Mielke and Kimmel Rocket Upwards at Jupiter Peak Steeplechase

La Sportiva Mountain CupWhile the weather was cool at the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase this weekend, the competition was hot. According to La Sportiva Mountain Running team member, Luke Nelson, “This was the definitely the deepest field I’ve ever raced in.” As far as non-ultramarathon trail races, we’d have to agree. Even with the steep competition, La Sportiva Mountain Cup leaders Shiloh Mielke and Megan Kimmel pulled out wins to further consolidate their series leads. Read on for more about the course, the race, the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, the iRunFar.com La Sportiva giveaway, the Mountain Trails Foundation, and, for once, my own race!

The Course
The Jupiter Peak Steeplechase above Park City, Utah is a pure mountain running course. Racers toe the line at the base of Park City Mountain Resort at 6,900′ and race to the top of the ski area which tops out at 10,000′ on Jupiter Peak. The 16 mile (+/-) course climbs through gorgeous aspens and then stands of pines before ending with a scramble up the peak. En route, racers are treated to wonderful views of the forest, old mining facilities, overlooks of Park City and the Uintah Mountains, and sweet alpine crags up top. Ok, runners would be treated to such views if their eyes weren’t racing. I know I wasn’t looking around much on the way up – too much discomfort for that – and once I reached the top there was 3,100′ of bomber single-track that require constant attention. It’s worth mentioning that the weather was picture perfect with cool temps, dry air, dry trails, and an overcast sky.

There were plenty of aid stations (five?) and the course was generally well marked. I did briefly take a wrong turn up top that, had I not been corrected, would have taken me down the wrong side of the mountain. At least a few folks (me included believed they were off course during a considerable portion of the descent where the race covers the same trail in both directions. There were arrows point up, but not down.

The Race
Holy Moly! When La Sportiva Mountain Runners Luke Nelson and Brad Mitchell finish 8th and 9th at a trail mountain run you know the competition was fierce. Last year, only the men’s champion, Bernie Boettcher (1:59:38) , broke two hours. This year five runners broke that benchmark.

Mountain Cup leader and Vasque runner Shiloh Mielke (1:52:16) made the most of his trip west from North Carolina by taking the win. He bested youngster, Noah Hoffman of Aspen, CO (1:53:21) by a minute. While Bernie Boettcher (1:56:24) improved on last year’s time by more than three minutes, all that got him this year was third. He was, however, the top master’s runner by almost 10 minutes! Local runner Danny Moody (1:57:19) was less than a minute behind Boettcher to earn fourth. The top five was rounded out by Jason Bryant (1:59:51), who went into the race in third spot in the Mountain Cup. Bryant was also the final runner to finish in under two hours.

Tom Haxton of Philadelphia (2:00:32), who went into the race as the LSMC’s fifth man, brought home sixth. Other notable male finishers include La Sportiva runners Luke Nelson (8th – 2:03:00), Brad Mitchell (2:03:13), and Karl Meltzer (29th male – 2:28:12). Karl’s time and position are not reflective of his fitness – he tweaked his foot during the race and jogged down. See the full men’s results.

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase mens leadersThe top men’s runners

The Steeplechase saw a showdown between the top two ladies in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup standings – Caitlin Smith and Megan Kimmel. With the win, Kimmel (2:12:30) cemented herself as the woman to beat in the Mountain Cup. Megan has only lost once (to Brandy Erholtz at Barr Trail) in her four series races. Smith (2:15:21) had a much better showing at altitude than she did at Barr Trail – improving from fourth at Barr to second at Jupiter Peak. In this slightly longer race, Caitlin was less than three minutes behind Megan as opposed to almost five minutes back at Barr.

LSMC regular Rachel Cieslewicz (2:24:44) improved greatly over her runs at Barr and Eldora to finish third. She was fourth woman to the top of Jupiter Peak and moved up on the descent. (Rachel showed me up on the climb, as well.) Shawn Horner (2:25:59) wasn’t far behind Rachel in fourth. Kelly Milligan (2:27:59) was the top masters woman and fifth overall woman. She was also the first woman from Park City to finish. Separate women’s results are available.

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase womens leadersThe Top 7 women
On the right are top LSMC contenders: Rachel Cieslewicz, Caitlin Smith, and Megan Kimmel

For more on the race, check out Park City TV’s video. Winners Megan Kimmel and Shiloh Mielke give commentary from 3:15 on. [Look for a green shirt from 1:25 to 1:30 – that’s me – and my END Envelopes from 3:19-23.]

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
With seven of ten Mountain Cup races complete, the cream is rising to the top. Below we give you a quick and dirty standings update and will bring you fully up to date when we tabulate the results from Sunday’s Haulin’ Aspen Half Marathon in Bend, Oregon. These standings should determine which runners represent bonus point opportunities (a runner receives two points for each runner he or she beats who was in the LSMC top-10 the previous day) at Haulin’ Aspen. Here ya go.

