Eric Blake decimated the field in his record-breaking win at the Ascutney Mountain Race. It’s a 3.7 mi race, all uphill, and Eric ran a blazing 27:57. Runner up Drew Best said it, well, best, when he said “To even the best New England mountain runners, Eric is basically untouchable in an all-uphill race. It’s understood. Instead, the battle for second played out.” I think I just found the title for the Ascutney recap article. Anyway, here’s an interview we did with Eric afterward:
What was your old course record? When was it from?
28:16 from 2010
Is this your last tune up before the Rockpile?
Yes. Really my one and only race during this build up.
How do you think your conditioning compares to this point last year?
I feel stronger and fitter than last year. Looking forward to Mount Washington.
Have you been doing the same things (oxygen tent, etc) as you did in your prep for last summer’s races?
Yes I have a Hypoxico Altitude generator. It works great! I have one mask for sleeping and one for exercise. Normally I have it set to simulate 13,000 Feet. I usually spin on an exercise bike a total of 2 hours a week broken up into 3 to 4 days. I usually jump on the bike after a run. An example would be a 75 min run followed by a 30 min bike. When I get closer to Pikes Peak in August I will bike for much longer.
Is it a big challenge to push yourself when you’re all alone going up a steep slope?
In mountain races it doesn’t seem as important for me to have someone competing directly alongside. In a normal flat race or on the track races I usually need someone dragging me to even come close to a PB. But mountain races I don’t seem to need that. Having said that I think I could run faster at Ascutney if I needed too.
Was it your goal to break the record?
My number one goal was to come off the race feeling good. I wanted to go hard because a lot of my treadmill incline runs are a progression. Racing is not always like that so I took the race out relativity hard. Once I got past the second mile I just held the effort knowing I would break the record but also knowing I have more down the road.