My dad and I rolled into Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH for the last snowshoe race of the year and Granite State Snowshoe Series. This was also hosting the championship for the Granite State. I placed 3rd last year with an elbow shredding kick to the finish line with CMS teammate Greg Hammett. Race director Ryan Welts and Chris Dunn provided some guidance on how the course was laid out. The course profile did show, as they reiterated, two hills toward the end. The last hill was Catamount Hill. Before heading out for my warm up, I found Jim Johnson all stressed out as his keys were locked in his car. I went into salvage mode to determine what we could do to get him racing gear assuming that AAA would not be able to get there and in his Nissan within 45 minutes. I went and got him another bib number from registration and then offered to grab a sledge hammer as we could take out a small window and get in. Thankfully we were advised that Scott Mason – a locksmith by trade – might be able to help. Jim flagged him down and Scott, with a slim Jim in hand, was in the Nissan in about 2 minutes. No big deal. 35 minutes to race time and I got out on the road for a quick out and back for a warm up on the roads. I got on the start line four minutes for the start for instructions by Ryan Welts. I jumped into third place behind Jim Johnson. Nacho had the lead early. The pace felt upbeat. I lost sight of Jim after 10 minutes and did not see nor hear anyone on my heels.
I felt OK on the single track and miserable on the four wheeler track. The tire track was too narrow to have a comfortable stride and foot plant with the snowshoes. It was an ankle buster. So I would then opt for the higher snow in between which was booted up (rustic was the term that I learned). I could not find a happy medium and slowed down a bit noting that I was exhausted. Really exhausted! Two folks caught up – I assumed one was Dave Dunham (the other was Tim Van Orden). I picked up the pace on the single track and seemed to be feeling better. I wanted to push them from the front. I kept that up until some hills and Dave called for a pass and I obliged with satisfaction. I asked Tim if he wanted to go too and he was all set. I kept with Dave until for a bit before having to climb. I was toast and told Tim as such. Tim went by as Dave now had five seconds on us and was wheeling pretty good on the down hill. It was another ankle tester with single track. They gapped me pretty good but they were at least visible. Things flattened out before approaching a sign “big hill ahead.” I figured it was the last hill and oh it certainly was. It was steep enough for me to step into a walk here and there but I was only 8-10 seconds behind Tim and Dave. I got to the top and I managed to look out to the beautiful view for a few seconds while trying to stay with the flagging of the course. I could just make out Dave's back before he descended down.
This set up for a huge downhill for which I let it all fly trying to close the gap on Dave. It was not to be as I was lucky to get within 12 seconds of Dave at the end. I know we were both exhausted and just looking for the finish line. Tim Van Orden, Dion / Western Mass Athletic Club (WMAC) 2014 series Champ, smoked me by 31 seconds. My finish time was 53:29 and place was 5th overall. Jim Johnson took the win and Nacho was 2nd. CMS took four of the top five here. I got 6.31 miles on the Garmin so pretty close to the 10K billing. I did a cool down with Dave and Tim on the roads before chilling out at the post race festivities where Acidotic is the best in the business for awards, raffles, and showcasing the divisional top three for the race as well as the series.