Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowshoe double

Snowshoe double (again)

We’ll this was the second weekend that I chose to do two snowshoe races, but it didn’t work out as well as last weekend.

On Saturday I headed up to Kingman Farm for a night snowshoe race.  Talk about unusual!  I remember marking a course in the dark with Richard, Kevin, Paul, at Massebesic a few years back.  That was my only (non-Orienteering) snowshoe experience at night.  I recall we had a lot of fun.

I warmed-up on the course with Kevin T and JJ which was probably the smartest thing I did this weekend.  I went in Kahtoola’s and the footing was very firm.  The race would be fast, so knowing at least a little of the course would be helpful.  We ran it as the sun set and it sure looked different in full dark.

I got next to Kevin on the line (seemed like no one wanted to get on the line) and felt like I was sprinting as we headed off at full speed down the trail.  The course was mostly double-track (wide enough for two runners side-by-side) which meant passing would be easy.  I settled into 5th place as I saw KT and JJ’s headlamps slowly pull ahead.  Ryan Kelly fell into third and Geoff Cunningham was alone in fourth.  I had Bob Jackman right behind me and Ryan Welts and Danny Ferreia just a couple of steps further back.

At around 2 miles we hit the big open field and Bob went around me just as we hit the field.  It was good to have someone in front, having him right on my tail made it hard to see as his headlamp cast a huge shadow and I was having trouble seeing anything.  Bob started moving up on Geoff and I tried to go with him.  It was cool with the twists and turns to see all the headlamps behind.  Damn, Ryan and Geoff were only a few seconds back!  I felt like I was sprinting.

We hit the big climb up Hicks Hill and I closed a bit on Bob and Geoff.  As I crossed the summit I saw Kevin and JJ coming back across on a parallel trail (they were in a great battle).  On the first descent I was really watching my footing and Bob and Geoff gapped me by about 10 seconds.  At that point we took a sharp left and suddenly I saw their headlamps going off into the woods!  I yelled out “I think you guys missed a turn”, but I wasn’t 100% sure until a few seconds later when I saw flagging.  Now I had no headlamps in front of me so I had to be very cautious.  It was hard to pick out where we were turning with all of the switchbacks.  I heard footfalls and on the final 180 degree turn I stepped aside and Danny F blew by. We only had less than a ¼ mile to go but I had nothing left. I struggled to go with him and ended up finishing six seconds back.  I was surprised to find out that Ryan Welts went off at about the same spot and ended up running to the finish before realizing his mistake.  Too bad as he was having a terrific race.  So I ended up in fourth rather than 7th so I guess hitting the course prior to the race paid off.  Times were really fast for this 3.4 mile race due to the incredibly fast footing.

We hit the road and did 2 easy miles before I headed for home and a late night.

Morning came way too fast!  I was out the door by 6am for the 2:30 drive to Hawley for the Hallockville Orchard race. 

I like the race at Hallockville, despite knowing it would be way too fast for me.  I like a slow grind and Hallockville is anything but slow.  Tim M and I did a nice 3 mile warm-up on the road and then got racing gear on.  I headed out for another mile in snowshoes and was surprised at how tired I felt.  I put it down to pre-race jitters.

At the start Ed huddled up the guys who might be among the leaders and went over the course description.  Then we were off and BAM I felt like I was swimming against the tide.  TiVo was gone right away with Tim M right with him.  John Pajer, who is gaining strength with every race, was alone in third and I was in fourth with the crunch of footfalls right behind me.  I tried to focus on reeling in John but was also thinking I need to lose whoever was behind me.  At the Orchard (1.5 miles) John was 20 seconds up, but I got great traction on the crusty section and really closed on him.  As we headed back into oncoming traffic I had closed to 3 or 4 seconds.  I just couldn’t seem to get any closer.  I never got a second wind and at 2.5 miles Chris Taft blew by me and tucked in behind John.  At 3 miles I still thought I might have a shot at them both, then the final uphill ended any thoughts of catching up.  Chris kicked it in to take third and John held strong for fourth place.  TiVo won the race out-right (his 5th consecutive WMAC win) and Tim had a solid run 46 seconds back.

I’ll chalk this one up as a learning experience.  I learned that I have a lot of trouble fueling properly for a night race and it seems to carry over to the next morning.  I also learned that although I can do a double, it probably isn’t a good idea to do a night/day double-header.  I also learned that if you race enough, some days you are going to not have any race in your legs.  I’d rather do that than not race at all!

On to this weekend where I’ll try to double again and add in that I’ll be race directing at Northfield.  Is that a recipe for disaster?  Maybe, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Kingman Farm Moonlight 3.4 mile Snowshoe
 Madbury, New Hampshire - February 19, 2011
    1   22:51 Kevin Tilton                  CMS   
    2   22:53 Jim Johnson                CMS           
    3   25:35 Danny Ferreia             ACIDOTIC         
    4   25:41 Dave Dunham                CMS 40+       
    5   25:46 Robert Jackman           TNT  *went off course      
    6   25:49 Ryan Welts                   ACIDOTIC   
    7   25:57 Ryan Kelly                     ACIDOTIC  *went off course      
    8   26:07 Geoff Cunningham        ACIDOTIC *went off course     
    9   27:36 Reeder Fahnestock      ACIDOTIC        
   10   28:00 Christoph O'Donnell    TEAM PSYCHO         

Hallockville 3.5 mile snowshoe race
Hallockville, MA 02-20-11
1  22:50            TIM VANORDEN          Male     44        CMS 40+
2  23:36           TIM MAHONEY            Male     31         CMS
3  24:57           CHRIS TAFT                Male     30        RUNREG
4  25:02           JOHN PAJER               Male     48        CMS 40+
5  25:13            DAVE DUNHAM            Male     46        CMS 40+

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