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Downtown Temple,NH

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Top 25 Snowshoers (Men and Women) 2/25/10

Here's my top 25 snowshoers based on a 'best of 3' format. Points are calculated for each race based on a "strength of field" ranking (using my subjective formula) multiplied by points as a percent of the winner’s time. So there, now you know the secret formula (all most).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hallockville Orchard 3.7M Snowshoe Race

Part II of my weekend would take me (and DoubleJ) out west to Hawley MA for the Hallockville Orchard 3.7M Snowshoe Race (results). Only the stubbornness of both of us made this one happen. We both had sub-par experiences at Horse Hill the day before. I was hoping that was an aberration and not a trend. The general plan was if one of us went the other would go. If one bailed, the other most likely would skip the race. Well I wasn't going to be the one to say no. The outcome of this battle was no surprise to those who know us. Give the 'W' to stubbornness.

Horse Hill 7k Snowshoe Race

Horse Hill
It was a little disappointing only seeing 46 folks show up for the 2nd annual Horse Hill 7k Snowshoe Race (results) in Merrimack NH for race #6 of the GSSS. In the end we were able to map out a pretty decent 4 mile course on varying terrain with good snow cover. The way things are going it might turn out to be the last GSSS race due to lack of snow elsewhere in the state. I posted some pictures from the race here.

DoubleJ and I ran the course as a warm up to check out the conditions and course markings. Everything was great except me...I was not feeling very good. I was dragging on the warm up and was not looking forward to racing at all. To top it off I noticed one of my Dion bindings had torn through, allowing my foot to pivot sideways on the decking. Nothing like a little stress right before the start of a race. I truly expected my snowshoe to fall off during the race. Heck, near the end I was hoping it would and put me out of my misery.

Snowshoe Double (Not the one I planned on)

If you live in the Northeast, you don't need me to tell you the snow conditions have been less than ideal over the past month. A couple of the Granite State Snowshoe Series races have been shuffled around in hopes of hitting a date with actual snow on the ground. What a concept: a snowshoe race with snow....It really should not this difficult in the dead of winter in New Hampshire.

So, this weekend was supposed to be a day/night doubleheader. The Horse Hill 7k would take place in Merrimack NH at 11:30am and 6 1/2 hours later we'd have the infamous Kingman Farm Moonlight 5k in Madbury NH. Well three straight days of 40+ degree weather plus 50 degrees on race day ended that possibility. In the end, the Kingman Farm course could not maintain enough snow for a quality snowshoe event and was removed from the GSSS schedule, effectively becoming an 'snowshoe optional' race. I opted not to participate. It was a tough pill to swallow, as this race had become my favorite event over the last couple of years. I still attended, volunteering instead...guiding mostly runners (and some diehard snowshoers) across the snowless fields of Kingman Farms. Nobody complained.. It was a beautiful, star-filled moonlight night and I made sure to point it out to more than a few participants. Heck, Danny Ferreira even ran without his headlamp on, just to enjoy the awesome night.

Is there a point to this blog post? Well I didn't do the Horse Hill/Kingman double but thankfully we still have some options. I ran the Horse Hill 7k on Saturday and then headed out west for the WMAC Hallockville Orchard 3.7m race on Sunday. Stay tuned. Incredibly boring race reports to follow soon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Conditions at Horse Hill Snowshoe Race

First, Michael Amarello spent most of the day scouting trails, shoveling snow and marking the course. It's tough work and I appreciate the fact he's trying to provide the best event possible considering what mother nature gave and then promptly took away. Thanks Michael.

I ran the proposed course tonight and took pictures along the way. It's similar to last years course except neither of the hills are in play this year. Maybe that's a good thing for some. It's basically a loop run counter-clockwise (closer to a lollypop). The entire course is marked with orange/red survey flags. Arrow signs are located at major intersections.

Brief Course Overview:
The start will be about 1/4 down the trail from the parking lot to get over the first bare spot (shown below).

