I decided that since I was already half-way to Saratoga (race directing at Northfield Mountain) that I’d continue on and give the Winterfest 5k a shot. I’ve run the Saratoga Spa snowshoe race four times but haven’t been out there since 2004. It is just such a long ride (over 4 hours) that I can’t really justify it.
It rained, iced, and snowed overnight so on race morning there was a hard crust of snow and most of the course appeared to be unbroken. Fortunately it had been previously packed so it would be slow up front but not “Constitution hill”-slow.
I met up with Abby and Tim and we did some running on the last ½ mile of the course and some road running to loosen up. I felt dead on my feet, I guess worrying about Northfield and some sleepless nights were catching up with me. I switched into race gear and headed out for another mile of running. The first loop in the quad was unbroken so I put down a couple of sets of prints thinking that would come in handy if I took the lead early. I was banking on Tim and TiVo to both be sore and tired from racing at Northfield. Theoretically I was “fresh”.
Just over 200 took off at the whistle blast and I found myself in fourth place behind two high school kids and Tim Mahoney. The kids slowed by 200m in and I called out “go around” and Tim, TiVo, and I quickly moved around. TiVo then really accelerated and moved into the lead as we crossed the road and hit the single-track. By about a mile TiVo had built up 10 seconds and I was a couple of seconds behind Tim. They both came back just a little on the short climb and then we hit some deeper snow with thick crust. TiVo was suddenly back and I checked behind as Matt Westerlund and Connor Devine quickly cut the gap. Tim took over the lead and I just tried to stay in their tracks. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds as both of them have a longer stride than me. The pace really accelerated when we hit a section of two-way traffic (the surface was well packed). I was hanging on.
We hit the final steep little hill with ¾ of a mile to go and that was the last time the three of us were together. TiVo accelerated away to win (his second win in two days) and I gapped Tim and then held off his late charge at the end to take second. We did an easy couple of miles on the, now packed, course and then I hit the road.
Nothing like a five hour drive over icy roads to really add to the enjoyment of the day. I decided about half-way home that there is no way I’m going back next week for the Camp Saratoga race. I think I’ll stay local.
1 24:07 Tim Van Orden M42 CMS-40+
2 24:32 Dave Dunham M46 CMS-40+
3 24:37 Tim Mahoney M31 CMS
4 24:47 Connor Devine M17
5 24:48 Matt Westerlund M38