|Holding on for dear life at the|
Sidehiller Snowshoe Race
(photo courtesy of KrissyK)
PART 1: Sidehiller Snowshoe Race
Center Sandwich, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- This weekend was the first really big test of the winter for me. Not only would I have the opportunity to measure my fitness against the best snowshoe racers in New England I'd also have the chance to see how my legs would respond to the challenge of a double (ie. racing twice in one weekend). The Sidehiller Snowshoe Race is the race that started this snowshoe odyssey for me back in 2007. I would come in 3rd that day...out of 15. Fast forward four years later and not only was I making my 5th appearance I would be bringing my defending champion snowshoe racing team (acidotic RACING) to a race in a series (the Granite State Snowshoe Series) that I helped to organize. And if that weren't enough, I'd be part of history with this event as it finally cracked the 100 competitor mark! Kudos to RD Paul Kirsch, his volunteers, and the Sidhillers for putting on one of the best events in New Hampshire. This race has grown in participation thanks to Paul's efforts and everyone in snowshoe racing is thankful. The 2011 edition would return to the "classic" course including the other side of the road. This pristine combination of snowmobile and singletrack is literally "sandwiched" between two groomed nordic sections of the fairgrounds. Funny thing was that the "groomed" nordic sections were just as tough as the singletrack thanks to the mountains of snow the region has enjoyed over the last month. With such a strong and deep field the goal was to Top 20 and Top 5 in the masters division. And the "old guys" category was no 'gimme' with the likes of former US Champion Dave Dunham, top NH triathlete Sean Snow, Maine snowshoe legend Peter Keeney, NH Masters Athlete of the Year Steve Wolfe, road runner extraordinaire David Principe, and my Pineland Farms 25k nemesis Mike Wade of GCS. Suffice to say I'd have my work cut out for me. And not to mention my ongoing battles with US Women's Champion (and aR teammate) Amber Ferreira and Trail Monster Ryan Triffitt who has beaten for the first 100 meters of every race but never finished ahead of me in the end. The race started off fast (like all snowshoe races do) and I comfortably (relatively speaking) settled into the Top 20 or so. I worked with my teammate Steve Wolfe as we watched the really fast guys (Dunham, Snow, & Keeney) gap us within the first 300-500 meters. By the time we reach Beane Road I pulled slightly ahead of Steve and with a quick peek behind noticed Amber once again hot on my heels. Triffitt has gone out predictably hard (like he always does) but I fully expected him to come back to me on this 2+ mile section of climbing and sloggy singletrack on the other side of the road. On that first and only big climb teammate Ryan Welts, apparently tired of me beating him, surged around me and the line of 'shoers plodding up this ascent. I'd never see him again. Eventually Triffitt, Amber, and I would overtake Tuesday Night Turtle David Principe on a soft section of singletrack approximately 3 miles into the race. Shortly after Amber asked by me and promptly took Ryan as well as we climbed the final gradual ascent. The three of us stayed with 5 meters of each other as we bombed down the hill back and over Beane road and onto the fairgrounds for the final 1/2 mile to the finish. Just when Amber seemed to fade she heard the ROAR of the crowd (and trust me when the first women approaches the finish it's a ROAR!) and simply shifted to another gear leaving Ryan and I with mouths agape and lungs searing from hypoxia. The 3 of us finished Amber, Ryan, and myself within 3 seconds of each other. My 38:30 finish time was good enough for 17th overall and 4th Masters getting bested by three extremely talented 'shoers in Dunham, Keeney, and Snow.
PART II: Hebron Hills Snowshoe Scramble
|Yes, this is the elevation profile from today's |
Hebron Hills Snowshoe Classic. Just what a
pair of tired old legs needed!
(courtesy of Ian Parlin)