Salem, MASSACHUSETTS--Well, the word's finally out. Snowshoe racing is no longer a fanatical winter distraction enjoyed by a few. It's now emerging as a legitimate winter sport for trail and road racers alike looking to maintain their connection with the outdoors, refine their fitness, and enjoy some tremendous competition. Witness nearly 200 finishers at yesterday's Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic. The "first annual" by the way. RD Eileen Dunn and her team of volunteers did a fantastic job organizing what may have been one of the largest snowshoe races in recent New England snowshoe racing history. And the crew from Dungeon Rock Racing masterfully crafted an interesting and challenging mix of rolling open spaces and twisting singletrack. Although not part of the Granite State Snowshoe Series specifically, the event did award series team points and the snowshoe racing crew from aR was well represented. Thirteen teammates including Geoff Cunningham, Charlie Therriault, Ri Fahnestock, Jerry Fitzgibbon, Rich Lavers, Jay Myers, Austin Stonebraker, Scott Graham, Richie Blake, Timmy Lindsey, Gary Reuter, and Michael Amarello raced downhill from the start with the powder flying in an effort to establish their place before the singletrack. I got off to a good start and found myself in third place behind Ben Nephew (the eventual winner) and Geoff within the first 200 meters. It wasn't long however before I felt someone or someones pressing from behind. In a flash both Dan Verrington (CMS) and my teammate Charlie pushed past. I implored Charlie to stick with Dan as I tried to hang on to the two of them. At times I felt them come back toward me on the climbs but they moved away easily on the flats and downs as they worked together, Dan holding off Charlie. Just before we hit the singletrack, in a lightly wooded area, I peaked behind to see Ri in 6th place less than 200 meters back. Having lost the pull from Dan & Charlie, now more than 100 meters ahead, I found myself alone and struggling to maintain the pace. As I exited the singletrack and popped back out onto the golf course I noticed that Charlie had moved ahead of Dan into third place. Now back onto the open expanses of the course it was easy to see who was ahead and behind. Dan, now in 4th, seemed to pick his pace up with less than 800 meters to go. With no chance to catch him the objective was to simply maintain my position and hold off Ri who was charging hard and closing the gap. By the time I could see the finish there were only two turns left and an uphill climb to the tape. I crossed the finish line in 24:57 good enough for 5th place overall and runner-up in the master's division (40+). It was my first Top 5 finish of the series and I was very pleased with my race plan, execution, and fitness. Overall, aR dominated the field winning the team competition with 2 on the podium, 3 in the Top 5, 5 in the Top 10, and 7 in the Top 20 with multiple age-group winners. The GSSS gets back in swing next week as snowshoers travel to Lyndeborough, NH for the Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race.
NEXT UP: Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race
Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic RESULTS
2016: Year in Review
4 months ago