Eric Blake (La Sportiva) continued on his impressive roll in the mountains on Sunday by breaking his own course record at Loon Mountain. On a hot, humid day Eric dipped just under 45 minutes (44:58) and left the competition shaking their heads. Perennial mountain forces Josh Ferenc and Brandon Newbould were 2.5 and 3.5 minutes behind him, respectively. That’s just how dominate Blake was.
After the awards ceremony, but before he could sneak away, The Level did what nobody else could that day…catch up to Blake. Here’s the interview:
Is this the toughest Mt race?
NO this was not the hardest of the mountain races, at least not for me. I can only speak for me and I will explain why. I thoroughly enjoyed the Sleepy Hollow course, but bonked late in the race (mile 5ish), barely holding off the second place woman. At Mt. Wachusett I was in the lead for women all the way up the mountain, but again bonked close to 5 miles and this time could not hold the lead. I came in third only 20ish seconds out of first. That drove me to my doctor to find out what was going on and I found out I was anemic. Unfortunately that takes time to correct so both Bretton Woods and Ascutney were run while I was anemic. I have been taking iron for the past 6 weeks and what a difference a few red blood cells can make. I felt great at Loon and to be honest it was the race in the series I have enjoyed the most and found the easiest. I prefer trail races to road races and I found all but Upper Walking Boss completely runnable at Loon. I made it almost half way up UWB still running and regret allowing myself to hike. The moment I did the blood seemed to rush to my legs and my breathing became more labored. I think my body would have been better off sticking with running regardless of the speed.
In short, I would say Bretton Woods was the hardest of the races for me. The first descent was so long and so steep that my quads were already sore before hitting mile 3 and there were still some tough miles to come.
Did you see Dunham’s FB post this morning about you locking up the series with that win? How does it feel knowing that your effort on that mountain not only got you the win that day but the win for 2013 as well?
I have not seen Dave’s FB post so I heard the good news from you. Thank you. Great way to start my day this morning. I can not tell you have excited I am to think I could win the Mountain Series. I have never truly understood the way they award points so haven’t had a good idea of how close the next woman was to me. This is my first time running the mountain series and I can’t begin to tell you how much I am enjoying the purity of this sport (everyone out there is running because they love the challenge and the sport, not for money or prizes) and the community. Everyone appears to be there for the right reasons and it’s a very welcoming and supportive community. I was a little anxious about the “fell race” concept but was blessed to have a runner I had met earlier in the series, someone I now would consider a friend, share his intended route and plan with me.
What was the toughest part of the course for you?
The toughest part of the Loon course was definitely the second half of the Upper Walking Boss. Not only is it steep but you have to see the entire thing, no way to play tricks with yourself that you are almost there! There was not a soul on that climb with me still running and I think that impacted my decision to hike as well. Sometimes it’s better not to see so much!
What are your expectations going into Cranmore?
I am really looking forward to Cranmore. I feel like I have NO pressure (and I would have said that this morning before you gave me the good news about the series). I know it’s the USA and NACAC championships and that there will be impressive and amazing athletes there that I will feel lucky just to see and be allowed to toe the line with. Knowing I am not going to win or place is a huge relief, now I can just run my own race without all the anxiety. I still intend to run the best I can, the hardest I can. I expect I will have a tough time competing with Abby and Christina as they are both really strong down hill runners (that is my weakness) and there is a lot more downhill on the Cranmore course. My only concern for Cranmore is where to stay as my race starts early and I have to catch the chair lift even earlier and it’s over two hours from home. I’m looking forward to it.
Which do you prefer, the mountains or the roads?
I love the trails. I thought Sleepy Hollow and Loon were two of the best (most enjoyable) races I have ever run.
Full race coverage coming this week, including more race footage and additional interviews, so keep checking back. Feature photo (on the main page) courtesy of Scott Mason Photo. Check out his gallery from Loon, and why not buy one for yourself?
Totally agree with Christin, Bretton Woods was much tougher than Loon.
Congrats to Blake and Doneski for their wins. The Scott Mason pics are pretty freakin’ fantastic too. Good day on the hill.