This weekend I ran the Black Fly In My Eye 10 Miler at the base of Mount Washington. My wife and I didn’t decide we were going to run this until Friday morning, but we had a general idea that we might throughout the week after being offered a ride by fellow Trail Monster Ryan Triffitt, who works for the Great Glen Trails and was on duty for the event.
It was a pleasant drive out to New Hampshire, and we got there in plenty of time to register and warm up which gave us an opportunity to check out the transition area, the beginning of the course, and the very end of the course. This race has a nice finish to it.
The race comes in 3 loops. The first loop is on the Mountain side of the road and is mostly carriage roads. You then run under the road and climb up the steepest climb for loop 2, coming to a small pond right before you begin coming back down. The second loop was the most fun and was mostly single track. The third loop had more single track than the first loop, but still had a lot of carriage roads which were quick to run on but I still preferred the wooded sections.
I ran the first couple of miles with the eventual winner, Kyle Powers. They were downhill miles so while we were moving right along it was an easy conversational pace. And by conversational pace I mean we were having a good conversation.
Of course, then he took off and put a good lead on me by the end of the first loop.
The second loop was a lot of fun due to some nice climbs, a (very) little mud, and good single track. I fell once early on in the loop but otherwise kept my feet. I can imagine that this gets tough to run when there’s more water on the course.
The second half of the loop was downhill and I made contact with Kyle again and cut out most of his lead, but then we left the woods for the fields and I realized how much faster a current division 1 cross country runner is than I am.
By the time I was finishing loop 2 he’d already started loop 3 and had a good lead on me which he continued to extend, eventually beating me by about 2 minutes.
As much as he had a lead on me, though, I had a good lead on everybody else. The third loop had a few areas of nice trails but for the most part was just more boring carriage roads. Not that that’s bad, just that I preferred the fun parts of the course where you had to actually choose the best path.
You come to the end of a mowed path and there’s a 4 foot drop to a “river,” which didn’t have much water this year so it was only ankle deep and not knee deep. The rocks were still slippery, though.
I was a little disappointed to be alone after the river crossing, because there’s an awesome 30 yard climb to the finish line that goes straight up. Some people needed to use their hands to climb, but it was (barely) runnable if you wanted to expend a little energy.
I really was hoping to have somebody I could crush on that final uphill stretch; it was short enough to be exhilarating no matter how steep. Once you crest, there’s a very short sprint through a chute to the finish line.
For most of the finishers there was a crowd of kids on the hill high-fiving the runners and encouraging them up the hill. Well, there was at least until their mother finished!
My final time was 66:31, which got me second place 1:57 behind Kyle Powers and 44 seconds ahead of Danny Ferreira of Acidotic Racing.
Erin also ran pretty well, finishing in 94:32 despite being sore from a race Wednesday night and a hill workout Thursday night. I guess that’s what she gets for not really committing to going until Friday morning.
I managed to time getting down to the river very well, as I got there just before she was set to cross and was able to run back up to the finish line behind her.
Erin was 13th, and would have been 2nd in the 2-person relay had she registered as a team and just run it solo anyway, which I think is a cool stat.
After a short cool down and some time spent soaking our feet in the river watching the remaining runners finish, we spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at the post-race BBQ and checking out the photos in the lodge of various landmarks and the history of the Mount Washington Auto Road and The Glen House. I must have missed hearing about the Old Man in the Mountain…I hadn’t realized it had collapsed a few years ago. Very sad.
(More Info:– (by Ryan Triffitt – he took all the shots above) – )