Byrne Scorches Woods At Rock2Rock Run

La Sportiva Mountain Cup 2010Just six days after the showdown at the Jemez Half Marathon (iRF report), La Sportiva Mountain Cup runners again donned their shoes for the Rock2Rock Run near Asheville, North Carolina. Traveling thousands of miles east meant trading in a hot, exposed course for a humid green tunnel beneath an eastern forest canopy. It would be an unfair to call this gnarly mountain race “only a 10k,” as the race website suggests that a “good estimate [for finishing time] is to add about 60% on to your usual 10k time.”

Rock2Rock Trail Run Course Map

What's not to love about a trail race with a course "map" like this? All photo courtesy of La Sportiva.

We’ll begin our LSMC race coverage by giving you the scoop on how the race went. Next, we’ll give you an update on the Mountain Cup standings. We’ll then move on to our giveaway contest (Raptors this week) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.

The Race
Rock2Rock derives its name from the two summits the course crosses. The course initially climbs on a mild grade with less technical footing. Near the top of the first climb the footing worsens and the trail pitches up more steeply. Likewise, the first descent is sharp and technical, so is much of the rest of the course. Good luck finding a steady rhythm while running Rock2Rock!

Rock2Rock 2010 technical trail

There's a bit of technical trail at the Rock2Rock Trail Run!

Men’s Race
Ryan Woods had bested Matt Byrne in each of the first two La Sportiva Mountain Cup races this season. Woods again took the lead on the gradual, non-technical trails at Rock2Rock. Byrne erased this lead as the trail pitched up more steeply and passed Woods shortly before the first of the race’s two summits. Byrne bombed down the 15-20% grade on the first summit’s far side and built a 20 to 30 yard lead by the second summit. From there, Byrne took off for the finish. Woods was no match on the calamitous second descent first through singletrack tightly flanked by the area’s thick rhododendrons and then over rocky terrain. Byrne (44:13) beat Woods (45:25) by over a minute.

Jason Bryant (47:18) ran strong to earn third place, his best showing in his three 2010 Mountain Cup races. Jason was followed by Thomas Cason (48:12) and Malcolm Campbell (51:38). Asheville, North Carolina’s John Kennedy (57:30) was the top master.

Jason Bryant Rock2Rock 2010

Jason Bryant (3rd place) at the Eden Rock aid station at Rock2Rock 2010.

Women’s Race
In early February, Alison Bryant had surgery on her knee. At that point, she hadn’t run in 3 weeks and she wasn’t allowed to do any weight bearing exercise for 7 or 8 weeks. She must have put in some killer pool workouts, because she bested the rest of the women’s field at Rock2Rock. Alison took the lead a mile into the race and cruised to victory. She raced the clock to finish in just undar an hour (59:59).  Alison intends on competing for the Mountain Cup and will be racing at the Rothrock Trail Challenge outside of State College, Pennsylvania next weekend. [Speaking of Rothrock, I’ll be attending the race, as well. Keep your eyes open for the redhead wearing an iRunFar hat. If you see me, come up and introduce yourself!]

Alison Bryant Rock2Rock 2010

Women's winner Alison Bryant at the Eden Rock at station during Rock2Rock 2010.

There was a tight race for second place. Laura Bowles (1:02:04) topped fellow Asheville resident Jennings Gary (1:02:30). Gary barely edged out Betsy Patrick (1:02:32), who took fourth. Elizabeth Callaway (1:03:39) of Athens, Georgia rounded out the top 5. Michelle Vruwink was the top master in 1:12:13.

Full Results
You can find the 2010 Rock2Rock Run results on the Rock2Rock website. Click on the middle circle (“Details”) in the upper lefthand side for access to a page that’s home to the results link.

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
We’ve calculated the overall series standings through three Mountain Cup races ourselves. These are NOT official, but they should be pretty close. We’re still holding off on masters standings until we’ve got more returning competitors.

