Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowshoe season heats up for Mini Ponies

Well if you don't like snow, you've probably either moved to Florida or taken the radio into the bath tub with you by now, but for those that do like the white stuff (not THAT white stuff), it's been a very good January. And that certainly includes a big part of New England Track & Trail's members.

Last weekend, it was a great day for a casual snowshoe hike on the trails in Lincoln. Crazy Dave led the way on his XC skis and Doris, Adrienne, Mary and Chris followed the tracks on their snowshoes. It was only the second time for Mary and Adrienne, but they shoed like seasoned veterans, hopping rock walls and following their brainless leader across fields and trails.

But this weekend, it was time to get our race on and NETT attacked the Beaver Brook 5K Snowshoe Race in Hollis, NH with great success, taking 2nd and 4th on the men's side and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd on the women's side, in addition to various age group awards.

For the women, NETT North's Jennifer Shultis (now a resident of Peterborough, NH) took 2nd behind a ridiculously fast Kara Haas (more on that later). While Jennifer's run was very strong, she's an experienced snowshoer and we've come to expect those kinds of finishes from her (although not always wearing a skirt! No sh-t, the chic wore a skirt in the snowshoe race). The surprise on the women's side was Mary Smith, taking third place overall in her FIRST EVER snowshoe race. Before the race, she was calm and cool, as the video at the bottom of the page documents. It was clear that she handled the new sport with ease and even added a snowshoe cooldown for good measure. Another one hooked!

The men's race was chock full of drama, with Chris Smith taking us all out strong in his only second snowshoe race (he was third last week at the Pooh Hill race). Chris led for most of the race, towing a few guys along including Crazy Dave, sucking wind a few yards back by halfway. But lurking back in fourth was the always tough Rob Smith who found a high gear in the last half-mile to dust us all easily. You'd love to hate a guy that pulls something like that off, but Rob's such a nice guy (seen here with Dave and Mary), you gotta give the guy credit for a good win. Chris did an amazing job and finished second in his second ever snowshoe race--it's clear that he's got some serious potential in this sport. And Crazy Dave was fourth place only 13 seconds in front of a fast-charging Kara Haas (I swear I looked back with 200m to go and there was no one behind me--she came out of NOWHERE!).

RD Michael Amarello gets high marks for not only getting 50 people to a first-time snowshoe race but a good course and markings and nice t-shirts and prizes.
But the person that deserves perhaps the MOST props, is Mary's beau Dustin, who was perhaps on of five spectators in the freezing temperatures supporting Mary and the rest of us, taking great pics, shivering and looking at us all like we really really need professional help. When asked if he'll be at the next snowshoe race, Dutsin's reply was: "I'll be there in spirit."(In comparison, Doris has been to enough snowshoe races at this point, that she had me drop her off at the Pheasant Lane Mall on the way up!)

All in all, it was a fun day in the snow. Those interested in doing some snowshoe races, there's plenty more coming up:
  • Jan 31 Northfield, Mass. (A very tough mountain course)

  • Feb. 8 Frosty's Dash for a Cure (5K) in Atkinson NH to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis

  • Feb. 14 Horse Hill 7K in Merrimack, NH
And plenty more on these sites: and the Granite State Snowshoe Series.

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