Ascutney Mountain Run

Today, Debbie did the Ascutney Mountain Run. Earlier this week, we were driving to the White Mountains. We made our usual stop at the Putney Co-Op, where I grabbed the most recent issue of Vermont Sports. We count on the race listings for a lot of new ideas. I spotted the Ascutney Mountain Run and told Deb that it was Sunday (today) and that she should do it for the training.

We had already planned to spend the third night (the first two were at Lonesome Lake Hut) at a Vermont State Park. So, we hatched a plan and spent last night at Mt. Ascutney State Park. Ascutney is a special place for us. We met in the parking lot at the Ascutney Mountain Resort during the 1999 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run. Despite traveling to and through Ascutney for more than 10 years, we had never done the running race (today) or the bicycle race (next Sunday).

It had been years since Debbie ran in one of the USATF New England Mountain Running events. Many of the hillclimbs are on asphalt roads, and her focus is on technical trails. She also excels at downhill running, so it doesn’t make sense to do races on roads that only go one direction…up. However, she made an exception today. The 3.7 mile access road climbs 2,300 feet to a parking lot that is 0.7 mile from the true summit, which is accessable by trail. Today’s run ended at the parking lot. Debbie didn’t have any expectations. Running roads and all uphill are two things that she isn’t very fond of. However, she was pleased with the outcome when you factor her warmup (3/4’s of the way up and down again) and warmdown (ran down from the top). She mixed in some trails and got a lot of great running while I hung out and hiked with our kids. Our campsite was 100 meters from the start of the race, so you can’t beat that for convenience.

Yesterday afternoon, I rode the hill (after a 30 minute warmup) on my standard road bike with a low gear of  39 x 23, and I was hurting. The grade averages 12% which is comparable to the Mt. Washington auto road. The Mt. Washington Road Race was run for the 50th time last month, and many of the same runners who shined at Mt. Washington, toed the line today. I have both run and ridden Mt. Washington. Clearly, I prefer the ride. I have done it four times, but not in several years. I have always pushed a hard gear at Washington. My fast time was done with 38 x 26. I would have gladly used a 26 on Ascutney, if I had one. Ascutney is half the distance, but for the mileage,  just as hard.

The men’s winner, in 28:16, was Eric Blake, who was second at Mt. Washington. FYI, I wasn’t pushing it, but it took me 37 minutes to ride it yesterday! The 2009 bike race was won in 26:02. Running is almost as fast! Behind Blake, second place went to Karl Remsen and third went to Jim Johnson. The women’s winner in 37:48, was Gina Lucrezi. Second was Dawn Roberts and third was Karen Encarnacion.

Today, we saw some familiar faces and we saw some folks that we don’t see as often. It was a fun day on a mountain. The kids and I didn’t make it to the top, but Deb said the views were pretty good when the morning clouds cleared. It was nice to be in VT.

My photos won’t be posted for a few days because my Mac PowerBook is in for repairs. Apple is actually going to replace it, which is good news.

Race Results

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