Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If Jim Johnson crosses a finish line and no one is timing it, does it count?

NH snowshoe double-header

Another weekend meant another opportunity to race multiple times.  This winter has not been great for roofs or for finding a parking spot, but it has been great for snowshoe racing.  I made the decision to go to NH twice rather than head out to Saratoga again.  This saved me nearly 6 hours of driving.

I headed up to Merrimack on Saturday for the Horse Hill 7k and as an early arriver I was able to park in the lot/ice skating rink.  The footing was treacherous!  I met up with JJ and we headed out to run the course which we heard was a well packed 4.6 miles.  We both used traction systems on our shoes but not snowshoes.  The going was pretty decent and we covered the course in just over 45 minutes.  I guessed that JJ would race it in less than 30 minutes and I have been running about 10% slower than him so I had a decent idea of how long the run would take.

The first 200m was wide enough for two or three runners across but the front of the line saw only two runners across…JJ and Judson Cake.  I lined up behind Jim and Tim Cox lined up behind Judson.  We were off and JJ and Judson seemed to be at an all out sprint.  Ryan Kelly pulled up along side me and said “it’s going to be quite a race”, then he motored by and as we hit the single track I found myself in 6th place.  On the first climb over Blodgett Hill I closed in on Chris Smith from Dungeon Rock Racing and on the downhill he stepped aside and I moved into 5th.

Ryan was soon gone from sight and I found myself running alone.  I checked my watch at the Power line and knew from the warm-up that I was about 2/3rds of the way through the course.  For the first time in a while I saw an Acidotic singlet in front of me (way in front).  I thought it was Ryan but later was surprised to see it was Tim.  About ½ mile later I had closed quite a bit on Tim and thought that maybe he was hurt (I found out after the race he had some shoe troubles and had to stop a couple of times).  The climb over Horse Hill was taking a toll and I was hoping to hold off a charging Ryan Welts.   The switchback climbs back over Blodgett Hill gave me a chance to gauge how far Tim was ahead and how far Ryan was behind.  By the top I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get caught nor would I be catching anyone.  The course was just too fast and didn’t have enough “slog” for me to do well.

I crossed the line in 5th place and was happy to have held on.  The effort was good but the finish of slightly more than 10% behind JJ was not what I hoped for. Typically a good race is 7-8% behind Jim and not so great is anything slower.  Fast courses like HH aren’t where I’m going to excel…I’m looking forward to the climb at the NH champs in March J

Horse Hill 7K Snowshoe Race
Merrimack, NH - February 12, 2010
    1   30:47  Jim Johnson            CMS POLAR BEARS            33 M             
    2   32:16  Ryan Kelly             ACIDOTIC RACING            29 M          
    3   32:45 Judson Cake            ACIDOTIC RACING            33 M       
    4   33:36  Tim Cox                ACIDOTIC RACING            37 M     
    5   34:13  Dave Dunham            CMS POLAR BEARS            46 M         
    6   34:47  Ryan Welts             ACIDOTIC RACING            30 M       
Summit of Blodgett hill

My ankles were a bit sore on Sunday morning but otherwise I didn’t feel bad.  I must have been early to the race because I beat JJ to registration (that is the only way I’ll beat him).

We headed out for a warm-up mixing it up doing the first ¾ of a mile on the course then heading out on the road.  I switched to snowshoes and headed out for another mile.  I felt a bit flat so I skipped doing strides, hoping the early pace would be reasonable and I could work my way into the race.

Fewer than 50 lined up for this first annual race which was a senior project.  JJ took off from the start with Tivo not far behind.  I settled into third and was soon on my own.  I could see JJ and Tivo go thru the first loop and knew I wouldn’t see them again until the power line section (hopefully).

I mostly tried to stay on my feet on the single-track.  The footing was fast but my ankles were pretty sore on the tight turns.  The power line hill was tough but it was reasonably short.  I could see JJ hitting the top and timed Tivo (he was 1:30 ahead of me).  There wasn’t much left once we hit the top, just a little single track then back onto the opening loop.  JJ was crossing the line while I was on the final loop, unfortunately he ran so fast that the timers weren't even at the line!

The final repeat of the loop was tough as it had been chewed up and the snow was soft.  This slowed things down but didn’t help me close ground at all (but it also kept Ryan from closing on me).  So another fast course in the books with a third place finish (2nd 40+).  I’ve now got four NH races done and one more will make me eligible for the series.  I’m hoping for a top 5 finish.

Bear Paw Snowshoe Classic
Northwood, NH - February 13, 2011
    1   25:49 Jim Johnson            CMS POLAR BEARS            33 m             
    2   27:16 Tim Van Orden          CMS POLAR BEARS            42 m      
    3   29:02 Dave Dunham            CMS POLAR BEARS            46 M      
    4   30:37 Ryan Welts             ACIDOTIC RACING            30 m     
    5   31:28 Chris Dunn             ACIDOTIC RACING            42 M        
Tivo, JJ, and me (and the bear mascot)

1 comment:

DoubleJ said...

an even more interesting question is:

'if Dan Verrington slips and falls (again) on a run and no one is around, does he make a sound?'