Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turtles @ Sidehiller

Nothing like waking up bright and early on a Saturday morning to find it is 7 degrees out and you have a 3 hour drive in front of you where the temperature will be dropping even lower. So it was, yesterday, as i waited for Jackie, Bob, Dave and DJ to get to my house for the trip up to Center Sandwich, NH and the Sidehiller snowshoe race. It really isn't too bad a drive, as it tends to go by fairly fast. We had the Family Guy's Star Wars adventure going for the back seat passengers, some good politically uncorrectness to pass the time.

 By the time we got off the highway in Ashland, the temp was reading -1 or 9, depending on which bank you prefer. The one thing that was noticeable was the lack of snow and because of that, the Sidehiller course had been altered from last year. This year it was a 3 lap race around the fairgrounds with a few short excursions into the woods. A very fast course. For some anyway.

We arrived about 9:45 for the 11 am race and headed to check-in. Right away you could spot the horses, Jim Johnson was there with a copy of the Fosters Daily Democrat newspaper pullout section "Showcase" with an awesome snowshoe race photo on the cover taken by yours truly. See the article by Geoff Cunningham here. Also spotted at check in were names like Dunham, Ferenc, Morse, Quintal, Wolfe and Tilton. I was thinking i should have photographed the race instead of running it. Too late now. We did a short warmup with the CMS boys and then it was time to race.

At the start, i was lined up about 3 rows back. I did not know what to expect here. The front row looked like just a regular stacked 5k race, all of them were ready to just slam the pace as the race started. I was just there to run steady and finish. I started next to teammate Ben Keefe and his brother, Josh, who was sporting a nice moose hat, antlers and all. When the race started, everyone went off like it was a road race! I'm thinking, Damn, what is going on here. I can't figure out if i went out too slow or too fast. I ran with a group for the first 1.7 mile lap, feeling half way good, but really not sure how things were going. At the short hill right before the finish, i walked to the top and started running again. My knees were not liking the uphills today, as they were sore for most of the week and the only way to make them feel better was to try massaging them by getting my fingers up under the kneecap. A nice form of self torture :) Once at the crest of the hill, i was just fine. I finished the first lap in 13 change and then dropped off for the next 2 laps. The 2nd lap was 14+ and the last dreadful lap was 15 or so. I was hoping to have a somewhat better race today, but it just wasn't in the cards. I went into the race with only 10 miles for the week and fighting off a chest cold. I know, i don't like excuses either but half way through the race, i knew i wasn't going to run anything worth bragging about.

 Up front, teammate Bob Jackman was running a good race, finishing in 7th place. Not as good as last year, but a much better field today. Turtle Prez Dave Principe, who has been bitten by the SS bug, sporting brandy new Atlas snowshoes, finished up in 14th place, not too far behind Jim Pawlicki and Eric Morse and realizing what a difference a real pair of shoes make.  Next Turtles up were Ben and Josh Keefe in 32nd and 33rd place. The elder Keefe let the kid brother win :)  I was the next TNT runner in 47th place. After me was DJ Principe who was having a bad day. DJ was complaining of a sore calf muscle on the warmup and it really came around to bite him in the race. He finished in 76th place, no where as good as he ran at Feel Good Farm, but still kudos go out to DJ, the youngest finisher in the race. One more runner of note is Rose, Ben's signifigant other who finished 87th.

All in all, a fun day. TNT'ers Bob Jackman, Dave Principe, and myself all qualified for the SS Nationals in Syracuse, NY in March. 

One other note from the race. It was great to meet up with former employee Chris Tessier from Athletic Attic days, who i had not seen for 20 years. We worked in the RI Mall many years ago, drank beer in the parking lot after the store closed and were big Police fans, the band, not the local constabularies. Where is your next SS race Tess?

Race is over, now what? Oh yeah, brewpub time!

Today's choice is Milly's Tavern in Manchester, NH.  Situated in the basement of an old mill building on the river, it is a great location! The place was deserted for the most part, being a Saturday afternoon.  The Turtle crew grabbed a table and tripled attendance at the bar. The beer menu had 16 beers on tap, all in house brews. I naturally gravitated towards the hoppiest they had, ManchVegas IPA. It is a decent IPA with good west coast hops and not too much maltiness. A very drinkable IPA. I was bummed out that the Imperial IPA was not on tap as it was last time here. It Rocks!! I did try the cherry porter. It is a pretty good brew with subtle cherry flavor. As for food, i had the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with a side of sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries were good, not outstanding. 

On a side note, as i type this, i have Pulp Fiction going in the background. Is there a better scene than Mia getting the adrenaline shot from Vincent when she is OD'ing. Oh well, probably not everyones cup of tea....... 

Next week? Looks like Exeter. Talking with Northfield RD Dave Dunham on the warmup, seems like that race could be a no go. I prefer to do the longer race, but i want to race no matter what. Looks like Exeter. Then Horse Hill, Kingman Farm and Nationals. Granite State Finals, maybe i run........maybe i just take the camera, what do you think, Chris Dunn??

More race blogs here when they are good and ready to post: 

Dave Dunham
Jim "DoubleJ" Johnson
Acidotic Racing
Steve Wolfe
Jim Pawlicki

Sidehiller Results
Sidehiller Photos 




mueblerunner said...

Good to see you on Saturday and meet some of the Turtles. It sounds like you guys had a good time post race. I hope to see you at Exeter next week.

Scott Mason said...

You gotta join us for a beer some week, you like beer don't you???????????? :)

Did you drive back with JJ in the short bus yesterday? He flew past us just before Concord, what a mainiac!

s p running said...

I am constantly using my fingers to adjust my kneecap also!!! And yes, agree about the scene from Pulp Fiction.

Take care, Sarah

CHRIS J. DUNN said...

Although you are probably the #1 snowshoe racing photographer in Rhode Island...I'd prefer to see you racing. Next time you need to stop to the Redhook Brewery in Newington on your way home. I'll get you some brewery tour passes. FREE samples and tasting glass included!