Bear Mountain Take Four!


No matter what the outcome of a race is I always analyze my performance, my on course decisions, what I did right and wrong, what I ate drank and how I could have gone faster.  I don’t do this to pat myself on the back for what I did right, or make excuses for how I could have gone faster or why I got beat, I do it because I believe it makes me a better athlete the next time around.

While I can find some small mistakes, In my analysis of my race this past weekend at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Bear Mountain NY, I can’t find any scenario in which I make up the almost 13 minute margin between my second place finish and Dylan Bowman’s Impressive winning time, that doesn’t involve traveling back in time and overhauling my training leading up to the race.  He was easily the strongest runner on that day and it showed.


The race started much like last year for me.  I forgot my headlamp, again, and so I placed myself at the front with Andrew Siegmund, and Jeff Gosselin who have been kind enough to light my way these past two years.



The opening miles were easy and flew by.  A solid group remained at the front of the race until the second aid station, Dylan ran through while the rest of us grabbed some quick snacks and drinks.  By the time we caught Dylan there were only 5 of us left, Jeff Gosselin and Florent Bouguin with The North Face Canada, myself and The North Face teammate Mike Wolfe, and Dylan Bowman, who being sponsored by Pear Izumi was the only one not wearing bright green.

The five of us hung together over the next 10 miles as we scrambled and splashed our way through the rolling rocky New York wilderness just 30 minutes away from one of the largest cities in the world!  During this section of the race the course deviated from previous years.  A few technical climbs and descents were traded for less technical but still rocky double track and some road sections.  The other major difference was the water.

Much of the race that was dry rocky run off in previous years was creek after the week of preceding rain.  After the first few miles of attempting to avoid puddles we all gave into the inevitable wet feet and just sloshed through any water in our path.  Somewhere near the Halfway Point the course deviated again and instead of rocky single track we found ourselves on solid park road, and double track.  The pace quickened slightly and pretty soon it was just Mike, Dylan and I at the front, and pretty soon we started to string out as well.


Coming into aid station six Dylan led Mike and I by a few seconds.  The course left the road about a hundred yards before the aid station, we got our bibs marked and Mike and Dylan headed down the trail.  I was low on water and made a split second decision to run to the aid station and back.  I figured the minute or so wouldn’t affect me in the long run.

When I got back to the trail I was by myself.  I hadn’t encountered either of the Canadian’s and Mike and Dylan were out of sight.  At this point I made my only real mistake of the race.  Instead of staying steady until the technical downhill sections later on in the course, which is what I should have done, I ran the next mile way faster than I should have to try and catch back up immediately.  I managed to catch back up in sight of Mike before my stomach flipped.

I have a weak stomach when I run so puking is part of my normal routine, this time around however I was taking a digestive enzyme pill and had yet to have any trouble.  However my foolish sprint changed that and I threw up, losing everything I had taken at the aid station.  The inevitable low that followed came at the worst possible time.  I found myself barely moving up a mile long section of road that I knew Mike and Dylan were crushing in their bids for the win.

By the time I left the pavement I had recovered and I figured the damage was limited, maybe 3 minutes to Mike and 5 to Dylan.  When I rolled into the next aid station I found I was correct on one account.  Mike was only 3 minutes up on me, Dylan however was another 6 minutes off the front of Mike.  I thought only briefly about how fast he must have been running before I set my mind to the next section of course.bmb2

Being mostly downhill and relatively technical I had always been strong on this section, I had my energy back, and was ready to roll!

When I tried to go however my legs just were not there.  I fought through the next five miles and stayed even with Mike but didn’t gain a second.  Dylan earned another 3 minutes on us and barring a disaster I knew neither of us was catching him.  I didn’t know how far either of the Canadian’s or Brian Rusiecki was behind me so I put my head down and ran out of Anthony Wayne to face the final ten miles.

Over the next two mile climb I surprised myself with how strong I ran.  My legs were still heavy and constantly spasming but my pace didn’t show it.  I caught Mike coming into the next aid station and we hiked through Timp pass together.  With three miles to go I got away from Mike on the last ridiculously technical downhill, he was hitting a low point and seemed to just be in finishing mode.  I thought of running with him but I knew if I crashed again and he rebounded he would easily drop me again.  From there to the finish my legs felt strong but heavy.

