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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, February 22, 2010

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.

The race started on a slight uphill and JJ quickly took the lead followed by the rest of us mere mortals.
After about 1/4 mile we moved onto single track. For the first mile or so I traded places with Dave Principe and Sean Snow (both masters). I was content letting them set the pace and just follow along. I kept hoping I would sharpen up and get in a groove but it just wasn't happening. I was working way harder than I should have been and was struggling to keep them close. My flopping snowshoe was a pain and a distraction and after a short time I was hoping it would just break and give me a reason to stop. It did not cooperate and I was forced to finish....against my will.
Sean eventually took the lead and led for most of the remaining race, about 20m in front of Dave, followed by John Rymes, myself and John Pajer. We all stayed close throughout the race but I obviously wasn't closing in on anyone. Dave  eventually caught Sean, probably in the last 1/2 mile or so and finished a strong 2nd overall behind Jim Johnson. Sean and John Rymes followed for 3rd and 4th place.

Dave Principe followed by Sean Snow and John Rymes near the finish

For the 2nd race in a row John Pajer stayed right on my shoulder for a good part of the race. This time I could not hold him off and he passed me in the last 1/4 mile and finishing 5th overall. I eventually limped in in 6th place, a disappointing 4th master. In reality it was a very close race for the 5 of us. Only 21 seconds separated Dave, Sean, John R, John P and myself.
It's hard to write a race report like this. I don't want to come across a sore loser (I am not). I got beat by some strong snowshoers, fair and square. These guys pushed me to my limits today. Dave, Sean, John R and John P ran great and I couldn't keep up. However, personally it was one of my worst races (second only to Feel Good Farms). I don't even know why. Maybe it was the 50 degree day. Hmm, the same weather we had at Feel Good Farm. Maybe I'm on to something.....

 John Pajer and me at the finish

Jim Johson and I ran the course for a cool down and picked up all the flags (around 2,000 it seemed) and signage.I had to walk a few times because I was bonking on the cool down. Who the heck bonks on a cool down??? Looking back, it was a good thing (sort of) that I decided not to do Kingman. I don't think I could have raced again that day.


Michael said...

I think your body (and shoes) must have been rebelling against a 50 degree day snowshoe race. It's just not natural. Way to tough it out, though. Makes me wish I had run. At this point, equipment failure is about the only way I could beat you. :)

Steve Wolfe said...

I raced yesterday out 'west' and it was 20 degrees and snowing (at times). I did much better :-)

Dan said...

I don't bonk on cooldowns only because I don't do them. I do bonk on my warmups though.