Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Granite State Snowshoe championships

Granite State Snowshoe championships – I’ve enjoyed doing this race over the last few years, and especially like the new location at Bear Brook in Allenstown NH.  I was not feeling great heading into this.  The National championships the previous weekend took a lot of the wind out of my sails.  Basically I was ready for snowshoe season to end.  I could not dog this race as I was in a virtual tie with Ryan Welts for second place overall in the GSS series.

I showed up fairly early and met up with teammates Jim Pawlicki and Jim Johnson.  While Jim was figuring out how to retrieve his keys from inside his locked car I headed out on my warm-up.  The schedule waits for no man.  I checked out some of the course, running out to nearly the top of Catamount hill and adding some more on the beginning of the course.  Knowing a little of the course is always a good idea.  I’ve snowshoed, run, orienteered, and hiked in Bear Brook before so I had a good general feel for where we were going.  The course was going to be tough, but the footing was cement hard which would make the going relatively fast.
At the start Rookie of the Year (ROTY) Nacho Hernando sprinted out.  Double-J went off in pursuit and after ¼ mile they were out of sight.  Jim P gapped me and Tim Van Orden right away and built up a 20 second lead by about 2 miles in.  TiVO stayed right on my heels and Ryan was a step or two back.  It took me a while to get into a groove; I’m definitely in a post-big-race funk.  We hit a wide trail around 2 miles in and it had narrow ruts on both sides and a center lane where the snowmobiles had ridden.  I found the running to be best in the rut but it was tough to not kick your own shoe (or ankle) while in it.  Jim seemed to have eased up on this part and/or TiVO and I picked it up.  Either way the gap narrowed and by 3 miles or so (24 minutes in) we’d got within a couple of strides of Jim.
It was really hard to close those final few strides, Jim did not relent and I had TiVO right behind me.  At about 4 miles we hit the first of the bigger climbs and I made a move by Jim.  TiVO stayed behind Jim for a bit and I forged a slight lead.  Soon after that we started the ascent of Catamount hill which would be out final uphill of the day.  We took a turn and I caught my ankle in a pothole and twisted it badly (probably spooking the volunteers at the turn as I cussed).   I tried to push the pace but could not drop TiVO who had gotten by Jim sometime during the climb.  I asked him if he wanted to pass but he said he was all out.  I held onto the lead over the top of the hill but Tim went flying by on the descent.  I was a bit worried about my ankle and maybe breaking a leg in another pothole, I was also going about as fast as I could.
Tim ended up putting 15 seconds on me in the last ¾ of a mile and I ended up keeping the 10+ second gap on Jim.  Double-J took the win running 48:28, taking Nacho by over 2 minutes then TiVO, me and Jim Pawlicki with race director Ryan Welts taking 6th  about a minute back.  In all 80 runners took on this excellent course on an ideal day for racing.  Jim Johnson won the overall series (he had already won prior to the race thanks to the best 4 finishes format), I took second place and top 40-49.  Ryan took third, but I imagine this will be the last year that I beat him in the series.  Every year he gets a bit faster and I’ve been getting a bit slower.  In 2015 I’ll focus on 50-59 age group!

1          48:28    Jim Johnson        M36      CMS      100.00
2          50:51    Nacho Hernando M20      Pies       95.31
3          52:58    Tim Van Orden   M45      CMS      91.50
4          53:17    Dave Dunham     M49      CMS      90.96
5          53:29    James Pawlicki     M39      CMS      90.62
6          54:13    Ryan Welts         M33      aR         89.39
7          56:48    Danny Ferreira     M31      GCS       85.33
8          57:41    Phil Erwin           M46      aR         84.02
9          58:45    Kenneth            Wiley     M31      aR         82.50
10         59:05    Marek Telus        M38      aR         82.03
11         59:24    Chuck Hazzard     M53      TM        81.59
12         1:00:18 Coby Jacobus      M34                  80.38
13         1:01:11 Chris Dunn          M45      aR         79.22
14         1:01:20 Eric Narcisi          M34      Level     79.02
15         1:01:52 Kristina Folcik      F36       La Spor  78.34

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