Monday, February 28, 2011

Snowshoe - Northfield and Moody Springs

Snowshoe Double number 3 for February

Well this weekend was my final snowshoe double of the year.  This would be the toughest to date, partly because I was race directing the first event and partly because both courses are pretty tough.

I headed out to Northfield on Friday and met up with Paul Bazanchuk, Tim Mahoney and TiVO and we had free reign of the trails, which were closed, because of rain.  We picked up a few hundred flags and hit the trail.  After 1:48 of rain, fog, sleet, freezing rain and snow we finished the loop, which was 5.5 miles and had 1,300’ of climb/descent.   As we came back in the snow was coming down hard and Kevin Tilton had just arrived after a LONG drive from N Conway NH.  We hit the trail again to put out mile markers and give KT the opportunity to preview the course.  1:18 later we were done and my ankle was swollen and I felt beat.  Perfect way to prepare for the Northeast Federation Snowshoe championships J

Saturday morning was a treat with the weather being nearly ideal for racing.  I was at Northfield by 7am and finished up marking the course.  Despite being a very tough course it looked like the footing would be firm and fast.  The DRC crew showed up and we finished registration promptly at 845.

At 9am 85 runners took off for a trek around the mountain.  They’d get plenty of twists and turns and ups and downs…heck even the downs had some ups!  I took it out as relaxed as I could, knowing what lay ahead.  After the initial half-mile loop I was just inside the top 20.  We hit the single-track and started climbing.  By a mile I was into the top 15 and had started reeling in some of the fast starters.  Once we got to the pipeline section I’d caught up to the small train that Ben Nephew was leading.  I passed a couple of the guys on the road to the summit but soon after on the downhill I stepped aside and let Danny Ferreira and Ben by, along with TiVO who’d been tracking me closely.  He was suffering from some lung ailment and probably shouldn’t have been racing.

The guys really buried me on the downill, my ankle was killing me and I was just trying to recover on the long drop from 2 to a little after 3 miles.  On the final big climb to the top of Rose Ledge I began to close.  I almost caught back to the group at 4 and then we plummeted between the ledges.  I kept it close until the bridge at five miles but never quite got back into the group.  All in all I was pretty happy with my finish and certainly with the effort I put in.

I only hung out at the finish line for a few minutes before Tim Mahone and I headed out for another loop to clear the course.  That is the toughest duty on race day, but much easier with a friend along to help.

            Time            First            Last                  Age            Sex            Team
1           45:49            Kevin Tilton             29            M            CMS/INOV-8
2          45:53            Jim Johnson            33            M            CMS/INOV-8
3          45:54            Nicholas Wheeler    25            M        
4          47:52            Ryan Kelly                 29            M            Acidotic
5          48:44            Judson Cake                 33            M            Acidotic
6          49:42            Geoff Cunningham            33            M            Acidotic
7          49:53            Ben Nephew                        35            M            CMS/INOV-8
8          49:59            Tim Mahoney                       31            M            CMS
9          50:00            Charles Therriault            25            M            Acidotic
10         50:03            Tim Van Orden               42            M            CMS
11         50:07            Danny Ferreira            28            M            Acidotic
12         50:38            Dave Dunham             46            M            CMS
13         53:15            Ross Krause              31            M  
14         53:33            Robert Jackman            28            M            TNT
15         53:59            Amber Ferreira            28            F            Acidotic

Jim Johnson joined TiVO and me at the Red Roof Inn for a relaxing post-race evening. Our plan was to head to Hawley for the Moody Springs race on Sunday morning.  Wow, did it snow overnight and we were lucky to have JJ’s truck to get us there. 

We were among the earliest to arrive, giving plenty of time in the tricky conditions.  I felt beat from lack of sleep and race directing duties.  Ed Alibozek gave an enthusiastic greeting and we hung out by the fire until it was time to warm-up.  Tim Mahoney, Paul Baz, and JJ joined me for three miles on the road.  My ankle wasn’t too bad but I felt pretty beat.  Not a great way to head into a 5.5 mile race that had 800’ of climb/descent.

Ed’s pre-race briefing gave us all we’d need to know about the course…the snow would be deep and the going would be tough.  Just the way I like it.  Off we went and I settled into around tenth place to start.  Ross Krause was out almost immediately as his Velcro straps came loose twice in the first 100m of the race.  JJ was in front and blasting away, with apparently no fear of leading the way onto the single-track.  I slowly moved up into 6th place and held that spot as we exited the snowmobile trail and hit the single-track.

Talk about a change of pace, we slowed down to a crawly in the deep powder.  I could see Tim Mahoney ahead and a couple of guys not far in front of him.  TiVO was right behind me keeping the pressure on.  I just tried to relax and pay out my remaining energy over the 3 miles of tough twisting single-track.  By the time we hit the switch back climb JJ had stepped aside and let the train by.  I was still in sixth but could see the entire lead pack only about 5 seconds ahead.  I NEVER quite got into the back of the group.  At one point I dropped TiVO but he closed in the last mile of the single-track.

We exited back onto the snowmobile trail with one mile plus to go and the leaders now sprinting out of sight.  TiVO went by me right away and noted “I’m red lining, you’ll catch me on the climb”.  I wasn’t so sure about that, my legs felt like led.  A quarter mile later I passed TiVO on the climb and started reeling in Tim Mahoney.  I got close but never quite got him.  I gapped TiVO by 30 seconds but he closed back on the final drop as my ankle was screaming and I just wanted to get to the line.  I crossed in 6th and TiVO got 7th and was crowned the 10,000th WMAC finisher of all time.  Great way to end the weekend.

1 56:36 Chris Hayhurst            38            Male    
2 56:36 Brian Rusiecki            32            Male    
3 57:12 Jim Johnson              33            Male            CMS
4 57:38 Chris Taft                 30            Male            RUNREG
5 58:42 Tim Mahoney             31            Male            CMS
6 59:00 Dave Dunham             46            Male            CMS
7 59:10 Tim VanOrden            44            Male            CMS
8 59:45 Ross Krause              31            Male            RUNREG
9 1:02:41 Amy Lane                 33            Female            INOV8
10 1:03:23 Ken Clark                48            Male    

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