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Downtown Temple,NH

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race? (Gloves Included)

After a brief delay, the New Hampshire Granite State Snowshoe Series got underway at Feel Good Farm in Lyndeborough, NH. Last year warm temps left some sections looking more like a trail race than a snowshoe race. This year (finally) we got some significant snowfall just days before. On most courses, it would be more than enough snow for a race (10-12"). This is not the case on this course. More on that later.

First NH snowshoe race of the season, beautiful day, great competition and a challenging course. What could possibly go wrong???
Let me count the ways....
  1. Take an already challenging course and make it longer and harder.
  2. Be sure to talk to your fellow snowshoers about the benefits of the Dion Quick-Fit bindings (as you laugh at the 2ft of extra strap wrapped around their foot so they don't trip). Silly snowshoers!
  3. Make last minute adjustments to your bindings to ensure total breakdown within 5 minutes of starting.
  4. Go out fast to maximize the number of snowshoers who will later pass you as you lay in the trail with your snowshoes stuck together (see Wamber below).
  5. Make sure you try to reattach the velcro straps of your Quick-Fit bindings while sitting in a foot of fresh powder.Are all these straps really important anyways?
  6. Be sure to do ALL this before climbing a single foot of the 1500ft per loop. It makes the total experience much more memorable.
  7. Oh, and don't forget to rip off your rear cleats (on the only pair of snowshoes that you own) as you negotiate every hidden obstacle known to snowshoers on a crazy descent down Moose Mountain, all this just to get back to your car so you can do something useful...like take pictures.
I love these Quick-Fit Bindings!
 Let's just say today was just one of those days when it wasn't meant to be. In reality there's nothing wrong with the Quick-Fit bindings on my Dion Snowshoes. I've had the same bindings (and straps) for 3 years. Once they're set, they stay. The problem (as I found out on Saturday) is if you have to undo and redo the straps in snow, they're pretty much useless. Lesson learned I guess. I have since ordered a second pair of snowshoes and the Secure Fit bindings (I'm a bit paranoid now). Just in case...

Why would you take off your shoes in the middle of a snowshoe race, you ask? Good question. All I can say is look at the picture below. I can't explain it. I can't tell you how I did it. I can tell you it is nearly impossible to undo once you've done it though.
The Wamber - kids, don't try this at home or on the road.
In the end Feel Good Farm became my first snowshoe DNF. Heck, it may be my first DNF for any race but I don't keep Dunham-like records and I can't remember what I had for breakfast. Sure, it was a little disappointing but honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal. I was never really that fond of this course anyways.
Shortly after the race the race director announced he was dropping this race going forward. This was a good call in my opinion. Although extremely challenging (one of the hardest races I've run), it is also what I'd call "not snowshoeable". The climbs and descents are too steep to hold any snow and portions of the trails are just too rugged (ie rocks), with no snowshoe traffic on any other day except for race day. RIP FGF. I will not miss you.

Results (sans me)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Steve, great write up. I missed that the RD was dropping this race...I was mucking with my Qick-Fit straps. I love my Dions but even the QF loosen a bit (on the FGF course, anyway). see you at The Horse Hill.
Trail Pixie