Saturday, September 26, 2009

Autumn Towers Time Trial: The Quest for Thirty

Last time out, there were six of us running Towers in search of a fastest known time. That day, Eric Bergman shot up in an impressive 30:47, setting a mark on the 3.4 mile, 1,800 foot grinder more than four minutes faster than Dan Turk's previous best. I was more than a minute off the pace in 31:56, but had the excuse that I was on the back end of a 500+ mile month (there's always an excuse).

About a week ago I got an email from Steve Folkerts stating that he had shaved 11 seconds of the FKT, posting a new mark of 30:36. As soon as I got that email, I was motivated to get a group together for a shot at 30 minutes.

So this morning Eric was back as was Frank Antonelli and another local speedster, Steve Saleeby. The four of us met at around 8:00 and kind of lingered at the trailhead, procrastinating on the task at hand, knowing that 30 minutes of self-inflicted pain lay ahead. Eventually, we summoned the gumption to get the grind underway and headed out on the short .45 mile connector to Towers from Soderburg, making the turn at 2:40. From there the real work began and much like last time out, Eric assumed the lead. I hit the Stout intersection at 8:30 and the second Herrington intersection at 16:45.

In June, it was evident that Eric was stronger than me and barring a blow up I wasn't going to reel him in; today the gap was a steady five to ten seconds with Eric pulling ahead a bit on the super-steep stuff and me catching back up as the grade eased.

By the Mill Creek intersection at 3 miles or so, the gap was still the same and by the end of the short stretch of slight downhill to the last grind, I was pretty much on Eric's shoulder. The clock read 27:07 as I glanced at it, with maybe .4 of a mile to go. Unfortunately, that last .4 of a mile was straight uphill to the summit. I knew I was going to PR, and possibly break Steve's time, but was unsure if I could overtake Eric or drop under 30. As it turned out, Eric was able to rebuild his cushion on the last grind, topping out in 30:15, shaving another 20 seconds off the FKT, with me 10 seconds back in 30:25.

Both of us went under Steve F's time, but we both also came up short of breaking the 30-minute barrier. Steve Saleeby came in under 32 minutes and Frank at around 33 minutes.

The sub-30 is only a matter of time, the question is who's gonna get it?

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