The weekend before had been my fourth stop on the La Sportiva Mountian cup, at the Rothrock Challenge 30k in Pennsylvania. I rode up with Jason and Allison Bryant and their chipmunk, the little guy. We camped the night before, which was just about the only thing the heat was actually good for over the weekend, and I got some insight into the course from the Bryant's who had run the race before. I had done a lot of training over the spring on steep technical terrain but nothing really prepared me for what lay ahead. The course itself was brutal. Steep climbs followed by even steeper descents full of boulders and loose rocks. That coupled with the 90 degree heat turned an 18 mile race into more of an ultra effort. Tough as it was though this was definitely one of the funnest races I have ever run, especially the boulder field following the aid station at 13 miles! This boulder field was truly a "climb" and even though I didn't run it I was still able to build a lead by the time I reached the top. By the time we hit the final aid station however Gabe had re passed me. I spent a little extra time at the aid station and only gained on him slightly on the following climb. I knew that the final couple of miles were a gnarly descent and that was where I hoped to move,
although with the heat I wasn't sure I would be able to. The whole day I had felt the my descending was my strongest asset and with the course ending on the technical descent I was able to pull out the win. If it had ended any other way I'm not sure. The win gave me a solid lead in the points standings as well making an already fun weekend even better. The next day however when I headed down the hill for my run I knew I might be in trouble. My legs were every bit as sore as they had been after Bear Mountain, and although I didn't have the sluggishness I sometimes feel after an ultra I was still slightly worried. By mid week however I felt pretty much fully recovered with only a slight hamstring tightness still lingering, and by the time I toed the line at Cayuga Trails any doubts I had were gone.
|The Boulder Field|
|Trail through the gorge at Lucifer Falls!|