They resumed where they left off; the Berry Masters increased their road win streak to five with an decisive win at the NorCal 10 Miler. The first race of 2012 was in Redding, and unlike most winter events this riverside jaunt was done in overly warm conditions. With temperatures in the 70s and a nice breeze the times were comparatively modest when lined up against previous results. SCTC fielded an 8-man squad, hoping to piece together a respectable masters and seniors team. Approximately 300 runners toed the line for the 10 mile event, but not a huge contingent of PA runners. Despite a pre-reg roster which listed several of the top age-groupers, many did not show. This made the club’s task a bit easier.
Short-distance specialist Jeff Mann took the lead early for the Berries, with Tim Keenan and Jeff Teeters not far behind. Next came Alan Dehlinger and Mike Singleton (who drove up that morning from Modesto!). Thom Trimble and Bill Salacuse, both running their first PA race in nearly a year, tagged along behind at about 6:30 pace. Oh yeah, then came Bill Reed, testing out his newly-50 legs. Newly-50 is the new 40!
The first three miles are rolling to flat and included a very scenic view of Mt. Lassen (the only kind there is, if you think about it), along with a trip across the Ribbon Bridge. The warm weather made the cool tumbling waters of the Sacramento River below look quite enticing. By 4 miles the fun and sightseeing was over as the course shot up a sizable hill. Mann continued to lead with Keenan and Teeters in tow. Reed was moving up quickly, yet politely. All four were under 6 minute pace at halfway. Mike, Alan, Thom and Bill S. followed in that order as they traversed the 1.5 mile residential loop. Mann, the short-distance specialist was reminded of why it was his specialty when his calves began to complain. Tim took the lead for the club, briefly, before he realized he might have gone out a smidge too fast for such semi-sweltering conditions. And then alonnnng came Jeff T. Much like the Republican Primary, with it’s a whack-a-mole leader of the moment, there was yet another front man. Teeters’ term as club top gun was also brief, as smart-starter Bill Reed took the wheel of the victory express on the return leg.
Bill held the #1 spot to the finish, just missing the 1 hour mark (60 minutes is the new 55!). Teeters was less than a minute back with a sub-61 while Tim and Jeff M finished shortly thereafter to give the team four men under 63 minutes.
Thom eventually caught and passed Alan, but Mike held him off to garner the 5th and last scoring spot on the masters team. The winning masters team as it turned out. Mike finished in the mid 66s while Thom just missed skating in under 67 (stupid clock!). Alan was another minute back followed by Bill with a 70 minute effort.
Since there were no strong contenders in the masters field (or even weeny contenders to be honest), SCTC was able to drop Tim down to the 3-man senior team and allow Bill to score on the first place 40+ squad. The 1.5x points race gave the masters a 15 point tally, while the 3-man senior squad scrounged 5th(behind all 4-amn teams) good for 9 points. Both teams faired much better than the 2011 team, which saw the masters in 3rd and no senior team (No Points for YOU!). More betterly, the arch-rival masters teams (Ags, WVJS, River City) were not able to scare up enough old farts to make a team, giving the Berries an excellent head start to another season title. Knock on wood (it’s the new steel!)
It’s legit…uh huh!