As the defacto series championship there was a tremendous amount at stake last night. While the men's championship had all but been won (see Jim Johnson) and the second spot on the podium looking fairly solid (see Ri Fahnestock), the 3rd position was very much up for grabs with no fewer than 3 acidotic RACING teammates vying for the honor; Scott Graham, Jay Myers, and Ted Hall. Scott had a 1 point lead on Ted and a 6 point lead on Jay. By keeping those teammates in sight and not making any mistakes Scott was clearly in the drivers seat. That being said, both Jay and Ted had steadily improved not only their snowshoe-specific fitness but also their technical skills. This course would test both as the first 4k would turn out to be a track meet and the final km a switchback singletrack roller coaster testing the most agile 'shoer. Scott's first hand account of the racing action on his blog is a great read. In the end, although Jay beat Scott he only beat him by 4 places and fell short of the series podium by two points. In a valiant effort at cracking the top 3, our own Steve Wolfe (2nd overall) finished only a point behind Jay despite missing the Cobble Mountain Snowshoe Classic due to an illness. Jim Johnson was clearly the class of every snowshoe racing event he entered and cruised to his 5th win in 6 attempts. The victory secured his position at the top of the men's class and he was named the 2009 Granite State Snowshoe Series Champion. Rounding out the Top 3 overall for the night was acidotic RACING's Dan Ferreira who in his first full winter of snowshoe racing has established himself as a legitimate podium contender.
On the ladies side, the podium was filled with acidotic RACING women. Leslie Dillon, one of the top female middle distance road runners in the northeast, won her 2nd snowshoe race of the winter and posted a Top 10 overall finish for good measure (she placed 9th). Eventual Granite State Snowshoe Series 2009 female champion, Liz Hall posted yet another Top 3 finish racing to a 2nd place spot on the podium and yet another snowshoe racing newcomer Amber Cullen (only 90 seconds behind) secured the 3rd position. Both Leslie & Liz will likely move up in the New England Snowshoe Rankings with last night's result. Laurel Valley (Rochester Runners) was 2nd in the GSSS standings and Leslie Dillon (despite racing in only 4 series events) finished 3rd.
The team competition, like the men's series championship was dominated from start to finish by the host, acidotic RACING. The combination of great performances up front and unrivaled team turnout led to the eventual series title. That's not to say that there wasn't a very unique & special rivalry formed this winter. Dungeon Rock Racing singlehandedly transformed team snowshoe racing in '09. They were the first with team singlets and the first to fly a team flag. Led by Dan Cooper, Jay Curry, Patrick Smith and Bill Morse they turned out in big numbers and brought a great sense of passion and an unbridled competitiveness to the sport all the while with an extended hand a warm smile. For me, the best part of team snowshoe racing was the competitive bond formed between these two groups I really hope that many of the other teams that competed in the series (Rochester Runners, S2, CMS, Team TNT, Tuesday Night Turtles, and others) take from their lead and get their family and friends out to enjoy this incredibly challenging and fun winter sport.
Finally, we were very pleased to be able to present the Cocheco Valley Humane Society with a charitable donation in the amount of $781 and a pledge from a single donor to double the gift.
Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe 5k presented by Petzl