Ascent of Pack Monadnock Mountain on 2010-06-06

Climber: Jim Johnson

Date:Sunday, June 6, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pack Monadnock Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:2280 ft / 694 m

Ascent Trip Report

Sunday was race # 3 in the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series for 2010 and it took me up to Wilton, NH to run in the Pack Monadnock 10 Miler (results).

This race was unfortunately the same day
as the USATF-NE 5k Road Grand Prix Championship down in RI, but I had already decided at the beginning of the year, that I'd run the mountain series no matter what. Couple that with the fact that this race is a decent tune-up for Mount Washington in 2 weeks, and it was pretty much a no-miss.

The weather was pretty crappy once I arrived at the Wilton-Lyndeborough High School parking lot. The sky was really dark and it was sprinkling a bit at first, then it started to come down pretty good. After I registered, I ran into Mountain Series leader Eric Blake (BAA) who was going for yet another win, and Kevin Tilton who had shown up with Paul Kirsch. I was now looking at no better than 3rd and was wondering who else would be challenging for a podium spot.

I went out for a warmup with Ken Tripp (yes, that is right, Ken this is not a typo, he was actually racing) and we ran up the first mile + of the course (which of course is ALL UPHILL) and turned back to be joined by Eric Blake, who is getting ready for another potential Mt. Washington win in 2 weeks. Once back at my car, the rain was coming down pretty hard and I was soaked. I threw the singlet on and we jogged down the quarter mile or so down to the start. Just before the start, while doing strides, the rain was coming down really hard. As I lined up, I noticed a slew of GBTC guys who were all there to prepare for Mt. Washington in 2 weeks, as well as Keiron Tumbleton, who was not too far behind me at Northfield. I knew it was going to be a tough ride for a top 3 spot now. I had my Inov-8 230s on and was ready to roll. I figured they'd be the ideal shoe for the wet pavement and muddy dirt road sections of the course.

As the gun went off, it was clear that Eric Blake was on a mission. He took off like he was shot out of a cannon. Kevin went with him and I stayed put in 3rd position, right ahead of Ed Breen (GBTC) (who had run a 5 mile race the day before) and Andrew Wommack (GBTC). By the first mile, I was a little ahead of the pack but already out of range from Kevin and Eric. I kept chugging up, up, up with the occasional downhill, but just when you think you have a nice easy section of the course, you start climbing up a sick uphill again. I am amazed at how hilly this area is in general.

As the miles passed, I continued to keep a close eye on who was trailing, but had a decent pad on 4th place. I lost sight of Kevin and Eric probably around halfway or so, maybe even around 6 miles. Up until then, Andrew Wommack was the next guy back. I could tell by his white jersey when I took occasional quick peeks. It seemed like I was putting some distance on him on the uphills, but he appeared to be gaining just a bit on the downs and flatter sections. At around 6 miles or so I noticed that Keiron Tumbleton was now in 4th and I couldn't really tell if he was getting closer or not. I could no longer see the first two runners, but I was just trying at this point, to make it to the State Park and beginning of the auto road with enough of a lead on Keiron to be able to limp up the last 1.5 miles, which is one of, if not the toughest 1.5 stretches of 'road race' I've ever seen. The stretch of the course up Route 101 is brutal. It's a steady climb out in the open, and you can see up and down the highway pretty far. I couldn't even see Eric and Kevin at this point (last year I could see everyone, including the leader, during this part). Keiron was within' view, but pretty far back. I thought around that time, that I may be able to hold him off. I pulled into the State Park with what I thought was enough of a lead, and I don't think I lost anything on the final climb. I ran about 6 seconds faster this year on this last push up the auto road.

My last mile was 9:22, which is a borderline walk, but 6 seconds faster than last year. Eric Morse is the only person to ever break 8:00 on this last mile, and he did so with a 7:58 back in 1999 when he set the course record. I believe DD once ran an 8:01 or 8:02 on this, back in the day. Eric Blake ran 8:15 on this last mile straight uphill. As I was crawling up this last twisting, turning, and lung/quad burning section of the course, I started to think that I may be in trouble in 2 weeks at Mt. Washington. I just felt really horrible here...not mustering any sort of drive forward. I was barely moving in spots and kept looking back the entire time. I was just expecting (as I was last year) to get blown by here, but alas it didn't happen. I hit the last 200 meters, which is the steepest, most ridiculous part of the course. It is steeper than any section of Mt. Washington with maybe the exception of 'the wall'. I was looking at my watch here for the first time, thinking that I could maybe run just a tad faster than last year, and maybe break 64 minutes. I pushed up the last section and crossed the line at the top, in 1:03:53, 31 seconds faster than last year, and a solid 3rd place finish.

Kevin ran a fantastic race and should be set for Mt. Washington in a couple weeks. Eric took the lead for good at around 6 miles, but Kevin hung tough, running to the 11th fastest time ever. Eric ran the 7th fastest time ever, and became only the 3rd man to run under 60 minutes (joining Morse x2 and Dunham x4).
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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