2013 Soapstone Assault

Last weekend’s race was exotic and we traveled a great distance for it. This weekend’s race was just as exotic, but much more familiar and a heck of a lot closer. The Soapstone Assault has been a mid-summer Shenipsit Strider tradition for a long time. Prior years’ posts cover the history and the story behind the Dipsea Race inspired handicap start.

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This weekend was a “recovery” weekend for the Livingston Family before the big August push. Debbie is definitely lying low, though she marked part of the course prior to the race. I donned a number and jogged the race just for fun and the kids helped with the markings and cleanup.

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It was great to see all of our Strider friends. So many of them have been busy with the Vermont 100 and other summer classics. Some of our other clubmates were at the Escarpment Trail Race in New York today and others were at Bear Brook Trail Marathon in New Hampshire.

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Those of us who stayed closer to home were treated to 5.5 miles of Soapstone fun in the humid air. It was cooler than it has been, but it was still a sweatfest. We welcomed some “outsiders” to our local trails and enjoyed fine post-race snacks including fresh mango, watermelon, brownies, bagels, and coffee. We even indoctrinated Eric Hale as our newest Race Director. Clint Morse (NipMuck Trail Marathon), Dave Merkt (NipMuck Trail Marathon), Ron Starrett (Old School Shenipsit Half Marathon), and Debbie (Soapstone Mountain Trail Races) are quite experienced and were all present to mentor.

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This was the perfect way to hit “reset” and chill for a day. Some folks don’t call running up Soapstone Mountain six times and running down five times relaxing, but it was for me. I may not be normal, so consult your physician before attempting this sort of thing without preparation.

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Brett Stoeffler owns this race and now that he is a 45+ codger he even gets a bigger head start thanks to our Dipsea friends. It was great to see Ken Clark on the trails and he was right there in the top three, along with Brett’s nephew, Conor Gagliardi. We missed Rich Busa, and he missed fantastic course markings. A hallmark of this race in the past was the challenging navigation. Rich always led the way in wrong turns taken.

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It will be sad to see July go when the calendar flips next week, but for now, let’s all hang on to this fine month a bit longer.

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Oh, NipMuck is still open and there isn’t a finer trail race in the east. This is the 30th (you read that right!) anniversary, so get your entry in ASAP!!

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Race Results (will be posted when online)

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