The Run with the Beavers trail race is a 10 mile event (two laps) on a good mix of technical single-track and dirt roads. Held in Chepachet, RI, it's about as far away as it gets in Rhode Island and always brings out a strong field of trail runners. As is tradition, Jonny Hammett breaks off from WTAC for this race, forming his own team made up of his brother and Boj. Last year team HammBoj finally suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of WTAC and so Jonny pulled in Mike Galoob to strengthen his renegade squad. It made the two teams very evenly matched and I was curious to see how it would play out.
I picked up new enemy Galoob and we made the long drive together. It was overcast and not too hot though very humid. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and I was glad to see such a large turnout for this race. After a short warm-up and a layer of bug spray we all lined up on the dirt road and soon took off on the first uphill climb.
|The race starts with a climb - Photo by James Lastowski|
I ran a 1:12:15 last year and had doubts that I had the fitness to best that effort. Still I wanted to try so I determined to run hard on the first lap and then just hold on as best I could on the second. I pushed hard on the dirt road to stay ahead of most people before the singletrack. As we entered the woods I was behind Chris Fox. I had hoped to stay with him for as long as possible. When he passed a guy I did the same but he soon put distance on me. He's just getting faster and faster.
At about two miles I came upon Jonny who looked like he had gotten his shoe stuck in the muck. He told me to go on and not long after I was able to pass two guys ahead of me. I was then leading a train of guys when we reached the water stop at mile 2.5. It wasn't long on the dirt road section before I heard the quick turnover of Jonny's feet. He passed me but I was able to stick fairly close to him for the rest of this lap. Once we got to the steep climb near the end he took off and I only saw him briefly once again near the starting area.
|Photo by James Lastowski|
I finished the first lap in about 35 minutes. Right where I wanted to be but I was already tired and wished I could just call it a day. I felt significantly slower as the second lap began and I glanced back before entering the singletrack. One of the guys I had passed back at mile 2, Grey Shirt, was not too far back. As it seems like every year, I get a feeling of rejuvenation upon entering this first singletrack section. I was moving well and hoped I could put some distance on Grey Shirt.
Not to be. Once past the water stop I glanced back again, Grey Shirt was still on my tail. I could hear him getting closer through the next singletrack section and I began to rationalize letting him pass me. He caught up to me at the last dirt road section but he seemed content to stay behind. We were basically side by side powerhiking up that steep hill but once the grades became more manageable I was able to put some distance on him. Then I pushed it hard on the downhill and put a little more space between us. I was happy to avoid a sprint to the finish but when I saw the clock ticking towards 1:12:00 I did it anyway and was really pleased to finish in under an hour 12.
So a PR by 18 seconds which I'll take gladly. After three victories Greg Hammett finally had to settle for 2nd place as Wooley ran a great race. Unfortunately Galoob dropped with hip tightness which which robbed the team competition of some of its drama. Ryan Wooley, Chris Garvin and Muddy led WTAC to the team victory. WTAC picked up a box o' random beers for the team prize which we divvied up afterwards. As always, thanks to Bob Jackman for putting on this race - it's one of the most challenging and enjoyable trail races in Rhode Island.
|WTAC wins alcohol - Photo by James Lastowski|