The final chance to race on snowshoes was the Catamount 2.6 mile race last Saturday. The third year race is unusual in being held at a ski area after it closes for the day, so an strange 4:30 PM start set the scene for the day.
With a late start (4:30 PM) for the final snowshoe race of the season, I took my time heading out to Western Mass. I started the day with a 30 minute bike and a 10 minute row, and then headed to Georgetown for a massage. I’m still having plantar fascia woes and was hoping to loosen up before the race. With plenty of time in the bank I stopped in Upton to check out the Merrimack-Blackstone-Charles triple divide which turned out to be a big office park on a hill. There wasn’t much of a view but it did give me a couple of minutes to stretch my legs before driving another 100 miles on the Mass pike.
I headed over to the race site at Catamount ski area and was the fourth person in line to sign up. I had a feeling this would be a small race. Last year it drew 31 finishers and with the warm temps it would be a struggle to get that many people thinking “snowshoe race”. I felt lousy doing a two mile warm-up with Eric. My sinuses were still stuffed up from the head-cold I’d had for over a week and the 70 degree temperatures felt way too warm for late March. After running two miles I switched into my singlet and headed over to the start. We had to wait a bit as the groomer was still out going over the course. This would be important as the grooming was the only way the course was marked!
The snow was very mushy, but there was ample coverage for a snowshoe race. This was the first time I’d done a snowshoe race in shorts/singlet but I was not in the minority dressed that way. We started a bit after 4:30 and it seemed like everyone just shot out at the start. I rolled up into second place on the first little down-hill, then the climbing commenced. We’d climb for 950’ in the first 1.2 miles then zip down over about 1.4 miles. By two minutes into the race I was in a group of four and Ross Krause was pushing at the front. He began to pull away and I attempted to go but was already wheezing and feeling awful.
I was able to slowly pull away from Kurt Gustafson and James Boeding. Boeding is a high school student who did his first snowshoe race last year at Catamount (and finished in third place). He told me at the start that he had forgotten about the race and had been snowboarding all day. When he heard about the race he signed up immediately. As Ross pulled away I could hear the footfalls behind me also fade away. By about 2/3rds of the way up the mountain I knew my chances of winning were gone. I figured that I’d need to beat Ross to the top to have any chance of beating him (he out descended me at Northfield by a couple of minutes).
I hit the top in 15:14 and was 29 seconds back at that point. For the most part I tried to just stay on my feet and hold second place on the descent. It took me all of 8:41 to cover the 1.4 miles back to the base. I was pleased with the effort (I really had nothing more to give), but finished 1:11 slower than last year and 1:07 behind Ross. I definitely felt that the lack of training is catching up to me. Not a good indicator for the spring. Ross got his first snowshoe win (just missing my CR from last year) and his wife (Ashley) also scored her first win with an impressive 7th place overall finish.
01. Ross Krause 0:22:48 100.00 pictured with me below
02. Dave Dunham 0:23:55 96.00
03. James Boeding 0:25:56 92.00
04. Kurt Gustafson 0:25:59 88.00
05. Ken Clark 0:27:29 84.00
06. Ned James 0:30:00 80.00
07. Ashley Krause 0:30:31 76.00
08. Ian Rasweiler 0:30:59 72.00
09. Edward Alibozek 0:31:55 68.00 The Man! Also pictured below finishing in the top 10.
10. Bob Dion 0:32:54 64.00
11. Mike Howard 0:32:55 60.00
12. Vince Kirby 0:35:19 56.00
13. Michael Tiskus 0:38:03 52.00
14. Denise Dion 0:39:53 48.00
15. Laura Clark 0:40:25 44.00
16. Dave Boles 0:40:48 40.00
17. Barbara Sorrell 0:44:27 36.00
18. Rob Woodrow 0:45:32 32.00
19. Laurel Shortell 0:47:24 28.00
20. Pat Hogelin 0:49:13 24.00
21. Rich Busa 0:49:38 20.00
22. Jamie Howard 0:49:49 16.00
23. Greg Taylor 0:52:36 12.00
24. Konrad Karolczuk 0:52:37 8.00
25. William Hogelin 0:53:30 4.00