King Leaves Competition in Dust at Mt Ashland Hillclimb

La Sportiva Mountain Cup 2010The Mt Ashland Hillclimb was one of three La Sportiva Mountain Cup races this past Saturday… hence our delay in bringing you this report. (The two other races were the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and the Squaw Mountain Run.) The Mt. Ashland Hill Climb is not for the faint of heart as it climbs a vertical mile in only 13.3 miles. The first 90 percent of the race is primarily on beautiful crushed granite doubletrack before heading onto singletrack for the final mile and a half. Actually, the course goes onto singletrack before ceasing to be a course at all. The final portion of the race is a choose-you-own-route scramble that favors those who are familiar with the race and those who can walk quickly. In addition to drawing from Ashland’s ranks of strong runners, this year’s race included an additional burst of ultrarunning talent as Rogue Valley Running’s Hal Koerner’s bachelor party took place in town last weekend.

As there were FOUR Mountain Cup races this past weekend, this LSMC report will differ a bit from its standard format. We’ll begin our LSMC race coverage by giving you the scoop on how the race went. We’ll then move on to our giveaway contest (Wildcats, ho!) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule. We won’t update the Mountain Cup standings in this article; rather, we’ll include them in our next article about the La Sportiva Eldora Trail Run, the weekend’s final Mountain Cup race.

The Race
Men’s Race
Heading into the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb last weekend, Max King was aiming to beat Joe Gray’s time from last year’s race, 1:47:29. King would have been quite pleased with that as he’d never beaten Gray head-to-head in a hill climb. Well, Max would do far better than that in bettering Rick Sayer’s old course record 1:42 with a time of 1:41:50. Sayre set the record in 1986, a year in which he also won the LA Marathon! After the race, King remarked, “I didn’t think anybody could touch Sayre’s record.”

King started off running with Erik Skaggs, the 2008 Hill Climb champ and last year’s runner up to Gray. Skaggs could hang with King on the climbs, but King pulled away with his superior foot speed whenever the course leveled out. After two miles, the race turned into a time trial for King. Skaggs held on to his second position with a time of 1:48:59, a two and a half minute personal best on the course. After Skaggs, there was another large gap back to Tim Van Order of Vermont, who was the first master and third overall in 1:55:33. Fourth was taken by Ruben Galbraith (1:57:28) with fifth going to Dave Dunham (1:58:05).

Some notable names from the ultrarunning ranks: Lewis Taylor (8th – 1:59:35), Josh Brimhall (11th – 2:02:06), Hal Koerner (14th – 2:04:29), Karl Meltzer (17th – 2:06:59), Sean Meissner (18th – 2:07:31), and Ian Torrence (26th – 2:15:25). Meissner reported that Meltzer walked past him with 100 meters to go on the scramble section… and put 30 seconds on him before the finish.

Women’s Race
Stephanie Howe of Bend, Oregon won big time in the women’s race in running 2:12:07. She was followed by Ashland, Oregon’s Melissa Schweisguth, who ran 2:19:31. Jenn Shelton, also of Ashland, took third in 2:32:58. Nikki Dinger of Phoenix, Oregon was fourth in 2:37:59. To round out a very spread out top five woman, Ali Lively crossed the finish in 2:46:49. Lively lives in Talent, Oregon, which gave the Oregon women a clean sweep. The top masters woman was Laura Imperia of Jacksonville, Oregon in 2:48:25. La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva logoWith lots of running on this course, La Sportiva Wildcats would have been our shoe of choice. The shoes are great on the dirt roads and singletrack, while being more than enough shoe for short scrambles. Now you can get yourself a pair for whatever off-pavement running you have in store.

To enter the contest, simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we report on the Taos Ski Valley Up and Over 10k being run August 21. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Wildcats, 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 Mt Ashland Hillclimb, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too!

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Schedule

There are 76 comments

    1. Bryon Powell

      Peter, I watched him win it… and it was awesome. Max is unreal shape right now if he can beat Ricky Gates head-to-head (albeit, not in Gates' specialty) and to take out Sayre's record.

  1. Jon Allen

    It's great to see what a fast roadrunner can do when they convert to trails.

    Just wondering, does La Sportiva intentionally put 3 races the same day, or is that just an accident?

    Jon, Logan UT

  2. Karen Kantor

    Just checked out the pix of the scramble…definitely on my to-do list! Loved that the pix of Jenn Shelton outnumbered any other participant. Was it the beer or the bikini briefs??

    Congrats to all!

    Karen K, Morrison , CO

  3. Kristin Zosel

    ashland hill climb was awesome… great course, fabulous volunteers, perfect weather (except smoke from russia), and an all around stellar event. i highly recommend it!! i love climbing… :)


    kristin zosel

    eugene, or

  4. Matt Smith

    What a field for this race – A veritable who's who of the trail running world! It would be interesting to see how King would do on a 50 or 100 miler, as he seems untouchable at 20K and shorter.

    Matt Smith

    Chatham, NY

    1. Bryon Powell

      Max has run the 50 mile distance and is touchable there. He'd planned on focusing on ultras this year, but is taking a break from them after finding he wasn't ready. He'll be back to the long stuff later.

  5. Kevin

    I guess whatever Max had been doing for Ultra training earlier in the season turned out to pay off for the shorter stuff anyway! What an incredible performance! Can't wait to see him really take on the longer stuff when he feels like he's prepared.

    Kevin S

    Greenbelt, MD

  6. Joe Snyder

    Max is an another amazing product from Bend. I hope he participates in the Flagline 50K on September 25th in Bend.

    Joe Snyder

    Portland, OR

  7. Matt

    Looking forward to his next foray into the ultra world. If he put in the mileage on terrain, his speed would make him a formidable force over the longer distances.

  8. Steph

    This is a great event – have done it several times. Beautiful course, stunning views, great aid stations and volunteers, good community feel with runners and walkers alike, organic beer at the post-race festivities. Route is about 2.5 mi paved with some dirt surfaces, then 8 mi gravel/dirt fire road (with the last 2 here flat), then 2 mi and change single track then up the ski slope (has suggested chalked route now). Lighter shoe is sufficient if you're used to them already as the course is not gnarly. Lots of NB 100's seen on the course, and racing flats on several front running guys.

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