Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wachusett Mountain Race and Redhook 5k

Three races back now, so I have to start catching up with the race reports....These are from Memorial Day Weekend...

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend I ran my second Wachusett Mountain Race (results) over in Princeton, MA, put on by my club, the Central Mass Striders.  This was also the second race in the 2011 USATF-New England Mountain Series.

The race this year was again, slightly modified to accomodate a wedding that was happening at the ski lodge, so the last quarter mile was down a single track section instead of the wide ski trail to the base.  The race starts up the typical auto road (pavement) for just over a mile and then hooks right, heads down a single track trail back down to the lodge, then cuts up across the ski slopes until it dumps out onto a single track, steep climb up to the highest elevation in the race, before starting a very nice downhill last part of the race.  The downs are mostly on wide ski trails until the last section on single track.  The latest version of the course is around 4.7 miles or so.

I warmed up with a large crew of CMS folks and some others over the last part of the course and noticed that a few of the guys I thought may show up, were not around.  It seemed like it may be a lighter field than usual, but I was just focused on trying to continue a podium spot, with the mountain series a priority this year.  I was a little bummed to hear that there wasn't going to be any monetary awards this season for the top 3 men and women (due to lack of a principal sponsor) but I still would like to try to win the series and was off to a good start at Northfield.

The race went off and I headed out to the front, wearing my Inov-8 230s because of the mix of road and trail.  Patrick Ard (Whirlaway) was right with me and joined me for the entire climb up the first mile + of auto road.  This is my least favorite section and I was really struggling to get in a groove on this part.  So much so, that he pulled up along side me and I thought for a bit that he'd just motor on by me.  I actually turned to him and told him to go on ahead if he wanted, but he was content with running alongside, so we continued to push up and put distance on the rest of the field.

At the top of the road portion of the climb, we took a quick right turn off onto a side road and then down to a single track section of trail that drops back down to the lodge.  I was first to the single track and put some major distance on Patrick during this part, which was surprising.   When I popped out at the base, I had a decent lead and started to push up the ski slopes as hard as I could without emptying the tank too soon.  The climb to the start of the single track is pretty nice and not too long.  When I hit the single track, I was pretty far ahead and couldn't see the next guy back.

Heading up the single track climb is pretty technical, as you have to pick and choose your spots, hop up over rocks and roots, and avoid slipping on some of the wetter, muddier spots (and wet rock)....but for the most part the course was pretty dry.  The climb takes a while and seems to flatten out a couple times (relatively speaking) before going up yet again.  I kept glancing back occasionally to see if I was being caught by the likes of a Tivo or Pat or Todd Callaghan, etc. but I was still not seeing anyone behind me and kept pushing.

I reached the top and then started to hammer the downhills, feeling confident at this point that I wouldn't be caught.  On the uphill portions, I am never confident I can hold any sort of a lead.   I eventually came down and hit the single track descent and within a couple minutes I was at the bottom, having stayed on my feet and avoided any sort of issues with the terrain.

I came through in 28:54, 1:22 ahead of Tivo who ran a great race and battled Todd for a very close 2nd. Patrick wasn't too far back (after hyper-extending his knee on the descent) and Ross Krause, Tim Mahoney, and Tom Brown all came across in the top 7, giving CMS 5 of those spots.

After a nice cooldown with some CMS teammates, my college teammate Brad Klinedinst, and some others, we headed back for the awards.  I got $100 (cash money) and a very nice Wachusett/CMS hoodie.

