Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Saturday, January 16, 2010

GSSS #2: Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race

Lyndeborough, NEW HAMPSHIRE--Perhaps no snowshoe race (or any other race for that matter) has as ironic of a name as the Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race. I didn't feel particularly good at any time during my morning "on the farm". Today's race, the second in the Granite State Snowshoe Series, was billed by the RD as the "toughest snowshoe race" in New England. If walking during a snowshoe race is any indication of how tough it is then he's getting no argument from me. Double loop courses for me are about as much fun as a poke in the eye. Two loops and four (that's right FOUR) trips up Moose Mountain was what was in store today. Under mostly sunny skies and unseasonably warm temps (it may have been warmer here than in parts of Florida) a very deep and fast field of 100 snowshoers attacked all this course had to offer. Knowing how strong the field was and how tight the course got on the immediate first climb I killed it from the start to trying to establish a good spot in the Top 10. Mission accomplished. I settled in behind Christian and Wolfe and braced myself for the pain. The course conditions were a little sketchy with lots of exposed rocks, roots, and even a brook crossing. The past 48 hours must have taken a toll on the snow pack temps. On the first climb Ri and I passed Christian and tried to keep up with Wolfe who had gone out in typical fashion...hard. The first descent from Moose Mountain was steep and I tried to focus on easing my foot off the brakes. Ri, an experienced alpine skier and tremendous athlete, blasted by Wolfe and I. After a few minutes of rolling twisting singletrack we began the second ascent of Moose Mountain. It was here that I knew something wasn't right with Steve. Shortly after we started to climb we both began walking and he told me to go by him. Not the Wolfe I know. I reluctantly obliged and tried to keep the pace with Ri. No more than a hundred meters into the climb I had caught Ri and passed him. As we finished the first loop I could still see him 5-10 seconds behind me. That gap was just about the same distance as Jim Pawlicki had on me. I stuck with him for the first climb of the 2nd loop (3rd time up that damn Moose Mountain if you're counting) but felt him move away from me as we crested the hill. I held onto that spot until the final climb up...you guessed it, Moose Mountain. By this time I walked the hill almost as soon as the elevation changed and Ri went for the kill. He passed me, good natured as he always is, and encouraged me to tag along. Feel Good Farm had taken just about everything I had and I felt him move out of my clutches. Although I kept him in my sights I was no threat to him in the final few hundred meters. Peeking over my shoulder as I began the final bear rock descent I saw Chris Mahoney finishing the climb and closing fast. It would be the final time I looked back as I managed to hold onto the 8th overall spot (and 1st Masters), finishing just 10 seconds behind Ri and 22 seconds ahead of Chris [RESULTS]. My overall master's win was bittersweet however as I later learned why Wolfe had seemed to struggle so mightily (and uncharacteristically). His posting can be read here. Finally, it was another great day for aR! Although the team standings haven't been officially posted I'll bet we were in the Top 2...and probably on the top podium. Geoff finished second, beating Ben Nephew who bested him last week and Charlie came in 4th. Ri finished the Top 3 scoring for aR finishing in 7th place. Amber won the women's race with Ann finishing alongside of her on the podium in 2nd. I think we had 21 snowshoers in total...another FANTASTIC number with a couple of aR 1st timers including Christian and Peter Floss. I'll take a weekend off from racing next week as we're hosting the Pooh Hill Snowshoe Scramble on Saturday (1/23).

NEXT UP: Sidehiller Snowshoe Race, Center Sandwich, NH

[Photo creds: Scott Mason Photography, Karen Dunn]


  1. Nice job today Chris. You kept me honest in the 2nd loop, walking or not. I hope to see you and the team at a few more races this winter.

  2. Chris,
    First, thanks for the kind words. I do appreciate it. However, you earned the win, you WERE the stronger shoer. You could walk way faster than me up those stupid hills :-)
    Love the team photo.