Legends of Sleepy Hollow

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Racing

The 2017 USATF-NE Mountain Series kicked off last Sunday with the Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race in Huntington, VT. Brandon Newbould and Leslie O’Dell both took similar approaches and got the same end result: a record-setting win. Newbould came through in 41:39 (about a minute up on second place) while O’Dell broke the proverbial tape in 52:40.5.

Here’s some more on the race, as told by tweets and quotes:

Men’s preme:


Whoops. About that preme:

But anyway, some inside info from Brandon Newbould: “Last year I broke away pretty well after the first climb but died pretty bad in the second half. I was lucky to hold on for the win in that one. This year obviously I ran significantly faster, and in my own estimation I held it together much better for the duration of the race.

“Things didn’t really begin promisingly. I forgot my singlet and kind of lost my mind on the drive to the race. My car radio broke a while ago and I’ve been driving a lot for work. Sitting in total silence for hours was not relaxing before the race. I slept out on the ground before the race, camping with my son and some friends, with a questionable dinner of baked beans and like five hot dogs…along with plenty to drink. So I wasn’t sure how things would feel when I got rolling, but I was still pretty confident because of strong recent training and some good rest (beans ‘n weens notwithstanding) leading up to this first series race.

“Anyway that was all fine. Matt Veiga tore off like a man possessed at the start, and the guy from PA who raced last year followed with me. Yes I did lay back a little bit, I mean I was working hard but I deliberately restrained myself from pushing for the preme. I wanted the leader in my crosshairs for that downhill.”

Meanwhile, the battle for the women’s preme raged on:

According to Leslie O’Dell: “As a matter of fact I did hang back, deciding to forego an attempt at Queen of the mountain because this is my 5th time running Sleepy Hollow and I’ve learned that the start tends to go off too fast. I’m a better downhiller than uphiller so I decided to take it easy on the first climb, knowing that the fairly technical and steep downhill was just around the corner.”

“I’ve killed myself on that first climb many times and regretted it later on in the middle of the race so I just decided to let the younguns go on ahead. But as soon as we hit The Descent I immediately passed the first two and then chased down the one that was in the front. It actually took me a while to catch her and ended up passing her on an uphill (Darth Vader).”

Newbould takes over:

Newbould: “Once we hit it (the downhill) I cut loose, Hermann Maier style. I tried to suppress any braking instincts and exceed the pace that felt controlled, hoping that I would still stay on my feet. My eyes watered up pretty badly and I couldn’t see well, but I passed the leader and got the gap I wanted without going down. I had to keep the effort up through the stretch between hills and into the next climb to maintain that gap.

From there I tried to engage the course as well as I could, but I admit I was still thinking of Mateer in second. Embarrassingly, even though I had a strong lead in the last loop, I glanced over my shoulder on the last single-track descent to see if he was near and I bit it pretty hard. I bruised my palm and scraped my knee, rolled out of it, stood up and ran right into a tree. So that was a kind of mental check, I gave myself a bit of a tough-love self-talk there about looking ahead and finishing strong. Which I did.”

Then O’Dell makes her move:

O’Dell: “I was a little unsure if I could catch her at first but I guess the turning point was when I noticed she was slowing way up on the climbs and made the move on the switchbacks to pass her because then I could see her at every turn to know where she was. The 4 previous years of experience on the course has taught me not to go off too fast on that first climb. Haha.”

“I pushed pretty hard up the middle section and pretty hard on that next downhill back to the field and then took it somewhat easy on the third climb and then hammered it out on the last one.”

Newbould sneaks in for the win:

Newbould: “It was a good start to the series! I’m trying to get right back to the 120M weeks now until Cranmore, but hoping to still have some run in me for Pack Monadnock and whatever else is on the calendar before then.”

Matter (the real King of the Mountain) comes in!

TiVO time:

O’Dell takes down the CR (despite racing the day before):

O’Dell: “I was a little uneasy coming into this one because I’m having some bilateral High hamstring issues that I had to take a week off for, and I haven’t done much real fast training for the last 3 weeks. The last two weeks I’ve been doing what Steve Brightman calls “binge mountain training.” I think it really paid off. I don’t really have the speed that I had 2 months ago but I think I was able to make up for it with some decent training.”

The course was actually pretty dry compared to last year. There were still some muddy, wet sections but significantly drier. I would say it was definitely a factor in an almost two minute PR on the new course. I’d also destroyed myself in the four weeks prior to last year’s race so taking it easy most of April was also an advantage.

I was super psyched to get another win at Sleepy Hollow especially being what I like to call “half injured”. My hamstrings actually felt better on Sunday then they’d felt in a long time, and I had just raced the day before in a trail 5K where I live. So to feel that fresh and take the win was a really big boost to my running confidence. Haha.

2nd woman:

3rd woman:

In closing…

Special shout out to the Preme’rs:

King & Queen of the Mountain – Chris Mateer & Jennifer Downing
Muddiest & Bloodiest Finisher – Kristen Lundy & Jeff Gould

For more…



Joe Viger

Peak Focus Photography

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove you are human (required) Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.