Video: Jay Lemos VS Mount TAMMANY 10! Round 5
Something about the Mount Tammany 10 keeps me going back. I think it’s the beating it offers and from what I've noticed, no other race will make you feel as shitty both mentally and physically. For the past five consecutive years to be exact. Over those 5 years I kind of became the 2nd place finisher for this race. Long story short, during the 2nd place years, I would be in the lead for about 8 or 9 loops and somehow shit the bed in the end. Ive never been bitter about it though. Every year has had its own charm.
Year one was snowy (easier to run, no rocks). Ben took the W and I was close second about an hour behind, ha! 8:48
Year two was rocky. This year Jason Lantz went out like a maniac to never be caught. Ben showed up a little late and after loop five decided he was going to take it easy and just keep me company. We ran the rest of the race together. I learned A LOT this year from Ben. I learned I take forever at aid stations, climb too slow and descend too fast. All bad things for an event like tammany. 7:45 just over an hour off of my previous time.
Year three was snowy-ish again. This year it was time to put my new strategy into play. Eat fast, climb more efficiently and descend fast and steady but not stupid. It was all going great till about loop 7. I was in the lead but noticed one guy id never seen before getting closer and closer every loop. Not only was he getting closer and closer, but also faster and faster. Oh, and the grin on his was that of a man who sees his prey (me) dying right before his eyes. On the last loop he was way too close for comfort. I get to the top of the last climb and get a call from nature, one I couldn’t not answer. As I I'm talking to nature in the woods on the ridge before the last descend, I see him prance by feeling no pain while I'm sacrificing my hat wondering if I can even get out of the squat position I was in. Eventually I made it to the finish to meet this psychopath who just got stronger and stronger as the race went on (not something that happens at Tammany). Fucking Nolan Graham, the guy is not only an amazing running mountain man, but also an amazing person off the trails. 8:00, between nature’s call and the somewhat snowy conditions I slowed down a bit.
Year four was nice and snowy again. This year there was this new young whippersnapper, Steve Lange. Energetic, using poles from the start (I don’t bring them out till loop 7) so I thought, huh, he looks fit and has poles, he's going to fly and burn up. Long story short, Steve did not burn up, his strategy was to stay with me in the lead since I knew how to take the race. We ran together till the last descend, we vibed off each other with great convo the entire day till I couldn’t hold on anymore and watched him bomb down to the finish while I hobbled my sorry ass down. 7:33, made it out just in time. Temps had gone up and the snow had turned to nasty slush.
Year five! Like in previous years, everyone always texted me “dude its your year!” but as we can see, I shit the bed every year. For a little bit I actually believed it for this year till karl fucking loops informed me that Brian Rusecki was running. Theres no beating that guy. I felt better that he was coming, the pressure from people thinking I was going to win cost me a couple of hairs that week.
Here’s how it went. Usually at the start we go off in like stupid ass 5:45 pace or so just to get on the trail first and not be stuck in conga line. This year, however, I start like normal and notice I'm the only asshole running fast. Even Brian was holding back. I panicked and slowed down thinking this is some kind of strategy. I started thinking about Ben’s advice to Carlo for beating Brian at Manitous Revenge. I didn’t follow it. I focused on running my own race. I was on my own till about halfway up. Brian was with me till we hit the ridge on top. I hit the down maybe a little too enthusiastic and found myself alone again. I ended up being alone most of the day, bored out of my mind thinking Brian would come up behind me at any moment and make it look like I wasn’t even moving.
Fast forward to lap 7. It was time to grab my poles and give the legs a break. On the way up my hands were so frozen I couldn’t use my poles, I was focused on getting my hands back to normal. Loop 8 I got my hands back but one of me poles broke. I fought with it for most of the way up and then realized I was almost at the top again and not only did I climb without poles but also trying to Mcgyver them, fuck.
Loop 9 I tried to climb with just one pole, not sure that worked so well as I found myself climbing with my hands on my knees dragging the pole.
Now for the fun part! Loop 10!!! I was still in the lead, the gap wasn’t much of a gap anymore. Towards the bottom of loop 9 I felt my shoe coming loose. I was hoping I just had to tighten my laces but wasn’t looking till I got back to the lot. As if the pressure from people saying Brian wasn’t far back wasn’t enough, my laces broke! I was with Steve and Elizabeth, we did some quick brainstorming, take one of Steves shoes? I didn’t feel ok with that, it felt like cheating, so I went on with a loose shoe. Luckily I had acquired a set of poles for the last loop.
I climbed with Steve trying to keep it as steady as possible hoping Brian wouldn’t catch me. We made it to the top, I stopped to take it all in and muster up some energy to hammer the last descend but the thought of a loose shoe on those rocks was a scary one. I tied my buff around my shoe and hoped for the best. Yolo, we hammered down the mountain. I couldn’t believe I didn’t shit the bed and actually held on to the lead.
I have lots more to say about this race, all amazing things and the amazing people in it and putting it on. This isn’t an individual sport, I don’t care what they say. Once we’re on the trail, we’re all in it together. Times don’t mean anything, it’s the experience and memories we take away from these events that really matter. 7:38