My training has been a rollercoaster since I fell at Traprock. I DNF’d that day and I DNF’d a few weeks later at Rock the Ridge. With that being said, everything clicked back into place a few weeks ago and I knocked off a 100-mile week followed by a 105-mile week. I think I lost some speed due to a lack of speed workouts during the month I was injured, but I still managed to maintain a good level of fitness.
A quick scan of the start list revealed four tough names I’d have to reckon with: Aaron, Rich, Gabe and Alistair.
We started at 8am and Gabe was off the front within a mile. I was content to be in a chase pack, and Aaron and Rich joined me. Alistair chose to run solo just a bit back.
The course was in great shape considering all the rain in May, and not much changed over the next twelve miles. At that point, we hit a road section and Rich dialed it up a bit. I went with him and Aaron was only a step behind us.
At that point – around 12 miles – we hit my favorite part of the course. The descent into Buttermilk is about 750 feet of elevation loss over two miles, but it includes a pretty sharp drop at the end. I took it hard, and at the bottom, Rich and I went by Gabe. All of a sudden, we were one, two.
Coming out of Buttermilk, Gabe rallied hard and moved back into first. Rich went relatively hard and gapped me a bit. I kept moving but I was definitely having a little rough patch. After a road crossing and a short singletrack section, I caught back up to Rich and we plodded through some ankle deep mud together. I lost a shoe for the second time. It happens. It only took a few seconds to retrieve it. Somewhere around mile 16, we caught Gabe again. Rich and I took over one, two once again.
We ran together to the Underpass aid station at mile 19ish. Crossing back into Treman Park, we stayed together a couple more miles. Around mile 21, I thought Rich was having a rough patch and I made a move. I climbed hard and I gapped him a bit. I kept pressing the next few miles and I (naively) thought I had lost him.
Around mile 25.5 or so, I glanced back and Rich was coming quick. I tried to respond and my legs sputtered. He went by me with about two tenths to go and cruised to victory. I was second, thirteen seconds back. I was closing in 5:45ish pace, but it was no match for the 5:20ish pace that Rich was pressing. Aaron came in third a short while later followed by Alistair in fourth.
I’m super happy with my effort and it was great to share some miles with Rich and Aaron. Cayuga Trails always involves a great bunch of people. Fantastic race director, awesome course, excellent athletes, amazing volunteers. I highly recommend this race if you are looking for a challenging marathon or 50-miler.
We finished in about 3:47. This year, the marathon course boasted 4,500+ feet of elevation gain/loss.
Results are available here.
Click here for some great video – proof that it really happened, courtesy of Ron Heerkens, Jr. and Goat Factory Media Entertainment.
20 days until Western States!!
Did you race this weekend?