Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First timer Ironman race report - Savas Gunduz


It was 3:30am on July 28th, 2013. I had already been lying awake in bed for 40 minutes when my alarm went off. 18 months ago, two of my best friends, EK and JR told me that they were going to do Ironman Lake Placid, and JR specifically wrote me a lengthy 4-page email detailing the reasons why I should join them, summarizing his magnum dissertation with the question - So, you in? My one-word email response, "Yep", set in motion the next year-and-a-half of buying a tri-bike, hiring EK as my coach (more on that later), training more hours than my work or family life was comfortable with, but both accepted, all leading up to this point. 3 hours from the start of the biggest athletic achievement of my life.

I have been an athlete my whole life. Soccer from the moments that I could walk. Then rowing in college, and a weak attempt at the US Rowing National Team in the years to follow college. Some minor stints as a Cat 5 cyclist, winning 2 local crits, but nothing more, and then some local triathlons where I consistently finished in the middle of the pack. Top 3rd would be a good race. But now, as I walked down the stairs of the rented house in Lake Placid at 3:32am, my athletic life would culminate in a race that everyone knew of....athletes and non-athletes alike. My co-workers, my friend, heck even my Mom knew that "Ironman Lake Placid" held a special place in the heart and soul of any person who has elevated their heart rate for the sake of competitions.

3:42am - I'm standing in the kitchen with EK and JR, coffee in hand, eggs and rice on plates....eating and drinking enough calories and energy to be fueled up, but not over-full that we don't digest.

3:51am - we're done eating. Water bottles are already filled with our special caloric mixes on the counter. Bikes have already been checked in the day before (or earlier that day? Hard to tell), and all of our transition and special needs bags have been packed, and re-packed. And then checked and re-packed again. Nothing else to do but sit in the pre-dawn darkness, EK, JR and I, and talk about anything other than the impending day that we have before us. We talked about rowing races we had won and lost in the past. We talked about cross-country skiiing training weekends in -9 degree temperatures in New Hampshire, where when we opened the door to our cheap-ass Motel 3, the heat and humidity from the motel room's shower colliding with the sub-arctic temps outside to literally form a cloud in our door-way. We talked about the good old days when we roomed together, rowed together, partied together, suffered together, and all of the good things that 3 friends talk about when miles have separated them in their adult lives, but memories bring them back closer than ever before.

Before long, the sky turned a light shade of grey, and without formally acknowledging it to each other, we each knew that it was time to walk down to Mirror Lake, to the start of the race. We filled our bags with our water bottle, slung our bags over our shoulders, and marched down in the cloud-covered grey dawn to get body marked, suited up in our wetsuits, and plow into the water with 3,000 of our new closest friends.

Mirror lake:

The first doubts grabbed me at the 1/4 point of the swim. Just as I rounded the first turnaround, I was getting pounded, kicked, smacked and otherwise beaten down by my 3,000 "friends", I realized that it was not my day. I hadn't trained enough with work and family. I could always come back another year and do it right. No shame in tapping out, and as I looked frantically for a boat to latch on to, I decided to just take 2 more strokes. Then 2 more strokes. Then 2 more strokes (where's that damn boat?!?). Then 2 more strokes. Then 2 more strokes. After a while I realized a couple of things. (1) that boat was no where near me and (2) I was actually finding a rhythm with my 2-strokes at a time. I finished the first lap feeling good, and headed into my second lap latched into the draft of someone's feet. Not someone speedy, mind you, but someone my speed. Before knew it, I was 200 years from the finish of the 2.4 mile swim, and even if my goggles got kicked off my head I knew that I would finish the swim. Things just got better from there.


