Monday, June 18, 2007
NETT (and friends) conquers the Run to the Clouds
It was another year of ups and downs at the Mount Washington Road Race. Ups of course refer to the race course mostly (7.6 miles of 11% grade to the top of the highest peak in the Northeast) and downs refer to the feelings most runners get about mid-way through the race.
The “extended NETT family” was well represented at this year’s race and when the cannon fired, we were off to tackle the “Run to the Clouds.” With temperatures in the 80s at the start, it was clear it would not be a day for PRs or course records (only one age-group record went down this year). "It was a bit hot today," race winner Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand said in a post-race report. "I thought I'd go out solid and see if I had anything there, but after a mile I knew I wasn't close to a record today, so I tried to stay conservative.”
For most of the first half of the race, it was a nose to the grindstone sufferfest, but at a certain point past halfway, the winds turned cool and brought a dramatic and welcome temperature change (at first I thought it was just me having that much welcome full stroke, but upon completion, the cooler temps were also reported by the other racers).
"It was painful during the first half of the race, both mentally and physically, because of the heat," second-place women’s finisher and current U.S. national champion Nicole Hunt, told the Manchester Union Leader. "The last two miles above treeline, it cooled off."
The NETT charge was led, as usual, by Dmitry Drozdov taking his second shot at the “Beast from the East” this year with successful results. He basically matched his time from last year on a more difficult day and moved up to 13th place overall in the field of close to 1,000 and fourth in the 35-39 age group, duking it out with another DD (Dave Dunham) for most of the way in a battle of age and experience vs. post-communist speed.
For my part, I clocked a very sub-par 1:15 for 30th spot overall (a personal worst on both accounts). The difficulty with this race is knowing how you’re doing along the way. Mile splits are had to digest, so I usually try to use the runners I know as benchmarks. This year I ran with Hunt and the third-place woman, normally a good spot for me, but unfortunately, they were a bit further back in the race than years past.
Perhaps the best race of the day for the extended NETT family was newcomer Dmitry Shirokov, who finished his first attempt at the race in a very respectable 1:30. Now most of us know Dmitry S is not a super-serious runner, but he’s certainly very comfortable on steep inclines with a long background of mountaineering to support him.
“My main goal for the race was to run without stopping or switching to walk,” Dima S said after the race. “So I was so focused on staying relaxed and saving energy and actually found that the race was easier than I expected.”
You don’t hear THAT very often. If you saw him at the top, bee-bopping around, waiting for his family to join him and hike down while most of us dry-heaved into the dirt or prayed lighting would strike us dead, you know this guy has a lot more potential. “Next time I should start a little closer to the start line to see Dima D’s WTF start.”
Dima S reports that his pre-race accommodations at the Moose Brook campground on Rt. 2 in Gorham were great and a short
10-15 minute drive from the auto road.
Friend of NETT Dima Feinhaus (are you detecting a trend here) ran a solid 1:36 in his second charge up the hill representing CSU, only a couple weeks post-Nipmuck Marathon. “My biggest complaint is that they ran out of beer at the post-race part really quickly,” Dima F said. “The nice bartender shared some of hers to fill my glass, but I should practice my hurt and disappointed look for next year just in case.”
Another friend of NETT (also representing CSU), Marshall Randolph put in a 1:34 time for 7th place in the 55-59 age group. Where do these guys COME from?
Special thanks to Jennifer S for giving us a ride down from the Summit. She volunteered to hand out finishing medals and has fallen deeply in love with race winner Jonathan Wyatt (see her lust-fueled close up photo above!), so if anyone knows his cell digits, please “hollah.”
See more of Jennifer's photos HERE.
See Dave Mingori's photos of Dave H and Dima D finishing here.
And see more photos from DimaD here.
As concerns the race, Jennifer commented that it “Looked hard and I was glad I didn't do it. I got tired just driving up the road. NETT men need to get coyote tattoos on chest for racing shirtless. Handling out medals sounded like an easy job but there are way too many body fluids around for my taste.”
Also, special thanks to always reliable NETT member Dave Mingori for pre-race accommodations and post-race attire. Guy’s solid as a rock.
"So if I put you in the oven at 350 degrees would you cook faster because you're a Mick?"