The 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.
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.
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.
iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
With 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 iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup giveaway grand prize.
La Sportiva Mountain Cup Schedule