2012 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

Today was my 13th Vermont 50 and Debbie’s 11th, since we met there in 1999. We have been there every year, but I skipped 2010 and she skipped 2006, 2009, and 2011. It is a tradition that we return to Brownsville, Vermont every fall for this great race. We were joined by our usual cadre of friends and teammates: Arlen Zane Wenzel, Randall Dutton, Arthur Roti, and Mark Hixson.

This year, my cousin, Danny Roy, also joined us and ran his first VT50. Debbie was fired up to run hard this year. After planning to bring our kids along (with Mrs. Schieffer in tow), we called an audible at the last-minute when we saw the forecast. Thankfully we arranged to leave them with the Schieffer’s at home, because it was a complete washout. The rain and mud weren’t quite like 2003 and 2009, but it was still messy. As if 50 miles and 7,200 feet of climbing isn’t enough, we had a greasy trail to contend with too. Fortunately, I stayed on my bike the entire race. I did hit 40mph on one descent and it was white knuckle at times, but no crashes.

Debbie didn’t have the race that she wanted, but she got in some great miles, finished strong, and is positioned to finish her season strong next month with one more 2012 ultra. I might have had my best ever VT50. Certainly, it was my best since my first race in 1999. I was planning to go hard, but the result surprised me. I knew by mile three when I was hanging tough at the front of my group on the big climbs that I was “on.”

I rained on and off all day, and when it wasn’t raining, it was misting. We had some heavy downpours, a little wind, and it was chilly in spots. It was a tough day for the trails, but the riders and runners were game. My 6:05 A.M. start was crazy as usual. I raced my Seven Sola 29 SL singlespeed (rigid) and the bike performed great. It was dark for the first 10 miles. It was really hard to see. Thankfully, a few guys had lights because I needed to follow them.

Once again we did the revised start because of post-Irene storm damage from 2011. It adds a lot of dirt road climbing in the opening miles. I got to Garvin Hill at mile 22 in 1:40. I was only three minutes down on Zane, who was riding strong, but was eventually slowed by a puncture. He only finished two minutes in front of me. I never saw him because he started at 6:00 A.M. with our age group, while I was with the singlespeeders one wave back.

I was really strong through 35 and was 2nd singlespeeder for much of the race before I faded a bit in the last 15 miles. It would have been nice to be on the podium for my class. I wanted to have a good race for my friends at Seven Cycles, who built a fantastic bike for me. I’m thankful to be on Team Seven Cycles and wanted to repay them with a super result, but the guys in front of me had suspension forks, which is an advantage (no crying here…it’s my choice to ride rigid) and they were just stronger when it mattered. I’m pumped about 31st overall and 4th SS. My time was 4:56:42 and I just felt super strong, especially in the first half. I love the bike on the big descents. The 29 inch wheels make a huge difference.

The race was one by pro rider, Ted King, in 4:05, a stellar time. Art and Mark won the tandem division again. Randall had a good ride. Debbie’s race was ho-hum. She wasn’t on her game, but gutted it out and powered the final three miles, picking up a lot of time on the third place woman. Amy Lane had a fine run and took the women’s win. I missed the men’s results, but will post them all when available.

The volunteers were awesome. They put a lot of time into this fundraiser for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport. The aid stations were stocked. We have been at the race 14 years in a row, so it is hard to not be critical. We have ideas on how the rider/runner/spectator experience could be improved. I’ll make some notes for Mike Silverman, the race director. Still, he and his gang have created a top-notch event.

It was too bad that the weather wreaked havoc on the race. It is so much more fun to lounge in the sun on the Ascutney Mountain slopes, rather than huddle under a tent to avoid the rain. Again, I’m stoked with my result. I had a tough race earlier this month at the Survival of the Shawangunks, but showed some pop at last week’s Silk City Cyclocross. Despite working some long hours this week, I had good legs. I think doing the Wilderness 101 earlier this summer was a big help to my overall mountain bike endurance. My 2011 VT50 was a disaster. This feels so much better.

Thank you to the Schieffer’s for watching our little ones! It was nice to have a “race date” with Debbie. We stopped at the Putney Co-Op on the way up and on the way back. We were bummed to miss the NipMuck Trail Marathon today. The Shenpsit Striders couldn’t avoid the conflict with VT50. We did some volunteer work for the race in advance. Debbie baked the three apple pies that go to the men’s, women’s, and masters’s winners. Yum! Next year’s VT50 will be the 15th anniversary since our first one. Wow.

50 Mile Mountain Bike Results

50 Mile Run Results

50 Kilometer Run Results

7 Responses to “2012 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run”


  1. 1 Dimitri Doupis 2 October 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Scott, you are awesome!!!! I was the one that came last in the singlespeed class, but you give hope I can get better (probably not as good as you). I think of Arlen’s reaction when I told him I was riding the singlespeed class and you guys finished close together. Absolutely awesome!

  2. 2 SL 2 October 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Dimitri, good for you! We rode it “pure.” No power meter, no watts, no worries! AZW should watch his back.


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