Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Finally, i get to run a race that i also ran last year, this gives me a time to aim at. So up to Windsor, Vermont i went to run the Mt Ascutney Road Race up the mountain. It is a 3.75 mile paved road that rises 2300 ft, finishing just below the summit. Two years ago, this was my first ever mountain race. That year, after running 2 miles on the road, the course veered off onto single track trail to the actual peak. I did not care for that route to the top and thankfully, they changed back to the traditional road course last year.
Last year i really suffered going up this mountain, this year i knew would be better, just a matter of how much. For the last 10 weeks, my running has been pretty steady, usually around low 40's to 50 mile per week. I have been running a lot of trails and recently, a decent amount of mountains. Training runs up Wachusett, Cranmore, Black Cap, Loon and Middle Mountain along with the Mt Washington Road Race had me feeling pretty good.
Time to run. After a short warmup run, i lined up back in the pack at the start line. At the gun, you start climbing. I started off cautiously, call it slow if you like. The plan was to run to the mile and then take short walking breaks the rest of the way. I locked on to what i thought was a comfortable pace in the first mile, right behind Rich Miller and Goon teammate Hank "Spanky" Wilder. Just before the mile, i took my first walk break, maybe 50 meters and ran again. I caught up to Spanky and we went back and forth a few times until i pulled away. I figured to have him with me or in front for the race, so i was a bit surprised to leave Spanky behind. From then on, i would walk some of the corners where it was steeper and try running the staight sections. It was hard to tell if i was running better than last year, it seemed like i was running more but it still is so tiring. Towards the top, there are some sections that flatten out and i could stretch out the stride a little. I checked the watch a few times in the last mile and figured it would be close, but i would be faster than last year. Coming around the last uphill bend, i was surprised to see that i was way under last year as i ended up 3 minutes and 56 seconds to the better. Needless to say, i was happy with that. Can i knock off another 4 minutes next year? Why not.
The Goon Squad - Spanky, Flash, Thunder God and Taz
Happy to be done with it, i was asked almost right away if i was running to the top where the lookout tower was. Of course, i said sure, lets do it. I jogged to the tower with Paul Bazanchuk. The rest of the gang was way up in front, i had no desire to push that fast. The view from the tower was great (see photo at right). After the awards, we ran back down the mountain, it is a nice way to wreck your legs for the next days run.
One last stop, we all headed over to the local river to soak in the cold water and enjoy a few adult beverages. It is a nice way to finish off the mountain running series.

Want to read a race report by the winner and series champion? Go here: DoubleJRunning.blogspot.com
I guess i have to find some trail races to do now, or i could always try a road race (yuk).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Loon Mountain

I spent the weekend up in Lincoln, NH for the 5th round of the USATF-NE Mountain Series race at Loon Mountain. Once checked into the motel, i headed over to Loon to run the course, but upon arriving, i ran into race RD Paul Kirsch, who was about to go out and flag the course. I decided to go along with Paul, as well as Tim VanOrden, Tim Mahoney and Paul Bazanchuk to help out. It sounded like fun and was, and one hell of a workout to boot! We headed up the mountain with 2 dogs in tow (Sam and Bear), marking the course and enjoying nice conversation. It was pretty warm out and that took a toll on the dogs, so Tim M and Paul brought them down in the gondola and left Paul B, Tivo and myself to hike Upper Walking Boss with the flags. I learned two things, Upper Walking Boss really sucks to go up and the mosquitos were about as bad as the ascent of the mountain. My quads were burning at the top and i wasn't even racing. I think i lost a pint of blood too.

The easy way up the mountain
Tim Mahoney, Rich Miller, Paul Bazanchuk and Tim VanOrden
soaking in the ice cold Pemi
The next morning, it was overcast and cooler. Just after the start, the rain came in. I took the easy way up the mountain in a gondola with my camera equipment. Once at the top, i had to hike up to the north peak, top of Upper Walking Boss. Last year, i ran into a bear at the top and Eric Blake ran into the same bear a little later on course. No bears this year, although we did se one the day before while flagging to course. I took a bath in Deep Woods Off, no bug problems today. I parked my butt down the slope a bit and shot away. The rain would come and go, then eventually, the clouds moved in and visibility at the top was about 100 feet. By then i had shot about 2000 images, time to go.

You can see my Loon photos here: scottmasonphoto.com

For a good race write up, go here:
Dare Mighty Things

After the race, we headed to the river out front, the Pemi, and soaked in the ice cold water while enjoying a beer. A very nice way to wrap up the race.

Next week is the last race of the series at Mt Ascutney, Windsor, Vermont. I will be running, not shooting. I look forward to hanging at the river afterwards. I know it will be a good time.

Ross Krause at the top of Upper Walking Boss in 2nd place