Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sidehiller and Frosty's Dash

Another double in the books and two more series races down... 

Saturday brought us back up north to Center Sandwich, NH to race the Sidehiller Snowshoe Race (results) which is race #4 of the Granite State Snowshoe Series (and also race #9 of the Dion Snowshoe Series).  It also serves as the Northeast qualifier for the US National Snowshoe Championship. I headed out for the approx. 90 minute ride, from Salem, NH with Kristin and fellow CMS teammates Dave Dunham, and Jim Pawlicki.  We arrived in town around 8:30 and saw race director Paul Kirsch working out on the course, setting signs and flags near the road where the course crosses from groomed ski trail to single track.  We grabbed some flags from Paul and headed over to the start area to kill some time before going out to flag the course ahead of time...  Dave, Jim, and I walked over the course and flagged as we went...there were a couple of spots where we had to pause and Dave had to think about whether we were going the right way...but in the end, we mapped out the appropriate course and circled back to the start, where people were starting to show up.  After I registered, dd, Jim, Kevin Tilton, Scott Mason, and Bob Jackman all went out for a 3 mile warmup on the roads.  It was around this time I realized that the outer part of my lower fibula (near my ankle) was starting to kill.  It got worse as the warmup went on.  I got pretty nervous about it but I laced up the snowshoes, chatted with some fellow teammates and friends who started to file in (Al Bernier, Tim VanOrden, Max Thomas, Steve Wolfe, Scotty Graham, etc.) and started to get ready for the race...I knew it was going to be a very good field, as many of the usual suspects from the mountain and snowshoe circuit were milling around the starting line.

As the race went out, I immediately wanted (and somewhat expected) Kevin (pictured left) to take it out but he wasn't biting.  About a minute in, I realized that if I had any shot, I would need to open it up and put some distance on him and a few others before the climb on the other side of the road.  As we raced around the Sandwich fairgrounds, I put some serious distance on the field and Kevin stayed right in the middle of the gap.  Once I crossed the street (which is covered with snow ahead of time by some locals with a tractor), I hit the single track which basically cuts your pace by about half if you're lucky.  The climb was no where near as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it did slow me down quite a bit and allowed Kevin (who is a much better climber than I) to narrow the gap.  As I reached the top, he was still gaining.  At this point, the course crosses a couple of fields before going back down and around to the fairgrounds again.  By the time I got to the end of the fields and back onto the single track, Kevin was right behind me.  I managed to hold him off for most of the descent, but then came one final climb before a final downhill to road and he was breathing down my neck.  I pulled over to the side of the narrow trail a bit and let him go on by...I stayed in contact with him for the rest of the way out of the woods and as we crossed the road one last time to go back onto the groomed trails, I thought for a few seconds about surging up and going after him one last time...but no sooner did I finish those thoughts, did I find him pulling away for good....The gap got too far for me to make any last ditch efforts to try to reel him in and he picked up some last minute energy to widen the gap near the end... I finished 13 seconds back of Kevin and I'll take it.  He's been one of the best mountain runners in the country for years now and I always consider it a good day when I'm that close to him at the end of a race...especially a trail, snowshoe, or mountain race.  A couple minutes back was Dave Dunham rounding out the top 3.  CMS had 6 in the top 7 (with Bob Jackman from TNT in there in 4th place overall).

Sidehiller Snowshoe Race - Center Sandwich, NH - 4.11 Miles
Top 20 Results (CMS in blue):

PLACE
First Last
Age
City
ST
Team
Time
1
Kevin Tilton
27
Conway
NH
CMS
31:40
2
Jim Johnson
31
Salem
NH
CMS
31:54
3
Dave Dunham
44
Ward Hill
MA
WMAC/CMS
33:53
4
Robert Jackman
26
Warwick
RI
TNT
36:07
5
Tim VanOrden
40
Barrington
VT
CMS
37:08
6
James Pawlicki
34
Beverly
MA
CMS
37:35
7
Al Bernier
34
Newton
NH
CMS
38:09
8
Danny Ferreira
26
Concord
NH
Acidotic Racing
39:15
9
Steve Wolfe
44
Merrimack
NH
Acidotic Racing
39:39
10
Gabriel Flanders
33
Hiram
ME
White Mt. Milers
41:00
11
Chris Dunn
40
Strafford
NH
Acidotic Racing
41:05
12
Russ Hoyer
48
Voorheesville
NY
42:06
13
Patrick Smith
46
Salem
MA
Dungeon Rock Racing
42:13
14
Kim Webster
32
Framingham
MA
41:18
15
Chris Smith
42
Woburn
MA
Dungeon Rock Racing
42:54
16
Bob Dion
53
Reedsboro
VT
WMAC/DION
43:34
17
Jay Myers
38
Dover
NH
Acidotic Racing
44:19
18
Scott Graham
50
Westford
MA
Acidotic Racing
44:48
19
Max Thomas
17
Wolfeboro
NH
White Mt. Milers
44:51
20
John Skewes
51
Keinsington
NH
45:07

...61 total finishers.

After everyone finished up and a quick change, the same group of us ( + Steve Wolfe, - Scott Mason) headed out for a 3 mile cooldown. It was here that I realized that my ankle/leg started to hurt again...I didn't notice it at all during the race (which is obviously good)...but it really came back as I ran on the roads... Hopefully icing and elevation will help alleviate whatever this could be... 

(pictured to the left, race winner and fellow CMS teammate Kevin Tilton and yours truly).

After the cooldown, everyone went over to grab some coffee and food at a local shop that was kind enough to cater to anyone w/ a bib number (which got you either some free soup or a free muffin and coffee).  We all sat around and chatted a bit before we had to hit the road to be home in time for some committments that Dave and Jim both had later in the afternoon.  

