Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ascutney Mountain Race

This was the 12th time I’d raced up Ascutney since 2001.  This is more suited to my strength (long steady grinds) although the relative shortness of the race (3.6 miles) and the flatter parts that require “gear shifting” don’t make it exactly ideal for me.  I came into the race with high hopes as I’d not run all that well at Pack, and I was hoping that was due to travel.  Ascutney is a good indicator of fitness leading into Mt Washington and I know the 50+ field at Mt Washington is going to be highly competitive.

I met up with CMS teammates Kevin Tilton and Tim Mahoney and we did and easy 3 mile warm-up.  It felt food to get moving after the long drive.  It was very humid but not particularly hot.  The cold front hadn’t come through yet and the clouds were keeping it from getting too warm.  I switched into race flats and jogged over to the line.  Kevin mentioned how lousy he felt and I agreed.  Feeling lousy is the norm before racing and means that it’ll either be a good day or an awful day (and there is no way of knowing which it’ll be until you go).  I had my splits figured out based on past years.  Although I had my Garmin I was really only interested in my times at the mile posts.  To run my goal of 33 flat I hoped to run 8:15/9:15/9:15 and 6:15 for the final 6/10ths.

We got final instructions and the field of 167 set off for the 3.6 mile run with 2,300’ of climb.  Last year’s winner Drew Best headed to the front and a pack of 10+ of us trailed.  I felt GREAT.  I couldn’t believe how good I felt for that first ½ mile.  The pack broke up a bit by the mile and I was shocked with an 8:47 split!  That was by far my slowest first mile at Ascutney and I was 30 seconds behind the pace I wanted.

Best was moving well leading Tim Van Orden (CMS) and Todd Callaghan (CMS), and they were running close together with Turner Zamore trailing.  I was locked in with Tim Mahoney and Kevin Tilton and after the mile we dropped teammate (and fellow 50+ runner) Ed Sheldon, who I felt was the main competition in my age group.  By the ½ way water-stop I’d pulled ahead of Mahoney and Tilton and had my sights set on Matt Veiga (CMS).  I passed 2 miles (the 2 mile post not Garmin) in 17:57, the 9:10 split was right on what I hoped to run.  The leaders were now out of sight and I could only see TiVO and Todd on the long straights.  The front was passing through and the wind had really picked up, but the humidity had also dropped making it (relatively) easier to race.

By 2.5 miles I closed to within a few seconds of Matt, but as we hit the flatter sections he accelerated.  I was losing ground on him as I hit the 3 mile post in 27:17 (9:20 split), just a bit slower than I’d hoped for.  I knew I’d need a bit kick to get under 33:30.  It felt like I kept pushing but Matt had a strong finish.  He put 15 seconds on me over the last mile to finish in 5th 20 seconds up on me.  The last .6 took me 6:16 which also was pretty much the pace for a 33 flat effort.

I took 6th place overall and first in the 50+ in 33:33 just a second faster than Keith Woodward’s time from 2002.  My time trails on my Age Group Record from 2014 (32:09), so I can’t complain.  This was my first Age Group win this year in the Mountain Series.  CMS had a great day as the men took 5 of the top 7 spots and 7 and in the top 11.  We also swept the team categories (open, 40+, 50+).  In the age groups we also went 1,2 in both the 40+ and 40+ and placed 4 in the top 7 in the 50+.

I’m looking forward to Mt Washington this weekend and more so to Loon Mountain on July 3rd (US Mountain championships).

50+ Age Group

M50      1          33:33    6          DAVE DUNHAM    BRADFORD         MA        CMS
M50      2          34:43    10         ED SHELDON      HOOKSETT         NH        CMS
M50      3          35:22    13         JEFF WALKER      FALMOUTH         ME        Dirigo
M50      4          37:31    17         BRIAN RUHM       NASHUA             NH        GCS
M50      5          38:02    19         JEFF GOULD       GARDNER           MA        NMC
M50      6          39:35    23         DAVID LAPIERRE CHELMSFORD      MA        CMS
M50      7          40:13    25         JOHN PAJER       LEICESTER         MA        CMS
M50      8          40:57    27         TODD BROWN     Rocky Hill           CT         NMC
M50      9          42:06    35         ERIK WIGHT       AMHERST           MA        aR
M50      10         42:09    36         ARNE JOHANNESSEN        KEENE   NH       

Place     Time     Name                            City                   State     USATF Team
1          30:51    TURNER ZAMORE S          Hero                  VT        
2          31:19    DREW BEST                    AMHERST           MA        aR
3          32:06    TIM Van Orden               BENNINGTON     VT         CMS
4          32:20    TODD CALLAGHAN           BEVERLY            MA        CMS
5          33:13    MATTHEW VEIGA             LYNN                 MA        CMS
6          33:33    DAVE DUNHAM                BRADFORD         MA        CMS
7          33:54    KEVIN TILTON                N Conway          NH        CMS
8          34:12    STEVE BRIGHTMAN          PROVIDENCE      RI        
9          34:43    JOSH FIELDS                  CLAREMONT       NH        aR
10         34:43    ED SHELDON                  HOOKSETT         NH        CMS
11         35:02    TIM MAHONEY                HOLYOKE           MA        CMS
23         39:35    DAVID LAPIERRE             CHELMSFORD      MA        CMS
25         40:13    JOHN PAJER                   LEICESTER         MA        CMS
28         40:59    LESLIE O'DELL                ALBANY              NH        CMS
62         47:26    ROBERT THOMAS                        CHARLTON         MA        CMS
89         51:05    MARY SHARKEY               GROSVENORDALE CT       CMS
116       54:55    ANNIE RYAN                   FLORENCE          MA        CMS
125       55:41    WALTER KUKLINSKI         PRINCETON        MA        CMS
159       1:08:26 BERNARD DAVIS              GROSVENORDALE CT       CMS

My Ascutney results
Date                  Time     Place     Field      40+ Pl   50+ Pl
06/23/01           29:39    2          104                  
06/28/03           30:23    2          80                    
06/11/05           33:38    6          81         2         
07/15/06           33:42    2          55         1         
07/14/07           31:32    1          100       1         
07/12/08           31:08    3          131       2         
07/12/09           38:44    3          176       1                      Trail race!
07/11/10           32:05    6          191       1         
07/22/12           31:04    2          174       1         
06/09/13           31:52    6          179       2         
06/08/14           32:09    8          201                   1
06/12/16           33:37    6          167                   1

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