Once past the bare spot the trail turns to decent snow and ice. This is the approximate area for the start. It is a slight uphill at the start. Last year the course turned to the left and jumped on some single track before climbing the first hill. This year it goes straight. The first 1/3 mile is wide double track.

At the Loop Trail sign the course turns to the left and travels over a rough section for a few hundred yards. It's covered but there's a few icy sections (as shown below) along with some exposed rocks. There is snow along the edges and I'd recommend staying there.

The trail does improve and follows a snowmobile trail for quite a ways, generally with decent snow all the way to the power lines.

After you reach the power lines you'll take a hard left and bushwhack for a short section (in order to stay on snow) before hooking up with the main trail again.

The next mile or so is exactly the same as last year. Most of it is ok but it does have it's share of mixed conditions. Some bare spots, some icy spots but snow covered in most sections. You'll cross 2 bridges during this section. Nearly all of it is on snowmobile trails.

Eventually the trail reconnects with the same trail you took out (you just did a big loop). It's a little different on the way back though. About 3/4 miles from the finish the course takes a sharp left down an old discontinued trail. It's actually a nice section. Stay to the right as the trail splits several times. It's an out and back and is well marked. Just stay to the right on the way out and follow the arrows (and stay right) on the way back. Probably adds about 1/2 mile to the overall distance. Should be good to see the folks in front and behind you. It's all virgin snow, slightly downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back.

After that it hooks up with the same trail you took on the way out, all the way to the finish. The last 1/2 or so is all downhill. I hope this helps and I hope it convinces you we do have snow, it just isn't perfect. The total length if probably just a tad over 4 miles.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wolfe Tracks - February 15 Update

 Latest snowshoe rankings (according to yours truly) have been updated today. Includes results from the weekend (Camp Saratoga, Wilton NY).

Training Week 2/8 - 2/14

Cranked up the miles this past week and surprisingly feel ok. Even managed to get a rare road race in on Saturday and a nice long run on Sunday. If I'm not mistaken, this might be my high mileage week lifetime. Big miles is usually not my thing. Now, impatiently waiting for snow....bring it on!!

Mon 2/8
6.8m easy

Tues 2/9
5m easy
3.5m warm up/cool down
track workout 3 x 400,400,800
11.5m total

Weds 2/10
5.2m easy

Thurs 2/11
7m tempo with 4m @ 6:10 pace

Fri  2/12 
9.2 easy

Sat 2/13
3m warm up
5m race (29:27)
6k cool down
11.7m total

Sun 2/14
16 long

Totals: 67.4 miles

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 25 Snowshoers (men and women)

Here's my top 25 snowshoers based on a 'best of 3' format. Snowshoers get points for strength of field and overall placement. The system is far from perfect (even I don't necessarily agree with the rankings) but what the heck. It's easier to have a formula calculate the rankings then for me to do it :-)
The more you race, the better your chances are of moving up.
Camp Saratoga results were included.


TOP 25 OVERALL MEN (best of 3)
Rank Name Age Division Pts Races
1 Jim Johnson 32 OPEN 97.36 8
2 Ben Nephew 34 OPEN 94.66 5
3 Tim VanOrden 41 MASTER 94.57 8
4 Kevin Tilton 28 OPEN 94.37 3
5 Josh Ferenc 28 OPEN 93.52 3
6 Geoff Cunningham 33 OPEN 93.47 3
7 Dave Dunham 45 MASTER 92.78 7
8 Charles Therriault 24 OPEN 91.76 3
9 Robert Jackman 27 OPEN 91.20 4
10 Matt Westerlund 37 OPEN 89.31 6
11 Tim Cox 36 OPEN 89.20 3
12 Tim Mahoney 30 OPEN 88.81 5
13 Steve Wolfe 45 MASTER 88.14 8
14 Ross Krause 30 OPEN 87.31 4
15 James Pawlicki 35 OPEN 86.59 4
16 Danny Ferreira 27 OPEN 85.33 5
17 Chris Dunn 41 MASTER 84.86 4
18 Sean Snow 43 MASTER 84.44 4
19 Reeder Fahnestock 30 OPEN 83.66 4
20 Ken Clark 47 MASTER 82.04 8
21 Richard Lavers 33 OPEN 81.67 6
22 David Principe 43 MASTER 81.41 3
23 John Agosto 45 MASTER 80.40 3
24 Jeremiah Fitzgibbon 53 SENIOR 80.22 4
25 Rich Teal 31 OPEN 79.56 6