The bike started off slow, but steady. My Coach, EK, had told JR and I "People should be passing you on the first 5 mile climb. If not, then you're going too fast." Well, if that's the case, then I'm doing it right. First the guys passed me. Then the fat guys. Then the women. Then get the point. But I kept it under control, crested the hill, and descended 6 miles in the rain and on wet roads into the town of Keene. From there, I again found a rhythm to my stroke, enjoyed the moment and rode intelligently...for me. Starting the climb out of the valley, back up to Whiteface and Lake Placid I started to real in the same people that passed me on the initial ascent. Aid stations were there when I needed them, and I rolled thru each one perfectly, grabbing water and Gel's and continuing on my march. I climbed the last 3 climbs (Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear) without breaking a sweat, especially since our Coach had told us about them on the pre-race ride the day before, and rolled back into the town of Lake Placid to begin my second lap. I felt great. Perhaps too great? Should I speed up and go harder on the bike? have a plan to break 12 hours, you're on plan, don't get greedy. The second lap went by without a mistake...which again were words of wisdom from Coach. "Just don't make a mistake". No crashes, no mechanicals, no missing any fueling opportunities, and most importantly - no burning any matches. I rolled into T2 feeling like the worst was behind me, and the only thing between myself and the finish line were my own legs. Not getting kicked in the swim, or crashing on the bike. Those were behind me. It was just me for the next 26.2 miles.

"Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast" was the mantra that my Coach had told us the day before and what ran thru my head in transition. Don't forget anything, don't make a mistake, and be smooth. I did a check of my watch and realized that my goal of sub-12 hours was seriously in jeopardy. I wanted to do a 1:15 swim. A 6:15 bike. 15 minutes total for transition and then a 4:15 run....finding 1 second somewhere to be able to come in at 11:59.59. But my swim took 1:17, my bike took 6:20, and my transitions, while smooth, were not "fast". Shit. I had to run nearly a 4-hour marathon to be able to break the 12 hour mark. My fastest, and admittedly only, other marathon to date was a 4:09 in Boston in '06. I was supposed to now run faster than that, after 2.4 miles on my shoulders, and 112 miles on my legs?!? Yeup. Let's do it.

26.2 what?!
My first 13.1 mile lap had me at 1:58.30 pace. Great, I had 90 seconds to play with for lap two. I held off the goblins for the first 6 miles, but then the goblins started to grab my toes. I would later find out that one of my toes was rubbing against my shoes and I would lose my toenail. But I pressed on. The goblins tried again to grab my hamstrings, but again I shook them off. They then tried to give me a cramp in my quads, but I beat them back with a banana at a feed zone. I ran thru another aid station at mile 21 and went to grab another banana, but it slipped out of my hands and fell to the ground behind me. A volunteer, a kid, perhaps 15 or 16 said "Keep running...I'll bring it to you". By then my mind was a bit blurry. "How will he bring it to me, what should I do. I need that banana". What seemed like an eternity, but what was probably only 20 yards, the kid came sprinting alongside me (mind you, I say "sprinting", but I wasn't moving that fast to begin with") and handed me another banana as I ran. He even had the composure to say "Do you need anything else?" I shook my head "no", thanked him, and he drifted on back behind me to rejoin the ranks of the other absolutely amazing volunteers who would do anything to make our lives just a little bit better in those moments of pain.

I decided to walk thru the next feed station so that I didn't make another mistake. And the next feed station. And the next hill. And then I ran past where my beautiful wife was cheering for me with my 5 month old son at mile 23. She told me that our 2-year old daughter was with her Uncle, my Brother, at the finish line. I ran as hard as I could for the last 3 miles....not so much to finish the race, or to break 12 hours, but rather to make my daughter proud as she watched her Dad finish the Ironman. If she was going to be at the finish line, Goddamnit, I was, too. My GPS watch died with 1 mile to go so I didn't know my time, didn't know my pace. I knew that I slowed down a lot in the 2nd half of the run, and that a 12-hour race was slipping away. All I could do was run. I ran past JR and EK's families - both of those guys had long since finished, but their families were like my families and they stayed out on the course to cheer me on in the last mile. I entered the Olympic circle, and saw my daughter waving at her Dad. I touched her hand as I ran by, and floated the last hundred yards to the finish.

12:01:16 said the clock above me as I crossed the finish line. But I didn't care. I had finished an Ironman. Without a doubt the hardest athletic achievement of my, or most anyone's else's, life. The first person I saw as I crossed the finish line was the woman who handed out medals. The second person was my Coach, EK who had been waiting for me (after his own race, mind you) right at the finish line. He who told me relentlessly for the past 18 months that "time doesn't matter", told me with a smile that I broke 12 hours. Huh? With the rolling start time, I actually entered the water 5 minutes after the gun went off, and my official time was 11:56. I gave EK a hug, as I couldn't have achieved what I did without him.

