Saturday, January 8, 2011

Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic

If nothing else, I emailed Ben Nephew (CMS - Inov8) as soon as I registered for the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic on Thursday night. I asked him to come back up here and consider this race that he won last year. He was considering a three hour drive to hit up a snowshoe race in Pittsfield, MA. I woke up this morning, coughing and hacking up flem which has been the norm since Wednesday. Colds suck, period. I looked outside, disappointed. There was a lack of fresh white stuff on the ground - at least 2-4 inches promised by the weather folks yesterday. I packed up the gym bag and two pairs of snowshoes and hit the door one hour before the race was to start. Kristen and I drove over to Salem in an easy 15 minute drive. I got a pair of cool socks with the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe logo made by the sockguy for pre-registering. I took a quick peek at the course map with Ben Nephew and course co-designer, Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith, Jay Curry, and others were on the greens during the week shoveling snow onto clear grass to prepare for the race and finalize a course. The course was different than last year in that it did not have the single track woods loop. I went back to my car to swap out for the smaller cleat as I had the large cleat installed from the last snowshoe race last year.

I warmed up on the course minus the snowshoes with Brett Rickenbach (Winners Circle Running Club) with whom I suggested during the week that he try this race out. This was his first snowshoe race. I brought him my extra pair of snowshoes but he ended up renting a pair from Dion Snowshoes which I've been rocking since 2004. Bob and Denise Dion were on hand offering their wares and renting them for $5. There were bare spots scattered on the golf course so it was going to be interesting to see what the backside of the course was going to look like. The race bolted out and I settled into third after a few minutes. Ben was out in the front with Steve Dowsett (UMass Dartmouth). There were plenty of rolling hills to slow the pace. I kicked it down each hill. Ben began to pull away from Steve before a mile when I started to focus on reeling Steve in. I caught Steve around 1.75 miles. I was pretty much exhausted after 20 minutes so I quelled any thoughts to go after Ben who seemed to tire and was not pulling away. I rolled into the finish line in 25:23. Ben ran 24:49. Steve was right behind me with a 25:49. Brett ran a solid 26:56 just ahead of Acidotic Racing's Chirs Dunn. I headed out for an easy an easy cooldown with the guys before the top twenty finished.

Some thoughts came to mind after the race. The Dungeon Rock racing crew of Patrick Smith, Jay Curry, and others put in a lot of time in during the week to spread snow on the bare spots to give us a manageable course. Whatever frozen grass we ran over today, I hardly noticed. I'd say we were on snow for 98% of the 3.1 0r 3.2 miles that they measured out on google earth. We dealt with what was given to us which is a common theme in New England racing. The second thought was the time and effort that the Dion's put in to come to races and make it affordable to get folks without snowshoes fitted to take part in the races. They drive all over New England and New York from their headquarters in Vermont. In addition, kudos to Doug Bollen who is behind the series of races in Salem all year 'round. Lastly, with the snow that began to fall toward the end of the race made me wonder just how many snowshoe races that I have raced while it was snowing. Of all the snowshoe races I have done (at least 25), I couldn't recall one. Thus today was the first. Dave Dunham may correct me on that.

The best part was chilling out after the race with plenty of hot cocoa, chili, powerade, water, peanuts, bananas, and bagels. I won a raffle prize - gift certificate to the New England Running Company and won a cool hat for second place overall.

Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic full results
Photos taken by KrissyK

Finally, I want to plug a lecture in which Chris Dunn is the lead speaker in Salem this Tuesday on winter endurance training. Here is a story.

Event Details:
What: Lecture and Social Gathering for Endurance Sport Athletes.
When: Tuesday, January 11, 7:00 pm.
Where: Salem Mass YMCA, 1 Sewall St., Salem, MA 01970
Cost: Free and open to the public.

Jim Pawlicki, Brett Rickenbach, Ben Nephew, and Steve Dowsett emarking on the cooldown.


  1. sounds like a pretty good day...too bad you invited Ben or would've gotten the W. Good pics, too.

  2. I am glad Ben came up. He's off to a good start this year. He won a gift certificate to a local food establishment in Salem. If I was thinking, we all should have gone out and spent it. Hahaha!