TOP 25 OVERALL WOMEN (best of 3)
Rank Name Age Division Pts Races
1 Abby Mahoney 31 OPEN 80.47 3
2 Amber Cullen 27 OPEN 77.73 5
3 Amy Lane 30 OPEN 77.34 4
4 Carolyn Stocker 17 YOUTH 76.51 5
5 Ann Rasmussen 45 MASTER 74.89 4
6 Shelynn Tetreault 34 OPEN 73.23 5
7 Lisa Ransom 47 MASTER 68.86 5
8 Ashley Krause 32 OPEN 68.35 4
9 Jessey Campbell 19 YOUTH 67.30 4
10 Jessica Hageman 35 OPEN 64.55 4
11 Sarah Phillips 26 OPEN 62.64 3
12 Lisa D'Aniello 23 OPEN 61.88 3
13 Regina Kavadias 43 MASTER 61.84 4
14 Becky Shattuck 57 SENIOR 59.99 5
15 Shelby Erwin 14 YOUTH 59.64 4
16 Sarah Dzikowicz 39 OPEN 59.22 4
17 Jessica Mulligan 17 YOUTH 58.73 4
18 Denise Dion 51 SENIOR 57.67 6
19 Diane Levesque 56 SENIOR 56.85 4
20 Laura Clark 62 SENIOR 55.75 8
21 Holly Atkinson 40 MASTER 55.27 3
22 Sharon Barbano 56 SENIOR 55.26 3
23 Ellen Tidd 41 MASTER 55.15 4
24 Kathleen Furlani 61 SENIOR 54.95 5
25 Kate Nettles 32 OPEN 53.64 3

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bradford Valentine 5M Race

I was a little nervous today heading out on the roads for a race. It's not like a had a choice. Snowshoe racing has come to a screeching halt in the Northeast. Right now, my comfort is definitely on the snow. I kind of like the fact that pace isn't all consuming on snowshoes. You race hard. Period.
Road racing is different. Pace is EVERYTHING. What were your splits? What was your pace? It is all consuming and I'm no different then the next guy. I love this stuff!! I'm just a little out of practice and it makes me nervous, that's all.
I needed a test of fitness and the Bradford Valentine 5M Race (results) would do just fine. They actually have a 5M and a 6k race at the same time. Both start together on the same course for nearly a mile, then the 6k breaks off for a bit before joining up with the 5M course again at the 3 mile point and both finish together. How friggin strange is that?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WOLFE TRACKS - Updated February 10

Updated snowshoe rankings have been posted (includes results from Smuggs). I've also included the Senior Men's division (50+).

*Smuggs = Northern Vermont Snowshoe Challenge at Smugglers Notch

Horse Hill Snowshoe Race Update

Posted on the race website today:

Alert - Snow on the Way!!! If we get 3 inches+ we are on for 2/13
Otherwise we reschedule a Day-Night Doubleheader on the 20th!!!

I'll let you know later how much snow (if any) we get in southern NH.

2/10 Update

Great Track Workout

Going into last nights indoor track session at the Hampshire Dome I didn't really think it would be a hard workout. On paper it seemed simple: 3 x 400,400,800 repeats. Boy was I wrong. Those 800's were tough on short rest and following a couple of pretty fast 400's. Very happy with the workout. I'm always happy when I run consistent throughout the workout.