Ryan Woods, Matt Byrne, and Jason Bryant have each run all three ’10 Mountain Cup races to date and are the only top men to have run more than one race. Therefore, it should be no surprise that they are the the top three men overall. In fact, there weren’t any changes in the Top 5 rankings this week. Byrne did make up 5 points on Woods, who now leads by only three points – his margin of victory at the Mount Penn Mudfest (iRF report). Here are iRunFar’s Unofficial Standings:

  1. Ryan Woods – 63 pts in 3 races (19 pts at Rock2Rock for 2nd including 2 bonus pts for beating Bryant)
  2. Matt Byrne – 60 pts in 3 races (24 pts at Rock2Rock for 1st including 4 bonus pts for beating Woods and Bryant)
  3. Jason Bryant – 39 pts in 3 races (15 pts at Rock2Rock for 3rd)
  4. Bernie Boettcher – 17 pts in 1 race (Did not run Rock2Rock)
  5. Tie Karl Savage and Michael Selig – 15 pts in 1 race apiece (Did not run Rock2Rock)

None of the previous Top 5 women headed to North Carolina to run Rock2Rock; however, North Carolina resident Alison Bryant did show up and ended up winning the race. She jumped from a tie for seventh into sole possession of second. Here are iRunFar’s Unofficial Standings:

  1. Megan Kimmell – 37 pts in 2 races (Did not run Rock2Rock)
  2. Alison Bryant – 31 pts in 2 races (20 pts for 1st at Rock2Rock)
  3. Rachel Cieslewicz – 28 pts in 2 races (Did not run Rock2Rock)
  4. Laura Haefeli – 24 pts in 1 race (Did not run Rock2Rock)
  5. Rachel Earley – 21 pts in 1 race (Did not run Rock2Rock)

Official Standings
The official LSMC standings are available here (pdf). In case you are interested, here’s a link to the official scoring rules. La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva logoAh, it’s time to give away our second pair of La Sportiva Crosslites in as many weeks. Kelly Bradbury of Smithfield, Utah, the Crosslites are yours! Enjoy them up in the Wasatch… and maybe the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase?

Need something grippy when running from rock to rock? How about La Sportiva’s Raptor. The Raptor uses La Sportiva’s sticky climbing rubber to grip rock like talons in flesh. Want a pair of Raptors for your next rocky run? Simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we report on State College, Pennsylvania’s Rothrock Trail Challenge held on Saturday, June 5. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Raptors, you’ll also automatically be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of August. Read up on the La Sportiva Mountain Cup giveaway grand prize.

Call for Comments
If you ran the Rock2Rock Run, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too!

The La Sportiva Mountain Cup

There are 59 comments

  1. Brent Warner

    Really wanted to run Rock2Rock this year, but couldn't make it due to work requirements … oh well, still sounds like it was a great time.

    Also, I'd love to get my hands on some Raptors. Tried on a pair at a demo day a few weeks back and was impressed … felt like a potentially great training shoe.


    Durham, NC

  2. Zach Ashby

    Sounds like a great race, maybe someday I'll be in the east for it.

    Would love a pair of Raptors.


    Stanford, CA

  3. Mark

    Great report on R2R! This was my first running of this race and it is as tough as described. The downhills are VERY technical but a blast to navigate while swinging from limb to limb.

  4. Chris Luck

    Early in my hiking days, I thought Vibram would make me invincible leaping rock to rock. Darn those bruised shins, those sprained anlkes! Maybe a pair of Raptors would help heal my damaged psyche. Chris Luck Whitefield, NH

  5. Heidi Dietrich

    I would love to try the Raptors! Testing shoes right now so would be fun to check those out too.

    Heidi Dietrich

    Seattle, WA

  6. Glenn Steckler

    Running back East in the humidity has always been a challenge for me, it always tires me out. Would like to hear how other runners unaccustomed to humidity cope with it at race time, such as at the Rock2Rock Run.

    I really like the grippy Raptors, please enter me in the giveaway.

