Friday, May 16, 2014

Baden 7 Mile Road Race - May 10, 2014 Race Report

This race was previously the New Hamburg Classic prior to being taken over by the Run Waterloo series.   I always put it on the schedule since it is a home town event for me.

The course changed slightly this year, making it a bit more challenging and running to the top of the Baden aerial tower, which is supposedly the highest point in Southwestern Ontario (but I couldn't confirm this on the internet).   

The view to the top of the aerial tower.   A short 200m climb at approx. 20% grade
What I can confirm though is that the view at the top is pretty spectacular.   This was more easily confirmed the weekend before the race when a bunch of us did a few practice runs on the course.   On race day, I wasn't trying to take in much of the scenery!

The race started back at the Wilmot Rec Centre (WRC) just past 9:30am.   We had a pretty large group of Health & Performance runners doing a mix of the 7 miler and the 5K.   In addition, my son Holden was doing his third 5K race of the spring.   Here are a few shots of the start.

Holden is on the far right in the orange

Cool shot of Holden jumping the curb to stay in the mix and of course H&P coach Sean leading everyone out at a blistering pace

The race headed around the WRC before heading out on Gingerich road and taking a straight shot to the aerial tower.  Wrapping around the WRC, I found myself in about 7th or 8th place, but the start was a combination of both the 7 miler and the 5K, so I wasn't sure exactly where I stood in the 7 miler which I was doing.

I quickly found myself running with fellow H&P runner Greg Dyce.   I was pretty sure he was doing the 7 miler, so I was thinking this was ideal, knowing I was really hoping to be running with someone on the way back, given the windy conditions on the day and the fact that we had a tailwind out and massive headwind coming back.

Leaving the WRC and ripping down Gingerich Rd.
The wind was howling out of the west on race morning, so we had a tailwind going out (which by the way, never helps you as much as a headwind slows you down!) and a big headwind coming back.

Just past the 1k mark of the race, we enjoyed a fast downhill section to Foundry St. in Baden.   At this point, we were all amazed how much of a lead coach Sean had in the 5K.   He reached the 5K point way ahead of everyone and at a blistering pace of 3:10 or so.   Crazy!

Once our group hit the 5K turn around, it became clear where everyone stood in the 7 mile race.   After a few more people made the turn, I learned I was in 4th place in the 7 miler, just a few steps behind Greg, which was perfect.   To this point, our pace was about 3:42/km, but we now faced a pretty much non-stop uphill run to the top of the tower hill.   It was a gradual climb for the most part, with a short little hill to get to the tower hill driveway off of Synder's Rd.   Here are some more cool shots on the way out to the tower hill.

I see quite a few H&P singlets at the front of this race

Trying to keep a steady pace

Working with Greg Dyce, just a few steps behind him

After making the climb up Synder's Rd, we made a 180 degree turn onto the driveway which took the runners to the top of the tower hill.   This was a gravel driveway and it was a bit soft in spots.

Part of the race was a race "Prime" for the fastest uphill/downhill part of the steepest climb.   The timing mat was right before we started the big haul up the hill.   Going up the hill, I just tried to stay with Greg and keep the feet turning over.   At the top, the race organizers had a 65+ pound cast iron bell that we could ring to symbolize our accomplishment of reaching the top!   It was super cool, but when I got to the top, my legs were almost quivering from the effort.    Here's some more cool shots of the hill climb.


The PAIN!!!

The cast iron BELL!!

The "I'm not sure I can feel my legs anymore!!!"

Tonnes and tonnes of blue and white H&P!!

Out of control on the DOWNHILL!!
Now that the hill was done, we now had to deal with 40kph head and cross winds on the 5.5K trip back to the WRC.   When we got back to Synder's Rd, Greg, myself and another runner were all very close.   At the top of the hill, I could see the runner that was in 2nd place for the first half slowing down just a bit and Greg was going to sit on his shoulder to freshen up.   I made a decision that we needed to make our move now, so I ran up to him and tapped him on the back and said "Let's Go", and off we went speeding down the hill towards Baden.

This strategy seemed to work really well.   We each took turns blocking each other from the wind for 500m stretches at a time approximately.   By the time we got back to Foundry, we had a decent 100m or so lead over the next runner.

The climb back up Gingerich at Erb Transport was tough!   Into a big headwind and up a hill.   Our pace slowed a bit obviously, but I wasn't feeling too trashed at that point, so I just kept working with Greg.   Once past the roundabout at the top of the hill, I knew we would be sheltered from the wind a bit because of the trees, so I tried picking up the pace to see where Greg was at.

Once we came around the corner and hit the wind again, I decided I would just give it what I had, and see what happens.   It was at this point that I started to pull ahead from Greg, so I just carried on hoping I wouldn't lose a sprint finish like I did at the Waterloo half marathon.

The finish of the race (as seen below) was inside the arena.   Just before entering, I made a quick check to see where Greg was at, but it looked like I had second place locked up and crossed the line in 43:52, 2nd overall and first in my AG.

So overall, I was pretty happy with the results. 

Holden did well in his 5K coming in with a time of 24:19 and 3rd place in the under 12 category.

With Ken MacAlpine, the 7 miler winner
Holden in the U 12 category (he's only 10, so big things to come from him!)
Congrats to the Run Waterloo group for putting together a great race!  The first of many Baden Road Races!   Up next for me is the first triathlon of the season in Woodstock on May 25th.   I hope the ice is all out of the water by then!!

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