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Downtown Temple,NH

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Grand Tree Trail Races

The Western Mass Athletic Club (WMAC) announced their race lineup for the 2009 Grand Tree Trail Series. The list includes 14 races in Massachusetts, 5 races in Connecticut, 4 races in New Hampshire and 1 race in New York. You can check out the complete list at:

WMAC 2009 Grand Tree Race Schedule

NOTE: the list doesn't include race #5 or #23.

Next up for the GSSS: Cobble Mt Snowshoe Classic

The second race of the Granite State Snowshoe Series takes place on Saturday (Jan 31) in Gilford, NH. To steal a phrase from the Boston Prep 16-miler, this 'moderately challenging' course has something for everybody: perfectly groomed Nordic trails, freshly cut bushwhack trails, single track snowshoe trails, fast descents and quad burning climbs. My guess is you'll be cursing Chris Dunn and acidotic RACING during the race and thanking him afterwords. It's that kind of course.
Now if you're part of the acidotic RACING team, read on. If you're part of the Dungeon Rock Racing team you can leave now :-)

Course Highlights:
  • The course is slightly longer than last year, probably closer to 6k.
  • The course climbs steadily over the first 2k, with a decent climb right at 2k before turning left for the first of three new bushwhack snowshoe trails.
  • I'd guess 2/3 of the course is on groomed Nordic trails and 1/3 on single track snowshoe or bushwhack trails.
  • For those of you who raced at Pooh Hill, you'd be interested to know that the climb up Cobble Mt is harder (in my humble opinion). It's about 350 ft of climbing in about 1/2 mile. You'll have plenty of time to admire the view off to your right on the way up. As you past by the big boulder at the summit you'll get a nice view of Gunstock off to your left.
  • If you raced Cobble last year you probably remember the icy, straight line descent off the summit. This year the descent takes a right after you cross over the stone wall near the summit and then bushwhacks its way back down to the beautiful Nordic trails below(eventually).
  • The last 1-2k is pretty close to last years course and is 'mostly' downhill and FAST, assuming you have any gas left in the tank.
  • You will hit one little hiccup right before you exit the woods and race to the wide open, groomed finish area.
  • My GPS recorded 1300ft of elevation gain. That's a lot of climbing. For the record, the same GPS recorded about 500ft of elevation gain at the Pooh Hill course.
If you're heading up for the first time the race starts across the street from the Nordic Center (which will be on your right) on the access road to the Gunstock Moutain Resort. Registration takes place in the small Nordic hut on your left, equipped with a wood stove.

I'd recommend members of DDR should 'celebrate' the forming of their new team by indulging in a few adult beverages on Friday night. I read on the internet that drinking alcohol before a race will improve your performance, and if it's on the internet it must be true!