The final snowshoe race of the year was this past weekend. We had recently received a nice dumping of snow in the mountains and it had me worried. Fresh spring pow makes for difficult snowshoe races. Icy courses are awesome!
Sure enough the snow was soft soft soft. Even on the groomed sections, it was hard work. The final installment of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series usually gets several hundred participants, but usually the least competitive front runners. I think people are done with snowshoe racing and getting on to their other sports...trail running, triathlons, etc.
I line up for the Dash For Cash and there are three of us. I had been joking that I was due to eat it because I've caused several crashes this year, and well, karma never ceases to amaze. So I'm on the line and I watch Steve tell Karen (super speedy pro triathlete) to go race, so at the last minute she runs up to the start line. The announcer says go and I'm not half way through before I hit a bump in the path, loose my balance and totally eat it. I was laughing up a storm. I totally took myself out! Karen scored the $100.
We get on the line and Karen and I noticed that all the usual podium girls are not present. Kinda exciting as the both of us are usually just off the podium. There is one other lady there that looks really familiar, but I just couldn't place her. I hear her talking to Karen about 100 milers.
Before the race starts the announcer talks to the racers and tells us that there are two sections where women must run right of the flags and men to the left. This is so that the women will have to break trail through these sections. This is all fair and good except the fact that people have run these sections in the warm up and so the mens route is already broken. I think they expected both men and women to have to break trail, but really it was just us ladies breaking through fresh THIGH DEEP powder.
The race gets started and I am out of the gate in fourth or so for the ladies and top 10 or so amongst the men. Not two minutes into the race we hit the first of the powder sections and the lead lady is breaking track. It is insanely deep and since the mens side is broken we get to watch every single guy pass us while we slog through insane deep snow. There was a lady that was trying to take the mens route and I was yelling at her, "Get in the women's side".
So six minutes into the race I'm pissed off because all the men are ahead and the chick ahead of me ran in the mens section. Karen and I team up a little bit and we just start passing people. We work our way all the way back up to Steve and I can see that Karen really wants to go get the leader, so much so that she is running pretty hard which is untypical for her at the start of a race. I finally realize I need to slow up and regroup or I'm going to blow my top.
I make the decision to regroup and Steve and Karen pull away. After about a half mile and I am ready to give it another strong effort and I start working hard again. We were on this like 2 mile up hill section and I just put my nose to the grindstone and started passing guys. Sure enough I worked my way back up to where Steve was just ahead of me, but the last two guys I had to pass to get there was TOUGH. Several minutes later we hit another powder section and Steve takes off. Several minutes after that section is another powder section, this one the girls have to run separate and break powder. I can do nothing while the two guys I worked so hard to pass just float on by in the guys tracks. So demoralizing.
We get out of that and I'm just holding on for dear life. The last mile and a half was a total suffer-fest. But, for the first time since I started running the 10K's (7 races ago) I made the podium. Third Place. After talking to the first place finisher, I finally placed her, Helen. She is a major contender every year at the Leadville 100. She was a super sweet lady and we both have little girls that are just about 3 weeks apart. I really enjoyed talking to her after the race. Second was Karen, she's such a studette!
Steve and Anthony both had really strong races as well. Keith, was really close to me (he's always trying to beat me in these things), and Sara decided to "race hard", so it's always fun to see how well she finishes when she actually tries!