acidotic anchor (again). He may never race again, and for that I feel bad......Ok, I'm over it now.
About a dozen acidotic RACING folks headed up to Bradbury Mountain State Park just west of Freeport, Maine to dish out the latest whooping on our hairy friends to the north (Trail Monsters). A near perfect day for racing on this exceptionally hilly 9 mile trail race (results).
I had warmed up on the first mile or so of the course so I knew it would be a fairly fast start with plenty of room for passing. With this in mind I seated myself 3-4 rows back at the start and 'went with the flow'. A ton of folks took off really fast and I just tucked into the pack and went along for the ride. Within a 1/2 mile or so I had picked my way through quite a few runners but didn't see any familiar faces in front (ie Chris Dunn or Jeff Walker, both masters). I knew little about the course other than we'd climb Bradbury Mt 4 times (or so I was told). For most of the race I'd go back and forth with Adam Zukowski, he'd climb a bit better and I'd descent a bit better. In either case we'd stay within yards of each other for most of the race.
About 13:30 in I thought I had reached the summit for the 1st of 4 times. I'd be wrong. It was close to the summit (about 40 vertical feet short) but it was not the true summit. Darn it! All the elevation gained was then abruptly lost in about 1/2 mile as we screamed down the South Summit Trail to the lower parking lot, before heading back up the Summit Trail to the actual real first summit of Bradbury. The climb up was short but very steep and I did a mix of run/walk/power hike most of the way up. Right near the summit I peeked back and saw Jeff Walker just a few seconds back. Darn it! I hit the first summit in 20 minutes even.
Ever since I let him beat me at Washington I figured he was probably a better climber so my plan (non-existent up until now) was to run the downhills and flats (if there were any) as hard and fast as I could and try to put some distance between us. By the time we came around Tote Rd and headed back up to the summit for a second time I knew he was back there but I didn't think he was as close as the first time up. Second time up and over the summit: 30:30. Now it was time for a little downhill running on the Switchback Trail, right back to the start/finish line. I came through lap one around 34:05ish I believe. Both Adam and Jeff were behind me (although I never looked back). As I headed out for my 2nd loop I almost missed the first turn, taking one step past the sign before barely seeing it out of the corner of my eye. Jeff apparently doesn't have corners in his eyes since I think this is where he allegedly went off course.
I continued to go back and forth with Adam on most of the second loop and even started seeing runners up ahead, something I didn't see at all on the first lap. I thought I had finally dropped Adam somewhere along the Boundary Trail since I couldn't hear him behind me (or Jeff for that matter). I'd be wrong (more on that later). I was just a few seconds back of Andy Kiburis as we reached the summit for the THIRD time (5th time if you count the two fake summits). I would stick with Andy around the Tote Rd and finally passed him coming up the Northern trail for the 4th and final summit of Bradbury Mt.
The final trip down the mountain to the finish would be a different trail this time. I had heard it was a screamer and true to form the Terrace Trail was all that and more. I was flying down this trail! About 1/2 way down I caught up and passed Mike Dowling and hoped that neither guy would stick with me. I'd be wrong. Are you sensing a pattern here??? As soon as we made the u-turn at the end of the trail and jumped back on the Northern Trial to the finish I realized I had LOTS of company: Mike D, Andy K and out of nowhere comes Andy Z......and they ALL start running all out like it was a 100m sprint!. I started to recognize where I was and knew we were close to the finish so I hung with them. Yes, this old guy still has a bit of a kick left in him and I wasn't about to just give these young guns the lead without a little work. As we broke out of the woods and into the field for the finish Adam and Mike were a step in front and Andy a step behind. It was a fantastic finish with the four of us all finishing within 5 seconds of each other. In the end it was Adam in 6th, Mike in 7th, me in 8th (1:09:15) and Andy in 9th.
For my efforts I walked away with first old guy (Masters), followed by Chris and Jeff (where were those guys???).
The acidotic 12-pack came to Bradbury and stomped all over the Trail Monsters on their home turf, and picked up 2 cases of warm beer for our efforts (Hey TMR, how about COLD beer next time??). Seriously though, these guys (and girls) are great hosts and put on a mighty fine race. Thank you!
It was so much fun I think I'll come back in a month and run the 12 mile Bradbury Bruiser...