Two weeks ago at the last minute I decided to go race the US Mountain Champs at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. I found a decent ticket, made reservations, and schemed. As with any trip I decided to make the most of it and figured I’d go climb Mt Mansfield, 4,395 feet, in Vermont after the race. I flew into Boston at 8:00 am, Saturday morning. The race was scheduled to start the following morning.
Saturday: I hopped on the subway and took it out to the east of town. I had a rental car reservation in which I had to pick it up east of Boston… not at Logan Airport. A little weird but it was a whole lot less expensive. I did not know where the rental was so all I had to do was go off of my directional instincts. When doing so I know that I am either right or wrong. It is kind of like playing the age old game in which you hide something and have someone tell you if you are hot or cold. I had a ball park idea of where the rental station was and at least I knew a street number. I got off the subway where I hoped the rental station would be asked a cop for directions and he directed me 2 blocks to the station… Perfect!
I drove north to Lincoln, New Hampshire and Loon Mountain where I did a quick shake out run and then drove over the Kancamagus Highway ( http://www.kancamagushighway.com/ ) to where I stayed with Rich and Sharon near Conway, New Hampshire. Thank you Rich and Sharon! I had a great time!
Sunday: Race day. Woke, ate, drove, got packet, warmed up, ready, started. The race went out fast! I held back so as not to go too hard too soon. Within ½ mile of the start I found myself in 30th place… wow I felt a little slow. Finally 1 mile in I felt solid and passed several people. The race was on. There were 10 people all within 20 seconds in front of me. This was a stacked National Championship Race! I ran over the challenging terrain continuing to push myself. Overall the race runs up Loon mountain including several sections of steep ski runs that you run straight up… well you TRY to run straight up. One mile prior to the finish is the false summit upon which you then drop 200 vertical feet and then ascend up a 40 degree black diamond ski run for 600 feet called Upper Walking Boss (befitting name) where you top out and finish the race. I finished in just over 59 minutes. A solid effort but only enough to give me 28th place.
Sunday afternoon: I drove over to Mt. Mansfield in Vermont (my 40th state) and hiked up to the top where I was greeted with fantastic views of the Green Mountains to the south, the Whites to the east, and the Adirondacks to the west with Lake Champlain nestled at their eastern terminus. Instantly I thought I should drive over to them and hike up some of the Adirondacks… but alas time was not on my side. I drove back to Boston, a 4 hour drive, instead.
Next up Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile run…