Monday, May 14, 2012

HEF Smartrun

2012 Hatfield HEF SmartRun

The first weekend in May brings out some of the best races in the pioneer valley and western MA. The Holyoke marathon, the infamous Seven-Sisters trail race, and the whitewater championships at Otter Brook to name a few. In any other weekend I would be running towards these races, but for this weekend I was staying around to support a great local Hatfield race, the Smart Run 5k.

 The Smart Run supports the Hatfield Education Foundation, a program that supports the schools that I so proudly work in. The course is flat, fast, and very picturesque, tracing through old neighborhoods of large colonial houses, lush gardens and huge flowering trees.

 If you are looking for a fun fast 5k, this is it. Expect a small town, very friendly run, BBQ with foot-long hot dogs, cheeseburgers and veggie burgers, homemade brownies, and a great raffle where runners have a good chance of leaving with a prize worth more than their entry fee.

For me, i left with a $50 gift certificate to the Mountain Goat and a $15 to Northampton Running! Time to go shopping!

Mr. McCarthy takes first place!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Training Week of 5/7-5/13

Earl's Trails

 Training Week of 5/7-5/13

Monday:       Tempo Ride. 23 miles at 150-160 HR. 20.6 mph
Tuesday:       8 mile run at Ashley Reservoir
Wednesday: 30 mins kayak, 30 mins core work/stretch
Thursday:     Track Workout with Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic
Friday:         Rest:  Work
Saturday:     Long Ride: 60 miles to Palmer, Warren, Belchertown,
                   Granby, and Ludlow
Sunday:       Long Run: 10 mile trail run on Earl's Trails

Run: 23 miles Cycle: 83miles Kayak: 4 miles : Strength 30mins

Time training: 9-10 hours

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 Tuckerman's Inferno

Team Tucksanity Wins Duo Division! Third place overall

I think there must be a weather God up there having a blast messing with us adventure racers. The 2012 Tuckerman's Inferno went off in spite of a very low river, virtually no snow on the Tuckerman's trail up to the ravine and a prediction of rain, snow, and pure misery. Well, we had the last laugh, the day turned out to be glorious, in weather and in victory!

 My division this year was the Tuckerman's Duo with top notch runner Alex W of the Summerville running club. Our top competition was 3 time defending champs Waters Equity. In the duo race, teams must complete the pentathlon with 2 people anyway they like. Waters Equity and Tucksanity where matching each other leg for leg.  Dave M and Alex W headed off the run, hike, and ski. and Mike T and myself tackled the kayak and bike portions of the race.

Dave M on the left and Mark T on the right. Mark has got some funky cycling styling happening.

The rivalry is a great one, comparable to Magic and Bird and the Redsox vs.Yankees. Dave M is the most experience racer with a very accomplished resume. A good runner and faster hiker, Mr. M is downright tough. On the other hand Mark T, is downright crazy. A 2nd place finisher at last years Lozer Cup kayak race, a class 4 downriver race on the Dryway section of the Deerfield, he paddles like a bull and reads river lines like an artist. In addition his cycling strength absolutely befuddles me. With minimal training and a heavy bike, he puts down times faster then most his competitors. I would love/hate to see him in a fast bike.

Tucksanity at the start
On our side though we had Alex, part human part machine. He has run 2:30 marathons and skis with the best. On a good day Dave would not have a chance to keep up. Yet, Alex is coming into the race after just running a 2:50 Boston marathon in 90 degree weather less than a week earlier. Could he really recover that fast to stay ahead of Dave???

Friday night 6 condos were filled with bikes, skis, poles, kayak gear, water bottles, and nutrition in the powder and gel form. Just after dinner Crystal and I realized that in the duo race, the hiker does not have to hike the skis up to the bowl. That makes for a huge advantage for Dave and Mark as they planned (smartly) to have someone else bring up Dave's gear. Crystal and I raced around all night trying to find a person who could help us out. In addition, Alex did not have a backpack set up for hiking skis. Logistics and poor planning equals less sleep. In the end we combined support teams with tuckerwomen Daniela. We now had former Ironman Charlie H helping us out...we certainly owed him some beer!

