Monday, July 11, 2011

Ester Dome Ass Kicker on a Whim

I wasn't planning on doing Sunday's Ester Dome Ass Kicker at all, and have never really considered doing the event because it's usually in the middle of the probably the busiest race month of the of the year. Knowing that it's a brutal course, I've always figured why thrash my quads out there for a race that is kind of extreme, if not an outlier.

But after some urging from a friend, I was pecking away on the computer at 8:45 on Sunday morning, I thought what the heck just do it as a workout. My promises were to walk/go easy down the Chute and then run within myself on the long downhill onto Stone Road into Ester.

Driving over, I thought I might be able to sneak in a masters (45+) win in the Northern Trail Series, but while warming up, I spotted Simon, and figured that'd be tough.

The plan was to hit the first half hard, and I gave it a good go but Saturday's 12 mile run on the Murphy Dome/Cache Creek loop must have been residing in my legs. I walked almost the entire Chute (1200' or 1300' of climb in 1 mile), with Max Kaufman and a guy from Missouri, while Mike Kramer, Andrey Ionashku, Ben Nelson, and Ray Sabo were out ahead a minute or two. Sabo took a wrong turn and headed down the Equinox trail, so by the top it was Max I and together in 4th and 5th (I think our split was 34:40).

At the top I said goodbye and he sped off. In the past I've taken the Chute in about 2:12 to 2:20 from the top to the where the Equinox trail splits off, this time it was more like 3:20 or 3:30.

To tell the truth, I was surpised (at how slow I've gotten on uphills) to see Simon and three young guys (well 30 somethings) within 30 or 40 seconds at the turn around and knew that they'd be catching me on the Chute. Sure enough, Simon went by just past the Equinox turn off and then two others, on that lower portion, wich is actually steeper than the upper part.

I caught the youngsters on the trail after it flattend out then the road climb on Azurite Way, and had my sights on Simon who was maybe 20 sec up by the time we headed down Stone Road, with about 1.5 miles way. But that was it. He was stalking Max (who was up another 20 or 30 seconds) and I held to my promise of not trying to fly down the hill, and turning my quads into hamburger and knee into mashed grisle.

Simon's a dangerous downhill runner and caught Max when they made the last turn. I was 6th in 59:16, about 35 seconds behind them. I think seven ran under 60 minutes, which would be a "record" for one day. Usually it's three to five under an hour.

So it was pretty fun, and I think the Ass Kicker could be an even bigger event if they made the finish into a block party--mmmm beer. I'd also like to see if they could have primes for first up the hill, or maybe even add a hill climb only category.

Here's the News-Miner story and some pictures.


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