Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winter is Cherry Picking Season for NETT Snowshoe contingent

It was a weekend for Cherry Picking for the NETT Snowshoe squad and they picked well!

For the uninitiated, here's a few simple rules to follow for successful winter cherry picking. First find a very small minimally promoted race, preferably fewer than 15 people. Next, confirm they are giving prizes out in various divisions. Feel free to invite friends, but be sure they are friends you can outrun (say, for example, they've been busy traveling for work non-stop before their very pregnant wife gives birth). And running most of a walking race helps too.

The cherry harvest began on Saturday, when the trio of Big Ben, Crazy Dave and Sherpa Doris all hit the first annaul Shaker 3K Snowshoe Race in Canterbury, NH and put the cherry picking strategy to the test. With Cindy (and Baby Jenkins) cheering them on and snapping these great pics, the cherry picking was, well, fruitful. Crazy Dave and Big Ben finished 1-2 and Sherpa Doris snagged a win in the open women's category. Okay, there were 15 people in the race and only one person besides our trio had "running" snowshoes, but that's the point of cherry picking, right? For their trouble, Dave got a brand new pair of Crescent Moon snowshoes, and Ben and Doris both won gift certificates to visit the Shaker Village. Crazy Dave was even interviewed by a local radio station about his victory (hereby giving new meaning to the term "slow news day").

All joking aside, this was a very nice, small-town event. The folks organizing it were very nice, the scenery was gorgeous and the course well-marked. The organizers had prizes and finisher certificates for all participants. They are planning on hosting a XC running race in May, so we'll be sure to head back up there for that. And the foursome (okay, fivesome with Jenkins in utero) enjoyed a great lunch at the Shaker Table restaurant at the Shaker village--fantastic food and service with a sense of humor (Our wisecracking waiter told Ben that "Berries are like fruit, but smaller"). What more could you ask for?

And on Sunday, the winter cherry picking continued, as Crazy Dave and Sherpa Doris headed up to the Horse Hill Snowshoe Race in Merrimack, NH. And this time it was Doris that came away with the biggest cherries (or so to speak), as she cleanly trounced the competition in the 4K race (okay, fitness walk), winning it outright (see her here at the awards ceremony, photo courtesy of Virginia Amarello, more photos here). Not the women's division, not her age group, but won the 4K outright. Can I get a hell yeah? HELL YEAH!

Dave struggled to a second place finish in the 6K race, but seriously, who cares about that? Today was clearly Doris' day, wowing the crowd at the award ceremony with her one liners like "Is there any more coffee left?" and "Oooohhh...donuts."

Again, kidding aside, Mike Amarello put on a very nice, low-key race here which was superbly marked by using discarded campgaign signs (Ron Paul would be horrified to know how many people he "sent left"!). He was a great host and made sure to include as many participants as possible in the awards.

All in all, I think these winter cherry pickers are in no rush to see spring come!

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