Jan 272012

by Danielle Triffitt

First off, a huge shout-out to the awesome Trail Monster crew, including race directors Ryan and Ian, plus Val, Rick, Linda, Christine, Dave and a lot of others for volunteering and helping to put on such a great race this morning! It was fun to see so many people out on a cold, blue-sky winter morning ready to torture themselves by snowshoeing through the woods! 🙂 And if today’s race is any indication, the 2012 Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe series is going to be a big success – there were 40 finishers, more than any of the races last year! Awesome.

I honestly had no idea how the race was going to go. I have never snowshoe raced before. And my last run in my snowshoes, on Friday, had made me a bit nervous. I had a really tough time actually moving forward with any speed through the snow that day. But, I was going to give it my best shot. I knew Emma was signed up for the race, and while I wasn’t sure about Julia, who won the series last winter, I knew that both of them would be giving me a good run for my money out there! This morning dawned crisp and clear. When Ryan left the house to mark the course at 6:30am, the temp was reading -7. Brrr! Luckily, the snowshoe crowd is smart enough to start the races later in the day, so by the time 11:00 rolled around, it was likely in the high teens/low twenties and fairly comfortable, perfect snowshoe weather. That’s not to say my toes weren’t cold, but still, better than -7!

Irene and Dana were wonderful enough to come up for the weekend so that they could watch Sam during the race. Thank you, Grammie and Grampie! Sam had a blast with them, and knowing they were with her meant I didn’t even have to worry about her while I was gone. I arrived at the park around 10:00, got my number, chatted a bit, sat in the car to get warm, did a short road warm-up, and soon enough it was time to run. The start was on a thin snowmobile path that cut through the field. Ryan had warned me to start near the front, and go for it from the start, as once you were behind someone on Krista’s singletrack, about 3/4 mile into the race, you’d be behind them for a while. I lined up next to Emma and another woman, with Jeremy of Atayne right behind us. I figured that was about right.

As we ran through the field, I was surprised to find that the group around me wasn’t going out all that fast, so I snuck around a person or two and just settled into a pace that felt comfortably quick. I was happy to realize that the trail had been decently packed, and it was much easier running that I had had on Friday. That was a big boost, and I determined that I was going to go hard, without going all out, for as long as I could and see what happened.

As we climbed the Ski Trail, I was on my own, just one guy in black ahead of me, with no one in hearing range behind. I knew Emma and Julia likely weren’t too far back though, so I was running a bit scared, but I felt pretty good overall, even though I was definitely sucking wind up the Ski Trail hill! Then the turn onto the singletrack, which was pretty nice, actually, and fun to run. I realized the guy in front of me was Dave Roberts, and I reeled him in a bit on the climb, but once we hit the downhill back to the Tote Road, he slowly slipped away from me. I could see a few runners here and there winding through the woods behind me, but I didn’t actually hear anyone right behind me until we were off the Tote and on the Boundary Trail. I lost a bit of time going gingerly down the icy hillside there, and knew whoever was behind me was getting pretty close.

The final climb on the Boundary was a tough one. I think I ran it well, but once I got to the top, I realized I was pretty tired, and my pace dropped a bit. Then, on the final little bump on the Boundary trail, my snowshoes caught and I heaved forward, catching myself on the uphill with my hands, and coming to a complete halt before lurching back into motion. Pretty funny looking on my Garmin pace vs. time data 🙂 I knew there was only a little over a half mile to go, so I did my best to pick up the pace, but it wasn’t enough. Nathan passed me about halfway down the final stretch of trail, and although I tried to push right back, that was that and he was gone. Ah well. I still ended up finishing 1st woman in a time of 38:31. Wow. I’ve never won a race before, so that was pretty cool! I had realized partway through the race that I was first woman, but I just kept thinking Emma or Julia would catch me. Needless to say, I am thrilled with how my first snowshoe race evolved, as I really never would have thought I’d win.

Final push to the finish. (courtesy of Maine Running Photo)

It was a great to have a chance to catch up with so many Trail Monsters as we milled around after the race. A lot of people had really good races today! Frontier donated a huge pot of delicious Potato Leek soup for the finish, and we all hung out getting warmed by the fire before awards and the raffle. Some nice prizes, and a great race t-shirt designed by my sister-in-law, Meghan, to boot!

All in all, a great morning of snowshoe racing.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>