Welcome to the MT. TAMMANY 10. Out of the shadow of the DWG FA 50K "It's All Rocks!!!" FELSENMEER, the MT. TAMMANY 10 has emerged as the latest and greatest "ULTRA" test for ultrarunners in the region. This will not be for the faint of heart. It is 10, 10, in 10! 10 Climbs, over 10000 ft of gain, in 10 HRs. Hence the name MT. TAMMANY 10. You want a real challenge!!! Well here it is!!!
Now that you know what it is, here’s how it went for me.
Going into it, I had one goal, maybe two. Goal one was to finish in one piece. Goal two was to try to finish in 8hrs. This year however, I haven’t been training the way I have in the past to avoid peaking too early and breaking myself again.
The weather was looking interesting for the day. Possible showers with temps in the high 50’s to low 60’s, very warm for this race in my opinion. With the snow we had gotten two weeks prior, things were going to be messy and very slippery. Earlier in the week I bought a pair of inov8 Orocs from good pal Karl Loops just to be safe. I'm not sure I’ve ever made a better choice in my life! 6:40 AM and we were off!
There were about 5 of us in the lead pack. On the way up I got to catch up with my buddy Kevin Ravasio who also runs every year and has the best cheer crowd on the mountain! By the time we got to the top of the first loop, we were all pretty split up. DeVang and I were running together, not far from Scott Gregor, who ran a 12:16 at Manitou last season. By loop 3 DeVang, Scott, and I were running together, it was very nice, I like company. By the time loop 4 came around I realized I had gone out too fast, loop four and I were already feeling it. Shit, it’s going to be a long day. Half way up four I was by myself. Just past the rock scramble I was passing a couple hiking and said “excuse me.” The guy was a little off trail so he didn’t have to move, his girlfriend moved a little so I passed; that’s what you do right? Well, the tough guy boyfriend wasn’t having it. Words were exchanged because he couldn’t believe how in a “giant field” I had to say excuse me and couldn’t just find another way. There was no going around them in this particular section otherwise I would’ve. Things got a little heated, I told him we need to share the trails.
By the top of loop four we had all split, DeVang and I were still within sight of each other. Bottom of loop four and it’s time to go back to headquarters, my legs feel shot already. I inhale a piece of pb&j, down some sodas and I’m off for my 5th loop. I find myself alone. As I was climbing, I realized my legs are actually fine. It was my head getting to me. It was now a mind game.
As the day went on, the conditions on the trail were getting more and more interesting. Even with the Orocs, the descent was like skiing.
At the top of my 7th loop, things went south. Nature called. If you’ve been there around this time, you know there is no coverage up there, ZERO! Nature wasn’t waiting for me to get back down to the lot. I had to descend about 50 feet off trail and off the ridge just to be somewhat out of sight which is very very hard to do on this trail due to the amount of visitors it gets. At this point, I had just been passed at the bottom by Nolan Graham who was getting stronger as the race went on. I lost hope of maybe catching him, so I focused on just trying to keep myself in 2nd place.
Fast forward to the final loops. Julian had been out on the trail all day taking pictures. While on loop 9 I said to him “put your shorts on, you’re doing the last one with me!” he said OK. I was really really hoping he was serious, my legs were fine but my mind wasn’t right. I even grabbed poles for the final loops. I felt like I cheated myself.
Loop 10! Julian is at the lot, shorts on and ready to roll! We get to the top and I started to get a little side cramp. I thought it would go away but as soon as we started the descent, It just kept getting worse. After stopping four times and “running” lopsided to deal with the pain we finally got to the bottom. I still had 3/4 mile of road to go to get to the finish, I ran the whole thing! In previous years, I’m so shot by this point that I can’t even do a wobble run. I went into this race with somewhat of a plan which came from advice from the one and only Ben Nephew. Be efficient on the climbs, don’t bomb the downs, and don’t have dinner at the aid station. I hit all three! Yay! The reward was having functional legs at the end. They were actually pretty OK the next day.
There's something about this race that keeps me going back, in a short distance it makes you dig pretty deep. Alex & Dennis do a great job putting it on and the food at the aid station never disappoints!