Monday, January 21, 2008

Pushing It At The Yeti - Mount Washington Race Report

Lining up for my first ever snowshoe race, and the first Yeti of the year, was a bit stressful. I was just not looking forward to redlining it for two 5km laps in the snow. After a race the previous weekend, and a week that included some ultimate frisbee and a hard speed workout, my body was tired of pushing it. I was actually feeling pretty good and had I been lined up for a 40km event or a long outing for fun, I would have been more than up for it. I tried my best to do a little warmup and before I knew it, it was all go.

The Yeti's are great winter events put on by Marc Campbell. Dave Howells was the course designer who packed down some sweet singletrack through the deep white stuff up on Mt. Washington. I was pleasently surprised to see so much singletrack as, being my first race, I envisioned much more groomed trails.

While you all race individually in the Yeti, there all also team categories where the top five team members times (including at least one female) are averaged to get a team score. My adventure racing teammate and friend Gary Robbins recruited me to join Team North Shore Athletics (NSA) to try and beat out the strong Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island. This was going to be a close battle.

The 5km loop consisted of alternating short and doubletrack trails with a steep doubletrack close to the beginning in order to spread out the competitors. Close to the end, you hit a nice windy singletrack climb that than descended in long switchbacks down to an open finish line sprint. Read this a super fast and fun. What a sweet day too!

Downhill to the finish

I had been warned before the race to slow it down on the first lap as snowshoeing will really take it out of you and, if you're not careful, you might bonk hard on the the second lap. I took the advice wisely and just went hard enough to hold on to my spot. I had Justin Mark and Jeff Riemer of Helly Hansen Vancouver Island in my sights and waited for the open double track of the start of the second lap to close the gap. I caught both runners and held on to Justin until the first climb of the second lap started. This is when the Yeti started to hurt. That neon Team NSA vest/dress hurt as well!

Starting to hurt - 2nd Lap
When we hit some doubletrack, Jeff Reimer put on some steam and ended up passing me for the next long singletrack section up on the plateau. Shortly in, I pulled out a gel and tried to recoupe some energy. The gel really helped and suddenly I was feeling really good. I was right behind Jeff, who was going a bit slower than I would have been otherwise, but there was no way that I could have passed in the soft snow on the outside of the track. This would be my only complaint for this race. Tasaka, you should sponsor a MOMAR passing lane! I held on until the last doubletrack came before the downhill. I made my move, and caught up to Justin. I was still feeling good at this point and when we hit the downhill, I kept making sure that I didn't go too hard and bail.

A sweet shot of the final downhill

Just before we hit the bottom of the run, Justin took a hard faceplant into the snow. I slowed up to see if he was ok when he told me to go. I pushed to the finish and came in behind Gary in a solid 6th place overall.

After much anticipation, the team results came through. It was extremely close but our Team, NSA, managed to beat HH Vancouver Island by 2 seconds!!!

This was a great event that had a fun course and was enjoyed by all. Some awesome costumes out for this event as well. I you happen to be over in North Van over the next couple months, definitely check these out!

Special thanks to Kim for moving all over the course and taking some awesome photos!


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