The 3rd race of the Granite State Snowshoe Series (Sidehiller 4-Miler)was in Center Sandwich, NH , a relatively short (in snowshoe racing terms) 1.5 hr drive north. Michael Amarello and I got an early start, arriving in this tiny town around 9:30am for the 11am race...and we weren't even the first ones there.
The weather report claimed a warm up was in store for today (supposedly 40+) but when I left my house it was 0 degrees and maybe 10 degrees at the race site. A whole lot of warming would have to take place to hit 40, that's for sure.
Michael and I chatted with fellow acidotic RACING teammates Chris, Steve and Scott for a few minutes and then Scott and I went for a warm up run on the course (in running shoes). We heard there was a hill and we wanted to see it for ourselves. Running Pooh Hill and Cobble Mt tends to make racers a little hill-phobic. The first mile or so was on a nicely groomed cross-country ski trail before crossing Squam Lake Rd and heading into a 2 1/2 mile loop on mostly single track snowshoe trails. We found the hill (Ha, you call this a hill????), thought 'this isn't so bad' and then looped back down to the road and onto the cross country trails to the finish. At the time the trails didn't seem that bad.
Weather be damned, I went with the short sleeve shirt. Surprisingly I was the only one. Come on people, the weatherman said it would be 40 degrees today, act like it!! Ok, so I was a little cold, but in a snowshoe race it's probably better than being a little warm.
Not only was Sidehiller a GSSS race, it was also a WMAC Dion Snowshoe series race AND it was also a regional qualifier for the USSSA (whatever that means). A major acronym race no doubt.
It was also stacked up front with Jim Johnson, Kevin Tilton, Dave Dunham, Tim Van Orden, Bob Jackman and a few other CMS guys I didn't know well. A top 10 finish would be a challenge.
At 11am a field of about 70 took off in a cloud of snow dust and you could tell immediately this would not be a fast day. Even the nicely groomed xc trails were slow. They 'looked' like they should be fast but your shoe would sink in the snow on nearly every step. Unfortunately this was the fast section...it would get much harder and much slower. With firm snow conditions (which we did not have) this would be a relatively fast course, no big hills, nice rolling terrain, decent single track and some snowmobile trails...a really nice course. But for whatever reason, today was not a fast day. The single tracks were more like running in sand. You just couldn't get any grip, sinking into the soft powdered snow on nearly every step. My position in the race was set early, around the 1/2 mile mark. After that point I passed no additional runners and nobody passed me. I followed Danny Ferreria (acidotic RACING) from a distance for most of the remainder but never really gained on him until the last 200 meters but not enough to actually catch him. In the end I finish just under 40 minutes in 9th place overall. I haven't seen any official results but will post a link once they become available. Another good team showing from acidotic RACING and Dungeon Rock Racing, this rivalry thing is pretty cool, especially when we beat them :-)
They may have spanky new DDR singlets but we've been getting the team wins (and now we have our own stylying acidotic RACING skully's).
The next race of the GSSS is tomorrow. I hope the legs recover in time.
Complete results can be found here.