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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, January 18, 2010

Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race

Last year I was a spectator at Feel Good Farm. I don't remember why, but I didn't race that day (I guess I was smarter then). I instead opted for taking pictures of the 12 folks who raced. I remember a couple of things about that race: the snow was DEEP and the climb was pretty tough. The course was still two loops but they were generally two clockwise loops.

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          


CHRIS J. DUNN said...

RACING acidotic is about "how" you finish not "where" you finish. A gritty performance under very, very difficult circumstances. You are a warrior.

Steve Wolfe said...

Someone once told me I should rest once in a while. I was just looking at my log and my last day off was December 30th. In retrospect, that's pretty stupid. I'll try to do better.

Dale said...

Steve... your race description makes a very entertaining read... Thanks. My son, Tyler and I ran this race as our first snowshoe race just to give it a try. Lots of fun but way tougher than I expected. Even without much snow we both had a great time... see you in Merrimack.

Jim Hansen said...

I don't like being injured, but the nice thing is that I didn't have to return to this race. I can't believe that Mike made it even tougher this year!

Anonymous said...

happy to read~ thank you!..................................................