Hollis, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- A significant early December snowfall last week resulted in a very pleasant surprise...a snowshoe race before Christmas! This was way too tempting to pass up. We've only had adequate snow cover for snowshoeing for less than two weeks here in southern NH. I had been in my snowshoe's a grand total of three times this fall (it's still technically fall isn't it?) but undeterred I headed southwest to Hollis, NH this morning for the Beaver Brook 5k Snowshoe Race hosted by Michael at 3C Race Productions. The objective today was twofold; 1.) get recon on the course (it's the first race in the GSSS) and 2.) assess my early season snowshoe racing-specific fitness. Despite the race being announced as a snowshoe race less than 4 days ago there was actually a pretty decent turnout (27 snowshoers). aR was pretty well represented with training partner Geoff Cunningham making his debut after more than a year off from the sport due to injury, along with newcomers Mike O'Connor and Leah Kovitch. Rounding out the aR crew were veteran 'shoers Gary Reuter, Scott Graham, and Michael Amarello (who raced the course yesterday...his typical strategy as RD). Before the start Geoff and I warmed up with 2009 GSSS Champion Jim Johnson. The race was shaping up as a two horse field with everyone else bidding for the last spot on the podium. At the start command Mike O'Connor jumped the field and ran hard for the first tight right hand turn approximately 100 meters uphill from the line. With Jim and Geoff hot on his tails the rest of the field quickly got in line. Within 400 meters of the start Geoff and Jim had reeled Mike in and spit him to the back. I quickly got behind Mike and let him pull me to the turnaround on this out and back course. As we made the turn around the cones he stepped to the side and let me pass. I encouraged him to let me pull him for a while and off we went. The trek back to the start was slightly uphill but I felt comfortable and managed to find a rhythm. I glanced back over my shoulder during the final climb but didn't see Mike or Scott who were racing for 4th & 5th. I finished the roughly 4.5 km course in 19:32 and 3rd overall behind Jim and Geoff. Mike was only :30 behind me and Scott :30 behind him. Great racing all around. As far as my objectives, 1.) downhill to the turnaround and uphill on the way back and 2.) I've got some work to do but I'm very pleased with the effort today.
Results from Coolrunning.com.
NEXT UP: Beaver Brook 5k (GSSS #1)
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3 months ago