We are two thirds of the way there now. This morning we launched from the St. Croix Falls overlook and crossed over into Minnesota to tackle the stairs and technical single track of the Minnesota Interstate Park. The early morning thunderstorms may have kept a few people away. The crowd was the lightest yet, but we had a solid hardy 8 folks show up to give the course a what for and it was in very good shape.
Unfortunately we had a few folks struggle with navigation some. As such I am exercising race director’s discretion to push one result back a spot. Based on the description of the actual run and the large gap to the next finisher I deem that fair. Most of the remaining navigation errors resulted in arrivals at dead ends. The next course will be marked.
Without further ado, the results of Sasquatch Dash #4
Alex pulls off another win. Of three races he has participated in, he is perfect.
Alex’s win and Dallas’ absence today has shaken up the series standings a little bit.
These points are the total of the first four races and the bonus for the shirt pre-order. However, the final series points will be the best 5 scores of the 6 races. Dallas and Alex both have a zero for missing a race. If we take the best three races plus bonus so far we get a little better feeling for how this all might shake out if the leaders all make the next two races (keep in mind the final race is worth double points).
As you can see, Alex’s series lead gets a little more commanding, Dallas and I sit tied, and Kevin Rogers is within striking distance with a couple of strong performances. The rest of the top 10 could take any shape over the remaining two races.
Now for a little race report from my perspective. I was disappointed when I heard Dallas was flying in on the red-eye Saturday morning. When I put the smack-down on him (payback for the smack-down I received two weeks ago) I didn’t want a built in excuse. Having him miss out altogether though, even more disappointing. Even with series rival #1 missing Adam was still there for the standing competition and I felt more prepared to put on a good race than I was last time. Squatch two I felt ran well, Squatch 3, yeah, not so much.
Adam and I ran the course twice the preceding two Wednesdays so I knew where I could push and where I could recover. Despite this run making it the longest run week since last November (24 miles, which isn’t much compared to the past two years) I was feeling rested and ready to go.
Off the line we had the lead pack of five with me, Alex, Jeff, Kevin, and Adam. We hung together until we hit the incline up to Hwy 8. At that point Alex opened a little gap, Kevin disappeared (sounds like he waited to make sure everyone else didn’t miss the trail up to 8), Adam started dropping back, and Jeff said he had enough racing.
The hill in downtown Taylors Falls is steep and takes a bit out of you. Once we hit the railroad bed trail I just found a solid gear and focused on efficient running to recover. I was surprised to have Alex not pulling away at this point. I was a little concerned I was overdoing it, but I felt good (for being 1.5 miles into a race anyway) so I just kept at it.
Once we hit the first set of stairs down I learned that I have a knack for them. I quickly found myself right behind Alex. Note to self: next race I organize be all down stairs. We hit the large stairs up and he pulled away a little bit, but on the long single track down I pulled him back again. Given we were about 3 miles into a 5 mile race and he beat me by 2 and 4 minutes at the previous races I was feeling pretty good about myself. Not feeling good in general, I had just run up 360 steps and 3 miles. I do think he was sandbagging some to let me keep him on course…
I stayed right on him through the technical trails along the river. When we reached the overlook area along Hwy 8 I knew we had just a little technical single track and stairs left so it was now or never if I wanted to make a move. As we got into the overlook area I made a strong move and passed him. I forgot how long the overlook area was and was a little worried I had gone to early since it really hurt and it was the technical stuff I was trying to open a gap on. When I hit the stairs I threw all thoughts of self-preservation to the wind and let ‘er rip.
Between the overlook and the lower parking area there are a couple of trails that ultimately all end up in the same place. Rather than trying to make sure people all used the same one we designated this as runner’s choice. I had gapped Alex enough that we ended up on different trails. Mine was a legitimate trail, though not the shortest one. It sounds like Alex ended up bushwhacking and scrambling/falling down a short rock ledge.
I never looked back to see how big a gap I had gotten. I honestly did not think I was going to be able to make my move stick. We were going to have too much pavement and Alex is too much stronger than me. As we entered the campground again I could hear him coming and coming fast. He passed me with just less than ¾ of a mile to go and promptly put 37 seconds on me. I still feel good about the move and was glad I was in a position to try racing tactically.
In all I think I ran a great race and am very happy with my performance. One of the challenges with trail racing is that you can’t compare against other races. So I think it was my best race this year, but I can’t back it up with any numerical evidence. That is OK though because so far this series has been a blast to participate in and I am really looking forward to the next two races. I need to amp the mileage up though because a very hilly half marathon on my current volume is going to be very painful.