|The aR crew: (R-L)|
Me, Judson, Doc, Dan, Gary, Austin, Craig, & Mike
Pownal, MAINE -- This morning I took the trip up I295 to Bradbury State Park (ME) for the Bradbury Scuffle hosted by our good friends from Trail Monster Running and expertly co-directed by Ian Parlin and Ryan Triffitt. I've raced at Bradbury on trails and snow but never on the "other side of the road" so this would be a new experience for me. When I arrived I parked next to aR's Judson Cake and we chatted while the rest of the crowd began to arrive. I warmed up on the last few hundred meters of the course just to get a sense of my surroundings although as it turns out I didn't 'pre-run' back far enough. Starting on double-wide I tried to seed myself approximately 3 rows back somewhere in the Top 20. Being a 6 miler the front group went out predictably hard and I did my best to avoid the scattering of rocks and roots early on while in a constant elbow to elbow mosh pit for position. Within a few hundred meters I found myself behind RD Ian Parlin who was running at a very good pace. An extremely strong and talented trail runner, with far more miles on his legs in 2011 than I, it became my intention to stick with him as long as possible letting him show me the way through the 2+ mile section of twisting singletrack. Ian and I picked off a handful of runners in this section as we rollercoasted through this sweet flowy section of trail. At one point I actually felt a little dizzy staring at his feet watching for the rocks and roots that would appear in an instant from under his step. Approaching the first aid station around 3.5 miles he pulled over for a drink allowing me to run ahead. I fully expected him to surge back and retake the position so I focused on the next group of competitors up ahead trying to get hooks on them. As we spilled back onto double wide for the last 1.5+ miles I spotted a group led by Trail Monster Running's Jeremy Bonnett. He had passed Ian and I on along the singletrack section and accelerated away. I was surprised to see that I had made up some ground on his group. On a slight incline I accelerated by and took the lead on this hard charging group. Jeremy uttered some words of encouragement and I could feel someone come along. Turns out it was him. Using the Steve Wolfe approach of running 'ascared' and not looking back I picked up the cadence and tried to relax my upper body on the smooth slightly rolling section of double-track but I could feel someone within striking distance. With less than a mile to go on a very small climb Jeremy passed me again (this time for good) and put the hammer down. I picked up one more place in the last few hundred meters and finished 12th overall (3rd masters) in an unofficial 44:09. After last weekend's embarrassment at Loon Mountain Race I felt like I ran very hard and raced for the first time in a while. It's possible I may have made my move past Jeremy's group a tad too early as I could not hold him off in the end, but all in all I'm very pleased with the effort. After three consecutive weekend's of racing I'm looking forward (but not as much as Karen) to a weekend off. From a team perspective we had a great turnout with a number of awesome performances. It was great to see Austin, Doc, Craig, Mike R., and Dan D.. And we had two podium finishes...Judson who was first overall setting a new course record and Gary who won another age-group podium.
UP NEXT: Tough Mountain Challenge, Sunday River, ME
PS. Thanks to Ian, Ryan, and the entire Trail Monster Running team for another outstanding event. These folks are the standard by which we measure our event hosting. Once again a job very, very well done!