Top 10 Plus CMS in blue:

1Jim Johnson         Salem NH        28:54CMS             
2Tim Van Orden       Bennington VT   30:16CMS             
3Todd Callaghan      Beverly MA      30:18GSC             
4Patrick Ard         Raymond NH      30:27Whirlaway       
5Ross Krause         Eastham MA      30:59CMS             
6Tim Mahoney         Holyoke MA      31:16CMS             
7Tom Brown           Princeton MA    32:00CMS             
8Nate Sans           Princeton MA    32:21                
9Matthew Chuuran     Gloucester MA   32:30Team Gloucester 
10Allan Serrano       High Falls NY   32:31SR              
19Sam Wood            Lanconia NH     34:47CMS             
23Abbey Gosling       Meredith NH     35:15CMS             
24John Pajer          Leicester MA    35:22CMS             
29Abby Mahoney        Holyoke MA      35:58CMS             
49Rachael Boudreau    Ayer MA         38:52CMS             
60Jackie Shakar       Sutton MA       40:01CMS             
76Patrick Haverty     Fitchburg MA    41:21CMS             
78Michael Auger       Westminister MA 41:38CMS             
82Paul Vasington      Bolton MA       41:53CMS             
107Rob Thomas          Charlton MA     43:07CMS             
156Betsy Green-Baker   W Boylston MA   47:21CMS             
157Sam Martin          Worcester MA    47:26CMS             
159Jim Fay             Templeton MA    47:37CMS             
173Steve Hebenstreit   Dudley MA       48:28CMS             
175John Baker          W Boylston MA   48:38CMS             
182Lisa Paciello       Worcester MA    48:52CMS             
202Linda Usher         Upton MA        50:47CMS             
206Alissa Zbikowski    Gardner MA      50:57CMS             
216Walt Kuklinski      Princeton MA    51:33CMS             
217Sue Swenson         Dudley MA       51:38CMS             
222David Russell       Worcester MA    51:55CMS             
226Jeffrey Adair, SR   Worcester MA    52:00CMS             
230Bill McGee          Holden MA       52:38CMS             
231Melissa McDonald    Rutland MA      52:46CMS             
234Lara Fensin         Holden MA       52:53CMS             
238Dom Mastromatteo    Worcester MA    53:02CMS             
243Laura Mastromatteo  Worcester MA    53:31CMS             
245Michael Keating     Worcester MA    53:37CMS             
247Bob Lubenow         Grafton MA      53:45CMS             
252Jerry Lembcke       Worcester MA    54:31CMS             
276Ray Boutotte        Pepperell MA    57:14CMS             
277Don Thompson        Holden MA       57:15CMS             
278Neil McManus        Gardner MA      57:29CMS             
287David Holt          Pepperell MA    59:51CMS             
290Karen Pajer         Leicester MA    60:09CMS             
291George Boudreau     Worcester MA    60:18CMS             

308 Total Finishers.

Sunday, the day after Wachusett, I headed up to Portsmouth, NH (hopefully by next year I can say 'headed DOWN to Portsmouth') to run in my 5th Redhook Brewery 5k (results) (one of my favorite races).  I did the Wachusett / Redhook double last year and had no problems, running a 3rd place behind John Mentzer and Bob Wiles.  This year, I had a good Wachusett win and was pumped going into Redhook.  It was a hot day (again) up on the Pease Tradeport and I was running into some fast folks in a few of my teammates (Bob Wiles, Nick Crowell, Ben Jenkins, Scott McGrath), and some others that were there to run on the relatively flat/fast course.  This race always kicks off the summer season for me and is a great time, as usual, because it is also a Seacoast Road Race Series race...

I warmed up with the CMS boys and noticed that there was also a dude from Bucknell in the house (Andrew Huebner) who appeared to be very fit and fast looking.  Also in the house was Rob Levey, who has been tearing it up in the Seacoast area lately.  I was trying to figure out if I could even get a top 5 spot.  In 2008 I won the race.  In 2009 I was second.  In 2010 I was third.  It doesn't take a math wizard (like Ben Jenkins) to figure out that if trending/paterns are anything, I could be 4th this year.  The times I've run over the last few years are all also within only a couple seconds of each other....even after running Wachusett last year the day before.

