Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sidehiller Stuff

Photo by Krissy K
The Turtles made the long ride up to the Sidehiller snowshoe race in Center Sandwich, NH today. Here are a few highlights:

> Left the house at 6:35am with Jackie and Bob Jackman, made great time heading up to Center Sandwich. Pulled over for speeding in Holderness, 50 in a 30. Cop let me off with a warning, it pays to be polite.  Still only took 2:45 to get there.

>Sign in for race, then hang out talking with fellow competitors for a while. Best part of the race is hanging out before and after the race. Nice chat with Bob Dion, Laurel Shortell, Steve Wolfe, Chris Dunn, Jim Pawlicki and Krissy Kosloski.

>50 minutes to go, time for a warm-up with the Turtles, a mile out and back, cut it short and ran back with Ryan Triffit. Can't say i felt good because i didn't. Almost race time.

>Race time. Lined up in mid pack, passed a lot of people in the first half mile or so. I guess i should have started closer to the front.

Chris Tessier and Me. (krissy k photo)
>Went back and forth with Don Fredrickson for the first half of the race. He would stop on a hill to let me by and then i would stop to let him by and we would repeat this a few times before i pulled away, but not by much.

>John Peabody came by like a freight train just after the half, bellowing "passing on the left" as he flew past. JP beat me and was 5th scorer for the Turtles today, great run!

>Legs had nothing left in the last mile or so. Probably the result of being sick for a week or so. Time to get back into a training mode.

>Race over, finally! Wiped out and my knees ache.

>Watch my old friend Chris Tessier finish up the race and hang out with him for a while. Chris and i go back to 1982 when we worked for the Athletic Attic in Warwick, RI.

>Finally meet Jeff Dengate.

>Get interviewed for NH Chronicle with a few of the Turtles, hopefully we make the final cut.

>Hit the road for the trip to Milly's Tavern in Manchester.

>Manch-Vegas IPA on Cask. Very Good! Scotch Ale was good too.

>Uneventful ride home to RI.
Mmmmm...Chicken Sandwich w/Jalapenos and a Scotch Ale

>Sitting here typing this while sipping a Dogfish 60 Minute IPA and watching classic Spencer Tracy movie, Bad Day at Black Rock.

>Congrats to Paul Kirsch and crew for putting on a great race at Sidehiller.

>Next week, Exeter Hullaballoo. See you there.
Growler Time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble

Drive 3 and a half hours, run 4 mile race and drive 3 and a half hours back. Why, because i want to. I guess it also helps when you are joining a bunch of your teammates and other friends from the north to run a snowshoe race.

Saturday was the second race of the Granite State Snowshoe Series and my first one. I had been sick for most of the week and had not run in 8 days, so i was coming into the race with only one goal....finish comfortably. The race was at Whitaker Woods, right in the middle of North Conway. It is a nice park, with groomed XC trails and some great views of Mt Washington. The race uses both groomed and single track trails on some nice rolling terrain. We had 11 Turtles up here for the race, funny how we can't organize that many to run a race in RI as a team, but we drive 3+ hours here.

Photo by Gianina Lindsey
At the race start, i lined up way over to the side to stay out of the way of most of the runners. Race Director, Kevin Tilton said a few words and then we were off. We headed off across the groomed trails, there was already separation as the front half of the field was pulling away. I hear it was a very fast start. I stuck with my plan of running comfortably, moving up and down the first hill easily. Footing was great, but i did feel that my snowshoes weren't adjusted to my liking, i had loaned them out last week and the straps were definitely off. On the second uphill, Jackie Jackman went cruising on by, i just kept my pace. All the climbing in the race was done in the first 2 miles, about 400 feet worth. Just after the mile, we came out onto one trail where you had a great view of Mt Washington totally covered in snow. Five months from now, i hope to be running up that hill. Once past the 2 mile mark, things started feeling better, downhills will do that. I seemed to pick up the pace a little, coming into 3 miles, i caught up to and passed Don Fredrickson. Don and i go way back to the 80's and racing in RI. He had mentioned later that this was his chance to finally beat me. Sorry Don, maybe next time. It will be the battle of running has beens. I finished up right behind Tim Lindsey, Tim was in my sights for a while, but i just could not and really did not feel like trying to catch him. Over the finish line and then the effects of the race and my week long cold hit, i had a 3+ minute coughing fit, then i was fine. I ran better than i thought i would.