Men’s Standings through Jupiter Peak Steeplechase (race 7 of 10)
  • 1 – Shiloh Mielke – 88 pts – 24 pts from Jupiter Peak Steeplechase (JPS for short) (20 pts for 1st, 2 pts each for beating Bryan
    t and Haxton), less three for 6th series race at Mount Washington
  • 2 – Jason Bryant – 65 pts – 13 pts from JPS (11 pts for 5th and 2 pts for beating Haxton)
  • 3 – Matt Byrne – 58 pts
  • 4 – Tom Haxton – 42 pts
  • T-5 – Simon Gutierrez – 34 pts – Tie for top master
  • T-5 – Bernie Boettcher – 34 pts – Tie for top master – 19 pts from JPS (15 pts for 3rd and 2 pts each for beating Bryant and Haxton)
  • 7 – Rickey Gates – 25 pts
  • 8 – Matt Carpenter – 24 pts
  • 9 – Erik Blake – 23 pts
  • T-10 – Joseph Gray – 21 pts
  • T-10 – Alex Nichols – 21 pts
  • T-243 (or so) – Bryon Powell – 1 pt
Jupiter Peak Steeplechase La Sportiva team Nelson Kimmel Caitlin Smith Bryant Mitchell Shiloh MielkeLa Sportiva Mountain Runners cooling down (l to r) – Luke Nelson, Megan Kimmel, Caitlin Smith, Jason Bryant, and Brad Mitchell, as well as Shiloh Mielke

Women’s Standings through Jupiter Peak Steeplechase (race 7 of 10)
  • 1 – Megan Kimmel – 91 pts – 24 pts from JPS (20 pts for 1st and 2 pts each for beating Smith and Cieslewicz)
  • 2 – Caitlin Smith – 78 pts – 19 pts from JPS (17 pts for 2nd and 2 pts for beating Cieslewicz)
  • 3 – Brandy Erholtz – 50 pts
  • T-4 – Rachel Cieslewicz – 43 pts
  • T-4 – Lisa Goldsmith – 43 pts
  • 6 – Keri Nelson – 32 pts
  • T-7 – Letitia Dusich – 21 pts
  • T-7 – Laura Haefeli – 21 pts
  • T-9 – Tara Cardi – 19 pts
  • T-9 – Nicole Hunt – 19 pts

Be sure to check our forthcoming report on the Haulin’ Aspen Half Marathon for La Sportiva Mountain Cup standings going into the series’ ninth race at the Half Hit Half Marathon next weekend.

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Megan Kimmel Shiloh MielkeLa Sportiva Mountain Cup leaders – Megan Kimmel and Shiloh Mielke

iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva trail shoesWell, Rodrigo Passalacqua of St. Augustine, Florida, you’ll soon be ready to speed down single track in a tropical storm. You’ve won a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites! We hope you like them as much in poor traction situations as we do.

La Sportiva SkyliteA few weeks ago, we were overwhelmed by the cargo in iRunFar’s mobile headquarters and sent home all our shoes save a few generalist trail shoes and a pair of road shoes. Not wanting to climb 3,000′ on non-technical trail with the unnecessary weight of a generalist trail shoe, we sported minimalist road shoes. However, we WISH we’d our La Sportiva Skylites for the race up Jupiter Peak. (iRF’s Skylite review) The La Sportiva Mountain Runners in attendance were split between the Crosslite and Skylite, but after covering the course most felt that the Skylite was more than enough shoe for the race. If you want to hit the trails in your own pair of Skylites, just leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the Half Wit Half Marathon next week. As a reminder, if you enter to win the pair of Skylites you’ll automatically be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of August.

La Sportiva Skylite Crosslite FirebladeLa Sportiva Crosslites and Skylites along with some Fireblades for the cool down

The Mountain Trails Foundation
We’ve traveled far and wide and nowhere in our travels have we come across a better local trail association than the Mountain Trails Foundation. (We wouldn’t be writing about them if we had.) MTF has developed and maintains literally 100s of miles of single track in and around Park City, Utah. To help folks get around those trails, they publish an annual trail map – it’s huge, detailed, and available at many local retailers for a $2 donation.

The Mountain Trails Foundation is also fully engaged in the community. For starters, during two summers spent in Park City our favorite radio broadcast was the Friday morning trails report – a weekly update regarding trail conditions, closures, and events. MTF also organizes trail volunteer days, mountain bike races, Tuesday night group trail runs during the summer, and the Triple Trail Challenge. This year, the Triple Trail Challenge consists of the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, Park City Half Marathon, and Mid-Mountain Marathon.

The Mountain Trails Foundation doesn’t makes surprisingly little money off the race, so if you ran Jupiter Peak and are inclined, we’d suggest making at least a small donation.

