Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sidehiller Snowshoe (Sandwich, NH) 5.2 miles

Double J graciously picked me up at my house and we headed up to Sandwich, NH for the 6th annual Sidehiller Snowshoe race. Paul Kirsch, race founder and director, hosts the event and does a wonderful job as the race is one of three East region National qualifiers for the March snowshoe Nationals. This would be my first race of 2010 and only my 2nd snowshoe race ever, so anything, short of not finishing, was my goal. We arrived in the parking lot around 9:50 AM which gave us ample time to sign up and get prepared for a 3 mile warmup on the roads with Double D (who lent me some Atlas dual-trac SS's), Eric Morse, Jim Pawlicki, Scott Mason and several Tuesday Night Turtles. I felt good and after another warmup on SS's (after Dave helped me get them on properly) the race started promptly at 11 AM. Due to rain earlier in the week the course was modified into a 3 lap (1.73 mile per lap) around the relatively flat fairgrounds.

After Paul gave the race commands, 91 hearty souls took off. I put myself up front and soon found myself in about 20th place. There were many fast and talented runners in attendance so I just tried to hang as close to Double D, Eric M and Steve Wolfe and other 40+ racers. Having limited experience on snowshoes makes it very strange and awkward but soon I was getting the hang of it and I just tried to relax and
not lose too much contact with the guys I wanted to race with. The flat to downhill sections gave me the least amount of trouble but once we go to the single track section, I felt like the trail was boxing me around. The only climb was minimal and on the first go around I went up without any problem. As we approached the 1st circuit I was about 15 seconds behind Double D (11:22). By this time, I had other racers to concern myself with and both were 40+. They were Dave Principie (TNT) and Stan Snow (VT).
I knew I wasn't going to be able to hang with the top 3 masters (DD, Wolfie and Eric Morse) after the 1st lap but I had company the next two go arounds.
I hit the 2nd lap in about 23:30 (12:08) and finished 16th in 35:33 (12:03). I qualified for the nationals.

Up front, Kevin Tilton (CMS/Innov8) took the win with Josh Ferenc 2nd and Jim "Double J" Johnson (CMS/Innov8) 3rd.

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