Sunday, February 13, 2011

Horsehill Snowshoe

Another weekend, another snowshoe race and finally, I felt like i ran pretty good although  my time does not show it. The race, Horsehill 7k Snowshoe in Merrimack, NH is the 5th race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series. It is mostly single track with some wider snowmobile trails for easier passing, which i should have taken more advantage of. The snow was packed down from traffic on the trails, so it would be fast and after last week, very welcome by me. This week, i had also picked up a set of secure fit binding for my Dion 121's, lets just call it a bit of piece of mind knowing there is no way in hell that my shoes fall off. I want to say that i have not lost faith in the quick fit binding and will use them again, but right now, i felt better in the secure fit.

Race time brought all the usual suspects, hotshot shoer DoubleJ was there as well as Dunham, Cake, Cox, Kelly and Welts. The Turtles were well represented with Dave & DJ Principe, Matt & Ben Keefe, Tara Cardi, Warren Angell, Tony Wild and yours truly. Bob Jackman sat this one out with a cold, but he did take a few photos at the race. 

The race, starting on a narrow, packed snow path, went out fast. After a quarter mile that helps sort out the field, you make a left hand turn onto the single track. This also starts you up the first hill, i had fallen into line behind Ben and DJ, right in front of Tony.
Just short of the mile, i figured i was out just a little too quick and let a group pass and then felt better just falling into my own pace. I ran steady through halfway, passed a few runners and fell in behind another runner who seemed to keeping good pace. I should have passed him. One thing to never assume in a twisty single track with good climbs in front of you, is that the runner in front will handle the hills the same as you. You would also hope that the runner in front is aware of who is behind and maybe ask if you would like to pass. I sat there on the climbs and i know i lost time, finally passing at the top in time for the nice downhill to the finish. A lesson learned for me, next time i will be more aggressive if i need to pass. I finished strong, finally having a good race.

Jim Johnson won the race in just over 7 minute pace. Turtle wise, Dave Principe took top master honors and 7th overall. Warren, Matt, Ben and DJ were our top 5 scorers for a second place in the team race.

Post race stop today was at the always good Martha's Exchange in Nashua. I started with their IPA which was nicely hopped and tasty. I also had the Belgian Tripel which was ok for an american version of this style, but no where near as good as Ommegang or Allagash Tripels. Food is always good here, i went with the veggie panini w/ sweet potato fries.

Next week is a double, Beaver Brook is in the morning and Kingman Farm at night. Racing at night in the snowshoes will be fun and will probably be more of a training run anyway. I know the morning race will destroy my legs and there is only 6 hours between races. So lets have some fun out there!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Exeter Hullabaloo- Good Race, Bad Run

Chris Jasparro, Tony Wild, Dave principe, Bob & Jackie Jackman,
Scott Mason, DJ Principe and John Peabody
Thanks to Danny Ferriera for taking the photo.
Race #4 of the Granite State Snowshoe Series is at Exeter, NH. The Turtles had 8 shoers on the line, I was one of them. This past week, I was finally able to get some running in after getting over a pesky chest cold and was feeling decent. I figured that i could make it through this race while feeling pretty good. Well, I did feel good, but.......

The race was held at the back of a commercial park and headed into the Fort Rock Woods. The course was totally narrow single track, passing was difficult and if you got off the narrow path, you fell into deep snow, i found this out the hard way. At the start, you had to narrow down to single track almost instantly, of course, there was a pile up. After dodging a few downed runners, I settled into a line of shoers. Directly in front was teammate Tony Wild, behind was Lisa Ransom and we were running along at decent pace for the conditions. Then it happened, my foot slid off to the side of the track and i was down, i got up right away but with everyone running so closely, i had to wait to jump back in line, losing 6 places. About 200 meters later, i fell again, giving up a few more spots, one being to teammate John Peabody. One more fall came in the first mile and now it was getting even worse. Seems the velcro straps on my snowshoes had come apart with a combination of falling too much and having the wrong shoes attached to the snowshoes. Once the velcro comes apart and then collects the snow, you can no longer attach the straps. So basically, i was screwed. Loose snowshoes on a track like this just does not work, i made it through, i walked a bit, tried to clean the velcro and i finished. Now this could have been avoided if i had worn the shoes that i always do with the snowshoes, but no, i tried something different and payed for it. I have my snowshoes adjusted for a specific pair of running shoes and did not take in to account that the new pair was narrower with a thin outsole, i needed to switch straps along with shoes and did not do this. Lesson learned!! Too bad, it was a great course.

On the way home, we stopped be The Tap brewpub in Haverhill, Ma. Nice looking place, it reminds you of a library. There are books on the wall, a few murals, dark wood and brick. Very nice. I started off with a barleywine served in a 10 oz glass a bit too cold. No real flavor or hoppiness came out as should on a good barleywine. Even on warming up, the beer did not improve much. Next up, cask schwarzbier, dark, supposably hoppy beer. It was ok, not great. Ended with the english strong ale called Snobound. It was the best of the three. Food here was nothing special. I had a turkey burger since they were out of veggie burgers. Onion rings were good. Can't say i would go out of my way to come back, i need beers with more character.

Tim Smith @ Norwich Rose Arts 10.6 mile 1981
Sunday morning i was sitting around watching a live video feed of a cyclocross race from Belgium when i decided to run the Super 5k down in Narragansett. Seems they name it after some over hyped football game played later in the day. I needed a reason to get out on the roads and get some miles in and this would to do the trick. My knees were sore from the snowshoe race and the legs were a bit dead, but what the hell, lets see what happens anyway.  I went through the first mile in 6.56 and averaged 6.57 for the race, slow and steady by the sea. With a warmup and warm down, i got in 7 miles, i'll take it right now. Nice post race with buffet and cash bar. I get to see runners that i do not see that often here. All in all, a fun time. I have to note that i got to see Connecticut legend Tim Smith at the race, Tim won the 60 year age group, we hadn't met up in quite a few years. He is a guy that could tell you some stories of the good old days. 6.30 pace at 62 years old isn't too bad, I am glad to consider him a friend of mine.

Next week is another double, back to back snowshoe races. Saturday is Horsehill in Merrimack and Sunday is Bear Paw in Northwood. Hope i survive it all.