Up front, the Turtles had a good day. Bob Jackman was 9th, Dave Principe, Martin Tighe and Matt Keefe all made the top 20. Jim Johnson/CMS won the race in 26.53.

Next week is Sidehiller in Center Sandwich, NH. I have run this race the past 2 years. Lack of snow last year caused them to change the course, with a lot more snow this year, we should be back on the original course. That is a good thing!

After a short awards ceremony, most of the Turtles headed over to the Moat Mountain Smokehouse  and Brewing Co. Joining us there were Don Fredrickson and Jess & Kevin Tilton for some food and excellent beer. My beer of choice was the Double Bock, the menu said you could only have 2 of these, usually they say this when it is a real strong beer, i did not find it strong but it was very tasty. In the number of times i have been to the Moat, i have yet to see an IPA on tap. I'll have to contact them a month before i show up there again and beg them to brew a big, hopped up IPA, maybe for the Mt Washington Road Race. We had a great time there, Don and myself got to talk about the old running scene here in RI, i could have stayed for hours, but we had to get back so John Peabody could get out on his lobster boat for 8pm.

One nice thing about going up to Sidehiller is that we get to hit Milly's Tavern in Manchester afterwards.

See ya next week.

Race Reports:

DoubleJ Running
Acidotic Racing

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race

Finally, enough snow on the ground to start the Granite State Snowshoe Series. After postponing the first two races to February, I was really looking forward to running at Feel Good Farm in Lyndeborough. Of course, i was not planning on catching a nasty cold the day before the race so this race was a no go for me. I could have probably been able to run most of the races, but seeing as this is the tuffest course on the circuit, there just was no way. It wasn't really a problem though, i seem to be a better photographer than a runner these days.

For the Tuesday Night Turtles, this was a big day. We had a bunch of newbies coming up for their first taste of snowshoe racing. This was supposed to happen at Beaver Brook a few weeks ago, but with the postponements, this was the one. A few of us "veteran" snowshoers in the Turtles have been talking up the GSSS series since last winter and we have quite a bit of interest this year, not bad for a bunch of flatlanders here in RI. Today, our rookie list was long, Jake Scheiffelin, Jackie Jackman, Martin Tighe, Warren Angell, Tara Cardi, Tony Wild and George Ross. We also had Bob Jackman, Dave and DJ Principe, Chris Jasparro with his wife, Vicki and myself on the DL list for the day. It should also be noted that Ben and Matt Keefe ran, but got to the race a half hour late and only did one lap.

I shot the start of the race and then hiked up Moose Mountain to get some good downhill running shots. First time by, Josh Ferenc and Kevin Tilton had a sizable lead on Ben Nephew, they were all moving pretty quickly out there. Bob Jackman was first Turtle by, followed by Dave Principe and surprisingly, his son DJ on his tail. DJ is 12 years old and he was hanging with the big boys on the first loop. As the rest of the Turtles made their way by, they looked pretty comfortable, well, all but one. George Ross was complaining his calf was cramping up, so he ended up bailing at the end of the first lap. George was listed in the Coolrunning results as finishing the 2.7 mile Wimp Run, as race director Mike Amorello calls it. At the brewpub later, George summed it up by saying it " Was the fucking hardest thing i ever did"

On the second time around, most of the TNT gang held their spot. DJ dropped of a bit. Martin and Warren were running a few seconds apart as were Jake and Jackie. Tara was enjoying her run, i think. She did yell to me to put that camera away, that ain't gonna happen. :) As a team, i would say we had a good day with ten Turtles finishing the two loops. It was a great start to the season. The next two races are a much longer drive for us, so i don't expect to see too many Turtles racing until February when the series gets back to southern NH. We will have some runners at Whittaker Woods and Sidehiller though.