This was the first time i competed in a team format.When it comes to racing, I am pretty selfish...i like to race all the sharing!. Yet this time around i really enjoyed having the team format. For one, packing was a cinch! Having only 2 sports to organize felt like a vacation.  Yet what i really like about racing on a team is the feeling of being a spectator and cheering for your team one minute, then racing for your team the next. Giving a high-five to yourself at the end of a race is not the same as a high five to a teammate!

As i said Alex is a machine. The race went off, and Alex hammered the 9 mile run finishing several minutes ahead the second place runner. Apparently marathon recover for Alex was a cold shower and a few beers. I was given a huge head start on the kayak. The lead got so big, I did not see another kayaker on the river, even as i bent around the corners to look far back. The low river was more technical this year. Rocks poked out of the river like a pimpled teenager..they were everywhere! Skill was involved in reading the river's most fluid lines.  I managed ok finishing with the third fastest kayak time.On the other hand Mark finished with the second fastest time. They where catching up, game on!

Still having a large lead i pushed ahead on the bike as best as I could. Yet with no one in front or behind I hard a tough time knowing if i was pushing hard enough. At 8 miles in i still held a lead and for a minute i thought i might be able to give Alex a chance to win the whole race. That would be something, a duo beats the best 5 person teams.

 That thought quickly faded as a super sleek aero carbon TT bike with all the fixings and a rider pushing some serious wattage passed me cruising at18-19mph on a climb.  Then another cyclist, also in top aero form with calves of steel, passed by me.I felt slow and weak and envious of their high end gear. I pushed on as best as i could, meeting Alex at Pinkham notch for the tag, We were  hanging on to third place overall. I finished with a bike time of  1:01, 13th out of the 75 teams which included transition time.

Not too long after Mark came in. Waters was holding on to fourth place.  As a duo team, both Mark and Dave and Alex and I were outperforming all but 2 5-person teams. Both of our teams were kicking some ass! Alex and Dave raced up Tuckermans Trail to the Ravine to complete the ski leg. Mark and I stuck around to cheer our friends as they came in.

Next in our group to arrive at the bike-hike transition was Josh F. He was in second place in the tuckerman division with the 3rd place tuckerman not too far behind. I met up with Josh F the day before to run the dry Sacco river. Josh F is a great racer, winner of the Berkshire Pentathlon, 2nd place in last years Tuckerman's Ravine, and various other triathlon accomplishments, Josh knows endurance. We were rooting for him. We knew he had a great chance in this years solo category.

Justin came in next. Also competing in the Boston marathon just a week before, he was cruising in this competition. I do believe Justin is part gorilla, he is an animal at these events. Many, including myself, owe Justin the credit for making this event what it is. He is the master organizer that brought so many like minded individuals to New Hampshire for many weekends of training, racing and fun.

Left: Justin using my purple valley Avocet. This is a great boat for this race. Fast and nimble, it can run class 2 rivers very well!

Daniela arrived not too long after. Where as many of us come from various racing backgrounds, with the exception of some road races, Daniela comes from a limited race background. Yet last year she won the individual Tuckerwomen's division. This year she would hold on to second place for another great performance.

Attaching skis to Daniella's backpack

The funny part of the Tuckermans inferno for a team or spectator is that the finish is in the bowl of the Ravine. So if you would like to see the finish, you have to hike 3.5 miles with 2000ft elevation gain up Tuckermans Ravine Trail into the Bowl...and that's what we were to do.

As we got to HoJos (the caretakers cabin) we where greeted by many of the other teams, support crew, and fans. Word came down from the mountain the Alex and Dave had an amazing hike with Tucksanity winning the Duo division and Waters Equity finishing second. More surprising is that we both held our duo spots to third and fourth overall.

   Left: Alex and Daniella coming down from Tucks. The ski
  course, right gully, is in the background. Daniella finished 2nd in the solo women's division

 Pictured right: Josh after finishing 3rd in the solo division

Me and Crystal
Like every year, good times and some celebration were had at the awards ceremony and back at the condos. We had a great crew this year. And to think many people left before we snapped this shot. What a team! Next year we may even put together a 5 person team and really turn some heads!

C-ya Next year!