This is the first post in another series we’re starting here at VTRunCo. This new series will highlight some of the great events, races, and venues in Vermont. To start things off I thought I’d share a bit about a little event I organize… The Northeast Delta Dental Race To The Top Of Vermont. Enjoy!
Tell us about your event. What is it? What makes it special?
The Race To The Top Of Vermont is a run, bike, or hike up the auto road on Mt Mansfield. You climb 2564 feet on a dirt road that’s 4.3 miles long, and finish near the summit of the highest peak in Vermont. It takes place every year at the end of August, and it’s special because you’re running up the highest mountain in VT with 700-800 of your closest friends!
What’s the purpose of the event? Is it a for-profit venture, or is there a charitable component?
The Race To The Top Of Vermont is a fundraiser for the Catamount Trail Association (CTA). The CTA is a Vermont based non-profit that is responsible for a 300 mile long backcountry ski trail (The Catamount Trail) that runs the length of Vermont, and also works closely with community groups and land managers to facilitate the development of backcountry ski terrain in various locations around the state.
So tell a little more about the race? How does it work? Do you have to run up and down?
The runners and hikers start at 9am and the cyclists start at 10am. Everyone starts at the base of the Toll Road and the goal is to get to the summit parking lot which is 4.3 miles and 2564 feet of climbing away. The course starts with a short & steep paved section, but quickly turns to dirt. The surface is pretty firm and not to gravely, and there’s no need for special trail running shoes or bike tires. The course averages ~11%, but it’s pretty variable. There are some flatter sections as well as some steeper switchbacks.
After you reach the top everyone is encouraged to get back down to the base under their own power. Runners and hikers are encouraged to retrace their steps and run or walk down. Cyclists are allowed to ride back down. We do allow a limited number of vehicles to the summit and hire 2 buses to provide rides to the base. But those do not leave until the very last people have finished the race and we are all packed up.
Once back at the base we move the show to the Midway Lodge at Stowe Mountain Resort where we host a kids race, BBQ, and invite all of our partners to setup and show off their products and services. At 12:30pm, once most people are down and back, we’ll start the awards, and after the awards we’ll do a raffle which has been called one of the best event raffles in Vermont. Finally once the raffle is over everyone is free to go as we clean up and pack up.
Any tips, tricks, or suggestions that might help ensure a successful race?
Sure, the course definitely keeps you on your toes, and if you want to put up the best time possible we definitely recommend hiking or running the course in advance so you can figure out when to push and when to hold back. A lot of runners find a run/walk strategy actually produces the fastest times since you don’t really lose that much time on the steep parts, but have more energy and are faster on the flatter parts. That said… it’s never really flat.
For the cyclists… choose the lightest bike you have, go with light tires, and make sure you’re mixing up your cadence. Don’t just go with a low gear and spin. Use a slightly higher gear sometimes and stand up. This will change the muscle focus and give the spinning muscles a bit of a break. Also, it will just change things up and help keep you engaged.
For the runners… trail running shoes aren’t necessary. However, you should choose the lightest shoes you have. Every little bit of weight you can save will make it just a bit easier, and make you just a bit faster.
Where can one go to learn more and to sign up?
Interested individuals can learn more about the Northeast Delta Race To The Top Of Vermont on the race website: www.rtttovt.com. Also, if anyone has any questions they can email Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, don’t forget to bring some friends. If you register with a group of 5 or more you can save 33% off the early season non-member price. It’s a super good deal and attending events like this are always more fun when your friends are there too!