In short, this race was fun. Big fun. I seriously don't think I've ever enjoyed a snowshoe race more. A number of factors contributed, including making a risky move that didn't really pay huge dividends, but it didn't break the bank. That made things interesting.
A few inches of new snow were thrown onto the course before the race started which helped a little, but conditions were still really thin. Mad props to the Ryan, Ian and John who apparently did some shoveling to get the snow thicker on some of the paths yesterday. But still, with an icy undercoat, it also meant fast conditions. And fast it was.
The race started and the whole front pack jumped out hard and jockeyed for position, which was the smart thing to do, but I unfortunately let myself get boxed out a little. Seventh place after a few hundred yards? No real worries though, as passing would be easy thanks to the thin snow, so there would be time and opportunity to make moves later. The eventual winner, teammate Andy K. and another guy, had taken off and quickly distanced us.
Found myself in a pack behind my teammates up until the uphill on the snowmobile trail. My legs felt good here and I decided to make a risky move. I passed Ryan, Scott and Ian in one swoop and tucked behind a fellow who also sported a thick, manly beard who was starting to put on a little distance. I was now in fourth place.
I followed Beard Guy all the way up but he was slowly pulling away from me. We got off the snowmobile trail and on to some single track-ish paths that had some turns and I couldn't see anyone in front or behind me. However, as we neared the snowmobile trail to go downhill, I could see Ian and Scott gaining ground. I pretty much knew that when we reached said downhill section that they would eventually get me.
That turned out to be the case, as I waved them both ahead once I could hear their footsteps not far behind me. They were going to pass me anyway, but I mused that by waving them ahead I could play offense and if I got a second wind, I could use that to my advantage. That never happened, and I suspected that it wouldn't, but hey, you never know.
We turned right and it was less than a half a mile to the finish. I could see Ryan behind me now, which had me playing defense again, but I also tried to keep pace with Scott and Ian. They picked up the pace now and I didn't have enough octane to make a move. I was dying here. Dying. I had already pushed myself very hard and was confident I was leaving everything out on this course. I was holding Ryan off but it required everything I had.
Crossed the finish line in sixth place. With a record field of 70 finishers and some strong competition, I'm very content with that. And with the hard effort I gave and the chances I took, it just made it a lot of fun and very rewarding. Kate also did very well and was quite pleased with her performance.
Now I'm really stoked for all of the snowshoe races that are ahead and also the Mid-Winter Classic. All great prep work for Boston, to boot. Racing rules. How can anyone not do this?
Snowshoe ran 2.9 miles @ 7:37/mile pace.
Overall place: 6th out of 70.
Trails with mostly hard packed snow, a few slightly deeper sections.
Upper 20s, overcast.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.
w/u: Snowshoe Ran .7 miles @ 9:24/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 1.0 miles @ 9:45/mile pace.