Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prospect Mountain snowshoe race

Prospect Mountain – I headed out to Bennington on Saturday and met up with race director/teammate Tim Van Orden to put out some flagging.  This also gave me a chance to stretch my legs after the long drive and preview a bit of the course.  The race would serve as a qualifier for the National Championships but more important to me was a chance to preview the entire course two weeks prior to the big race.

On race morning I got up just before sunrise and did a very easy 3 miles of running including a loop up to the Bennington War Memorial. I caught sunrise and moonset on top of the hill.  Then ran back and had a bit of breakfast.  The 10k promised to be a sufferfest and I wanted to be properly fueled.

An hour before the race I met up with teammates Tim Mahoney and Paul Bazanchuk and GCS runner Todd Callaghan for a warm-up on the course.  There really isn’t much road to run on at Prospect Mountain so the course warm-up made the most sense.  After 30+ minutes of snowshoe running I switched into my racing gear and headed back out for another mile with some strides thrown in.  I felt pretty decent, which is a bit of a surprise.
A little less than 100 of us lined up, Tim gave instructions, and we were off.  Knowing what lay ahead kept most from the all-out sprint start.  I found myself in the chase group with Todd, Tim, Ross Krause, and a couple of others.  By ½ mile Kevin Tilton and Mike Galoob were out of sight.  Around ¾ of a mile I pulled into the lead of the group and we started to string out by the mile (8:14).  I tried to stay relaxed as we started the climb and some of the single-track.  I could hear Todd, Ross, and Tim close behind.  From 2 miles (2nd mile was nearly 11 minutes) it was a slog, even with us getting on to groomed surfaces it just wasn’t firm and every step was a struggle.
I hit the top of the mountain about 1:30 behind Kevin (I saw him hit the top as I looped around the peak) and then started the crazy descent.  The single-track snow was so deep that you really couldn’t get going fast despite heading downhill.  Sometimes you’d drop down two feet deep, other times one leg would go two feet deep and the other would stay on top.  It was painfully slow.  Then to add insult to injury the second (and tougher) climb from 4 – 4.5 was just as deep.  This had to be in the 20 minute per mile pace.  I fell four times during this stretch.
Finally I hit the last mile plus of downhill and groomed trail.  I picked it up as fast as I could go but knew that Todd was back there and closing fast.  With about ½ mile to go he caught me, offered some encouragement, and accelerated on by.  I kept up the tempo but just didn’t have the leg turnover to go with him (and ultimately lost to him by 12 seconds).  Kevin ended up having a battle at the end as Mike Galoob came out of nowhere to blow by him in the last 10 meters.  Galoob certainly has the leg speed having run a 4:23 mile a couple of weeks ago.  Great to see someone so fast (and a master!) coming out and trying snowshoe.
1 1:02:37  Mike Galoob    40 M                 100.00
2 1:02:38  Kevin Tilton     32 M     CMS      99.97
3 1:05:42  Todd Callaghan 44 M     GCS       95.31
4 1:05:54  Dave Dunham  49 M     CMS      95.02
5 1:07:04  Ross Krause     35 M     CMS      93.36
6 1:07:49  Tim Mahoney  34 M     CMS      92.33
7 1:11:17  Brian Northan  39 M                 87.84
8 1:11:22  Tyler Murray    23 M                 87.74
9 1:11:54  Ashley Krause  37 F                  87.09
10 1:11:55 Danny Ferreira 32 M                 87.07
11 1:12:47 Ben Corwin    21 M                 86.03
12 1:13:40 James Pawlicki 40 M     CMS      85.00
13 1:14:45 G VanDuyne   36 M                 83.77
14 1:14:49 Paul Bazanchuk 60 M   CMS      83.69

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