Now I look forward to tomorrow's Frosty's Dash in nearby Atkinson, NH (7.5 miles from my house) which is a 5k run over the Atkinson Country Club.  It is race # 4 in the Granite State Snowshoe Series and served as one of the WMAC Snowshoe Series races last season.

Like the good sport that she is, Kristin braved the cold temps once again (we didn't have anywhere near the 'warm' weather that was supposed to hit the lower part of New England) to take photos.  Because of the layout of the course and the snow cover, she couldn't get the start AND other portions of the race, so she settled for a spot about 400 meters or so from the finish line and got some really good shots of the first half of the field...she unfortunately couldn't get everyone, as her toes were understandibly freezing and she had to make her way back to the car.  

Check out her great photos (as usual) here at my SmugMug page.  If you are eating, you might want to finish up before looking at this gallery, as there is a substantial amount of spit and junk hanging off of Kevin's face as he goes by...  Also, dd is in some of these, and he has been known to turn some stomachs also....  The rest of the CMS contingent would be heading out to the other WMAC Dion Series race at Moody Spring - Hawley, MA on Sunday.  Rumor had it late on Saturday that former UML standout and DII All American XC runner Dave Quintal and his equally speedy brother Mike would be making their snowshoe debut at Frosty's on Sunday...

Photo on the left of Mr. RunningRaw Tim VanOrden who is now back to his clean-shaven self, and yours truly.  Tim managed to completely mangle one of his toes in today's race but slogged through to the finish... afterwards we all got a peek and it wasn't pretty.... looks like it was about to explode... It wouldn't be the first time Tim has gotten a completely disgusting snowshoe race injury though... Again if you've finished eating, check out this video from last year, in which Tim actually manages to cut the backs of his feet clean off after a race....then, there is a followup video that shows how Tim dealt with training through that specific injury....hardcore!  Way to go Tim!



Sunday, was the second half of the double, as I made my way 5 miles down the road to the Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson, NH for Frosty's Dash (results) (race #4 in the Granite State Snowshoe Series).  This race was advertised as a 5k but in reality is a little shorter (about 3)...  That didn't stop the times from being collossally slow as this was probably one of the toughest slogs I've gone through this year... Because of the very mild temps overnight and this morning, the snow was extremely wet and it made for a very difficult run.  There was absolutely nowhere on the course that was solid enough to get turnover going...every step I took was a challenge as you sink down about 6 inches and then slide to the right or left, making the effort that much harder to put one foot in front of the other with any sort of efficiency.  To put things in perspective, Bob Dion ran 21:48 last year and ran 29:36 this year.  Scott Graham ran 22:09 last year and 28:56 this year. Unfortunately and unlike all the other races I've run this season, this race had absolutely zero assurance flags or course markers other than a few signs put out by Michael Amarello (3C) where he thought people might get confused on which way to go... They stated that you were to follow the 'main' snowmobile tracks...the problem was that there were (in my opinion) many different ones... I got pretty confused at two different sections but fortunately chose the right path both times....  It was a VERY long last 10 minutes or so as I wasn't particularly sure I went the right way....but then one last sign, pointing straight, assured me that I was going the right way...  The CMS 'Polar Bears' went 1-2 again for two straight races as Dave Quintal finished strong in 2nd place in his VERY FIRST time on snowshoes.... This was also Dave's second race of the weekend, as he had done a quick 3.2 mile race the previous day... 

I left the house on Sunday morning solo.  I didn't think Kristin would be making the trip over to the race...I let her sleep in as she had been a trooper the day before and braved the cold up in Sandwich.   She surprised me at the starting line and showed up to watch the race...however no camera in hand (I had brought it and left it in my car)...  She did manage to get one shot w/ her cell phone (above).... not the best quality, but visual evidence that I was there...  The kid behind me in the hockey jersey was a volunteer that was just running all over the course and wasn't actually racing.





Frosty's Dash Snowshoe Race - Atkinson, NH - 3.1 Miles
Top 10 Results (CMS in blue):

Place
First  Last
Age
City
ST
Team Time   
1
Jim  Johnson   
31
Salem 
NH
CMS POLAR BEARS             24:28
2
David Quintal   
45
Salem 
NH
CMS POLAR BEARS             26:22
3
Steve Wolfe     
44
Merrimack 
NH
acidotic RACING             26:59
4
Chris Dunn      
40
Strafford 
NH
acidotic RACING             26:59
5
Dave  Hannon    
37
Roxbury 
MA
NEW ENGLAND TRACK & TRAIL   27:39
6
Ri  Fahnestock
29
Dover 
NH
acidotic RACING             28:37
7
Scott Graham    
50
Westford  
MA
acidotic RACING             28:56
8
Kim  Webster   
32
Framingham
MA
                            29:06
9
Ted  Hall      
35
Merimack  
NH
acidotic RACING             29:09
10
Bob  Dion      
53
Readsboro 
VT
WMAC DION                   29:36

...141 total finishers.

Next up is the Horse Hill 7k in Merrimack, NH (race #5 in the Granite State Series) next Saturday.  It will most likely be my only race next weekend as my ankle continues to bother me...hopefully backing off a bit will help...  As with Saturday's race, it really only bothered me on the warmup and cooldown... It's got to be the pounding on the roads...  


Thats all I got!  ...oh yeah, I might shave today...

4 comments:

  1. The junk on my face was the bits of your carcass that I chewed up on my way by! Nice racing this weekend.

    Take care of the ankle. Roads = bad. Trails = good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great comment,Kevin!

    Hey Jim, not too bad a weekend, even with a sore ankle.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dude - it is about BEARD Power.

    ReplyDelete
  4. nice post and thanks for sharing....

    ___________________
    Britney
    Entertainment at one stop

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