Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Love Woodford

Well, this weekend marked my first snowshoe race and my last race of the 2008 calendar year... It was my 45th race of the year, and this time it brought me out to Woodford, VT for I Love Woodford (results to come), the first snowshoe race of the 2008 Dion Racing Series. The 2:45 ride out to Woodford was courtesy of dd. Jim Pawlicki and the lovely and talented Kristin also joined (Jim was racing, Kristin was going out to take some photos)... We were lucky to be able to have even had this race, as it the weather was extremely mild across New England this weekend, and much of the snow had melted away. Woodford State Park still had a fair share of snow left on the trails...more than enough to get the race underway. The parking area was a complete ice rink, with all the snow having been packed down by snowmobiles, then partially melted, then frozen again...I saw one guy actually ice skating in the parking lot... (image above: Jim Pawlicki and yours truly on the warm up)

I bought a brand new pair of Dion 121 racing shoes before the race and Jim and I went about a mile out and a mile back over the course while Dave set marker flags down over the entire 3.5 mile course. I was a little worried about this race because I am not in the best of shape right now...I've had a very light month of training, only 1 race, and no workouts or tempos of any kind. I figured this would be a good test to see where my fitness was at, and I was pretty close to being right...I struggled quite a bit over the last 10 minutes of the race...

With 83 runners toeing the line, it was a pretty decent turnout, but evident after just a few strides that I was going to be tucked in behind Josh Ferenc (BAA / Inov-8) . The first part of the race goes along an access road that leads into the Woodford State Park. You are on the road (snow covered of course) for a quarter mile or more as it winds up a pretty good hill right away and then tucks into single track trail for just about the entire rest of the way. The snow was wet and heavy... thick in spots, light to non-existent in others. There were small bridge crossings and quite a few downed trees and limbs (a lot of which had been cleared out ahead of time). I could see Josh for about 10 or so minutes before he put enough distance on me where he just disappeared into the woods...the twists and turns made it tough to spot people both ahead and behind you unless they were pretty close. I took 2 spills, the second of which was probably 600 or so meters from the finish, just shy of popping out of the single track and back onto the access road. On my second time down on my face, I turned to look back and saw the 3rd place runner right behind me (20 or so yards back). I got up quick and continued on but thought we had a lot more running to do (looking at your watch doesn't mean much in these races)...I was convinced we had a mile or so more to least. I was all but ready to just let him go past and was waiting to hear him shout out 'on your right' so I could let him pass... But just as I was about to concede the place, I saw Kristin in a clearing, pointing her camera at me... I didn't think too much of it and just figured she had found a way to get up pretty far into the course.... but then just past her, I saw Tim VanOrden who was filming the race... He told me '300 meters to go'... At that point, I realized where I was and just put the hammer down and sprinted down the access road to the finish... looking back the entire time, I saw the third place runner give it a brief go to catch up, but then back off as I was in a full on sprint over the last 200 meters. I finished in second place behind Josh who had already warmed up his car and was sipping hot chocolate with his feet up... well..small exaggeration, but he did take me to school and beat me pretty handily. Dave Dunham was 4th, Tim Mahoney was 5th, and Jim Pawlicki was 6th overall, putting 4 CMS guys in the top 6. Not a bad showing. CMS Women's runner Abby Woods was the 1st woman.... (image above: Tim Mahoney, Jim Pawlicki, me, Dave Dunham on the cool down)

We finished off the day with another run over the course, which by this time was nice and groomed by all the racers who had slogged over it previously... we collected the flags, grabbed some post race grub (non-raw) and then headed home because Dave started getting moody.

Kristin took some awesome photos on the day which can be seen HERE and Tivo took some video which I'll link to when it's been edited and posted.

Below is a quick pan of the parking lot before the race... ICE....

Below, the new kicks I bought Kristin (Tubbs) for snowshoe hiking this winter, and the Dion racing shoes I got today... Now if would only turn into winter again....


  1. Looks like fun, Jim. I got my Dion 121's on Christmas Eve and got to try them before the snow disappeared down here. I hope to make a race by mid January. I won't be in running shape, but what the hell :)

  2. Scotty, yeah, it was pretty cool. I am in awful shape right now but still gave it a go... I don't think I was alone though... Dave is still on the comeback trail and Jim Pawlicki is not training that hard now either.... It was just nice to get back out there...

    Love the race and they're all hacked up :)...

    Hope to see you at one of the next ones! We'll see what happens with the snow...

  3. Jeez - Where was the puck and the stix for that lot? Goal could have been the porta-john. Awful shape or not, you could have laid a check or two into some of the competition.

  4. Jim, nice write up and I enjoyed the pictures. Hope you enjoyed your maiden race and hope you bought the stainless steel ice cleats for the Dions.

  5. The porta-john was hilarious it wasn't level and any movement could have toppled it!

  6. I just checked out the pics. Nice shots. I always find it funny when I finish a snowshoe race with mud on the back of my singlet.