Posted by: cadavidson | September 10, 2014

Jerome 2014

Last year, I had my best race ever in Jerome – first place over. Read about that edition here. I knew it would be very difficult to defend my first place from last year. I’m not fast enough that I can just beat anyone, so me getting first place overall has a good deal to do with who shows up and who doesn’t.


We had a nice group riding up with us early the Sunday morning before Labor Day. My wife, daughters, and both of their boyfriends – I mean, one boyfriend each, not two for each! I’m a stickler on leaving on time, or more precisely I’m a stickler on being one of the first people, or in many cases, the first person to the race parking lot. So, I’m always pretty antsy race morning when I have to wait for multiple groups to arrive in order for us to depart. Especially when the race requires a drive of more than hour. This year one of the parties arrived early (yay for you), the other party was about 20 minutes late (shame on you). Fortunately, I’ve learned to tell people I need to leave 15-30 minutes before I actually do, so I have a built in buffer.

Nevertheless, we arrived at the top of the hill in the old mining town of Jerome at 7:00, race start time was 8:00, so I had the perfect amount of time to visit the porta-jon, get my race bib, and get a short warm-up in all before 8:00.

The race started promptly at 8:00. My daughter’s boyfriend Juan participated this year after spectating last year. The first mile of the race climbs 280 feet. Much of that is within the first .5 mile. I ran 6:54 for this mile. There was a pretty quick starting group this year. I’d guess that during the first mile there were 10 of us all within a few seconds of each other. Once over the initial dirt road climb, the course winds its way through a few of the streets of Jerome before exiting town for good. I saw my older daughter and her boyfriend at about the 1/2 mile mark. They hung out in town during the race. Unfortunately, most of the stores and coffee shops aren’t open at 8:00, so they just hung around on the sidewalks, which isn’t a bad deal! There are far worse sidewalks to be stuck on for a morning!

Mile two climbs another 284 feet and includes two climbs of about 1/4 mile each where the grade approaches 20%. I recall first few forays in the Jerome Hill Climb in 2003, 2004 and that I would sometimes walk this section. It’s really steep, but the top 20 or so participants usually run pretty hard up this section. At the start, I couldn’t help but notice Josh Trevino, who I knew would win. This is what I mean by it depends who shows up. I also saw Shawn Meisner and James Bonnett, both awesome runners. During mile two I ran near Josh and James. I knew Josh would take off, almost literally, once the first 2.5 miles were eclipsed and the course goes from an average of 8% grade down to a grade of about 3%. I was a little surprised to be running so near him at this point, but figured, correctly, that he was saving it for later.  I managed a 7:37 pace for this second mile.

Mile three features about 230 feet of climbing, but fairly gradual.This mile may hurt the most of the entire race. My heart race usually spikes on the very steep climb in mile two, and never really comes down. I managed to put a little bit of a gap on James Bonnett during this mile, which surprised me. I think he was probably having a less than perfect day, because on a good day, he’d drop me fairly easily on the hills. Nevertheless, you race how to how fit you are that day and how fit and recovered everyone else is that day.

Last year, during mile four I kept telling myself “don’t ruin this!” I was in the lead and had a good gap, and just needed to maintain. This year, I didn’t know how James and Sean were doing behind me, so I felt much the same, go as hard as possible without blowing up. I managed to hang on for the last mile and a half and finished in third place. I was thrilled to be able to take home nice piece of pottery crafted by local Jerome Artist Anne Bassett.

In summary, Jerome is a race that suits be really well. Last year, I was very well prepared. I had the Imogene Pass run the following weekend, so I was using Jerome as my final hard workout. I was logging 50-60 running miles per week for nearly 6 months building up to Jerome. This year was far different. I spent 2014 getting back into triathlon. I’ve only been averaging about 20 running miles per week, but I’ve been riding, swimming, and lifting consistently. My running has been consistent, at 20 miles per week, just a very low volume. Despite the lower volume, I did commit to running .5 mile hill repeats just as I did last year. I did 5 sessions total, spread across three weeks. Each session I executed between 3 and 5 of these repeats.   Last year, probably due to running almost exclusively, I came into the race about 5 pounds lighter. I’m very pleased with my time in 2014 as compared to 2013, considering my change in focus this year.

Gear, just because I love gear and like writing about it. I wore a visor, primarily for sweat purposes. Used my Garmin Fenix2, which I think is the best multi-sport, yet also awesome running watch, on the planet. The Fenix2 actually has functions that track running cadence and vertical oscillation, aka running efficiencies metrics. For footwear, I used my road shoes. I’m running in Brooks Pure Cadence right now. While the Jerome Hill Climb is actually on dirt roads, the footing is really good, and I think the lighter the shoe the better. I don’t carry water for this event as it’s only 4.5 miles, so I know I’ll be done in roughly 30 minutes. There are also 2 water stops, both of which I managed to botch this year.

Overall, a really nice day with family.

Overall 2014 Jerome results: Here

My Strava page for the 2014 Jerome Hill Climb

Near the finish

Near the finish

Nearer to the finish

Nearer to the finish

My daughter's boyfriend did excellent in his first post high school race!

My daughter’s boyfriend did excellent in his first post high school race!

My daughter is an old pro in the Jerome Hill Climb...

My daughter is an old pro in the Jerome Hill Climb…

A good breakfast, despite the incessant need to swat at flies, in post race in Cottonwood. This was the only picture where one of us wasn't swatting at flies.

A good breakfast, despite the incessant need to swat at flies, in post race in Cottonwood. This was the only picture where one of us wasn’t swatting at flies.


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