Will I do it again? Who's to say. I don't need to right now, as the experience I had was absolutely perfect. Given the time commitment that I had to train with work, a 2 year old, and 5 month old at home....I couldn't have asked for a better race. I executed on my plan, achieved my meager little goal, and have a lifetime of stories to tell all wrapped up in one 12 hour (11:56) day. But the future is unpredictable, and I wouldn't rule out anything. Beside, I think that I could break 11:30 some day with just a bit more training. :)

Friday, August 09, 2013

Running from Goblins. IM Lake Placid 2013

Every race is different. Every time it's a new experience. People around you and more importantly you. You are different. For better or worse you are a different new person shaped by your life, experiences, training and more.  At Ironman lake Placid in 2013 things were every different than the last time I did the race is 2011 but I wouldn't know how different until well after the finish line had come and gone.

~The view from the house we stayed at was... well, you get the idea.

If you ever need to wake up at 3am. wide awake, more alert than maverick right after he "flew right through his jet wash", do an Ironman.  Then you get the bliss of drinking coffee, readying your special needs bags, walking to transition at a rate that would rival most Olympic speed walkers and then... Wait.

With the earlier 6:30 start time me and my to racing pals had a measly 40 minutes to kill before the gun. piece of cake. Take in "The scene" body glide up. look at the wet suit, and... 39 minutes to go.  With the new start format we all congregated on the beach instead of the floating start.  Still a very intense moment. 3000 people getting ready to start what is likely their #1 event all year. Maybe in there life. The energy and the tension is indescribably. I lined up right in front and got the first and biggest reality check I would get all week.  Two guys sitting on a bench, wet suits on, looking tough, big arms, they had that focused look on their faces and... no legs.   Makes all your "bad workouts" or that missed pool session because of lightening seem, not really that big of a deal to say the least.

 Pro men start, BANG. pro women, BANG. some hand shakes and "have a good day's" to people you have never meet and we are off,  into the water we go.  I settled in quickly and was leading the race for a few 100. yeah me!!   The swim went off without indecent. The chaotic first 1000 simply turned into a very chaotic last 1000 with the new, I'm sorry is the ironman to hard for you, start. I still feel that the new rolling start is total BS and I will likely not do another IM with this start. If I wanted to have a leisurely day I would go golfing. Most fast people don't like it because it eliminates the "race" you are on a chip time not a gun time.  Most slower people who don't like it either because this new procedure puts them right next to each other from the get go. for all you people who can't swim and are upset because you are "loosing time" DO SOME FU**N PREPARATION!  better yet, go tell the guys with no legs your, "problem".

After weaving through the crowd to the exit I was out and into T1. The volunteers are absolutely awesme at every race I have done.  Into T1 change tent. "what can I do for you?"  "get my bike out # 1669." "Ok got it. what else can do?"  "get my bike out # 1669."   this repeated until I ran out. who ever you were, you're awesome!  calm, and focused. You are all awesome.
   Onto the bike and into the Rain:

 The rain had started and the roads were wet. The start of the bike for has slowly evolved for me each year due to my slowly yet steadily increasing speed and efficiency of my swimming.  I don't spend the first 25 miles passing hoards of people, I'm at the front from the get go.  I settled into a rhythm quickly but found my gluts tight and my HR rather high. It was the feeling and reaction I've had in Hawaii the last 2 years. I thought "maybe I just don't have it today".  Chris put that thought out of my head quickly. 

