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Downtown Temple,NH

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.
I figured I had to go since I needed new bindings for my snowshoes....you know...in case we actually get snow this year. Heck, I had a whole pocket full of excuses if I needed them:
- at 2hrs it was fairly close for a WMAC race
- it would be my 6th WMAC race (WMAC snowshoe series is a best of 6)
- $5 entry (you CAN'T beat that)
- can't help myself...it's a snowshoe race
Once again the drive out did not inspire confidence there would be a snowshoe race. Most of the ground cover on the way out was grass and dirt, with a sprinkling of snow here and there. However, something magical happened when we crossed the Deerfield River in Charlemont and headed up into the hills of Dubuque State Forest. It was snowing!! What is this white stuff falling from the sky?? In a matter of minutes we went from grass on the side of the road to 100% snow cover. By the time we got to the registration area (Americorps building) there was probably 1 ft+ of powder everywhere. It was the strangest thing.
view from registration
After paying the steep entry fee I headed over to Bob Dion for some replacement parts. As is the case nearly every time, Bob had something new and improved. The bindings were now heavily stitched in the area that ripped. He also showed me the new and improved Deep Cleats (more on that later). I picked up my new bindings and headed back to the car for some assembly. Since we actually had snow for the first time in a long time I opted for the Deep Cleats once again. The course would be an out and back lollypop, with the stick run along some well used snowmobile trails and the pop a sort of bushwhack around an orchard in some fairly deep virgin powder. Bob Dion described the course best: a rolling course, uphill both ways. Jim, Matt Westerlund and myself headed out for a quick 2 mile warm up on the course and met up with Tim Van Orden just before the start. Should be a fairly fast course on well packed trails.

At the gun Jim took off (as usual) but was followed closely by Tim for about the first mile, before I lost sight of the front two guys. Ross Krause was next in line followed by Matt right on his heels. I hovered about 10 meters back. We would stay that way for nearly 2 to 2 1/2 miles before Ross made his move and put some distance on Matt, and Matt putting a little distance on me. They were always in sight but I just couldn't close the gap. The good news is I felt 100% better today. I was moving well, felt strong and was generally happy with the effort. In the end I finished 5th overall, in a time of 25:05 (2nd masters). Although it was a fast course it was not flat. In fact, I doubt there was a flat section on the entire course. It was always going up or down. Great race.
photo credit - Chelynn Tetreault

Afterwords the 5 of us headed back out on the course for a cool down run and for the 2nd day in a row collected all the course markings. This stuff is a lot of work :-)
Finally we headed down to the 'indoor' facilities (a rarity in WMAC races) for some post race grub. It was indoor in the sense you weren't standing outdoors. It was not indoors like warmer than outdoors. It did have a nice fireplace burning though!
Just before leaving I was packing up my stuff and wouldn't you know it BOTH of my Deep Cleats had broke! One of the first times I've used them all year, on a course that actually had snow, and I break both. I quickly headed back down to catch Bob before he took off and got a set of the new and improved Deep Cleats.
 New and improved Deep Cleats
Now all we need is some snow in New Hampshire...

Chelynn Tetreault took some great photos, along with Scott Livingston. Enjoy!


Scott Mason said...

Those new cleats look much stronger. I e-mailed Bob Dion today and have a set on the way to replace my busted one.

Steve Wolfe said...

I figured the picture would help.

Dan said...

You and Jim are nuts...but in a good way. Good to hear you got you mojo back.