|Photo of the starting line by SNAPacidotic|
This year it was great only having to drive 15-20 minutes up the road to the race. I woke up in the morning to a nice dusting of an inch or two of fresh snow everywhere and it was snowing pretty good heading up Rt. 16 through Conway. I made it to the race early so I could run over the course w/ Dave Dunham and flag some of the trails that we didn't want to do until this morning (because it was still being used by skiers last night after we left). We also had to tape across the stakes that had been set by Kevin yesterday afternoon. We headed out at about 8:15 and did the entire 4 miles of the course, which had a nice top layer of powder on top of the already groomed xc ski trails. I then ran another mile + on snowshoes back up to a junction to set more flags, then back down and around the field a bit to warm up right before the race. My foot was starting to kill me on the way back down from flagging the last bit. It was the worst pain I've had in a while in the foot...but after stretching a bit at the car and staying loose right before the race, it seemed to get better by the time the race started.
74 brave souls endured the cold morning and snow flurries to make their way out on the slightly longer than 4 mile course. I got off to an OK start and moved ahead by the middle of the field. I headed into the woods and started the small climb up the first of a few hills. I probably felt the worst during this section. I just felt flat and gassed. I am not sharp at all and it takes me a while to warm up to the pace and effort lately. The more I race the more I hope to get back that edge.
|Photo of my bad start by SNAPacidotic|
|Trying to stay ahead of Kristina and near Chris Dunn... by SNAPacidotic|
|Photo near the start by Justin Macomber|
As soon as I started the descent off what has to be one of the highest if not the highest point of the course, I started to open it up a bit. I felt pretty burnt out, but kept up an honest pace as I shot down and around and back up to the second major climb, which is the same uphill section we do in the Summer Series at Whitaker on Tuesday nights.
After summiting the second of the two big climbs, it's mostly all downhill, with some moderate rollers. I hit the powerline section and looked back a few times but didn't see anyone. The powerline stretch hooks a sharp right an hits some sloppy single track for a stretch before winding it's way back down to the powerlines again, but further down the course. Then you run back down the powerlines continuing for a bit before hooking left and back up the other side for a stretch until you hook right and back onto the xc ski trail in the woods. From that point, it's a load of on and off xc ski trail (groomed) and single track cut-across sections (ungroomed). I tried to maintain pace in this section but just felt a bit tired. I knew at this point, I had the race in hand (unless my foot blew up). It's all flat in this section and the last mile has got to be the easiest for sure.
|Photo by Justin Macomber|
The prize for winning was yet another homemade goodie courtesy of the Tiltons (last year it was a big gold championship belt like the wrestlers get, and 2 years ago it was a snowfall measuring stick w/ some clever depth indicators on it). Jess worked w/ the shop teacher at Kennett to create this lovely wooden snowshoe cutting board (she did the design). I also got a $25 gift certificate to the Moat. Scott Mason is 20 for 20 in winning something at the GSSS raffles. I was just about to joke right before the last prize was announced, that Scott hadn't won anything and it was a big surprise....when to NO ONE's surprise, he won the LAST prize in the raffle. I say it's fixed. :)
Top 10 Overall
|8||31:48||Chuck||Hazzard||52||Trail Monster Running|
74 Total Finishers. Full Results Here.
I cooled down a couple more miles over the course, picking up some flags. Foot started to bother me again, so I called it at 2 miles. 11 miles total for the day, all on snowshoes. Then home to see my girls!!!
Here's a video taken by Tim Lindsey again w/ his GoPro (of the first 11 min. or so):