Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greetings From Syracuse

This past weekend was the USSSA National Snowshoe Championship in Fabius, NY. My original plan was to run this race as i had qualified at the Sidehiller in Center Sandwich, NH. At the time, I figured that i had 5 weeks to get ready, but the way this winter was going, who knows what would happen. Well....Two weeks ago at the Horse Hill SS race in Merrimack, NH, I end up aggravating a nerve on top of my foot which made running impossible. Turns out that i probably had the strap on my snowshoes too tight and that led to the problem. All is well right now, I ran a 3 mile tonight without problem, but lack of training has really screwed up the season. Lack of snow hasn't helped either.

As for the Nationals, I decided to go up anyway. Turtle teammates Bob Jackman and Dave Principe were going up to race so i packed the camera and figured to shoot the races which i do better than racing lately. We took the 5 hour drive up on Friday, checked in at the Best Western and headed over to the race site to pick up numbers and check out the course. As we pulled off the main road on to the road to the park, i looked at the hill in front of us and joked how they would be finishing up that thing. Yeah...ha, ha, ha. Well, seems i was right and the race would finish the last 350 yards uphill to the finish line. At this point, I was sort of happy that i would not be running the next morning. Oh well, now that we have seen the course, it is time for a beer (more on that later).

Saturday morning comes, it is sorta cold, upper teens. We head up to Highland Park early to see the Juniors go off at 9, followed by the Women at 10 and finally the Men at 11:30. The course is in decent shape from the cold temps overnight, but it is headed for the 40 degree range today. In the womens race, it was good to see Acidotic Racings Amber Ferreira take the National title.

After two races and rising temps, the men took to the line. By now, the snow was getting soft, the course was getting chewed up and that meant the racers would suffer. The softer the snow, the slower the course. Talking to Dave P. after the race, he said how he couldn't get any footing at the start and lost time right away. He also mentioned how his footing was all over the place in the single track. The hill at the end did not help either as he fell on the way down and then almost again on the way back up to the finish.. Of course, watching the mens champion, Josiah Middaugh, run this thing, you would have thought the course was flat. He averaged just under 7 minutes a mile in slow, mushy snow on a hilly 10k route. Just amazing to watch. I guess that is why he is a 4 time National Champion. Bob Jackman, fighting a cold, finished in 30th place at 56.15/9.04 pace and two spots behind was Dave Principe at  32nd/57.17/9.14 pace, good placings in a very competitive race.

Mens Race Results
Womens Race Results

I heard some grumbling after the race about the course, the hill and snow conditions. It is what it is, everyone had to deal with the same thing. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in different conditions. I wish i could have tested mine, but there is always next year!

Keeping with our tradition, we searched out a local brewpub for a pre-race meal and beer. Into Syracuse we went, Jackie, Bob, Dave and myself, to the Empire Brewing Co. It is down below street level in the basement of an old brick building, a very nice setting on a street loaded with restaurants. Checking out the beer menu, it was quite obvious what i was getting, so i ordered up the IPA along with Dave. It is a nicely hopped brew listed at 6.8% alc. We sampled something called Deep Purple, it is a wheat beer made with concord grapes, it wasn't horrible, just reminded me of grape soda. Bob and Jackie went for the darker stuff, stout and porter. I didn't hear any complaints so they must have been good. Food here was excellant too. I had a Philly Turkey which is a Philly Cheesesteak, only with turkey instead of steak. It was great! No sweet potato fries here, but we did have this big slab of blue corn bread as an app with maple infused butter. All in all, a very good brewpub.

For more Nationals reading, try these blogs:

Kevin Tilton

DoubleJ Running

Dare Mighty Things

Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy


Mens Race
Womens Race
Juniors Race

Mens Race by Dave Dunham

1 comment:

Dan said...

SOunds like a killer course. I was lucky to miss it! ;-) Good to hear your foot is better. See you on the trails soon.