Fast forward to this past weekend for the 2010 version (results) and lots of things had changed.
First, only a handful from last year returned (including a carload of Tuesday Night Turtles) but the popularity of the Granite State Snowshoe Series brought out a bunch of new folks, 104 finishers to be exact.
Second, the conditions were night and day. A week of unseasonably warm temps (including mid 40's on race day) melted away a lot of the snow on the exposed slopes of Moose Mt. Some sections (including some steep downhills) were borderline unshoeable (I think I just made up a word). Lots of rocks, exposed ledge, iced dirt, tree branches. In fact, everything except the preferred snow.
Finally, the course was totally different. Although I didn't run last year, I did hike the entire course during my photographic outing. This year was MUCH harder. No question about it. For 100% confirmation I'd defer to the folks from Tuesday Night Turtles (Bob Jackman, for instance). For starters, the course was generally run in a counter-clockwise loop, which included two complete climbs up Moose Mt on each loop.
The course started off running most of the finish of last years course in reverse (through the rolling hills and stream crossing). After a quick 100m run across a field, it immediately funneled down into a narrow single track. You had to get out quick (which I did) to avoid any bottlenecks getting into the single track section. I knew I had a bunch of team mates right on my heels on the initial climb.
Early in the race, acidotic as far as the eye can see!
(photo credit - Kristin Kozlosky)
I plugged along the best I could but I had no gas on the hills. The first climb was more of a direct path straight up, followed by a suicidal descent down the back side of the mountain. By the time we reached the summit for the first time, Ri Fahnestock went flying by. I was so tired by the first climb that I was dizzy, which made for a joyous ride down the sick backside. I've done lots of trail races with terrain like this but never a snowshoe race. I tried to stick with Ri as best I could but he was way to strong (on the ups and the downs).
The second climb up (still on the first loop) followed most of last years climb up an old stream bed I think, except when it got near the top it veered off to the left on an even steeper section that finally brought you to the summit again. By the time we started back up for our second pass at Moose Mt, Ri was slipping away....and then Chris Dunn went by. I know he thought I could stick with him but he was wrong today. I gave up trying after he was just a few steps past. I looked back to see who would be next. For the time being, I didn't see anyone. For the record, this second climb had some of the steepest uphill in a snowshoe race I've ever done, if not the steepest. I walked more during this race than any snowshoe race I've done. I wasn't alone thankfully. As I approached the summit (again), I could hear a few shoers behind me. Turns out it was Chris Mahoney and Danny Ferreria. For the time being, I would keep them at bay. However, there would be a trend to when or more specifically where people would pass (see if you can figure it out).
Near the summit, 2nd time up
(photo credit - Scott Mason)
The trip back down followed a lot of last years descent except it took a more direct route back towards the farm. By now I totally lost sight of anyone in front but knew I had a few guys right behind me. Last year the trip down looked like it would be a lot of fun. This year, not so much. There was way too much exposed everything (except snow). As I completed the first loop down by the farm I really was thinking I wanted to quit. I was exhausted already and I was only half done (22:18 split). But, like an idiot, I headed back out on to the course for a second lap. By the time we got to the 3rd climb up Moose Mt I was caught again. This time it was Chris Mahoney. Danny went by just as we reached the summit. My shoe had loosened up so I stopped to tighten it. Danny was gone when I finished. I can't believe he didn't wait for me :-)
At least I was able to keep him in sight for the remainder of the race, staying pretty close to his heels. I was happy where I was and had no plans trying to make a pass. Heck, I was just hoping no one else would go storming by. The final descent down the mountain totally sucked Any snow that was there was completely gone by now, and the trail more closely resembled a trail race rather than a snowshoe race. It was most likely during this final descent that I busted one of my Deep Cleats.
The final descent down snowless Moose Mt
(photo credit - Scott Mason)
I finished up as strong as I could (22:34 split for the 2nd loop), 11th overall, 3 seconds behind Danny. I'm not sure if I've ever been this exhausted after a race. I wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more. acidotic RACING had a fantastic showing once again with 12 in the top 20.
Place Time Points Name Team Age Sex Bib City St ===== ======= ======= ====================== ============================ === === === ===================== 1 37:19 100.00 Kevin Tilton CMS POLAR BEARS 28 M 100 North Conway NH 2 37:46 98.79 Geoff Cunnigham ACIDOTIC RACING 32 M 83 Greenland NH 3 38:40 96.50 Ben Nephew CMS POLAR BEARS 34 M 34 Mansfield MA 4 39:32 94.39 Charles Theriault ACIDOTIC RACING 24 M 80 Newmarket NH 5 39:42 93.99 Robert Jackman TUESDAY NIGHT TURTLES 27 M 71 Warwick RI 6 42:59 86.81 James Pawlicki CMS POLAR BEARS 35 M 37 Beverly MA 7 43:23 86.00 Reeder Fahnestock ACIDOTIC RACING 30 M 14 Exeter NH 8 43:33 85.68 Chris Dunn ACIDOTIC RACING 41 M 65 Strafford NH 9 43:55 84.95 Chris Mahoney WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM 32 M 27 Haverhill MA 10 44:49 83.26 Danny Ferreira ACIDOTIC RACING 27 M 15 Concord NH 11 44:52 83.17 Steve Wolfe ACIDOTIC RACING 45 M 67 Merrimack NH 12 45:22 82.24 Christian Muentener ACIDOTIC RACING 36 M 96 Yarmouth ME 13 45:23 82.21 Richard Lavers ACIDOTIC RACING 33 M 25 Concord NH 14 45:28 82.06 Brian Lavoie GRANITE STATE RACING TEAM 37 M 78 Concord NH 15 46:14 80.71 Mike O Connor ACIDOTIC RACING 45 M 61 Westford MA 16 46:17 80.63 Jeremiah Fitzgibbon ACIDOTIC RACING 53 M 16 Bedford NH 17 46:19 80.56 Brent Tkaczyk ACIDOTIC RACING 40 M 53 Northwood NH 18 46:39 79.99 Amber Cullen ACIDOTIC RACING 27 F 9 Concord NH 19 47:07 79.19 David Principe Sr TUESDAY NIGHT TURTLES 43 M 82 Cranston RI 20 47:22 78.79 Sean Snow GRANITE STATE RACING TEAM 43 M 76 Dunbarton NH