I took it easy down the fast decent and recovered well. Full gloves on, arm warmers and a piece of Mylar space blanket up my jersey I was comfortable.   I went back and forth with some guys on the long flat section down rt. 9. every thing was now in full operation. stomach felt good, legs good, HR low, watts right there. "we can't seem to figure this out can we" some guy said to me as he passed for the 10th+ time.  "obliviously you haven't raced much idiot! #1 this is perfect, just stay legal and #2 few people hang with my on the first lap of the bike without walking and crying the last 15 miles of the run so.."  EASY Chris!  Good thing I can keep him in my head better than I did in the 90's. such an ass!  I said, "I think we were doing pretty good! and smiled. And it was true this was perfect. legal, free, speed!
The first time up the climb I was moving to the front of the race but there were strong guys around.  I wasn't simply riding away.  My legs felt a bit heavy also. through transition, I missed my special needs feed. I was going to grab it as I was draining my bottle of Infinit much faster than normal. it was gone! humm...
"figure it out after the decent, we got riding to do." Chris said in his so understanding tone. sarcasm font. 
    Onto the rollers, big decent and rt. 9 again.  The decent was drying out so I bombed it. Never left the aero bars.  One big race execution thing that EVERYONE does wrong at IMLP is thinking of the bike in its 2 loops starting and ending at transition. After climbing for an hour plus on the first lap you arrive in town and start your second loop, which starts right away with BIG hills! you must think of the first climb as 1:30 (if your fast) maybe up to 2hr's of mostly up hill riding until the big decent were you get a break. I was with several guys coming into town I dropped them all on teh next set of rollers and didn't see any of them again until the end of rt.9. 30 miles or so later! And my watts went down if anything on this section.
The last time up the hill my legs were heavy again. and I was a stiff in places. shoulders, back and the quads just didn't feel like magic. Chris took the flame thrower to those thoughts but they kept coming back. I grabbed a few bottles of perform for some extra calories but I felt fine in that regard. Into transition and out quickly, onto the run and a HUGE eruption of cheers. You have to do this race, coming into town is unreal. There are so many people watching its indescribable. and there is this aura that hangs in town. its Olympic... I don't know what. but when you are there, racing, you can feel it every time your in town.
  Within 1/2 a mile the tightness was gone, energy was high, I was trying to slow my pace (it was to fast 7:20-7:30) I caught and then passed someone.  The road was clear I was 2nd in my Age group. It was all the same. 2 years ago at the 2011 IM LP. it was all playing out very similar.   when you have time read this report from 2011. It worth the time and while I am not fond of my own writing, it has, for whatever reason, seen several Thousand hits since that July.

Down to the turn around. OK Ek here's the uphill, just manage, hold your intensity and we reset for "overtime" at half way.  "No one can fuc** hang with us dude! are you kidding me! all systems go Eric lets get this done",  Chris  this was confidence building and but there was this pain in my foot. right in the bottom like someone was stabbing me. my right foot, which was strange because it was my left ankle that had blown up 2 wee... "IT'S FINE EK, RUN! AND STFU!"  Katie Blackmore went by in the opposite direction racing inte pro womens race. she wasn't far behind me. she yelled some words of encouragement and "there's 2 girls  ahead of you Eric!" the 1st and 2nd pro women. I smiled and said quickly. "well... get your ass up here and there will be 3 ahead of me!  She eventually caught me and came in 2nd on the pro women's field. Awesome to see friends do so well.

I sometimes describe pacing of an Ironman as Running from Goblins.  We have all dealt with them before. On long training session and races. They start the race shortly after you and just follow you. They are faster and they WILL catch you... eventually.  Everything you do and don't do is simply trying to stay in front of them as long as possible. Go to hard and slow down they catch you all at once. At first they flick your ear and tug at your shorts. Then one will jump on your leg, then the other, then your back, then they start punching you in the gut, pulling your hair and tripping up your feet. "you have to stay just ahead of the goblins for as long as you can, if they catch you 6 miles into the run, its over, you simply can't deal with them for that long"  -I will tell people.  

Ok, so onward, pace was good. but the pain was getting worse had spread to both feet and now.. the ankle was throbbing.  Trough half way and starting back down "you're top 5 EK!"   This barley registered. The next 6 miles are so are, as I look back now, a learning experience that reinforced something I have known but didn't realize just how important it is for racing long.  They say you never really appreciate something  until it's gone.
So. You know what happened?   Nothing. I honestly can not tell you what happened in those miles. They are blank. Totally empty I didn't look at my watch, Chris was gone.  He is very necessary for me as most of you know by now but I didn't realize how important he was. I always knew how you had to be hyper motivated to race 140.6 miles. Well, give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, show a man how to fish he'll eat for a life time.  I have now been shown what happens when the killer motivation leaves.  If you do not have the motivation, the fight in you, to push every moment of every minute in the last 6-13 miles of an Ironman you will not succeed in reaching a high goal. Period.  As I approached the turnaround that marked about 7 miles to go I looked at my watch. I was running 10:30/ mile pace on a flat to down hill stretch of road and my body stopped. I curled my toes reached down to loosen my shoe laces for the second time. I did this quickly in the first lap as well.  I thought about what people would say behind my back.  In have been cursed with hearing people talk about me behind my back. An e-mail once that some how I was put on and clearly shouldn't have been. In the next isle in a grocery store, (yeah believe that crap?!) In the locker room at riverside boat club as I was out side about to walk in. It haunts me. anyone that tell you "I don't care what people think of me."  Their lying. it sounds great and I believe you don't want to care about what people think but you do.  Ladies that are disagreeing with me, don't wear makeup. Just for one day at work. I dare you.

