Sunday, February 8, 2015

February 8 (Sunday) - Weekly Summary and Moose Mountain Snowshoe Race

February 8 (Sunday) - 2.2 miles warmup (snowshoes) + 3.3 miles (snowshoe race) + 2 miles (roads) cooldown = 7.5 miles total.  Should have /could have done 4-5 junk miles later in the day to get 80  miles for the week but it was snowing, I was tired, and I had children to play and a family to enlighten and entertain so I opted to watch My Little Pony and Peppa Pig for a few hours instead ;).  Plus I am extremely lazy.  I think if I'm 70+ I'm in good shape...especially on weeks where I race twice.  If I'm between 75-85 I'm considering that where I want to be ideally. If I'm over 85, that's a little in the red zone for me as far as getting worn down or having something start to act up, so I was right in the sweet spot this week.

I ended with just over 75 miles for the week (5 days on the treadmill) and had 2 nice back-to-back snowshoe wins in the Granite State Snowshoe Series. I only did 1 'double' this week so that was actually pretty good considering.  I had an OK workout on the mill (by 'OK' I basically mean that I actually did a workout instead of not doing one).  I also had two 12 mile individual runs (slow but still) on the mill as well. I knew I was going to double in the races this weekend so I didn't want to kill myself before the weekend began.  Next week will be probably just the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe race in Madbury, NH.

The start of the 2nd Annual Moose Mountain Run Around Snowshoe Race

On Sunday morning I headed down to Brookfield in the morning for the 2nd Annual Moose Mountain Run Around Snowshoe Race (results) on pretty snowy and slow roads.  Route 16 was completely covered and had just a set of tire tracks to ride in.  The secondary roads were far worse.  It was a slow trip down and by the time I got down there, it was really snowing pretty good. I was hoping it would snow hard during the race as it's always fun to actually snowshoe race when it's snowing out (it hasn't really happened a lot).

This was the second annual race but first time the race has been part of the Granite State Snowshoe Series.   I won this race last year and really enjoyed it, even though only 28 strong showed up.  Moose Mountain is a great place to have a race and it's great that Dan Coons (RD) got in there to start this up.  The location is perfect as it's centrally located (45+ minutes closer than Conway for a lot of folks coming from the south).  It's a former ski area (closed in the late 1980s) and now operates as a snow tubing park and has frisbee golf and some other events.  It is also a hub for snowmobile activity in the area as there are trails that dump right out into the parking lot.  It has a gigantic parking area, nice indoor facility with bathrooms, snack bar, etc.  It also has a ton of things to choose from with regards to the course.  There are miles of ski trails and single track and snowmobile trails, etc. in the area.  The current course is a great mix of fields, single track, snowmobile trail, and some of the base of the mountain.  It could (in the future) incorporate some of the ski slopes but for now, the roughly 3.3-2.5 mile course stays down near the bottom with some decent climbs but nothing crazy tough.  The footing though (for the last 2 years) has made it a grind.  The field area, single track, and even the snowmobile trails have been soft/loose and slow.

The fact that this race was supposed to be in early January but was postponed because of weather until today, coupled with the nasty weather, led to another small field.  If this race was held as the first race of the year and first race of the series, I but the field would have been pretty large. But the stars didn't align for this one this year and only 33 people braved the elements to make the drive over to toe the line.

I warmed up with Leslie over the second big loop of the course, on snowshoes.  The big loop of snowmobile trail and single track was about 2.2 miles and the first mile loop through the fields and up part of the mountain was about a mile.  The weather was very cold and the snow was loose and slow but didn't seem as bad as yesterday.  Again, I wanted to check out the part of the course I thought may be slow conditions-wise and I'm glad we did.  There's a single descent off of the snowmobile trail climb, that is epic.  The rail that was carved out by Dan laying down the course, was DEEP.  It was going to make the drop down through there pretty treacherous.  I had an idea that I would play it relatively safe through there and hopefully, that was late enough in the race where I could be in there alone.

