Loon Mt: There Is No Safe Word

Loon 2012 - 1806

Loon race action, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

The next stop in the 2013 USATF-NE Mountain Series is the Loon Mountain Race this Sunday (July 7th). Hundreds of runners will descend upon Lincoln, NH and then attempt to ascend one of the most challenging courses around. If you really want to test your mettle on a mountain, Upper Walking Boss is just waiting to test your fortitude. And at a pre-reg price of only $20 ($25 for day of reg), it’s quite the bargain.

The Level will be there covering the race this year. In addition to covering it, EJN (and his brother BroJN) will both be running it. EJN only has one race under his belt during his comeback (delightfully downhill Hollis), but he is hoping to avoid letting Upper Walking Boss turn him into a Lower Crawling Bitch. Remember… There Is No Safe Word!

Speaking of the infamous Upper Walking Boss… The Boss is an approx. half mile stretch near the end where you’re running up a black diamond ski slope that is at about a 40% grade. Legends are made in an environment such as that.

There’s something tough and pure about the mountain series that is right in line with the spirit of Level Renner. Runners go to the mountains to push themselves harder than they can on the roads. Man’s battle against the course is a key element to the race, and that is amplified so much when the race takes place in such a majestic location: out in nature, on a mountain. A bear was photographed on the course at Loon in the past (last year?), and a moose crashed onto the course at the Bretton Woods Fell Race earlier this year. You’re out in it; not only are you going to toe to toe with your inner demons, but you could wind up racing a moose.

Odds are you’ll just be competing with your fellow runners. Many of them have more than just the race on the line since they are competing for the overall Mountain Series championship. The mountain series doesn’t seem to get the attention that the road Grand Prix gets, but it is still fiercely contested. A couple of submissions from two of the finer mountain runners around seem to sum this up.

Todd Callaghan submitted this shortly after placing 5th at the Ascutney Mountain race:

“Another great battle with some of the best mountain runners in NE. I looked around me and noticed that this was the most stacked the front pack of the Ascutney Race has been in several years (D Dunham concurred). I am usually just behind the front pack and in front of the chase pack in a no-man’s land, but this time I was surrounded by hard-breathing runners from the get-go (Newbould, MacKnight, Ferenc, Krause, Dunham, Williams). It looked to be anyone’s race. Mac the Knight tried to put the field off balance with an early surge, but Ferenc took one more evil step toward world domination by pulling ahead of the field for the win.

Callaghan Ascutney

“I have attached a photo that I like that appears that I am leading Krause and Newbould, who admitted that he allowed the surge because it was my wife taking the photo.”

Brandon Newbould, one of the subjects of that submission, also sent something in. Brandon’s was about his race experience at Mt Washington. It just wasn’t a good day for him, and because of that it looks like it could be a pretty tough day for those trying to beat him at Loon: “I’m pissed off, but the good news is that my back will heal very soon and I’m going to hit Loon with the fury of a prizecock on crack.  I have a chip on my shoulder and I want to make some people hurt… if they beat me I will make them bleed for it.  I have three weeks to groom myself for a noble death, and I plan to take full advantage.”

A noble death. Give you chills just thinking about that level intensity. Who needs mud or elaborate obstacle courses? Mother Nature created quite a few challenging courses and they’re called mountains. If you really want to see what’s inside of you when a race takes you to that scary place (The Line), Loon will be your next chance to do so.

Speaking of Loon, check out these race videos by Tim VanOrden. This one is a bit of a race preview featuring a few familiar faces:

Here is some good old fashioned race coverage.

Still plenty of time to pre reg, so hopefully you can fit the race into your weekend plans. We’ll see you there.

Cover shot also courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

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