Post race, we did the usual thing and went the local brewpub. This time it was a favorite, Martha's Exchange in Nashua. With a cold, my taste buds were a bit off, but the cask IPA was very tasty and would have been even better if they had filled the glasses up to a proper level. A good time was had by all.

See the photographs i took at the race here: 

Read Chris Dunn's race report HERE .

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beaver Brook Non-Snowshoe Race

Hi everyone, Happy New Year!! I know, i haven't updated my blog in 3 months, but with the new year and all, it is time to get it going again.

Today was to be the start of the Granite State Snowshoe Series at Beaver Brook in Hollis NH. With last weekends storm dumping 12-16 inches of snow over the area we shoers were excited for a start to the race season. I had managed to get in 3 SS runs during the week, including our first Tuesday Night Turtle Snowshoe Team group run on a frigid Monday night and a shorter run with Martin Tighe on Thursday. Getting in some snowshoe runs was great, but looking at the extended forecast was really depressing knowing that the snow might be gone before Sunday. Sure enough, word came out on Saturday that the race was postponed until February 19th as a day/night double header with the Kingman Farm night race.

Even with the postponement, RD Mike Amarello was still going to hold a trail run and include entry to the rescheduled SS run. With nothing better to do, some of us Turtles decided to go anyway.We pulled into the lot about an hour and a half before race time, we being Jackie and Bob Jackman, Dave Principe and me, greeted by Mike A, who was a bit surprised to see us there. I think the only others there were a couple from Huntsville, Al. that were up on vacation and wanted to do a snowshoe race. We ran a few mile warmup on the local trails and then were joined by other Turtle snowshoers, Vicki and Chris Jasparro and Warren Angell.

At race time, there were 17 of us taking the line, 7 Turtles, 2 from Alabama, Richie Blake and 7 others. As Mike said GO! We took off down the muddy then snow, slush covered dirt road. The race is about 2.5-2.6 miles, downhill, then flat, then uphill. Footing sucked, i was a bit better off than most wearing INOV8 X-Talon 212's that are almost like wearing spikes, still, it was tough going on the uphill to the finish. I felt ok out there, but backed off on the final stretch of the hill as i had no one close to me and really just wanted mileage today. Finishing first was Bob Jackman, followed by Dave Principe, Warren Angell, Chris Jasparro and me. For the women, it was Vicki Jasparro taking first followed by Jackie Jackman. So Turtle men took top 5 and women the top 2. Not that it really means anything seeing the field was very sparse, still it was a good hard workout. We warmed down with a few more trail miles around Beaver Brook followed by some kale soup that Mike had made for the race. He had enough for an army, needless to say, he took a lot home.

Time for the ride home, but first a stop at Watch City Brewing for lunch and a beer. In the last 2 years of snowshoe racing, it has become a Turtle tradition that we hit a brewpub after the race. There were many to choose from, but with Watch City being right off the highway in Waltham Ma., it was perfect. I started with a Hops Explosion IPA as did Dave and Chris. Funny, i did not taste any hops exploding. They say it has a "powerful conflagration of hop flavor", could be if you were a Bud drinker, I did not notice it. I'll call it a good pale ale. I ordered the pesto provolone chicken sandwich, it was tasty and we had a bucket of sweet potato fries. Yes, they bring them out in a bucket. As sweet potato fries go, these were quite good, crisp and meaty. Second beer was Titan Ale, a brown ale that was good for the style. We also sampled an IPA that had spearmint added to it, very subtle taste, but i don't think i would want a pint of it. All in all, this a good brewpub, i return when i get the chance.

Next weeks snowshoe race is the Bear Paw Classic in Northwood, NH. I hope there is snow on the ground, but the extended forecast isn't great at this point. They are calling for snow on Friday and Saturday, how much? Who knows?