Eric Narcisi (CMS/Level) made the drive up from MA and Andrew Drummond (Conway) was there as well.  Andy was right behind me at the Madison Thanksgiving Race and works part time as a Strava-Segment-Stealer.  Any time I run something in Madison/Conway/ or off the Kanc, he makes it a point to go over and destroy the segments.  So I knew he'd be up there as well.  He had done the Bretton Woods Triathlon the day before so we were both a little tired, but I think he was probably feeling it more than I was.

Coming down the mountain...
As the race went off, I headed out a little easy as I knew the fields we had to track across were slow.  That first mile is a grind. It's slow and has a single-track climb up part of the mountain that just zaps the life out of your lungs and legs.  It's not long, but it's a grind on soft single track.  I was followed closely for a bit by acidotic's Garrison Parker until Eric moved into 2nd before the climb.  I had maybe 100 yards or so on Eric by the time I came down through the first mile or so and past the start/finish.  My hands and face were killing me as I pushed on into the snowmobile trails.  The section of snowmobile trails were slightly up for a while and then there was a decent little climb up to the single track section that drops down down down.  There were a couple of small single track sections mixed into the way up but it was mostly very runnable snowmobile trail.

Once I hit the single track descent, I made the conscious decision to focus on staying on my feet and not going crazy.  I had peeked back before taking the turn and didn't see Eric any more.  Eric was in sight at the beginning of the snowmobile trail but not by the time I took the turn.  I kept clipping my snowshoe on the steep sidewall of the rail and almost wiping out.  There were a couple close calls with the trees on the way down and it was really dangerous if you really tried to bomb down.  I kept it in control and figured I'd be faster in the end if I didn't have to pick myself up out of the deep snow a couple times.  Once at the bottom, I hit the snowmobile trails for a 600 or so yard trip back to the finish.  I crossed the street, passed Chris Dunn who was in there taking pictures, and popped back out into the parking area.  The last little climb up the mountain a little and over to the finish was an energy zapper.  The snow was all over the place and there was no real good path to pick so I was weaving all over the joint.  I came through about 2:45 up on Eric who battled with Andy over the last bit of the course.

About a mile in, on the way down and across the base of the mountain
I was very pleased with the effort here as it felt controlled and I didn't feel like I was in total distress at all during the race.  I was working pretty hard but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I got about 3 hours of sleep the night before and was very nervous about my energy level during the race. I even carried a gel with me but didn't need it.  This was my second win of the weekend, 3rd snowshoe win in a row, 3rd win of the series, and 4th win in a row overall in NH this year (counting Derry).  Legs and body feel great.  I'm not really sure if I'm 'fast' but I feel decently strong right now.  It's tough to tell if you are fast in these types of races... but I'll know soon enough.

Top 10 Overall  (CMS in Blue):

125:396:54Jim Johnson     CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS37Madison NH      
228:247:38Eric Narcisi    CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS35North Andover MA
328:427:43Andrew Drummond                       33Ctr Conway NH   
430:328:13Garrison Parker ACIDOTIC RACING       28Melrose MA      
532:198:42Jonathn Miller                        45Sanbornville NH 
632:288:44Jeff Litchfield ACIDOTIC RACING       55Concord NH      
732:348:46Leslie O'Dell   ACIDOTIC RACING       38Albany NH       
832:538:51Justin Beaudry  ACIDOTIC RACING       33New Boston NH   
933:158:57Ken Wiley       ACIDOTIC RACING       32Claremont NH    
1033:469:05John Carton     48Newmarket NH    

33 Total Finishers.

Strava Data:

The 2 mile cooldown was reluctantly done on the snow covered roads near the base of the mountain (out and back) with Leslie and Eric.  It was very cold, snowy, and the chili, soup, and coffee back at the lodge smelled and looked too good to miss so we did a short cooldown and headed back in for the awards.

Dan did a great job with this one again and I am really hoping this race takes off.  It has the potential of being one of the biggest and best events if the stars align.

Also 2 for 2 this weekend w/ the women's winner Leslie O'Dell who won both Horsehill and Moose Mountain.

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