    Thanks for the great reports,

    Glenn Steckler

    Telluride, CO

  7. Tobias

    Thanks for this awesome report on this past weekend's Rock2Rock. Being a bit further back in the placement, I'd wondered how the winners actually started out on the course. This was my first race in the mountains. And, trust me when I say that everything in the race description is true. The initial couple of miles are not so touch or technical. But, the sudden steep incline and rocky trail around mile two are sobering challenges! I'm pretty sure that 90% of the runners had to power hike those initial hills. And, then, the downhill portion, part two of the race, was so incredibly technical. It definitely divided the pack between those who run downhill and those who don't. Literally swinging from Azalea limbs while scaling down toward a perilously rocky trail.

    My ankles are bruised and scraped, I had a blood blister on my toe, and my quads are still burning. It was one of the best runs I've ever had!

    By the way, I'd love to win a pair of those LaSportiva Raptors!

    Tobias | Raleigh, NC

  8. Kevin

    Great report and congrats to Byrne for topping Woods on the technical trail and especially Bryant for the big win coming off surgery. She must have some amazing rebound skills to get back on top that quick! Looks lithe series is shaping up to be pretty exciting. 3 points between the first two males!

    Kevin, Greenbelt, MD

  9. Mark Ryan

    After my first ultra my shoes are prettyy messed up from the rain/mud/sleet/snow and near freezing temperatures. I could defnitiely use some new shoes. Hook me up Bryon.

    Mark Ryan

    Edmonton, AB Canada

  10. ChrisG

    I'm looking forward to some serious competition in the series.

    I needed some rock hopping shoes yesterday!


    Colorado Springs, CO

  11. Roger Price

    Even though I finished close to the back of the pack, I can't begin to tell you how much fun that was. I am one of those old runners from the 70s and 80s that ran in Tiger Jayhawks with no socks. My last serious race was the 1988 Boston Marathon and in the past 20 yrs have only just jogged a few 5Ks.

    About 18 months ago I started spending more time running the trails around our Black Mt home close to the course. That has been so much more fun than running with the ipod set around city streets. I entered the Rock2Rock as a lark knowing I would have to walk most of it. Thought I was going to die several times, even more so on the trip down!

    My wife and I luckily met Matt Bryne and Sommer before the race. What a great representative for trail running and LaSportiva.

    Off to REI to get me some LaSportiva shoes later in the day. Keep looking for the old guy near the back of the back.

    See you racers soon…have fun!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Welcome back to running, Roger. I hope you're enjoying your time on the trails.

      As for Matt, I spoke with him for the first time over the weekend and look forward to meeting him this coming weekend at the Rothrock Trail Challenge.

  12. Andy Holland

    I wouldn't mind testing out some new Raptors.

    I'll be runninng Rothrock this weekend … looking forward to it!

    Andy Holland

    NY, NY

  13. Bill Day

    Love the race reports, and especially the interviews a la the recent Wardian piece and video. Very motivating! Please keep the great content coming,

    Bill Day

    Broken Arrow, OK

  14. Bill Tellman

    Swinging off trees and bouncing off roots and rocks in 110% humidity…that's racing in the dirty dirty south. Thanks for the support la sportiva and to everyone else who helped with the race it was amazing as always. I tried a pair of raptors at the race and thought they were mighty fine.


    Brevard, NC

  15. Tom Caughlan

    I would love to check out the Raptors. Maybe a good shoe for the Barr Trail Race! Thanks for doing these contest giveaways. Size 10 please!

    Tom Caughlan

    Canon City, Co

  16. TK

    Justin – I'm also thinking of doing the VT50 – have you run this before? I'd also love to rock the Raptors.


    Jericho, VT

    1. Justin

      Tom – I haven't run the VT50 yet, but friends tell me there's a lot of great single track(75%), and that's always a plus for me! Good Luck!

  17. Gene

    i get so wrapped up reading, i posted my comment on the wrong section.

    sorry for the dual post, but….

    I'd love a pair.


    Audubon, NJ

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