Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Granite State Snowshoe Finale

  You had to wonder if it really that good of an idea to head up to the Granite State Snowshoe Championship. Here in Rhode Island, the winds were gusting to over 30mph and the rain was coming down sideways. The clocks "sprang" ahead the night before, so you are somewhat sleep deprived for the 6 am departure time AND you have a 4 hour drive in front of you. Sounds like the perfect morning to sleep in.....NOT! Actually, i had no intentions of missing the final race of the season and then towards the end of the week, Dave Principe confirmed he was going too. Now i did not have to go up solo which made it much easier. Dave's son, DJ came along too, as we hydroplaned our way to Great Glen. I think Dave was getting a bit nervous as we hit the halfway point in Portsmouth and it was still raining heavily. Three hours in and still raining, we get into North Conway and wonder where is the snow. As we gained elevation heading towards Pinkham Notch, the wet roads slowly turned to slick, sloppy roads which caused a hairy moment or two in the last few miles (see Ryan Triffitts blog).  Once we arrived, there was plenty of snow and more coming down.

I was not running the race because of a sore foot i am just getting over. So i did my usual thing, i photographed the race. This turned into more of a challenge than i figured on. At race time, the snow was coming down pretty good, mostly sideways though and right into the front of the lens, meaning the auto focus was getting thrown off.  I was constantly wiping water off the lens glass too which was giving the photos a softened effect, not what i was looking for. I found that the camera kept focusing on the snowflakes and not the runners . I have shot in snow before as well as rain and even monsoon conditions and this may have been the toughest race i have done. So, all in all, i wasn't totally thrilled with the results, but considering the weather, they aren't that bad.  See them at scottmasonphoto.com

As for the finish of the race, it had to be one of the best i have seen. I was standing on the last downhill before the finish line that was about 100 meters away. As they came into sight, Kevin Tilton led Jim Johnson down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, Jim was pulling up even with Kevin, then as they approached the shed and went out of my line of sight, Kevin seemed to be pulling away again. When both came back into sight from behind the shed, Jim looked to be sprinting to catch Kevin and put in a final lunge at the line. Both went down and i could not see who won from my vantage point. In the end, it was called a tie. That last 30 seconds of the race was great! A fitting end to the GSSS season.

Another great finish to the season was having the post race awards at the Great Glen Outdoor Center. Sitting in a warm room with all those windows, looking out at the snow falling and the start area of the Mt Washington Road race was real nice. There was food from the cafe, a big cake with little pine trees on it and most importantly, a keg of Redhook LongHammer IPA. Boy did that IPA taste good after standing outside getting cold and soaked. The raffle was huge as they went two times around so as to not to leave anything untaken.

Big thanks go out to Chris Dunn and all the crew at Acidotic Racing for a great snowshoe series. In a winter season that lacked snow, the races still came off in a first class manner. Let us hope that the big snow is back for next season.

A big shout out goes to my teammates, the Tuesday Night Turtles, as we moved up to fourth place in the final team standings. Bob Jackman ended up third in the overall standings. Dave Principe was coming on strong at seasons end (look out next year). DJ Principe, at 11 years old, ran 4 races. Ben Keefe, John Peabody, Jenny Saunders, Vicki and Chris Jasparro all were there along the way. I even got out there 3 times in between aches and pains. I think we should have a stronger showing next season.

What is in that trash can Chris??? Could it be Longhammer IPA?

More Race Reports:

DoubleJ Running                                             Dare Might Things

HAV2RUN                                                       DoubleD Mountainrunner

Now on to the trail and mountain series. See you out there.



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