Feb 122012

by Jeff Walker –

I came, I saw, I followed

The Bradbury Whiteout, race #2 in the Bradbury Snow series, welcomed racers with cold temps, bright blue skies, and a gnarly mix of ice, hardpack, and powdah. The course was moved from the mountain side to the bike side of the park in order to find some snow stashes. While the conditions weren’t quite what they were for the first race, at least we were racing on snowshoes, unlike many racers in New England.

After 2 days off this week due to the perfect storm of ski-coaching, job, and family, I needed to get some miles in and I new I wouldn’t have the will to get those in following the run, so I arrived to the race early enough for a 50 minute (5.6 mile) warmup on the snowmo trail. Other than the access trail, which was really icy, the footing was excellent and no screws or icespikes were needed and none were worn. I finished my warm-up with just enough time (10 minutes) to change into my race top and strap on my new Atlas Run snowshoes, which I had yet to try.

At the gun, I took one step and caught Ian’s snowshoe. I grabbed a racer’s shoulder on either side of me to keep from falling, was carried a step, landed, and started racing. I heeded Ryan’s advice to Jamie from the last race and tried to keep up with Ian and Scott H. but I just cannot start that fast and by about 3/4 mile I was 10-15s back and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the race. George A-C was on my tail for about 2 miles but fell off, I think after I tried to pick up the pace on a downhill (in a failed attempt to catch Ian and Scott). At 2.5 miles I was toast but a rope tied from Scott to me kept pulling me forward and I simply moved my legs to keep from being dragged like Hector behind the victorious Achilles. In the last mile, on the old roadbed and in the Lanzo singletrack, I made my last efforts to surge and catch Scott and Ian but no can do.

The race was followed up by more good soup and goodies and awards and fires and friendly banter and all that.  Kudos to Ryan, race director par excellence, for finding enough snow to remind us that this is winter and trail races are meant to be run with floatation.

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