Monday, March 9, 2015

The New England Snowshoe Championships! A Battle of US Snowshoe Champions!

I carpooled with Amber up to Moultonborough on Saturday to race the New England Snowshoe Championships. Amber was hot off her 4th place finish at Worlds while I was coming off my misadventures at Kingman Farm. As Ironman South Africa is coming up quickly for Amber, she hadn't been sure that she would be able to compete, but when she saw the weather report and figured she could do a bike ride outside on Sunday, she decided to do the race. Her weekend training didn't start with the race however as she still led a morning tri swim at the Concord YMCA before heading up. And it didn't end at the end of the race as she still had another hour she had to run. And that was only her "light" Saturday workout. Don't get me started on what she had to do on Sunday.

This race was exciting to participate in for several reasons: 1) It would be the last snowshoe race of the season and was the championships, 2) It is part of the All-Terrain Series which looks to see who's the best runner on (you guess it) all terrain and 3) It was another acidotic RACING event which meant it would be well run and there would be great prizes.

This race wasn't going to be easy though. Coming in slightly under 10K, it was longer than most snowshoe races and offered up 1324 feet of climbing with the max slope topping out at 26%! Yikes!

Made more challenging was the fact that because Amber a) had tri swim until 8ish b)thought the race was at 10:30 instead of 10 and c) Danny wanted a muffin and coffee. Why did this make it more challenging? Because we showed up to the race about 7 minutes before start time which resulted in no warm-up and me resorting to using my Leadfeathers instead of a brand new pair of Dions.

We got to the start line just in time to hear Chris Dunn's intro to the course, which after Kingman Farm I tried to listen to. It was also enough time to see that this race had definitely attracted some pretty fast runners and I saw that Kasie Enman, a runner with a 2:37 marathon PR and a former US snowshoe champion, was in attendance. This would be no cake walk for Amber today.
Joe Viger snapped a picture of the start- That's Amber in the pink!

The race started off fast and I found myself about 30 people back in a race that turned out to be almost entirely single track. Using the first mile as my warm-up, I was able to see the long line of runners ahead of me. A couple of the super fast guys like Jim Johnson and Kevin Tilton were out of sight fairly quickly but the rest stayed in sight for a while. It was interesting to see exactly when the two packs started to separate. In that second pack was Amber near the front. She looked to be running strong but comfortably, probably also using the first few miles as a warm-up.
'Yesterday Acidotic Racing hosted the Northeast snowshoe Championships!! @[623223067:2048:Kasie Wallace Enman] and I battled it out for first and second.  If you have never tried Snowshoe racing I invite you to grab a pair of @[100001182524344:2048:Bob Dion] Snowshoes and try it out. It has a funny way of taking you to deep dark places where you lose your mind, your way, your ability to care about anything but the next step...'
Amber hopping an obstacle with Kasie on her heels- courtesy of SNAP acidotic
Around 2 miles, Amber started picking up the pace which was evident by the runners that started stepping off the trail to let me pass. By the fourth mile, I was only a few people behind her with Dan Verrington, another CMS runner and Kasie Enman between us.

Amber leading the charge after just dropping Dan. Courtesy of Scott Mason
It was really fun to watch the two women battle it out with Kasie closing the gap on all the descents and then Amber pulling away on the climbs. Unfortunately for Amber the final mile was primarily descending and with less than 1/2 mile to go, Kasie passed her fairly definitively.
'@[304132093051553:274:Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete] is just 5' 2" but looks like she may have the longest stride in snowshoe racing.  That probably explains why she's been National Champion twice.  She finished second yesterday in a battle with 2011 World Mountain Running Champion @[284494995007218:274:Kasie Enman] for the Northeast Championship. @[106610482726535:274:Dion Snowshoes] @[117524208265808:274:acidotic RACING]'
Amber on a long descent- Another picture from Joe Viger
Amber surged to close the gap and at one point was probably only 5 feet behind but there was too much downhill at the end and Amber ended up getting nipped at the end by 5 seconds or so.
Kasie makes the pass with Amber on her heels. This is the closest I got to the two of them. Courtesy of Don Fredrickson
As I mentioned earlier, Amber wasn't done yet, still having an hour of running to do afterwards, Kasie and I joined her for a "cool-down" which became progressively more and more fast to the point where I was working considerably faster than I had been during the race. Of course, the final 1/2 mile of our so-called cool-down was up a 15% grade which left me totally wasted.
Thanks to Julbo's for covering up my tears. And to Snapacidotic for another picture
Luckily there was plenty of food and drinks providing by Moat Mountain Brewery which helped revive me and my spirits but I can honestly say that that workout was probably the hardest I've done a a while. And Amber had a six hour bike ride the next day! Crazy!

I went ice climbing the next day and my legs were totally shot. Even the lazy hike in along a railroad bed had me questioning my fitness. Hopefully it's just getting me stronger:)

It wasn't pretty folks.

With good scoring at this race, Amber is in prime position to be competitive in the All-Terrain series if she chooses to do it so you may see her be competing a bit more locally this year which is in line with her thoughts on staying more local with her sponsors. That being said, she does travel FAR for her next race which is Ironman South Africa on March 29th. Stay Tuned!

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