I started running again, walked an aid station, ran again, walked a hill ran... wait no I couldn't.  my legs locked up and ankle folded.  I stopped, bent down, hands on my knees. "its over" I thought.

    As I stood back up I saw a 4 wheeler type vehicle bringing supply's to the aid stations and I thought, "come on hit me. just graze me enough so I fall and I can stop"  My roadie friends will know what I mean we have all been in those races where you are just BEGGING for a flat tire. I mean making deals with God for just a little flat tire.
So I walked. I thought I'll run there, after the hill, I'll run. I never did. I saw my friend and athlete JR coming from behind .  I'll run with him. didn't happen. seeing him race well cheered me up. I stopped to tell Christy, Evren, and Tara thanks, some high fives and I was back off. Then I saw my other good friend and Ek Endurance Coaching athlete Savas. He was on his way at mile 15 or so. And he looked amazing. Coaching him was a challenge. He averaged about 6.5 hr's a week.  He is not "talented" as some are with that genetic ability. He's fit, he played soccer, he rowed crew in college and after. and used no data of any kind in training.  Seeing Jr and Savas lifted me up.
Those who can't do, teach" ?
No shame in that for me, if could give up all my victories to be the best endurance and athletic coach in the world, I wouldn't even hesitate.   I stopped a few more times. My feet hurt so bad. I thought I was moving (walking) well but as I came to the large crowds in town there was no "you can do it, get the run back, come on!" I saw several  "ohh shit" kinda looks. I saw my mother and brother in law. "Are you OK?"  I handed them my fuel belt, " yeah I'm fine. see you guys in a bit." I said.  I walked into the Olympic oval I think everyone there high fived me or touched my shoulder. The crowd was so loud. I looked behind me as runners came by and passed me, I waived them by and gave them a congrats as they came by. It was there day. I made sure I didn't impede on anyone's finish before mustering a wounded, manatee like hobble to the finish line. "Eric Kenney you are an.." " Yeah, yeah we know Shut the hell up!"  Ahh Chris you're such and ass...
 I went straight to the exit after some food, saw Lindsay and my parents then headed back into the finish area to wait for Savas. Think this guy is happy?

"Even Tom Brady doesn't make it to the supper bowl every year" a friend told me. True. I have qualified for Hawaii twice.  Last yr. at IM St. George someone said that I "got lucky". maybe I did, I've been told you don't do something twice in a row on luck.  A director from a pro cycling team once said about Paris-Roubaix  "To win you don't need to have good luck, you just need to avoid the back luck" I think this is more the case with racing an Ironman.
After the race I saw a friend Patrick.  he said "Dude! what the hell happened to you?!!?"  This was refreshing for me really, I didn't just fade, something "happened" and apparently it showed more than I thought.  I still wonder if I would have pulled it of even if my ankle and feet were 100% fine.   In training I had some very positive results. some better than ever before. I also had some that were shy of the last 2 years...
 I won't blame it on my ankle, we will never know. people say to me, "awe man, you were right there. doing so well! its to bad."  well, yeah but that's the IM story. "I felt so good until mile 13 on the run. really? No shit! If you dont' have "IT" with 13 to go in an IM you will fade, hard, at best.  What is "IT"?  Everything.
The physical, mental and structural capacity to push your self to the brink or you will wind up that big part of the statistics bell curve.
  Whats next? When?  Will I be back?  ...ask Chris.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bob Cook, Mt Evans Hill Climb. Chris Carr race report. 2014

 Mt Evans race report by: Chris Carr:

