After a thoroughly enjoyable rainy mountain bike ride, the kind of ride where you're reminded why you ride bikes, I headed up to NH for the Dartmouth ski team's time trial up Moosilauke. Sandwiched between these two events was the Belgian Beer Festival, something very worth attending, and I ate so many waffles and cheese-filled pretzels that my stomach was actually too full to drink any water when I got home.
I found myself on the starting line for the time trial, and all of a sudden I got really nervous. I'm not amazing at uphill running races, but I'm not horrible either, and although I had been telling myself that I just wanted to run as much of it as possible (often, you have to walk large parts of these things because they're too steep), I realized that I actually wanted to do well. Uphill running is generally a good indicator of where your ski fitness is, although there are exceptions. So, the course started out really flat and not-rocky along a river, and although I ran this, it was more of a jog/trot than a real run, because I didn't want to waste myself. I knew that the "last sure water" sign was at 1.6 miles, and the whole thing was 3.7, but that was all I knew about the course other than the fact that somewhere it "kicks up steeply", according to the trail description.
I had started fairly early, number 20, with 30 second interval starts, and the girls in front of me were mostly slow with slightly larger than normal behinds. I had caught most of them by the last water sign, I caught the last two shortly after that. Although this was good for my ego, it wasn't great for my time, and I was feeling pretty complacent. It got a little steeper for a while, and I speed hiked, trying to keep my tempo up and my strides light and quick. A couple guys came by me; the original plan had been to stick with anyone who passed me, but these guys were just flying.
I carried on with my plan of running wherever possible; there were many places where this was possible, in fact, most of the trail was runnable. I maybe should have taken that as a sign to run fast, but I kept waiting for it to get steep, when I knew I would need my legs and I didn't want my calves to cramp up. After a couple short switchbacks I got to the first open area, and I got blasted by some freezing mist. Note to self: when the top of the mountain is shrouded in a cloud, and you're perfectly comfortable running uphill in your layers, you will probably be cold if you are no longer running uphill. Just thoughts for next year...
I had no idea how long the open area lasted, I remembered from hiking Moosilauke last spring that it was open for a while, but I guess we had been on a different trail because before I knew it, a little hump of a rock appeared out of the mist and there were some bundled-up folks cheering me to the finish. Huh? Finish? Already? I guess you aren't supposed to finish an uphill running race and feel like you can do it again, but at least I didn't start to hard and blow up. I happen to be a queen of blowing up. Generally in a spectacular fashion, but sometimes just with a whimper and a tear. Although this wasn't a great race, in fact it didn't really feel like a race at all, I was pretty pleased with how it had played out, and I ended up just about mid-pack, and pretty close to some fast girls.
So, yeah, uphill time trials. woot. Two weeks until West Yellowstone, gotta stay ski specific here. I'll be at the Connecticut VERGE, though, getting lapped by Lynne Bessette. Gotta stay humble!