With overcast skies and the chance of a thunderstorm I headed out to the bike path that connects my parents rental home (for two months...must be nice) to loon mt. The race promtly started at 9am after a few comical instructions by the RD. He mentioned that if we got to the top of the gondola platform at mile 4, and we felt like we were going to die, that we should probably not go any further. Damn, was he right!
The 5.7 mile race started on the banks of the pemigewasset river and at the base of loon mt. After two honks of the race truck horn, we were off. I found myself with the lead pack right away and just wanted to keep the top 20 in front or around me at all times. I had two goals going in. One to finish in the top 20 and the second to finish under an hour. The gravel road soon turned to pavement, through the parking lot, around a maintenance area, then onto the mountain access roads. These roads would snake not only up loon mt. but also down. It seemed like we would climb up a few switchbacks, then casually come flying down the elevation we had just acrewed. The leaders at this point were well ahead, and I found myself with 2 other guys going my pace. We would hammer the downhills and then try to power up the steep slopes (which might I add the steepest slope had a 40 degree angle!!!!!).
After many lead changes among our group of three, we made it to the top of the gondola landing (mile 4). I had heard it was a long downhill from here, then a brutal climb. I found myself making up much ground on the downhill and essentially our group of three started climbing "upper walking boss" (a ski trail at loon) to the summit of the north peak. You could see the leaders cresting the top and the top ten strung out amongst the many switchbacks that would torture us all the way to the top. Many lead changes occurred here and I think I gained at least three spots alone on this climb. At the top and with wobbly legs, we found another descent into the col between the north and main peaks of loon, only to finish with a 40 degree hill sprint to the finish (wtf?). I guess there would be no better way to finish this race though and I almost caught the 12th place guy on this hill.
All said and done, 13th place, 55:53. Two goals accomplished and whole lot fun doing so. I ran down the mt with a bunch of guys in the top 15. All cool dudes and stories to share. Never really did that before post-race so it was a cool experience. Can't wait to do this race again next year, top 10 hear i come.
Full results can be found here.
Food for thought: heard one of the top guys, I think it was van orden, say the last climb to the finish was a 40 degree slope and people were hammering it like it was the starting line but couldn't run up stuff less steep throughout the race. He is definitely right. I pushed up that hill like no other, which leads me to believe I could have run harder on the all previous hills. Like I said...next year.