The VT 50 is an epic annual MTB race in the vicinity of beautiful Mt. Ascutney. This year’s race was ‘blessed’ with some heavy rain making those 50 miles feel like 100 and turning single-track trails into no-track trails. These conditions were hard and you needed lots of good training and a little luck in order to succeed. Looking at the race results, Strava riders showed everyone that they had what it took to master this race: Will Letendre came second overall and won his age group and Brent Mellen came in forth overall. In total Strava had 6 riders in the race and they all did a great job (here are the race results). Below is the account of one of our members, Billy Schaefer. Please enjoy his story of this year’s brutal race.StravaHQ Feedin’ the addiction
2009 Vermont 50
It started in the dark and many finish in the dark. At 2 AM on Sunday morning I woke to the first volleys of rain. On Saturday, the day before, I had been hoping that the weather man would get it wrong, and the storm bearing down on us would either be a dud or miss us all together. But laying there in bed that night listening to the rain come down I knew we were in for it. By 4 AM Sunday morning, it was still raining, and I was seriously wondering if I really wanted to leave my wife for the day who is 8 months and 1 week pregnant with our second child. But with a full season of preparation behind me and the fact that the VT 50 is only one of two events I have time to enter in each year, I had to go.
By 5:15AM I was at Mt. Ascutney in Central Vermont. I sat in the Jeep for a long time, looking at a radar map on my Blackberry – - the rain was not going to let up. In fact, all day it never really quit, liquifying the climbs, and turning the single track into peanut butter. Even the dirt roads which had been so beautifully hard packed by mid August turned into giant sponges. Really, this year’s race was a wash out. The course deteriorated tremendously as the day went on, and just finishing became a remarkable accomplishment. Will Letendre torched the course, finishing second overall, and another Strava member Brent Mellen finished in fourth – - really incredible riding by both. Unfortunately, my Garmin Edge failed to record the entire race, and my bike like many others that day lost the ability to shift, both victims of the weather and the mud. I am happy to say that I bested my time from last year, finishing 23rd up from 88th….Probably in large part due to the extra training accumulated during the Strava category climb competition held in August.
I would highly recommend the race to my Western friends. The race is truly one of the epic North American Mountain Bike races, and in many ways is New England’s answer to Leadville. While Leadville has its altitude and length, the Vermont 50 has its mud and trees! In my book, Will and the other folks that finish this race in under 5 hours deserve similar accolades to those bestowed on David Wiens, 2nd place finisher in the 2009 Leadville 100 behind Lance Armstrong. Great job to all those who finished both races this year!
P.S. – The Strava kit held up well to the mud.