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Category: Bristol Mountain

Overheating on Bristol Mountain

On Saturday morning I ran a half marathon up and down Bristol Mountain. My time of 6:01:26 was significantly slower than the last two years I ran this race.

The race was extremely hot from the start. Even on the first climb it seemed unlikely that I would be as quick as the previous years. Still the first two climbs and the first two downhills went smoothly. The third hill has always been the steepest, and it was difficult as always but I was expecting it and it came as no surprise.

I realized I was drinking water quicker than usual, but my legs still felt good and I even passed a few people on the course’s lone flat mile. The third downhill that gave me so many problems my first time on this course went without incident. In fact I made it through the whole course this year without falling at all.

On paper the fourth climb is the most difficult one, but in years past it hasn’t bothered me all that much. However this year it proved to be as difficult as it looks to be. Perhaps it was the heat, maybe it was because the grass has grown in on this hill. I found a walking stick to help me hike this one, and by the time I reached the top it was drenched in sweat.

I have never really liked the fourth downhill, but it was on the final uphill of the course that my race fell apart. Up to this point I was already 10-15 minutes behind my pace from last year, but still moving ok, however at this point the sun and temperature caught up to me. My body was overheating and the course didn’t have enough shade to recover. I pushed a little bit on the downhill to finish the lap at 3:54.

With my time out the window, and simply pushing on to avoid the DNF I walked the 5k lap and even stopped to rest a time or two. This gave me a second lap of 2:07 which was a full hour slower than last year.

My next two races are both on the trail again with the Letchworth Dam Good on August 11th, and the Black Creek Dirt Cheap on the 14th.

Back up (and down) Bristol Mountain

On Saturday I returned to Bristol Mountain for the third year, running the same half-marathonish distance as last year. After spending most of the month in Europe, and having a bit of a cough all week, I almost didn’t run, but given how fun this course is and how great the forecast looked, I decided that I couldn’t pass up this race.

I finished in 4:20:54, which is miraculously two minutes quicker than last year. So overall, I have to say that I am pretty happy with my time in the race.

On the opening climb I started out more constrained than last year, which I would like to think was me being smarter, but was probably just due to being under trained. The rest of the first loop went consistently, with a steady attack on the downhills, and a slow but consistent push on the uphills. Downhill number three, which gave me so many problems two years ago in my 50k attempt passed without incident. I slipped once on the fourth downhill, but that was my only fall the entire day.

I finished the first loop in 3:13 (one minute quicker than last year), and the shorter second loop in 1:07 (also a minute quicker than last year). While the improvement was small, this was the first race in a while where my times were heading in the right direction.

Battling at Bristol Mountain

On Saturday morning I went to Bristol Mountain to run a half marathon. Last year I attempted a 50k on this course and did not finish, so this year with less training and a better understanding of just how steep the mountain is, I decided to enter a shorter race.

I finished the half-marathon in 4:22:56 which is by far the slowest half I have ever run. However, given the terrain it was roughly in line with where I was hoping to finish. The time was quick enough for me to place 25th overall.

The race started well, although I was perhaps a little too aggressive on the opening climb up the gravel road. The first two times up and down the mountain are comparatively easy, and early enough into the race that my legs were still fresh. The third climb is tougher, but I made it up and then got to enjoy the single runnable mile on the course.

Last year things fell apart for me on the third downhill, but this time things were better as I kept up a bit of a pace, and didn’t even fall once. The long fourth climb was slow but steady, the fourth downhill was moved out of the woods but not any easier. The fifth time up and down the mountain was quicker in some parts, but slower where there was excessive mud. The weather was nice on race day, but rain from earlier in the week left much more mud and water on the course than last year.

Overall I finished the first loop in 3 hours and 14 minutes, which was shy of my goal of a sub three hour loop, but still ten minutes quicker than my opening lap from last year.

The second lap gave me a hilariously slow 5k split of 68:59, but that is what happens when you put a mountain in the middle of the course. My second time up the gravel road was much slower than my first, as I ended up walking almost all of it. While I was still able to go after the final lap’s downhills with some speed, I had nothing left for the uphill portions. Still I managed to finish in the top half of the field.

The Battle at Bristol Mountain

02b25bb588ef1793915e7f862f716a08-cropOn Saturday I went down to the Bristol Mountain Ski Resort to run a 50k. Unfortunately the hills were quite a bit steeper than I was prepared for, and I had to drop out after 20 miles.

The course consisted of three laps around a 10 mile loop, with each loop consisting of 5 climbs up the mountain for a total of 4,000+ feet of elevation gain each lap.
From the very start of the race it was clear that this was going to be different from the 50k that I ran last year as my pace slowed down to a power walk on the first (and least steep) hill. Still I managed to stay with the pack, and actually had fun running down the first two hills. The third time up the mountain was the steepest hill, but the first time around it was still early enough in the race that I had the energy to get up. Next was the one part of the course that was level enough to actually run.

This was followed by a downhill that was both steep and overgrown, and resulted in me falling a dozen times during the decent. I don’t mind the stronger athletes going by me on the uphills, but seeing how many people passed me by on this downhill was the first sign that I was going to be in trouble. The final two climbs were long and difficult, but again I found myself really bleeding away time on the final two descents.
I finished the first lap in 3:23, and found that I had the trail to myself for the first two climbs of the second lap. Once I found myself walking on the second downhill on what had previously been a fun part of the course, I knew that I was probably not going to make it to a third lap. I struggled on the third uphill, but felt that the final two climbs were done at a steady pace. Again my biggest problem was the downhills, as I struggled to maintain any speed on the final three downhills.

I ended up finishing the two laps in 8:37 which is (by one minute) the longest that I have ever been on a race course. Fortunately my next trail race should be over in under an hour.