Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Snowshoe stampede!

Prospect Mountain 5.8 mile snowshoe race

I was excited when I’d heard that Tim Van Orden (TiVO) would be hosting a third race at the Prospect Mountain XC ski area.   Not only is the venue fantastic with a ton of groomed and single-track trails, but the also have warm indoor facilities and seem to genuinely enjoy having snowshoe racers tromping around.  The fact that the WMAC Snowshoe series is based on your best six races and I had five race made going to Prospect a given.  Some quick calculations and it looked like the series would come down to me and teammate Tim Mahoney.  It didn’t really matter what places Tim or I got but who placed in front of whom.

I arrived at Prospect and found it to be sunny and comfortable (28 degrees at 8:15am).  Soon after arriving I bumped into Greg Hammett.  We headed out on the course (in running shoes) and ran the last mile or so with teammate Ross Krause.  It looked like a decent field, with stalwart Ken Clark and pretty much all of the WMAC regulars.  Right before the start I realized Tim was not present and basically I needed to finish to wrap up the series.  That was a relief, my back was killing from shoveling and I was pretty beat up from the Granite State Snowshoe champs from the day before.  TiVO filmed us all dancing around prior to the start.  He wanted some unusual stuff for his presentation to USSSA.  Bob Dion and TiVO are hoping to bring the 2014 national snowshoe champs to Prospect.

We headed off a little after 10:30 in just about ideal conditions.  There was some single-track early on and I found myself in 6th place with Greg and Ross in front and pulling away.  I didn’t panic, it was very early and my legs were heavy from the previous day’s effort.  Once we got off the single-track I moved into 3rd place and as I watched Greg and Ross disappear I figured 3rd would be the place for me.  At 10 minutes into the race I was 20 seconds behind the leaders and just starting to find a rhythm.  Soon after that we hit the first sustained climb and a long single-track section.  The snow was deep!  We just had TiVO’s post-holes to follow.

I immediately fell, and then fell again.  Ugh, I cursed and got going as quickly as possible.  Soon after that I caught Greg who stepped aside to let me through.  Once we hit the snowmobile trail the climb continued but the footing was better.  I caught Ross on this section right at the 20 minute mark.  I fell again and Ross said something like “keep doing that” with a chuckle.  Very slowly I pulled away, but Ross was tenacious.  I figured I needed to out climb him and Greg and that both of them could roll on the downhills and take the lead.  I pushed as hard as I could but glanced back at the top (about 31 minutes) and Ross was right there.

The next part of the course was probably the most fun; we came bounding down on single-track with snow about 3 feet deep.  It was a blast to come flying down and zigzagging through the woods.  The fun didn’t last long as we then had a staircase like climb that was just plain mean!  I heard TiVO yelling for Ross and thought he said “2k of downhill from here”.  I went as hard as I could on the downhill and took a peak back at 45 minutes and didn’t see Ross.  I didn’t ease up but the few “bumps” that were left really hurt.  Greg told me later that he stopped and yelled some unprintable stuff about TiVO’s “all downhill” comments.  The very final downhill powder stretch was a hoot; we did a zigzag down the final slope and into the finish chute.  I certainly was surprised and pleased to hold off Ross and Greg.

I was beat and glad to be done, but this course was probably my favorite this year.  There was a little bit of everything but a lot of tough slog, which is my kind of snowshoe race.  Congrats to Ken Clark who passed 1,000 points for the season at Prospect, Jessica Northan who took home the WMAC series title, and Laurel Shortell who kept her incredible streak alive (she finished all 16 series races this year).  See you all next year!

1  53:31 Dave Dunham                48         M          100.00  CMS
2  53:52 Ross Krause                   33         M          97.96    CMS
3  57:41 Greg Hammett               35         M          95.92    CMS
4  57:52 Dave Merkt                    29         M          93.88    Shenipsit
5  59:44 Brian Northan                 38         M          91.84
6  1:01:34 Rich Teal                    35         M          89.80
7  1:02:46 Carolyn Stocker           20         F           87.76
8  1:04:44 Ken Clark                    50         M          85.71    HTC
9  1:04:55 David Loutzenheiser     46         M          83.67
10 1:08:34 Gerret Van Duyne       34         M          81.63

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