2012 Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race

Today was the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race in Monroe, Massachusetts. Nestled in the northern Berkshires, this is one of our favorite races in the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series. It is also the third race in the WMAC Trilogy. This was my 7th Monroe since 2000, but first since 2009. We missed 2010 because of Kona and 2011 because of Grindstone.

My 1:27:22 for the lollipop shaped 10.5 mile course was my second fastest time, and was good for 7th place, though I think we should go to the video to see how much Donald Pacher beat me by. We had a death-defying sprint through the “tree tunnel” and practically crashed across the finish line in a heap. I came oh so close to a head on collision with one of those many trees, and flinched at the last second as he beat me across the line. We waged a fantastic battle over the final four miles of the rocky, rooty, and slick course. It was all-out NASCAR style racing with the occasional bump and run on the narrow trail. It was awesome.

Debbie had a nice bounce back race, only seven days after the Vermont 50. She has some residual soreness, but still finished 2nd to a blazing Kelsey Allen, who has owned these middle-distance races the past two years. Kelsey was 9th in 1:32:22 and Deb was 16th in 1:38:28. The third woman was Summer Rabida in 1:49:37. She was part of a good Shenpsit Strider crew that came up from Connecticut.

Brian Rusiecki, fresh off of his Vermont 50 win, took first again today in 1:20:47. He promptly went out for another lap. That’s how you get fast and strong and stay fast and strong. Our Strider teammate, David Merkt, had a great result, finishing 2nd in 1:23:02. Stanislav Trufanov put in a nice run only a week after the NipMuck Trail Marathon, to round out the podium in 1:25:24.

The course has nearly 2,100 feet of elevation gain, with most of that coming during the climb up Spruce Peak. It seems to never end. It was typical Monroe weather. It was overcast and cool. The foliage was very nice, but the flat light put a damper on things. Still, the racing was hot. There were many battles in that final 100 meter finishing straight. The trails were wet in spots, though the two stream crossings were only knee-deep.

I did well on the climb, but gave up some spots on the technical descent. I reminded myself several times that I need to be at work tomorrow. Sometimes the risks aren’t worth it. The WMAC had their usual post-race spread with lots of food and drink to enjoy. On the way out of Monroe, we noted all of the rafters and kayakers on the Deerfield River. It was a chilly day on the water for those folks.

Thanks again to Mrs. Schieffer (aka Momma S.) who joined us for the trip to the lovely trailhead. Also, thanks to Race Director Kent Lemme and his fellow WMAC volunteers. It was great to see so many familiar faces. Our last GT race was WMAC’s Greylock Gallop back in June. It took some big time races the past two years to keep us from Monroe. It’s likely that it would take similar epics  in the future to keep us from missing again.

Race Results

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So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

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