Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Sleepy Hollow Mountain race

Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race – I signed up for the fourth time for the Sleepy Hollow race despite my ankles not liking the up/down nature of the course.  This year the USA Mountain champs will be up/down (Cranmore June 3) so this would be the first step towards preparing for that.  Sleepy was also the first race in the 2017 USATF NE mountain series and I enjoy doing the series whenever I can.  The noon start on a Sunday is tough to swallow (kiss the entire day goodbye) but the low entry fee and superb race management means you will get a well-marked course and the vibe is always great at Sleepy.

I met up with Dave La in Andover and we covered the 200 miles in a little over 3 hours.  The time went by pretty easily as we had good tunes and D-La read (out loud) interesting articles from the Wall Street Journal.  Our early arrival gave us time to pick up our numbers and then meet up with Paul Baz for an easy “stroll” to nearly the top of the first climb.  Paul hadn’t run Sleepy before and this helped him get a handle on what to expect, it also gave us a chance to see how wet the course would be.  I was a bit shocked at how DRY the course was, it looked to be great conditions for racing with the solid footing and temperatures in the upper 40’s.  It felt like a good day for Cross-country racing and Sleepy could be classified as EXTREME cross-country.

Baz and I met up with Erik V and did a nice easy warm-up out & back over the last mile of the course.  It is ALWAYS a good idea to see the final mile if nothing else, it makes sense to have some perspective on what is left when you may not have much left in the tank.  After the warm-up I switched into Inov-8 race flats and headed out for another mile (while it lightly hailed!) .  I felt pretty lousy.  I’d been sick for the last three weeks and had a bad headache when I woke up on race morning.  I came close to tossing my breakfast (bagel & coffee) but held onto it. 

It was pretty cool to see that the race capped at 250 and reached the max a week before (and let a few more in to have about 270 on race day).  I figured since I was 23rd last year I could line up on the start line as I hoped for a top 20 finish this year.  I had to encourage everyone else to move up, funny how people hover 10 feet behind the line afraid to get right up there.  Off we went!

It always seems like people go out a bit too hard at Sleepy (or maybe I need time to get rolling?), but dang it went out hard.  I could see teammate Matt Veiga out in front right away, I thought he was taking a shot at the “King of the Hill” award for the first person to the top of the first climb.  I scouted who was ahead of me, looking for my fellow 50+ (Senior) age group runners.  I did a quick count and saw that I was in 25th place and Erik V, Ed Sheldon, and Jim Boule (aR) were climbing well.  Erik was coming off of torn knee cartilage and I knew he’d be tentative on the downhills.  Ed was going to be tough, we were back and forth in the series last year and he is kicking my ass on the roads right now.  I don’t really know Jim Boule, but recalled that he had a solid run at Cranmore and Loon last year and had since turned 50.

The first climb is a bit of a shock to the system (400’ feet of climb over .7 miles).  I caught the first woman just before the single-track started and kept my eyes on my fellow Senior runners.  I was looking forward to the downhill hoping to eat into their lead.  I passed Erik early on in the descent and got a couple of other guys as well.  I was surprised by the water-stop at a little after a mile, a nice bonus but I didn’t need it on this comfortable weather day.  The 500’ of drop over .9 miles definitely rattled my bones, but nothing broke or fell off so that was good.  By the bottom (1.6 miles) I was in the top 20 and 10 seconds behind Ed with Jim in-between us.  As we started the biggest sustained climb of the day (1.6 miles with 500+ feet of climb) reality sunk in for a few in front of me.  I saw a couple of guys walking (which at times may be faster than running).  I caught up with Isaac St. Martin who I’d run with a few weeks back at the Merrimack River trail race.  We’d work together the rest of the race, slowly picking guys off.

I forgot about the descent during the second climb, you drop about 100 feet from 2 – 2.5 miles with a few bumps thrown in.  Then the final long .7 stretch to the same summit we’d been on at the top of climb #1.  I like this stretch, no thinking just keep chugging away.  I got Jim right before the switchback section and Ed soon after.  The switchbacks are great since you can see the competition without having to look back (and give away the fact that you are worried about what they are doing).  By the top of the climb I had a few seconds on Jim and a few more on Ed.  I was looking forward to the second big descent, a 500’ drop from 3.3 to 4.6 miles.  Most of this was on a wide forest road which was very run-able.  My mantra the entire way down was “easy, easy” but it was also “speed up, speed up” somehow I didn’t feel they were contradictory.  Oddly I’m a better downhill runner (relatively) than a climber.  Back in the day (the 1990s) I picked up a silver medal at the World Mountain running championships and that was in and up/down year.  Anyway, my body doesn’t like the downhills but you gotta go with your strengths so I pushed as much as I dared.  I took a peek as we looped the finishing field and could see Jim was not far behind.

I could see teammate Steve Brightman up ahead and focused on closing the gap.  The final climb (300 feet over ½ mile) is TOUGH.  The single-track is rough and by this point everyone is getting tired (well, at least I was tired).   I closed a little on Steve and Vin Lyon but never really got that close.  Last year I had a freight train of guys go barreling by me on the final descent (300’ over .8) and was hoping to avoid that.  I took a look back with ½ mile to go and Isaac said something to the effect of “they are not in sight”.  I pushed the final little uphill and was able to forge a scant 2 second advantage over Isaac by the finish line.  I was surprised to see a 48 on the clock, last year I’d run just over 50 minutes, so a 2 minute improvement was a bit of a happy surprise.  Finishing in the top 10 was also a happy surprise.