Trail Goat’s Race
The Jupiter Peak Steeplechase was the longest race I’ve finished since the Marathon des Sables early this spring. I finished 17th overall compared to 13th when I last raced the Steeplechase in 2005. I’m happy with this for two reasons
: (1) I was in the best shape of my post-collegiate career in the summer of 2005 and (2) the La Sportiva Mountain Cup brought in a much more talented field. My time was 6 minutes faster (2:18 vs. 2:24) than 2005, but the course has changed some since then. Still, I don’t think that I ran significantly slower this time and may have run faster. All in all, my run at Jupiter Peak and at a 5k in the Tetons just three days earlier have me feeling good and itching to race for the first time in a long while.

Call for Comments
If you ran the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, 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 35 comments

  1. Brad Mitchell

    Bryon,Great to see you at Jupiter – job well done on your run!Thanks for the great coverage of the race and the series. Enjoy your road trip!!

  2. Jon Allen

    I ended up being in town and running this race, Bryon. Looked for you to introduce myself, but never got the chance- I think I saw you talking to Brad by the La Sportiva tent, though.I have to give you a hard time about your write up- you mention all of the top 9 men's finishers… except for 7th place. That was me! Should I take my omission personally? No love, I'm telling you. Ah, just kidding.Put my name in the shoe drawing, though- Jon Allen, Logan UT

  3. Alan Jaques

    Excellent coverage Bryon. It's finally getting hot in the east so I would suggest staying out there as long as you can!Alan Jaques, Frankfort ,KY

  4. Bryon Powell

    Brad, great to see you, as well. Quick race, too! Jon,I was talking with Brad near the La Sportiva tent – you should have come by! The omission was completely intentional! Ok, just kidding, nice race. :-)Alan,I won't take a trip back east until the leaves are a-changing … at the earliest.

  5. Thomas Tan

    Great post. Are the La Sportiva Skylites comparable to Montrail Mountain Masochist? I'm looking for a good pair of all-around trail running shoes:)Thomas Tan, Newcastle WA

  6. Bryon Powell

    Thomas,I love both the Skylites and the Mountain Masochists – but they've got very little in common other than being high quality trail shoes. The Skylites are super lightweight, minimally lugged, and, if I remember correctly, not posted. The Montrail Mountain Masochists have a beefier up, more lugging, a post, and a bit more rock protection. Here's how I'd summarize the difference. I'd wear the Skylites to a short run or race with good traction. I'd wear the Mountain Masochists for many hour runs on technical terrain. In between I stick to stuff like the La Sportiva Wildcat or Brooks Cascadia.

  7. paul - utah

    seems odd that every Sportiva Mtn Cup event is dominated in every way by their sponsored runners. so they form a series, sponsor an event, bring in their ringers to win it, and then boast about it. nothing wrong with this, i suppose, it just seems very strange. you look at the North Face running series, or even the Montrail series, and their athletes aren't winning every time, mainly b/c they actually get other good runners to participate. any insite into what's going on here? thanks

  8. Bryon Powell

    Paul,I think part of the appearance is that the La Sportiva Mountain Running team does, in fact, have many of the top mountain runners on the country on it. Accordingly, they're also the folks who are most interested in such a series, as they can win some money. I know it's a labor of love for many of them. For instance, a couple cars left Park City shortly after Jupiter Peak en route to Haulin' Aspen in Bend… no chartered flights, no high class hotels – just long drives with a community of friends. One thing I loved seeing after Jupiter Peak was Vasque runner and LSMC leader Shiloh Mielke running with the La Sportiva folks. While the La Sportiv team is a pleasantly tight group, the mountain running community at large seems to be as well. Yeah, the La Sportiva runners probably get comped entries at the races, but that's small change when compared to the travel expenses. I just raised the issue of whom else might deserve comped entry at the series races – but know that it would involve exceedingly difficult calls early in the series and still be peanuts in comparison to airfare.It would be interesting to know if Montrail runners dominated the Montrail Ultra Cup back in the early 2000s when they had most of the top runners. I know that The North Face does bring in their top runners to their hallmark events… (Dean and Diane van D were at the Canadian Death Race.) it's just that they have a pretty small team at the moment.Definitely a topic worth discussing! Thanks for bringing it up.

  9. paul - utah

    thanks bryon. after thinking about it more, in addition to your point about many of the country's top mountain runners being Sportiva runners, i think there's also not a huge amount of competitive short distance trail runners right now. most "trail running" teams or endurance teams are ultrarunners. but that will sure change as this sport continues to grow in popularity. when will we see Lance Armstrong running a trail ultra. i bet we'll see it one day.i still think it seems odd though, this whole Sportiva series, their large team full of top mountain runners, and then these top runners being the ones out winning their races. eh, whatever, be interesting to see how things change over a year or two.i'm sure everyone would like to be able to bring in their best athletes for their own events, but likely TNF is the only one that can afford to. i haven't been able to hit a Sportiva series race this summer, sadly, but i'm sure they do a decent job. thanks for your blog!

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