I am very happy to write to you that I have finished my first snowshoe race of the year this past weekend at Saranac, NY in the Adirondack Region and I was able to pull out a victory to start 2015 off right. I really love this race from last year and with RD Jeremy Drowne at the helm, he puts on a well-thought-out snowshoe race through a wonderful course that I feel suits my strengths well.
Ashlee and myself made the fun trip in our new car, a 2013 Ford Fusion as we gathered our belongings and made the 4-5 hour trip to the North Country. We had a hotel room in Plattsburgh, NY and we were excited to spend some alone-time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday Cortland.
We were able to push out of town around 1:30pm or so as blowing snow was making getting out of town a little difficult.
We had such a blast on the way out talking and singing songs in the car, and being at awe with the majestic mountains of the Adirondack Region.
We go in late to our hotel room which was a fantastic suite. We headed into Downtown Plattsburgh for some grub. It was super cold in the North Country with temps near or below zero. We walked around and then stopped at a delicious Thai restaurant and had a delicious meal and then stopped at the Stewart's gas station/convenience store for some drinks and late-night snacks before relaxing in the hotel room.
This is a photo from last year (Credits New Land Trust)
We awoke in the morning before a 10 am start to a freezing cold but cloudless sky with plenty of sunshine. The temps marked about -15 which is darn cold and would be the coldest snowshoe race I ever raced in. I was so happy to be back and to see everyone I met from last year again. I also had unfinished business with the course as last year the weak snow caused for me to post-hole in the snow way too often and cost me a solid race performance that had me disappointed in the outcome.
Ashlee was being such a great sport being all bundled up as we checked in and proceeded to prepare for the race. I had with me my magic weapon: Stewart's Raspberry Iced Tea which uses no High Fructose Corn Syrup and tastes delicious so I was ready to go. I also before the race took a Grape-Pomegranate Boom Gel to give the necessary energy needed for a 40-60 minute snowshoe effort.
The snow on the course looked incredible and I felt times would be fast like last year.
It was great to hang out with Jacob, Jeremy, and Matt again as we prepped for another Cockadoodle Shoe. I had like 7 layers on so with a little running, I felt nice and toasty.
I would be debuting my Mammut Snowshoe Race Kit (as I call it) this year with my Mammut Aenergy Thermo Vest and my Grey Thermo Running Half Zip with a matching beanie and Denali Power-stretch Tights. I wore two pairs of running Fits Socks to help insulate my feet and man with that Merino wool, my feet felt perfect. After the kids fun-run, it was race time.
We jogged the half mile or so to the starting line and prepared for another fun race.
With a solid warm-up in, the Boom gel coursing through my veins, and a kiss from Ashlee, I was ready to go for it.
With a "Go" we were off. It felt great to race again after a nice hiatus of a month or so. I settled behind a group of guys and with all the snow flying in my face decided to move up front more so I was not plagued by the frost beard.
This photo was taken by Ashlee as we hit the trails of Limehollow Nature Center the one other day to snowshoe. I have been testing out my modified pair of Redfeather Vapor 21s which I have been getting used to the binding but have been loving the shape of the snowshoe and the traction of the cleats. Plus the Limegreen and Black I feel is an excellent color choice.
* As far as the race went, I got behind Jacob in the first mile or so and took the lead into the downhill loop into the steep and short uphill. Once we hit the first hill, I began to feel pretty solid through the snow conditions and felt like I was floating on-top of the snow. This was fantastic as I had a comfortable gap of about 15-20 seconds on second place. I knew with a lot of fast guys in this race, that the tempo of the race could easily change as the distance progressed. I remained calm and comfortable in my effort. I came through the first 5k quick in about sub 21 pace and felt really solid. Second place was still about 10-15 seconds behind me so I knew I had to put the hammer-down the second 5k. The course winds through all kinds of lush wooded forest and is just what an Adirondack snowshoe race is all about.
The second 5k was a lot tougher as the snow had drifted over the trail in most of the sections so I was forced to break-trail and use-up more of my energy stores to power myself through the un-even snow. My Mammut apparel kept me the perfect temperature as well as shedding off the snow that I was kicking-up. I pushed harder through the thick spots of snow often every third step, loosing my balance as I began to sink into the deeper pockets of white powder. I wanted to run fast like the first 5k and grew a little impatient, okay, really impatient with the deeper, slower snow conditions. I still had second place hovering near me. I was hoping that the deep snow was giving them the same trouble but you can never be certain. I hit the meadow in around 32 minutes and thought the race was almost over. I could not see second behind me but took nothing for granted and continued to push through.
I was getting pretty winded and was so ready to finish, though I think I had about 2 more miles to go. My pace slowed big time as I was practically treading water, ready to just finish. I toughed it out and then came to the finish.
I finished in 51:03 a big positive split but was happy to survive through a tough course and felt truly blessed to have run a solid race with some awesome people.
Thank you to all of the volunteers for cheering us on: especially Bob Bolton! Ashlee was truly incredible for coming with me on this adventure. Thank you to Jeremy Drowne for another amazing race and his family for working so hard with the Land Trust to produce another top-notch event. The Dak Bars were yummy and you should check those out.
As far as prizes go: It is always nice to win some cash with $150 in prize money, a sweet snow-globe and some Darn Tough socks for Ashlee in purple.
Thank you to my sponsors: Mammut North America (MTR), Fits Socks, Boom Nutrition, Red Newt Racing/ MPF Endurance Team, Redfeather snowshoes, Craft/Karhu North America.
Thank you Ashlee for the support along the trip, I had a blast with you exploring Lake Placid and the Adirondack Region. I am hopeful for many more trips out this way.
Here is to a solid 2015. I am so thrilled to have energy reserves the whole way in my snowshoe race and feel that the sickness is all behind me now. I am truly ready to race tough!
See you out on the trails! And if you have questions about snowshoe running or are curious about what Mammut offers in terms of amazing gear, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.