|Starting area at Turner Trail|
The lack of any significant storms has kept the snow cover thin at best, even out in western Mass. Earlier last week Beth Herder (RD at Turner) indicated the course would be modified due to snow conditions. In fact, it wouldn't even be on the Turner Trail (which climbs Berry Mt via a nearly 3 mile switchback single track). I immediately started making other plans. I wasn't going to drive 333 miles for questionable snow conditions. So, on Friday I decided to head over to the Old Salem Greens Snowshoe Race (Salem, Ma) instead.
Two things happened late on Friday that changed my plans yet again.
- Beth updated the conditions and provided a course map of the 'new' Turner Trail Race
- The weather forecast indicated western Mass should get 6" of new snow prior to the race
|New Turner Trail Course|
I really thought we'd be driving through a snowstorm early Saturday morning on the drive out. With the exception of a brief snow squall, there was virtually no snow at all, with clear roads for most of the trip. Although it made traveling easy, it did not give me any confidence that Pittsfield actually received the snow that was expected.
This time, the forecasters were right. By the time we reached Pittsfield, 4-6" of nice, fluffy powder was on the ground. Phew. Snow for a snowshoe race, who would have thunk it?
Jim, John Pajer and myself did a brief warm-up on the finish of the course, to check conditions and to get an idea what the finish of the course looked like. I like to recognize something near the finish to give me an idea how much is left in the race. From what we could tell, the conditions would be ideal: hard packed base with fresh new snow on top, and LOTS of turns. It would be some of the tightest single track I've raced on, with the trail being the width of a single snowshoer.
|photo credit -Berkshire Sports|
|photo credit - Berkshire Sports|
I finally started recognizing the trail as we neared the finish (thanks to our warm up). My position was set. I wasn't catching Connor and I didn't see anyone behind me. 48 minutes and 35 seconds after I started I crossed the finish line in 5th place (results), and second old guy (behind Tim). Some guy named Jim won I think.
Once again, Turner Trail did not disappoint. The course and conditions were some of the best I've snowshoed on in any race. Beth and crew did an outstanding job (at the last minute) putting together a top notch course. It was well worth the trip!
Additional photos by Berkshire Sports can be found here.