Monday, February 11, 2013

Snowshoe Classic at Brooksby Farms

Hitting the line on empty
Photo by Krissy courtesy iPhone 4S
I signed up for this 5K (my GPS plotted 3.09 miles during the race) snowshoe race at Brooksby Farm in Peabody as soon as I heard the Blizzard of 2013 was coming. Mother Nature was not going to keep this guy down. Krissy and I picked up Angel Green (Wicked Running Club) and headed to the farm. I realize that I have kept all of my 2013 racing within a five mile radius of home. Just a lazy coincidence so far. After getting my bib number and race packet that had a pair of socks (can't get enough socks, right?) I made a point to find the race director to get the scoop on the course. He said between orange ribbons, arrows, volunteers, and snowmobile tracks, it should be easy to follow. He also said save your energy for the hills at the end. He was not kidding. Did I listen? Nope. I warmed up for a light run on the roads with Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) who has been tearing up the snowshoe races this winter. I got set with the racing stuff and eased into the Dion 121 snowshoes that have had only one race under them (Sidehiller 2011). I wore Inov8 195's which are light. We got some instruction from the race director and the Mayor of Peabody, Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., shot the starting pistol releasing almost 70 brave entries. I jumped into the lead and let the lungs burn. I listened to the shuffling behind me as I worked along, shifting left and right on the track to find stable footing. Despite the snowmobile running over it, the snow was still deep, light, and sloppy for footing. I lost the sound of shuffling behind me after a few minutes and headed into the woods loop which could be described as a winter wonderland - tall pines covered with snow. The snow was barely broken by those that marked the course. The hills were gently rolling so far when the course popped out to the orchard with a generous long downhill stretch where I opened up the stride and let it fly for a bit. I thought the race director was being kind but I know what goes down must be offset with getting back up to the farm. The tough sledding came when crossing a field that was exposed to plenty of deep drift from the winds a day earlier. It took a lot of effort. This was certainly the deepest stuff we embarked on the course. I tried to minimize overall effort to prepare for the climb that I anticipated ahead. True to form, the hill that the race director warned about loomed. It was not steep but long enough to get your attention. I worked it and the strides short. My legs were cooked at the top. I could see the barn house that we started next to in the distance and was looking forward to hitting that finish line as my tank was close to empty. It felt like forever to get there as the course teases us as we had to go around the barn property and tour another orchard. I passed a cool green air cooled Volkswagen Camper Bus (something like this) buried in the snow 200 meters before the finish line. Leave it to the VW geek to appreciate that site during a lung burning event. I was relieved to hit the finish line in 31:35, 10:12 per mile average, a result of the conditions. Dave Long (Wicked Running Club) was 2nd in 32:17. Steve finished up fifth overall, 34:49, and was not too happy how his race unfolded. Snow conditions and course terrain can beat up the fittest of athletes. I put down a Vita Coco and two apple cinnamon bars before heading out for a cool down loop with Steve on the roads. The race was treated with plenty of food inside the barn house which is a store all year-round. I helped myself to the veggie chili, apple crisp, and mini italian sandwiches from Santoros. I picked up a jar of Brooksby Farm Honey and a Su Changs (awesome Cantonese food) gift certificate. Meanwhile, there were raffles flying out left and right. Krissy scored a Paddy Kelly's gift certificate. In all, this was a great event. The course was tough but gave the entrant what they would expect in southern New England. Mother Nature came through with the snow and we happily met the challenge.
 Jen Searl, Angel Green, Patrick Taylor, Jim Pawlicki, Krissy Kozlosky

1 comment:

  1. Jim,

    In preparing for our marketing campaign for the 2014 Snowshoe Classic at Brooksby Farm, I stumbled upon this post for the first time. What a testimonial! I wish we could have had the trail packed harder for you but 'driving bans' the day before an event definitely have an impact. Oh well, painful races certainly play a role in making the strongest racers... Two Questions:
    1. Will you be back to defend your title?
    2. Can I use a link to this post for promotional purposes?

    The Director who tried his best to warn you- Randy Weld, Peabody Recreation