Monday, March 11, 2013

Granite State Snowshoe Championships

This past Saturday was the Granite State Snowshoe Championships at Bear Brook State Park. Fellow aR racer, Ryan Welts, was race directing and I had been getting relatively frequent trail condition updates over the past few weeks. It's gonna be good! Turned into It's gonna be great! Supposedly the trails were in pristine condition and he had set up a great course as well as brought in some fast competition to go head to head with Double J, D and KT. Rich and I were planning on heading over to volunteer and promote our race the following weekend. Rich was planning on running(he ended up not being able to due to a sick family at home) but I had not made up my mind. I have not been running much at all this winter(less than 50 miles for the year) and hadn't run 6+ miles since Quebec. That course, I suspected was going to be a lot easier than Bear Brook. However, as I drove up with Lisa Ransom I caught the snowshoe bug. I decided to do day of registration and see what the snow gods had in store.

If you have never been to Bear Brook, you really should make the trip. It is a very interesting state park with a residential section bisecting it. The terrain is a lot of rolling hills with ponds and plenty of trails. I had only been there once before so I had no idea what to expect in regard to the course. Instead of warming up prior to the race, I mingled with all my fellow aR racers. It was nice to see such a large turnout for a snowshoe race. The weather was so nice that I decided to forego arm warmers and even pants(don't worry, I did wear shorts).

Eying the racers as we got ready to race, I immediately knew that it was going to be a faaast race. In addition to the usual suspect, Jim Pawlicki, Greg Hammett and Mark Miller(the solo racer who nearly beat our team at the Pinnacle Challenge) were there. The course started with single track so I knew I didn't want to get boxed in behind slower runners, but I also didn't want to be the one boxing in any faster runners, so I lined up next to Chris Dunn and J Massa. J had just come off a great Escape from Alcatraz performance so I knew he was in top shape and Chris seems to only be getting faster as the season progresses. He was only seconds behind me at Whittaker Woods so I knew we'd be in around the same time. As Ryan set us off, I settled in behind J Massa. We had a pretty steady pace with DD and Chris Dunn just ahead of us for probably a solid 1 1/2 miles before they started to gap us.
Chris Dunn, Massa and Danny all in a line at the start
Phil Erwin attempted a pass but the snow was just deep enough that it made it nearly impossible. Around the 2-3 miles, we finally came to an opening that allowed us to pick up the pace. Yelling encouragements to Massa in the form of a pat on the butt, Phil and I opened it up. Phil hung with me for a while but as I saw Chris Dunn in my sights, I picked up the pace and Phil fell back a bit.

Around 3-4 miles(as you can see I'm not good at distances), I caught and passed Chris who was still looking strong and set my sight on the next set of runners. Who I never saw. I must have given them too much of a lead, as I never saw another runner until I popped out of the woods for the finish. Those last few miles were fantastic and I just ran at a comfortable pace and really enjoyed myself. Ryan definitely put together a great race and I would recommend putting it on your 2014 race schedule. Looking at the results, JJ crushed the field which otherwise looked like they stayed pretty much together. It was nice to see such a fast field out ahead of me.
JJ in the background probably already done his cooldown

Top Ten Results:
1 Jim Johnson  BAA                                          43:22 6:59
2 Kevin Tilton  Central Mass Striders/INOV8    46:24 7:28
3 James Pawlicki  Central Mass Striders            46:29 7:29
4 Greg Hammett  Central Mass Striders             46:30 7:29
5 Dave Dunham  Central Mass Striders              47:27 7:39
6 Mark Miller  BAA                                          48:22 7:47
7 Danny Ferreira acidotic RACING              49:35 7:59
8 Anthony Parillo                                               51:11 8:15
9 Phil Erwin acidotic RACING                       51:17 8:16
10 Chris Dunn  acidotic RACING                  51:25 8:17

At the finish, I was surprised to see my parents who decided to sneak out and visit. We ended up going for a nice walk in Bear Brook and then out to lunch where I probably had one of the best roast beef sandwiches I have ever had at a little unsuspecting restaurant that my dad recommended. A nice walk around Concord with Amber later in the afternoon made it a great Saturday all in all.

Up Next: Amber will be racing San Juan 70.3 on Sunday and the Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods is this Saturday.

[Thanks to Gianina Lindsey, Joe Viger and Scott Mason for their photos]

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