After missing a week of training with back issues, I was cautious about doing too much too soon. Well, cautious for me. My back has felt pretty good this last week and I tested it out mid-week with a snowshoe run and late week with a short speed workout. Neither seemed to make my back worse so I was off to the race.
I headed up to Intervale NH for the first annual Whitaker Woods 4 mile race on Saturday. It was 5 degrees when I went through North Conway and there were some spectacular views of Mt Washington. It seemed to warm up a bit and there wasn’t much wind in the woods so it was surprisingly comfortable.
Paul Bazanchuk joined me for a warm-up over the first 1.5 of the course, which was packed/groomed well enough that we didn’t use snowshoes. I headed out for an additional mile (checking out the last .5 of the course) in snowshoes. About 50 people lined up and boy did the race go out fast. I wasn’t in the top 10 in the first 200m through the baseball field. I slowly moved up and was in 8th on the first big climb. By the mile I was in 6th and although the leaders were out of sight Tim Cox and Ryan Kelly were only about 15 seconds ahead.
The second mile seemed to take forever but I started to close on Cox and Kelly. By three miles Tim had really started moving and he blew by Kelly and was out of site. I caught Kelly on the single-track section and tried to gap him. He fell back a little but really re-grouped and hammered the last ¾ of a mile. He beat me by 10 seconds but lost at least 5 seconds when he missed a turn (a few people missed turns but most ended up actually running a shorter course).
All in all it was a fun event, just a bit too fast for me. Kevin Tilton not only directed and timed but also finished in 3rd place. This race will be on my “must do” list for next year.
1 26:53 Jim Johnson M33 CMS
2 28:00 Judson Cake M33 Acidotic
3 28:09 Kevin Tilton M29 CMS
4 28:51 Tim Cox M37 Acidotic
5 29:29 Ryan Kelly M29 Acidotic
6 29:39 Dave Dunham M46 CMS
7 29:59 Sean Snow M44
8 30:10 Danny Ferreira M28 Acidotic
9 30:21 Robert Jackman M28 TNT
10 30:48 Scott Hornney M45
I met up with Tim Mahoney who had been in the train that broke trail the day before at Hoot, Toot, and Whistle. We warmed-up on the road doing an easy (not that easy) three miles. I got on my race gear which included a bib with a “target” on it. Laura Clark hands out a couple of targets at every race and everyone tries to run down the marked runner. I thought that sounded pretty cool. I headed out for another mile or so on snowshoes checking out a little of the course and breaking out some of the opening loop on the field.
London Niles, a very experienced racer despite his age (12), took off like a shot at the start. He hammered the first 200m then stepped off the course. I led the chase pack at that point and moved into the lead. I felt pretty good despite the very deep powder and just kept it going at a decent clip. The entire field was right behind me, getting better footing as each person packed it down.
I stayed out in front for 20 minutes then Tim Van Orden took over for a bit. We hit the snowmobile trail and he took off. I reeled him back in on the climb up Constitution hill as he slowed breaking trail in the deep untracked snow. I took the lead again on top of the ridge as Tim Mahoney and Ken Clark closed in on us. We were barely moving in the knee deep untracked snow. Tim M and Ken went to the front as TiVo and I stepped aside. They only lead for a short stretch as we hit the downhill and TiVo plowed by into the lead. I went around Ken near the bottom of the hill but couldn’t get around Tim M over the last ¼ mile of the race, there was nowhere to pass and when I finally hit a spot Tim was moving way too fast for me to get around. TiVo blew doors in the last ½ mile and put 20 seconds on us for the win. There was a big gap to the next group after Ken came through. This was a very cool race, it reminded me of the old days of racing at WMAC when you were lucky if ANY of the course was tracked. I’m looking forward to more slogs like this! Total driving for the weekend over 500 miles.
1 41:44 Tim Van Orden m42 CMS
2 42:02 Tim Mahoney m31 CMS
3 42:04 Dave Dunham m46 CMS
4 42:29 Ken Clark m48 Hartford Track Club
5 46:19 Rich Teal m32
6 47:19 John Pajer m48 CMS
7 48:17 Mike Lahey m59
8 48:32 Jack Casey m57
9 48:33 Allan Bates m62
10 49:38 Edward Alibozek m48 WMAC/Dion
Next up: Snowshoe double again, this time Sidehiller (Sandwich, NH) and Curly’s (Pittsfield, MA)