Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brooksby Farm Snowshoe Race

I was planning on starting (and quite possibly ending) my snowshoe season this weekend at the Audubon 5k snowshoe race in Auburn NH.  Unfortunately the race was canceled due to cold weather.  Who would have figured!  I considered going to horse hill for the 6k SS race then teammate Jim Pawlicki reminded me that Brooksby Farm was hosting a race.  I've orienteered a few times a Brooksby and done a cross-country race there but never a snowshoe race.  Given the closer proximity I decided this would be my weekend race.

It was sunny and windy and two below zero when I got to Brooksby.  Not too bad for a snowshoe race.

 I tracked down the race director to ensure I knew where the course went and headed out for a preview (wearing kahtoolahs).  The snow was not very firm in the orchard but the trails in the woods were well packed.  The course was nice, it had a mix up singletrack and orchard, ups/downs, and for the most part was marked fine.  I got to a bit after 2 miles and lost the course in the middle of the orchard.  The wind had covered up any tracks and also covered up the red spray paint the RD had used to mark the course.  I made a best guess, but lost the course.  I headed in and informed the RD that there were no course markings.  After getting my intel she said she'd head out and re-mark that part.  I went to the car and changed into race gear and put on my snowshoes.

I went out and met up with Jim and we ran a bit in the orchard.  I let him know what I'd seen on the warm-up then hit the line for the start.  38 lined up for the race and after some quick words of encouragement we were off.
From the Lynn Times
Jim went into the lead and I followed.  About 1/2 mile in I went by as I was feeling good and could see that Jim was not enjoying the loose snow in the orchard.  He stuck close as we hit the woods and the faster running on firm snow.  There was no "click-clack" of snowshoes behind us as the field had fallen back.  At the mile Jim noted the time and how good the running was.  He then upped the tempo and dropped me.  I hoped that I could claw back on the orchard climb at 2 miles and just focused on keeping him close.  He put 5 seconds on me from 1 - 1.5 then a few more seconds before we hit the orchard.

Jim came back a bit on the initial climb then got to the point where I'd gone off course earlier in the day and called out "I'm not sure" and I yelled back "Neither do I".  Jim made a best guess and 100 meters later saw the marking (we were on course).  He may have slowed a bit due to the uncertainty and the loose snow, which got me back up behind him.  I got within a step and held that step until the last 100 meters or so when he kicked and I didn't have another gear.

Jim took the win in 21:21 with me four seconds back.  The course was about 1/4 short from years past and some noted that the orchard loop was shorter than other years.

Top 10
1 James Pawlicki       47   1/4    M4049 41 M Lynn         MA   21:21  6:54
2 Dave Dunham          72   1/5    M5059 51 M Bradford     MA   21:25  6:55
3 Jeffrey Hixon        21   2/4    M4049 41 M                   24:05  7:46
4 Brett Rickenbach     76   3/4    M4049 40 M Danvers      MA   25:15  8:09
5 Michael Zackin       69   2/5    M5059 57 M                   25:26  8:13
6 Matt Lynch           81   1/8    M3039 37 M                   26:31  8:34
7 Randy Ward           77   2/8    M3039 33 M Newmarket    NH   26:42  8:37
8 Peter Malinowski     73   2/4    M6099 61 M Beverly      MA   27:37  8:55
9 Bob Dion             70   3/4    M6099 60 M Readsboro    VT   28:41  9:15
10 Brian Mason          34   3/8    M3039 35 M                   28:57  9:21

Jim, Brett (4th place) and I went out for a short warm-down.  I went inside and got some hot apple crisp and a bagel before hitting the road.
Goodie bag!

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