Set 1
400   77s
400   77s
800   2:40 min
Set 2
400   77s
400   76s
800   2:41 min
Set 3
400   77s
400   78s
800   2:40 min

I can't wait to get out on the roads and put all this speedwork to the test.
DH Jones 10m in Amherst,MA on 2/28 is next.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


UPDATED: I didn't want to distract from the REAL New England Snowshoe Rankings so I changed the name of my rankings to WOLFE TRACKS. I do this for fun. I like playing with the data. No disrespect was meant towards the GSSS (and Chris Dunn). The work he's done promoting snowshoeing and especially the rankings system he started last year is greatly appreciated. Thanks Chris!
I've added a Snowshoe Rankings page to my blog (upper left-hand column) and will try to keep it updated weekly. I couple of notes about this weeks rankings:
  1. I've only included races from the WMAC and GSSS series so far. I would have included the Vermont race this past weekend but I have yet to find the results. If they ever get posted I'll revise the rankings (if necessary).
  2. Minimum of 3 races required. For now, if you raced more than 3 races I've dropped your lowest score and averaged the rest. After a few more races I may switch to a 'best of 4' or 'best of 5'. Not sure yet which is a better method for scoring.
  3. In addition to the Men and Women Open and Masters divisions I've also included a "top 25 overall". No particular reason, just thought it might be interesting to see how the various divisions rank compared to each other.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Northfield Mt Snowshoe Race

30" of snow...in Washington DC? Too bad it didn't come during the week. It could have kept those folks from spending money for a couple of days. Oh, well, maybe next time. In the Northeast we continue with our snow drought, which forced the postponement of the 5th race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series (Exeter Hullabaloo Snowshoe Race). What to do, what to do? Thankfully the WMAC also has a full slate of snowshoe races and luckily one was scheduled for today. Sweet!
So I headed down to the Northfield Mountain Recreation Center in Northfield, MA with my WMAC driver Bill Morse, hoping the mountain held more snow then the surrounding towns (which were nearly bare). Dave D and Paul B assured us (via pictures no less) that there would be a snowshoe race. In Dave we trust.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Strength of Field

One of the two factors I considered for my snowshoe rankings was Strength of Field (SOF). How competitive was the race up front?  It's kind of a measure of how many fast guys showed up and not how tough the course was.
I've tracked 11 snowshoe races so far. Here's how I ranked them:
Rank Race SOF
1 Woodford 98.64
2 Sidehiller 98.61
3 Feel Good Farm 96.68
4 Brave the Blizzard 95.73
5 Turner Trail 95.69
6 Greylock 95.60
7 Pooh Hill 95.33
8 Beaver Brook 94.67
9 Salem Greene 94.36
10 Curlys 93.49
11 Hoot Toot Whistle 90.47

Anyone who was at Sidehiller this past weekend knows this race was stacked! I was surprised Woodford came up #1. A quick look at the results might explain it. Anyways, just another list to talk about :-)
I'm starting to feel like dd with all these numbers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

MA/NH Snowshoe Rankings - (Wolfe Formula) UPDATED

NOTE: rankings have been updated. I think I fixed all the spelling errors in the results.

Rankings are always good for discussion (or arguments). I love checking out the rankings done each week by Chris Dunn (Northeast Snowshoe Rankings) and Dave Dunham (Northeast Masters).
Chris uses a top secret formula to come up with his rankings, with a minimum of 3 races (I think).
Dave uses his intuition based on his familiarity with the racers, with a minimum of 2 races.

Generally, I think Dave does a fair job in ranking. The 'eye' test works well in snowshoe ranking. However, I value what Chris does as well. It would be nice to have a formula to rank folks...fairly and accurately. The fact is, not all racers race head to head very often. With so many choices nowadays, it's hard to really tell how folks would do against each other. This is where the 'eye' test fails (somewhat). The more folks race, the better Chris's rankings become (in my opinion). I wanted to extend the rankings to include a few more folks.