Like most mornings of my life as an athlete I awoke to the annoying chirp of the alarm on my phone. It was 5:00 AM on Saturday, August 20th and the early morning sky was dark, duh, but it projected an air of calm excitement and anticipation for that day’s activities. That day I was to run up Mt. Moosilauke, of my own free will of course, and to say I was amped would be an understatement. I literally woke up to run up a mountain.
The car ride over was quiet, my brother John and I only listened to a few songs on the 82 minute ride to Mt. Moosilauke. John emanated the same level of visible excitement he usually does on trips that require an early departure and said at most a few sentences, mostly poking fun at the road named “potato.”
Upon arriving I was very surprised to see a rather copious amount of automotive vehicles parked on the side of a dirt road almost too narrow to park on the side of. Turns out many people awoke to run up a mountain this morning. Among them were the familiar faces of the Ford Sayre team. Perrin, Johanna, Katie Ball, Scottie, Dennis, Malcolm, Jacob, and an equally amped Adam were present with according parental units. Brayton Osgood-the new Dartmouth Nordic Coach- was the man in charge and seemed to be thrilled at the conditions of the day. The sky was almost completely clear and at the moment cool but not cold. The trails were dry and very uneven, eager they seemed to roll some ankles. Not today. We briefly talked with Paddy Caldwell before the race as well.
Skipping the description of my warm up brings me to the start of the race. The women started at 30 second intervals and had a 2 minute head start on the men. Ford Sayre before Dartmouth was the sub-order within the genders. I started after my brother, before Adam, and 6 minutes
ahead of the monster known as Kris Freeman. When the lady at the start said go to me I took off. The first part of the trail was a flat downhill that quickly turned into an uneven uphill. My only goal for the day was to stay on my feet and get in a great workout.
I got a great workout but 2.15 Km into the race I tripped on a rock and went down. At least I’m consistent in that regard. I quickly got up and tied my shoe and continued running down, or I guess up, the trail. Many uneventful minutes passed before Paddy caught me. I was almost to the false peak at that time. Several minutes later Kris Freeman found me, a scrawny child by comparison, and belted out the word “track” in such a way that the only thing I could do was move and utter “oh ok.”
At this point the top was in sight and the final climb was in front of me. It was a pretty standard finish, I went faster and pushed up the last hill. The only difference was that the finish line was hiding behind a rock that Brayton Osgood was also sitting behind. The entire Ford Sayre support group (parents
and coaches) was perched at the top cheering us on at the final climb and pointing to our drinks when we finished. The view was worth the test. The sun had begun shining to its fullest capacity in the open sky, heavily illuminating the surrounding mountains and details for us to enjoy. It also provided excellent lighting for a group shot of Ford Sayre at the top next to the sign, obviously the most important part of the ordeal.
The trip down consisted of rock hopping and some long and very refreshing dips in the cold river at the bottom, even Suki jumped in. We-Adam, Tim, Katie, Johanna, Perrin, and Suki- “chilled” for a few minutes in the icy torrent before joining the group at the lodge again. There we exchanged some words and decided to gather ourselves into our according vehicles and progressed towards the local ice cream shop. The servings were generous but endlessly refreshing and I must say that pistachio ice cream is a worthy post race meal and I highly recommend it. A good time was had by all. The end.
[email readers – view this post in a browser to see the slideshow of runners reaching the summit]