34:10 Matthew Zanchi M2029 22
, MA Natick
Quincy Schmidt M2029 21 , VA Vienna
11 35:10 Jonathan Rice M3039 33 Lunenburg, MA
12 35:23 Tim Van Orden M4049 44
, VT CMS Bennington
13 35:26 Martin Tighe M5059 54
, RI CMS Providence