|Switchback on 3mi climb at start|
The way the race unfolded was really interesting. I started out heading up the first 3.5-mile ascent with Mario Mendoza. We went at a pretty good clip, considering it was uphill. At the top, we began a rather long and gradual descent, and Mario slowly gapped me by the time we reached mile 5. I could see him up ahead on the less winding sections of the course. Right before the aid station at mile 11, Nick Accardo cruised up next to me, which was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t hear him coming. We chatted for a bit and picked up the pace. By the time we had passed the mile 11 aid station, Mario’s gap was about half of what it had been before. I looked at my watch and realized I had been averaging 6:27 per mile through almost 12 miles. This was pretty quick for this course, as Michael Wardian’s course record of 5 hrs, 33 min, and 46 sec, averages out to about 6:40 per mile. So, when Nick pushed on, I let him go.
|Leaving an aid station|
|Gravel fireroad along course|
By mile 39 I checked my watch and was excited that my average pace was 6:29 per mile. I remembered from Gary’s course tour that around mile 45 or 46 the course became, for the most part, a gradual descent all the way to the finish line. I began to think ahead and told myself that if I could just maintain a steady effort, I would have a good chance at beating Wardian’s course record.
|Aid station on second half of course|
As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. So despite being thrilled with the win, I wondered about whether a more conservative pace at the start would have saved me more time at the end. Or maybe a strategic hit of caffeine would have given me just enough to shave two more minutes off my time?
Who knows! This is the beauty of the sport. With so many miles, there is endless opportunity to learn from what we did before and plan for what we can do differently next time. All in all, I am excited about my experience at Tussey, and I am very satisfied with the results. In short, it was one of those races that makes you look forward to the next one.
- Fuel Belt Insulated Sahara Handheld
- Fuel Belt Slice Handheld
- Inov8 F-Lite 230 from Revolution Natural Running
- Drymax Hyper Thin Running Socks v4
- Vespa Ultra Concentrate (5 total)
- Extreme Endurance
- 5 Gels
- 100 oz Sports Drink
- Garmin Forerunner 350