As I came through the familiar tunnel and headed toward the finish my family started cheering for me, surprised I think to see that I had caught Mike.  As the Finishing banner came into sight my wife handed me my son and I carried him toward the finish as people cheered.  With a few feet to go I set him down and as I held his hands for balance, he’s seven months old and can’t walk on his own yet, he kicked his little feet to run across his first finish line!  I may have had greater moments in my life but I couldn’t remember one at that moment!

Dylan had maintained his 12 + minute lead over the last ten showing strong finishing speed himself and was there to congratulate me when I was done.  Minutes later Mike came through also carrying his 3 month old son, proving that kids don’t end your days of competitive running and adventure! Florent, Brian and Jeff finished shortly after as part of the strongest field Bear Mountain has ever seen!


kilians-first-finishFollowing the finish I sat with my family on the grass talking to other competitors and soaking up the atmosphere.  Loud cheers announced the arrival of Rory Bosio as she crossed the line to win the women’s race, instantly surrounded by camera’s and fans.  Behind her runners finished their respective races pain, pride, and accomplishment etched on their faces as the crossed the line and medals were draped around their necks.  “Are you going to be back next year?”  I turned my eyes away from the finish to answer in the affirmative.  All the Endurance Challenges are amazing events but for more reasons than I could write in this blog this race and place are special to me, and no matter where I am in life, the trails and people here always feel like home.






Brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up! 

By jordan mcdougal

Currently sponsored by the North Face as an ultramarathon runner. Jordan loves his family, running and makes time to stay fit. 2014 Bushido 2 Challenge, 1st place 2014 Spartan Super, Evergreen, 8th place Jordan has placed first in: North Face Endurance Challenge, New York 50 M Hells Hills 25 KM Rothrock Challenge 18 M North Face Endurance Challenge, Kansas City 50 KM North Face Endurance Challenge, Washington 50 M North Face Endurance Challenge, New York 50 M Nueces 50- 50 M Placed in top 3 in multiple endurance challenges. Attended Liberty University, majoring in Kinesiology and competed on the track and cross country teams. While at Liberty earned several conference titles and was part of the 2006 US Junior Cross Country team that competed at the World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. PR’s are 3:50 for the 1500m, 14:00.13 for the 5k and 29:34 for the 10k. Member of the North Face Team, McDougal rolled through the desert trails in 6:30 to earn the U.S. 50-Mile Trail Championships/Nueces 50 – Rocksprings, Texas. 2007 (R-Jr.):Five-time All-Big South performer (one cross country, two indoor track, two outdoor track) … finished as runner-up at the Big South Cross Country Championships … earned first all-region honor of his career at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships … finished 16th at the meet, in a personal-best 10K time of 30:27, narrowly missing a berth in the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships … became the first men’s runner to win three straight 5K titles at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships, and also anchored the Flames’ distance medley relay squad to victory … garnered a pair of second-place finishes at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5K. 2006 (R-So.):Five-time All-Big South performer (one cross country, two indoor track, two outdoor track) … Big South third-place finisher in cross country … Liberty’s No. 2 runner (32nd overall) at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships … defended his Big South indoor 5K title and finished as 3K runner-up … 1,500-meter and 10K runner-up at outdoor conference meet. 2005 (R-Fr.):Five-time All-Big South performer (two indoor track, three outdoor track) … finished second behind his brother Josh at each of the first three cross country meets of the year … ran an 8K PR of 23:46 to finish as the Stanford Invitational runner-up … placed fifth at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Junior Cross Country Championships, earning a trip to Japan for the World Championships … 5K champion and 3K runner-up at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships … 5K and 10K champion and 1,500-meter runner-up at the Big South outdoor meet … finished second in the Penn Relays 5K. 2004 (Fr.): Redshirted the season … placed fourth at the USATF Junior National Championships in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:29. Prep: Home schooled … placed 23rd at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships as a senior. Cross Country Bests: 8K – 23:46, 10K – 30:27 Track Bests: Steeplechase – 8:58, 5K – 14:00 Jordan subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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