I went in to Mt Evans with the goal of a top 5 or 6 - realistic expectations I thought.  Lining up at the start that morning I didn't really know what to expect; the field was relatively stacked, and I had those "unsure" sensations coming from the legs.  The kind where you can't tell if you're going to have a great day or barely finish.  My one teammate in the race, Rory Kelly and I discussed it briefly while we spun around warming up and decided we both felt the same and would just see how it played out on the road and roll with it.  He's a better pure climber than me, so in the back of my mind, I'd do what I could for him and see where I'd end up.
We started off slow, really slow.  A guy went solo from the gun, didn't see who it was because I was 20-30 guys back in the pack.  No one really thought anything of it because usually once the climbing really starts about 6 miles in, things get fast.  There was also a predominantly southwest wind (headwind) that morning, so being tucked safely away in the pack ensured a calm and easy ride.  We hit the real climbing and we went hard for a few minutes at a time, but then it slowed dramatically and everyone caught back on.  This continued all the way to Echo Lake, roughly the halfway point of the race.  Every other year I have done this race, the field has been reduced to less than half by this point, but this year I don't think we dropped a single person, yet...
People started attacking out of the fee station gate, and it was enough to whittle the group down to maybe ten guys.  We came around the corner out of treeline into a long, 5-6% grade with a cross wind from right to left.  A few of the strong guys, my teammate Rory Kelly included went to the front and "guttered" us along the yellow line, which was perfect strategy.  I knew I could hang on at that pace in the cross wind (we were all essentially doing equal work because there was no draft) and I could see that others were starting to show signs of fatigue.  There were a couple of people, won't name names, that found it acceptable to completely disregard the rules and safety of other riders that day by riding well across the yellow line, in the middle to the oncoming lane to try and gain an advantage.  But, sadly for them, when we turned out of the wind, Rory attacked pretty hard (hard enough that I thought I would be dropped) and those cheaters would not see the front of the race again.  Good riddance.
The next several miles are fairly flat, even downhill at times so the name of the game was staying out of the wind and conserving.  There were a few attacks through here but nothing too serious, but then again, every effort at this altitude takes a toll, so legs were still being softened up even if you didn't realize it.  We hit the long, sustained climb out of Summit Lake and the place slowly ramped.  I found myself at the front here thinking that I would try and set tempo for Rory and I would hang on as long as I could.  Matt Cooke and Julian Kyer (both domestic pros known for their climbing prowess) took turns attacking, and I held on for dear life.  Each time I would say to myself, "one more of those and I'm done!"
The last 5 miles or so are mostly steady grade with a couple steep pitches, but the long straight switchbacks to the summit seem to go on forever.  It was there that we could see the lead car a couple minutes up the road and realized, "oh yea, there's still a guy up the road.." That guy was Ben Blaugrund, teammate of Leroy Popowski, who has dominated the Colorado hillclimb scene the last several years.  That also explained why Leroy had been unusually quiet the whole race.  Normally he goes early and hard, and few people if any could stay on his wheel to the end.  At this point it was the two pros, Rory, myself and Leroy, with Ben still up the road.  Julian attacked, and I countered at a switchback into a tail wind.  I knew attacking into the tail wind was the way to get away, or at least do some damage because there is no draft in the tail wind, so if people wanted to catch or stay with me, they had to go at least as hard as me.  To my shock, I looked back and had dropped everyone.  Leroy was the last one, but dangling a few bike lengths back.  I hesitated for a minute because I knew we still had over 2 miles to go, and half of that would be into a head wind.  I decided I needed help, and would wait for Leroy.
He caught back on and I sat in his draft when we turned into the wind, then once we turned into the tailwind again, I slowly ramped up the pace and when I looked back, I saw something I had never seen before - I was dropping Leroy in a hillclimb.  I actually panicked for a second thinking that I was going way too hard, was going to blow up or something.  How could I possibly be beating Leroy, Rory, Cooke and Kyer in a hillclimb?  I caught and passed Ben shortly after and realized that I had a shot, a really good shot.  My legs were beat, I was going all out at 14,000 feet.  Each switchback I thought would be the last one, it seemed to go for an eternity.  I crossed the line, arms in the air, legs barely able to pedal my body out of the way of the finish line.  I was in disbelief.  I didn't realize that I had really won until I got a high five from Rory who powered home strong for third, just behind Leroy.  I went from thinking I'd be happy with seventh place, to a solo victory.
Looking back at my training for the last month, I shouldn't be surprised.  Coack EK and I have done A LOT of work specific to this, and similar hillclimbs.  Tons of long, climbing threshold intervals and over-unders getting ready for the big hillclimb at Mt Washinton later in August, but it clearly it paid off here.