Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hawley Kiln snowshoe race

Hawley Kiln

I headed out to Hawley for the 15th annual Hawley Kiln snowshoe race.  This race is a classic!  As always it is ably directed by Ed Alibozek.  This race was my first snowshoe race EVER, and I remember asking Ed advice about my snowshoes and what to expect on the course.  15 years later and I'm still having a blast romping around in the woods of Hawley.

I showed up extra-early so that I'd have time to run the course as a warm-up.  I arrived just as Ed was returning from his final loop of the course.  He'd spent over 6 hours clearing some trees and marking the course.  Guys like Ed are far and few between, the series would not exist without him and the other hard working race directors...don't forget to thank them!  I headed out and had a hard time finding a pace that was "easy".  The course was almost all single-track and post-holing would be the word of the day (at least for the leaders).  It was fun tromping the course, I got back to the start in 56 minutes or about 12 minutes per mile.  This would be a great "old school" type snowshoe race (which means JJ would not like it).

I quickly changed into race gear and headed out for another half-mile or so of running including a visit to the Kiln.  I was hoping that some of the mystical benefits of visiting the Kiln would be visited upon me.  Time will tell.  Anyway, 55 of us lined up and Ed gave some final instructions...he made it "leaders choice" if we should loop around the Kiln at the start of the race.  I spoke up first and said it wouldn't be the Hawley Kiln without a visit to the Kiln.

Off we went and the four CMS boys (me, Greg Hammet, Tim Mahoney, and Tim Van Orden) gapped the field during the first .7 on the snowmobile trail.  Greg had a step on me and I had the same on Tim Mahoney as we zipped through the mile (8:25).  The second mile should be fast as there is a fair amount of downhill, but the slow footing had us struggling.  I tried to go around Greg on the very short snowmobile section, but I stumbled and then reconsidered trying to lead.  We were just under 10 minutes for the second mile.  I took a big spill during the third mile but Greg was also post-holing a lot so neither of us really got any separation on the other.  We hit three miles in 27:57 and I asked Greg if I could take the lead.  He stepped aside and I told him "call out when you want to go by".  I upped the tempo knowing I needed some sort of lead by the time we got back to the snowmobile trail (for the last 1/4 mile) or he would just roll by for the win.  I was all out and we hit 4 miles in 36:31 (8:34).  Greg stayed right on me and we hit the final stretch together and then it was over, he sprinted ahead and took me by 8 seconds for his third win of the season.

Tim Mahoney and TiVO were the next two in giving CMS the top four places.  I quickly grabbed some gel and a dry top and headed out for one last loop.  Man, that final trip was tough.  The course was packed well but the trail was very narrow and I was bonking the last three miles.  It took me just over an hour to cover the course again (60:29).  I think 15 miles on snowshoes is my best day in a long time.  Thanks again to Ed and the WMAC crew for putting on another great event.
1 44:22 Greg Hammett  M 35  CMS    100.00
2 44:30 Dave Dunham   M 48  CMS     98.18
3 46:18 Tim Mahoney    M 33  CMS     96.36
4 48:36 Tim Van Orden  M 44  CMS    94.55
5 50:15 Dave Merkt       M 29            92.73
6 54:10 Ken Clark          M 50            90.91
7 56:40 Ted Cowles       M 54            89.09
8 57:44 Kelsey Allen      F                 87.27
9 60:56 Ashley Krause   F        CMS   85.45
10 61:24 Jim Devine     M 52            83
The Kiln

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