READSBORO — Lance Parker has known few boundaries in his quest to test the limits of human endurance. At 4:30 a.m., on Saturday, June 25, the 28-year-old former Sterling College student embarked on another epic journey. He and a fellow adventurer, Adriel Klein, set their sights on bicycling the length of Vermont in a day.
The daring duo began their odyssey by pedaling six miles to the Canadian border at North Troy. Arriving at 5 a.m., they experienced a beautiful sunrise over the Northeast Kingdom. The verdant hills and valleys along Route 100 lay before them.
Parker and Klein selected a sunny day for the trip, with temperatures reaching the high 80s by mid-afternoon. This was no accident, as Parker is actively training for the Ironman Barcelona triathlon, scheduled for October in Spain.
“This is certainly not the easiest way to bike the state,” said Parker. “I went into a serious crack at mile 180 that blew both my tires and scratched my rims, but was lucky and didn’t crash. I fixed it all and kept riding.”
Parker dealt with the heat by keeping hydrated, fueled, and balancing his salt intake. “I got pretty shook up after the double flat,” he said. “I had a big adrenaline rush and a huge energy crash, but a few Dunkin’ Donuts hash browns and donuts got me through it!”
Fourteen hours after starting their trip, Parker and Klein left Route 100 at the village of Readsboro, where Klein picked up his car. Parker continued to pedal south along a rural road that followed the Deerfield River. Accidently passing the Vermont border, he biked an extra 12 to 15 miles into Massachusetts. After 225 miles in the saddle, he met back up with Klein at sunset and called it a day.
Local Runners Stalk Catamount Ultra
STOWE – A handful of local ultramarathoners conquered the Catamount 25k and 50k races on Saturday, June 25. Starting and finishing at the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center, the races involved one or two loops of a 25k course in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. The rigorous terrain included single track, double track, gravel, and a touch of pavement. The trail runners faced a staggering 2,500 feet of elevation gain and 2,500 feet of loss per 25k loop.
Maxfield English, 46, from Wolcott, won the 25k trail race in one hour, 53 minutes, and 42 seconds. English is the Danville High School cross country coach.
“A small group moved out around 1k, then reduced to about five or six by 2k. I saw some of the other runners were a little faster on the descents, so I tried to distance them on the climbs. By the time we got to the first aid station, at about 9k, I had pulled away. I did not see the second-place guy during the race, due to the technical footing and needing to concentrate on where I was going. The course was challenging. The final 4k ascent required you to dig deep.”
Tara Chaplin, 41, topped the women’s division in the 25k race. Chaplin, from Lynn, Mass., finished the course in 1:55:50. A 1998 U-32 High School graduate, she still holds the Vermont D-II high school state track and field records for the 1500m and 3000m runs.
Chaplin graduated from the University of Arizona. In 2001, she won the NCAA D-I women’s title in cross country, defeating the favorite, Shalane Flanagan, from the University of North Carolina. Flanagan went on to win the New York City Marathon in 2017. She became the first American woman in 40 years to triumph in the iconic five-borough race.
Craftsbury’s Loren Searles, 22, placed eighth in the women’s division of the Catamount 25k race. Her time was 2:26:35. Tim Macke, 53, from Calais, placed 103rd of 193 finishers. His time was 3:02:07.
Nathan Hunnewell, 32, is a farmer from Craftsbury who works for the Cellars at Jasper Hill. Hunnewell completed the 50k ultra in 5:33:01. He placed 32nd of 153 finishers.
Hardwick’s Andrew Gilbert, 60, is a veteran ultramarathoner. He placed 36th overall in the 50k race, in 5:35:33. Gregory Sharp, 70, of Greensboro rounded out the local finishers. He was the 145th finisher, in 8:11:04.
Runners Flock to Nature Center
MONTPELIER – The Onion River Outdoors Birdland 5k Trail Race debuted on June 18. Held at the North Branch Nature Center, the race attracted a field of 48 runners. The course included hills, single track with banked turns, and babbling brooks. The weather was overcast.
Wolcott’s Maxfield English won the 5k race in 22:40. Brooke Greenberg topped the women’s division in 27:19. Rose Modry, from Greensboro, was the third female finisher. Her time was 27:29.
Mack Gardner-Morse, from Calais, was the fastest age 60-plus finisher. His time was 27:48.
“After the first 0.2 miles, the next 1.6 miles was mostly switchbacks going uphill,” said Gardner-Morse.
“It was quad-burning tough. The rest of the course was mostly level or downhill back to the start – a lot of fun running downhill after gaining all of the elevation at the beginning.”
Tim Macke, also from Calais, rounded out the finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. He crossed the line in 29:41.
Brunnette and Dunklee Top Tuesday Trails
CRAFTSBURY – Sam Brunnette and Susan Dunklee notched victories in the June 21 trail race at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Brunnette, the former Plymouth State University NCAA D-III All American, finished the 5k course in 22:03. He edged out Thorin Markison (23:43) and Paul Chambers (24:33) for the victory.
Dunklee, a Craftsbury Olympian who directs the Outdoor Center’s running program, won her third victory at Tuesday Trails. She placed fourth overall in 26:18. Hallie Grossman (27:58) and Emma Podolin (28:02) placed second and third in the women’s division.
Adrian Owens (27:01) and Ann Bushey (35:40) were the top Masters (age 40-plus) finishers. Eliza Bunten (43:05) and Sam Koschak (43:32) were the fastest finishers in the Under 16 age group.
Scarlett Podolin (25:10) won her second 3k race of the season. Vince O’Connell (34:44) won the 10k mountain bike race.
The Trail Race Series continues each Tuesday evening through August 23. Mountain bikers and runners start at 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively. For race locations, visit craftsbury.com.