Soapstone 24k 2010
This was the tail end of a busy four weeks of racing for me, with the middle two races being 7 Sisters and the Bear Mountain 50 miler. It’s hard to believe, but my recovery from the 50 miler was much easier than the week after 7 Sisters, and I didn’t exactly throw in the towel during the last few miles of the 50. Two days after the race, I felt good enough to do a short but intense hill workout with Kevin Gorman, my CMS teammate, and it went surprisingly well. I had no problems justifying running easy for the rest of the week, and my legs felt good by race day. I guess red wine and ice enhance recovery. I knew Jim would not be racing the day before (as last year), and given that he was a mile ahead of me at the New Bedford half, I was wondering how long we would be running together this year.
We got out somewhat quickly at the start, as I didn’t want to encourage anyone to hang on to us. On the other hand, I wasn’t trying to push the pace early with the vertical climb of Soapstone coming up at 2.5. The new singletrack section prior to the hill seemed longer, but that might have been due to the fact that I was a bit worried that we missed a turn. I tried to maintain an even effort hiking up the hill, so that we could actually run the upper portion and still feel ok for the hard downhill that follows. Jim gave me 10 second updates on two guys behind us, and seemed to think we were going to get caught.
Although pushing too hard on downhills is one of the best ways to ruin a race, I wasn’t holding back much on the descents. I didn’t actually think that I would put time on Jim, but it was likely to be harder on Jim’s legs than mine, and might prevent surges on the runable sections between the hills, where JJ’s leg speed would be an advantage. He seemed content with the pace, and I just tried to keep a steady effort. We talked about last year’s race, and how nice the trail conditions were this year. At 49 minutes, we started down the long stream bed downhill, which was almost completely dry. It is always nice to have dry shoes on the mile long hill that follows, and I felt much better on this section this year compared to last.
At around 60 minutes, my abdominal muscles started to get tight, which sometimes happens to me in races with fast descents. I think my legs get in front of my torso, and this fatigues my stomach muscles. I thought Jim might go by during the 10 minutes it took to relax the cramping, but he seemed to be worried about the final climb. It took forever to get there, and I started to feel the 50 miler on the rolling technical section from 11-13 miles. We hit the base of the hill at around 1:32, and I climbed as hard as I could while still leaving some for the rolling last mile. I couldn’t pull away from JJ, and I knew I was in trouble when I had to back off on the final trail downhill due to heavy legs from the climb
JJ passed me on the road, and it was downhill from there. My quads were dead tired, and hard downhill pounding on pavement was not helping. I managed to keep the gap at a few seconds until we got onto the dirt road and the final climb to the finish, where both my stride and turnover slowed. Jim pulled away steadily while I tried to limit the damage, but think I finished the 50 mile faster than that!
The race for spots 3-6 was very tight behind us, as Ross Krause, Keith Schmitt, John Dudley, and Dave Hannon all finish within a minute. Serena Wilcox won the women’s race by about 6 minutes, so it was a good day for Inov-8. In addition to JJ and Serena, I know that Ross Krause was wearing 290’s. JJ went with 212’s, which he was very happy with, and I wore my 290’s for a little more protection on technical downhills. I preferred the 290’s to the 230’s I wore last year, but I did run a bit faster last year. I’m thinking the slight course change may have added some distance, but I’m not sure on that. With the exception of the last mile, I’m happy with my race, and I probably couldn’t have expected much more a week after Bear Mountain. Deb and Scott Livingston and the Shenipsit Striders did a great job with the race, and the perfect running weather encouraged a record turnout of 160 for the 24k and almost another 100 for the 6k.
Full results at:
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Soapstone 24k 2010