After a one year layoff to attend the Speedgoat Mountain Races, we returned to one of our “hometown” races, the Soapstone Assault. We have been going to the Assault since 2000, which is a long 16 year span. The race has grown up quite a bit and we had a very strong turnout this year. Of course the race was dominated by Shenipsit Striders, which only made sense because Shenipsit State Forest and Soapstone Mountain is our “home field.”
The format for the event, six ascents (five descents) of Soapstone Mountain, was originally a New Year’s joke amongst club members. Eventually, the joke developed into a race. The unique nature of the handicap or “Dipsea start” is based on the Dipsea Race in Mill Valley/Stinson Beach, California. The last hill is Killer Hill, which is also part of the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race course.
Debbie has done this race 15 or so times, but this year, she was joined by our son for his inaugural race. It was great to see so many friends and teammates. Brad Pellissier and a bunch of volunteers coordinated the race. Special thanks to Rod Wilson and Jennifer Clark for the race timing. This isn’t an easy race to score! The markings were our best ever and we had monitors at each key trail junction. In the old days, this race had barely any markings and a lot of people make wrong turns. Richard Busa was famous for running twice the 5.5 mile distance thanks to all of his wrong turns.
The weather was rainy, but muggy, and warm. The post-race picnic was fantastic. Jaime and Dominic Wilson did a fantastic job setting up the picnic and coordinating all of the pot-luck contributions.
At $10 for non-members and $5 for members, this race, which is part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series, has to be one of the best values in trail running. The next race in the series is People’s Forest on Saturday.