It was Kingman Farm or bust. I was determined to travel through the falling snow and less than optimal road conditions. I was thankful for the 4 wheel drive that the Nissan pickup allowed me to leverage – figuring out how to manually engage it for the first time. I thought was a 6:30 start (actual start was 6:00) for the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe race in Madbury, NH. The caravan of snow plows four lanes wide (twice) on Rt. 95 and falling snow made for a white knuckle ride. I arrived at the race in time to provide 25 minutes to get my race number and sort into my racing gear. No time for a warm up or to relieve my pancreas. I was on the starting line for pre-race instruction provided by Chris Dunn. The rule to remember was to keep the flags to your right for the 4.5 mile course. I failed to get the pre-race emails that changed the course from the usual 5K distance.
Nineteen year old Nacho Hernando (Sweetie Pies) who took a win at Horsehill 7K the previous week got out in front with Jim Johnson (CMS) right away. Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) and I trailed in single file. Bob Jackman (TNT) was right behind me. The snow was falling and our headlamps shed light on our upcoming path. The footing was pretty good. Low hanging braches covered with snow were light to the touch. Visibility was good but picking up the yellow flags (a few were red and OK to see) were tough until you were on top of them. I did appreciate the reflective arrow on the yellow flags to advise of a turn. Your instinct is to follow the person in front of you. I let Bob pass as I felt I was holding him back about a mile into the race. Then we hit the field where I lost ground to him and Steve. You could occasionally look ahead and see the lights that Nacho and Jim had. We appeared to be doing a loop out there. I could see tail lights of cars out on a highway in the distance. The depth and conditions were fair out there but I preferred what we had in the covered trails of the woods. We headed back into the woods and I went past Bob to help out our pace. I wanted to close the gap that Steve had on us. I eventually did not hear Bob behind me.
Steve had a red blinky on his head lamp so I used that as a beacon to close in. I got within three seconds but no closer over the next two miles which had a nice mix of rolling hills, switch backs, and tight turns. One had to be careful to stay on and in the single track in the thick woods. I could hear the yelling in the distance and potential lighting from the town hall (I really was not too sure. Indeed that noise and lighting we were coming upon was the finish. It must be fun to watch the race from the finish with head lamps zig zagging along and eventually minutes later finish the race. I would up six seconds behind Steve in fourth place. Jim (2nd) and Nacho (1st) were evaluating their races and Jim seemed to be giving some tips and advice to Nacho to not let him hold Nacho back. I got the snowshoes off and did an easy cool down with Bob, Steve, and eventually Jim out on the snow covered roads. My mind was heavy on how the ride home was going to be and for morning trip to Woodford, VT 10 hours later. I got some warm clothes on and hung out for the always popular awards and raffles given by Acidotic Racing.
Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race Results - Madbury, NH - February 15, 2014 results
Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race photos by Scott Mason