Racers Compete For King of the Highest Mountain in Vermont
For some, racing is all about beating their competitors. However, for 270 racers who participated in the Race To The Top Of Vermont, it was more about challenging the terrain of the highest mountain in the State. Under clear blue skies and temperatures hovering in the upper 60’s, competitors confronted the 2550 foot vertical climb up the famous Mt Mansfield Toll Road in Stowe, VT. At 10:00am, 80 mountain bikers began the ascent from the Stowe Mountain Resort’s Toll Road parking lot followed by 190 runners ten minutes later. With grades up to 10% along the dirt road course, racers kept their heads down in concentration with only one goal in mind, make it to the top.
The event was somewhat a race within a race, with bragging rights being awarded to the fastest person, runner or biker who had the fastest time to the summit of the Toll Road. It was 2010 Olympic biathlon hopeful Jesse Downs of Jericho, VT who stretched out his lead over his nearest biking competitor Brian Reilly of Stowe, VT by 1 minute and 23 seconds to nail down an impressive winning time of 37:12. As the runners made their way to the summit, it was a three way sprint for the finish as Dave Dunham of Bradford , MA captured the fastest time in 37:50 followed by local favorites Eli Enman of Huntington in 37:56 and Erik Carter of South Burlington in 37:58. When the dust settled it was mountain biker Jesse Downs who was crowned King of The Mountain beating runner Dave Dunham by 38 seconds.
In the women’s categories, mountain biker Susan Lynch of Medfield, MA took the over fastest title in 45:37 followed by national triathlete champion Donna Smyers of Adamant, VT in 45:49 and Marilyn Ruseckas of Waitsfield, VT in 47:06. In the running category, Tracy Rose of Woodstock, VT outpaced her nearest competitor Kelly Anne McKeown of Deerfield, MA by 46 seconds to take the women’s overall title in 48:41. Third place went to Georgina Milligan of Middlebury, VT in 50:19.
After the competition racers were treated to a post race meal and over $4000 of awards and raffle prizes at the Matterhorn Restaurant in Stowe. The race was part of the Catamount Trail Challenge Series and was a fund raising event for the Catamount Trail Association, the non-profit organization that manages and protects the 300-mile Catamount ski Trail which spans the length of Vermont.