After the one and only Dick Beardsley gave a few parting words, we were off and running.  Immediately Bob and Nick and Andrew headed out to the front and I languished off the back of those three sprinters for a while before deciding to drop it back and run at a reasonable pace so I could finish the damn race.  Even after hanging back at around 400-600 meters, I clipped through the mile in 4:50...about 5 seconds back of the top 3.  The first mile is completely flat, wide open (no shade), and blistering.  It's usually fast, but this year those three really took it out.

At around the 1.5 mile mark, the course goes up one of the only 'hills' on the course and as we passed by the water stop, I actually came up and past Andrew, who had fallen off the pace.  I told him to keep plugging and help me go after the top two.  He reacted initially and kept pace with me, even picking it up a bit to pull ahead again, but then fell back once again and I continued to push up towards Nick, who now had fallen off of Bob's pace just a bit.

Once at the top of the climb, the course turns right and heads down slightly past 2 miles.  As we approached the 2 mile mark, I caught up to Nick (as I had at Children's Museum) and tried to get him to go with me to run down Mr. Wiles.  He reacted as Andrew did and ran with me for a bit, but as we clicked through 2 miles in 10:00, he dropped back just a bit and I now set my sights on Bobby Boy.  Turning onto the last couple of streets, Bob looked to be laboring a bit and I went after him on the last stretch before a slight uphill to the finish turn.  Over the last 200 meters or so, Bob put on a surge I couldn't match and he got me YET AGAIN, making his difference in the first mile AGAIN.  I was extremely happy with not only a 2nd place (Ben Jenkins later told me that I was still trending, but going now in the other direction.... so a 1,2,3,2,1 ladder!) but also a relatively quick time (15:28) one day removed from winning Wachusett Mountain.  Nick was third and Rob just nicked Andrew for a very solid top 5 on a pretty hot and dry day.  Scotty has been hurt and ran as a workout....he also biked like 300 miles to get to the race.

Below are the only photos I have from the race, taken by the lovely and talented Kristin (yes, she actually went to one of my races this year! :) )...we didn't have the camera, but she took these with her cell phone... good enough though.   First two are Bob Wiles making the turn at the finish (3 mile mark) with me in tow.  Last two are me, with Nick in tow behind.

After a cooldown over the course w/ the CMS crew, we headed over to the great afterparty (live band, free beer, food, etc.).  We camped out picnic-style on the lawns of the brewery and hit up the awards ceremony.  I got another cool 100 beans (cash) for the 2nd place, and a 50 dollar gift card to the brewery.  I also go another SWEET trophy from Redhook (the best trophies out there) but it is the exact same one I got last year....All the other trophies for 1st, 3rd, and age groups were all new....I have 4 Redhook trophies now and 2 of them are the same...kind of a bummer, but the rest of the day was great.


Mile 1) 4:50
Mile 2) 5:09 (10:00) - hill
Mile 3) 4:58 (14:59)
Last .1) :29

Top 10 Plus CMS in Blue:

1Bob Wiles        33Kittery ME       15:204:57
2Jim Johnson      34Salem NH         15:284:59
3Nick Crowell     24Portsmouth NH    15:495:06
4Rob Levey        36Somersworth NH   16:125:13
5Andrew Huebner   23Hampton Falls NH 16:155:14
6Chris Ritchie    28Hampton NH       16:235:17
7Jeff Cole        32Biddeford ME     16:385:22
8Benjamin Jenkins 24Durham NH        16:445:23
9Cameron Barth    14Lee NH           16:585:28
10Mark Gibson      44Durham NH        17:155:34
21Scott McGrath    24Amesbury MA 18:416:01

1886 Total Finishers.

Foster's Daily Democrat Article feat. yours truly and media-whore extraordinair, Bob Wiles.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jim...nice job once again! Where up North are you trying to move? I can never seem to visit the N. Conway area enough...year round enjoyment to say the least. Well, maybe I'll run into you at Mkt Square on Sat. Take care!