CMS had a great day at Sleepy Hollow with teams topping five of the six categories!  Leslie O’Dell topped the women’s field (and the 40+ age group) and Mary Sharkey was 2nd in the 60+.  On the men’s side Matt Veiga was 3rd overall, Tim Van Orden topped the 40+ age group (4th place overall) and Steve Brighman was 4th in the 40+ (8th place overall), we went 1, 3, 4 in the 50+ age group, Paul Bazanchuk scored a four minute victory in the 60+ age group.
Men      Open                             40+                              50+     
            CMS      448.40              CMS      268.94              CMS      253.38
            GMAA    405.94            GMAA    242.72             NMC      205.32
            aR         324.19              NMC      205.32              aR         199.26
            NMC      302.73              aR         199.26                         
Women Open                             40+                              50+     
            CMS      243.83              CMS      243.83              aR         213.48
            aR         234.27              aR         213.80              NMC      200.35
            NMC      200.35              NMC      200.35                         
Pl Time     Name                         Sex       AGE       City, ST              USATF CLUB
1 41:39.5   Brandon Newbould     M          35         Nottingham, NH  WRT
2 42:39.1   Chris Mateer              M          26         Philadelphia, PA 
3 43:43.0   Matthew Veiga                       M          30         Lynn, MA            CMS
4 43:58.2   Tim Van Orden                       M          48         Bennington, VT   CMS
5 44:26.7   Kurt Hackler               M          40         Alstead, NH       
6 44:31.6   Eli Enman                  M          40         Huntington, VT  
7 46:15.5   Matthew Zanchi          M          27         Somerville, MA   
8 47:28.7   Steve Brightman         M          48         Providence, RI    CMS
9 47:41.4   Vincent Lyon              M          28         Dover, NH         
10 48:11.0  Dave Dunham                       M          53         Bradford, MA      CMS
11 48:13.5  Isaac St. Martin          M          37         Manchester, NH 
12 48:30.3  Jim Boule                 M          50         Campton            , NH      aR
13 49:29.8  Ed Sheldon               M          52         Hooksett            , NH      CMS
14 49:35.3  Peter Teixeira                        M          21         Holden, MA       
15 49:51.6  Adam  Bulakowski        M          39         Essex, VT           GMAA
16 50:01.2  Joshua Burns                        M          31         Burlington, VT    
17 50:05.2  Michael Perkins         M          37         Concord, NH      
18 50:11.6  James Donegan        M          37         Hinesburg, VT    
19 50:12.0  Luke Nugent             M          29         Greenfield, MA   
20 50:20.3  Erik Vandendries        M          52         Chestnut Hill, MA CMS
CMS finishers
33         52:40.5             Leslie O'Dell       F           41         Albany, NH                     CMS
42         54:05.1             Paul Bazanchuk  M          62         Center Conway, NH         CMS
98         103:26.8            David Lapierre    M          53         Chelmsford, MA              CMS
123       1:06:56.8           Robert Thomas   M          57         Charlton, MA                   CMS
130       1:07:44.2           John Martin        M          64         hyannis, MA                   CMS
136       1:07:59.8           Rich Miller          M          66         barnstead, NH                CMS
168       1:11:35.2           Barbara McManus            F           49         Rutland, MA                    CMS
184       1:14:59.1           Mary Sharkey      F           67         Grosvenordale, CT           CMS
218       1:20:08.7           Kimberly Gordon F           35         Rutland, MA                    CMS
241       1:32:22.2           Walter Kuklinski  M          68         Princeton, MA                 CMS
Div Place           Place     Time     FIRST NAME       LAST NAME         Sex       AGE       CITY      STATE   USATF CLUB
1          10         48:11.0 Dave Dunham    M          53         Bradford            MA        CMS
2          12         48:30.3 Jim Boule           M          50         Campton            NH        aR
3          13         49:29.8 Ed Sheldon        M          52         Hooksett            NH        CMS
4          20         50:20.3 Erik Vandendries M          52         Chestnut Hill       MA        CMS
5          27         51:38.6 Jack Pilla            M          58         Charlotte            VT         GMAA
6          39         53:33.3 Stephen Reed     M          58         concord NH       
7          41         54:02.6 Jeff Shedd          M          53         Burlington          VT        
8          53         57:22.8 Rick Chalmers     M          55         South Portland    ME        Dirigo
9          55         58:01.7 Michael Urquiola M          50         Melrose MA        GBTC
10         58         58:13.6 Jon Williamson   M          51         Montpelier          VT        
11         74         59:22.5 Jeff Gould          M          52         Gardner MA        NMC
12         76         1:00:00.8 Todd Brown     M          53         Rocky Hill           CT         NMC
13         88         1:02:06.5 Lennie Schmidt            M          50         norwood            MA       
14         90         1:02:31.6 Mike Caron      M          50         Pocasset            MA       
15         94         1:03:07.3 Ernesto Mendoza          M          50         Gloucester         MA       
16         98         1:03:26.8 David Lapierre  M          53         Chelmsford        MA        CMS

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