Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last Stop Rothrock on my La Sportiva Mountain Cup Tour

Friday night found me sleeping on the air mattress in the back of Alison’s Vibe with some kind of bugs eating at me. Alison doesn’t remember an bugs, but she kept smacking or rubbing her face without ever waking up. The prelude to our latest La Sportiva Mountain Cup race. I had commented on how I hadn’t slept the best, but well enough. Alison said she had slept well, what bugs was I talking about. I should have just put up the tent, but it was raining when we arrived. So the car sounded easier. I probably should have left the windows closed, but once I did that about 11:30 to keep more bugs from getting in, I was hot. It must have worked fairly well for me as I ran surprisingly well.

About the race, I'd consider this course pretty technical.  It leaves the stabilizing muscles of my lower legs a little sore afterwards.  The trail is quite rocky, or only rocks in some places.  There is a long boulder climb at about 13 miles.  Lots of steep ups and downs.  I really like the race, except for a few runnable, rolling sections.  Alison would say that there are too many rocks, but some of the rolling sections are nice.  I did my warmup run solo as I found no one to run with me. The RD announced the race would start in 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute. I looked at Bryon Powell and commented, “No Matt?” RothRock is in PA, so not an especially long drive for Matt. Someone counted us down and we were off. I actually led us out and up most of the first climb, which seemed rather odd. Really I am seldom the one leading races out and the past two years here I’ve been more like 10-15 at the start of the first climb about ½ mile in. No fast start today. Near the top of the climb, Jacob Loverich passed, but I stayed close. Jacob had won the race the previous two years. On the ridge, he pulled away a little, but I caught him on the first steep and rocky descent. Once we were on a more flat to rolling, non-technical section that was the last I saw of Jacob. I saw one other guy when I backtracked on the course to confirm that I’d gone the right way at an intersection just after the first aid station. Probably an overreaction to two weeks ago at Jemez. I had felt a bit flat and dull early. I was also a bit flat mentally. I wondered often whether I was running fast or not. One minute I’d think, “Yea I’m moving.” The next, “I don’t think I’m moving well.” Literally hours passed. I ran over technical rocky trails that is Rothrock, streams in the trails created from heavy rain overnight, puddles and muck in the low areas.  Which my C-Lite 2.0s were light, grippy, drained well, and provided great traction.  Time just went by with my random thoughts. I asked myself often how much am I racing?

At the bottom of a tough boulder climb I heard Jacob was a little over 5 minutes up. I hadn't looked at any splits from the previous two years. Was I running well? I hadn’t even remembered my time from last year. At the last aid station I was told Jacob wasn’t too far ahead. How far is not too far? Turns out it was too far. I finished second. I was pretty sure I was faster than last year. I knew I was closer to Jacob than either of the previous two years. Ian looked up my time from last year on his fancy phone. I was 3 minutes faster than last year. I was also only 3:31 behind Jacob. I am quite surprised by my day. The course was sloppy, but is challenging even when dry. It's always hard to say how conditions affect a course. Jacob was a couple of minutes slower than last year. For my races maybe I should blank out more often. I never felt distressed or like I was forcing anything. After the race, I did call Matt to check on him. Rothrock was just not his best choice at that point. I was glad to hear nothing was really wrong for him.

Furthermore for myself, I had a shockingly good run last Saturday out at Longbottom. I was absurdly fast up and down the super steep Bluff Mountain trail, 16% average for 2.8 miles one way. I was a couple seconds faster on the climb run/hiking easy versus my previous best run steady. I was 2 minutes faster for the descent without trying to run fast at all. I was just blanking out again. I did another, more gentle climb up and down the mountain for 16 total. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about Mt. Washington in two weeks. Time to rest and get fresh legged. Plus I’m feeling good about Speedgoat 50K in July. Maybe I should blank out on those too, or not.

Disclaimer:  No turtles were harmed in the running of this race, but a few humans were.

Men -
1. Jacob Loverich  2:39.03
2. Jason Bryant  2:42.34
3. Stephen Hennigar  2:52.48

Women - 
1. Megan Kimmel  3:01.18
2. Ashley Moyer  3:19.54
3. Gina Lucrezi  3:2?
4. Alison Bryant 3:25.32

Results courtesy of PA Runners at


  1. There ARE too many rocks, and I don't know of these fast and smooth sections that you speak of. I did not see any.

    It's an awesome race though, and I will likely be back!

    1. Come on, didn't we run the same course? There is no such thing as TOO MANY rocks.

  2. You guys just rock it, and are so much fun. Loved the pictures on irunfar's report.

    1. Hey Olga,
      Hope things are going well for you. I always think fun is a good thing. Rocks are always good too.

  3. Very nice job Jason.

    Note to anybody else reading Jason's blog - when he says a course is "pretty technical", expect "extremely technical"!

    1. Someone should come up with a clear definition of technical. Why don't you get on that Mark? I can give you some advice on grading technical, always make it sound easy.

  4. Good luck at the Speedgoat.. Pulling for the local guy to do well!!