Monday, November 2, 2009

Busa Bushwack 10 Mile Trail Race


Sunday I decided to go down to Framingham, MA to run in the Busa Bushwack 10 Mile Trail Race (results).  This was the second to last race in the WMAC Grand Tree series for 2009.  The race has two options, a 5.3 mile version, and a 10 mile version.  This year's longer course is a new 10 mile version (the older version was 9.3 miles and didn't feature one of the new hills that this year's course has).  The race was also a celebration for Rich Busa who just turned 80 years young.

In looking at the previous years results (of the 9.3 mile course) it was clear that Greg Hammett (CMS) (2007, 2008 winner) was a frequent flyer, as was Ben Nephew (CMS) (2006 winner).  I figured both would show, plus a couple others, and I was right.  In addition to Ben and Greg, there were a few others there that have been known to mix it up at the front, including BAA's Josh Gordon and GBTC's Andrew Wommack.  I figured it would be a good race up front and it certainly was.

There was a good pack of us that started up the first quarter mile of the road to the trailhead.  I was about 5th into the woods as Greg and Ben were up front and pushing the pace.  By 4-5 minutes in, I was right up behind the two of them and we stayed together as a group for the next 5-6 miles.  I was weaving from side to side continuously behind the two of them, trying to get a good view of what I was stepping on.  It was so wet and the entire course was covered in wet leaves that were hiding the continuous occurrence of wet rocks, roots, and mud patches.  It seemed that over the first few miles, every other step I took resulted in a near disaster.  Greg and Ben were struggling with this too.  I was running, at times, too close to the back of them to see the course properly as well.  During the first couple miles, Andrew Wommack pulled up behind us and stayed there for a mile or so before falling back.  After a couple of near wrong turns (one in which I took the lead reluctantly for a few seconds before letting Ben and Greg back in), at somewhere between 5-6 miles, Greg started to fall back.  We hit one of the big climbs out onto a field and Greg fell back 10+ yards or so, and then farther back on the next climb, as I pulled right up beside Ben.  Over the next mile, Greg started to catch back up as Ben and I pushed on.  With the next few climbs, we put more distance on Greg again, but I was thinking that he was running strategically back there and staying close enough to be within striking distance when we hit the roads...  My plan at this point was to stay right on Ben and try to take him on the road portion (the last 3/4 of a mile or so).   We continued to push on and Ben liked to throw mini surges on some of the downhill and more technical parts.  I would match every surge and relax on the climbs.  With less than a couple miles to go, we started a big decent down a very tough part of the course in which you were going against others still making their way out on the course.  Not too soon after that, there was a sharp right turn to head back to the road and the last part of the trail.  I had just decided to take a small lead here for the first time.  Just after making a small move, I missed the right turn and tried to catch it at the last minute.  Ben took the turn as he should have and I overshot it by a few steps.  As I turned to try to make it, I slid on the wet leaves and went knee-first into a tree.  It immediately stunned me and I shouted out in pain.  Ben turned back to yell a quick 'you ok?' to which I said 'yeah, I just bashed my knee' but then tried to keep hobbling after Ben.  He pushed up the last climb up to the road and I fell behind a bit but then caught up, as my knee began to tighten.  I looked down and saw some blood welling up on the tip of the knee, but the tightness was what I was worried about.  Just before coming out of the trail, I caught back up to Ben and he was breathing a little heavier than before.  Even with my knee, I knew I had to go as soon as we hit the road.   With my first stride onto the pavement, I opened up my pace to probably just under 6 minute pace (estimation) which was faster than we were just going for sure.   I had about 3/4 of a mile or so, so I wanted to be somewhat conservative, but still try to leave Ben back as much as I could.  He let me go and I powered up a small incline and down a nice hill to the last straight before the climb up through the last neighborhood and to the finish line.  I overshot the finish line turn by a few steps an had to hurdle a couple bushes to get back onto the course and down to the chute.  In the end, I was able to put about 15 seconds on Ben and sneak in for the win in 1:00:48.  Ben and Greg were 2,3 to give CMS the sweep (although Greg didn't officially declare CMS for some reason ;) ).

Here's a cool interview with Rich Busa himself.




Top 10 Overall (out of 186) with CMS in blue

Place
Last
First
City
Age
Split
Pace
Team
1
Johnson
Jim
Salem, NH
32
1:00:48
6:05:00
CMS
2
Nephew
Ben
Mansfield, MA
34
1:01:03
6:06:00
Inov-8/CMS
3
Hammett
Greg
Chesterfield, NH
32
1:02:23
6:14:00
CMS
4
Wommack
Andrew
Jamaica Plain, MA
26
1:03:21
6:20:00
GBTC
5
Johnston
Bryan
Keene, NH
30
1:05:53
6:35:00
6
Hannon
Dave
West Roxbury, MA
38
1:06:03
6:36:00
7
Pacher
Donald
Easthampton, MA
37
1:06:35
6:40:00
Noho Brew
8
Condon
Timothy
Weymouth, MA
23
1:06:50
6:41:00
9
Krause
Ross
Easthampton, MA
29
1:07:16
6:44:00
RunReg.com
10
Gordon
Joshua
Boston, MA
35
1:08:04
6:48:00
BAA


Lastly, for giggles, here is a picture of the crew at Halloween, thanks to Jon Healey, who hosted his 2nd annual Halloween party at his new house in Chelmsford, MA.

L-R: Nate Jenkins (as Béla Károlyi), Melissa Donais (as Kerri Strug), Jeff Bartlett (as himself), Linsey Cohen (as Bert), Dan Vassallo (as Kenny Anderson), Double J (as Dan Verrington), Jon Healey (as 007), Matt Pimentel (as Ernie), and Kara Haas (as Holly Golightly).



5 comments:

  1. Jim, very nice win. That's one of my fav GT races, except for the pavement part. How's the knee today?

    Love the Verrington look!

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  2. thanks Dan. I was expecting to see you there... Good job over in Boylston. The knee is tight today and swollen, but it could be a lot worse. Best of luck this weekend! I can't wait to see how everyone does. I may try to target that race (Stonecat) next year.

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  3. Jim, I was registered for the ten but had a famliy commitment and had to skip it.

    I did the Stone Cat marathon last year. It is a fun time. You would do well there. I hope to survive the 50 this time around!

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  4. Great interview with Busa. The guy is a classic. I rode back from Oregon with him after the Snowshoe Nationals last year and he consistently cracked me up.

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  5. Congrats on the win and the halloween costume. I knew you were DV before I even saw the bib... I put your blog on my list so expect lots of extra site traffic.

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