A fun and fitting end to another season of snowshoe racing. It was a beautiful spring-like day, conditions were the best they've been all season, and the course was tough but fair. That's not to say a lot of us weren't cursing Ryan out while racing and after, but you know, snowshoe racing is just darn hard, so no matter what course you're racing on it's going to be tough! As I said to Doug prior to the race (his first time snowshoe racing, not to mention snowshoe racing), this is not the sort of thing you want to wear a heart-rate monitor while doing! You just don't want to know :-)
Sadly, Irene was sick, so Sam didn't get time with her grandparents today, but my sister very nicely agreed to watch Sam for the morning, so Sam did get some cousin time with Morgan and had a lot of fun! It certainly was a nice enough day for Sam to be at the race, but with both of us racing, and Ryan directing, it would have been a bit difficult logistically. Much less stress for all of us if she was off having fun playing with Morgan!
After dropping Sam off down in Portland, I drove back to the Brad, and had enough time to chat a bit and get in a mile warm-up before heading over the start line. Ran into Zak, Lenka, little baby Emma and the whole crew too. Emma looked adorable and half asleep, which is just how you want it :-)
Ryan had come up with a good course on the mountain side for this final race of the series, and we took off up the Northern Loop and out to the Boundary, all the way around to the South Ridge Trail. I was breathing heavily from the get-go, but felt much better than during the last race! Jennifer was off like a shot, so there was no use in trying to keep up, and without Leslie there, I was in a bit of no-man's land. I huffed and puffed and ran along. Conditions were good - soft snow, but mostly packed. I walked most of the steeps along the Boundary, and got passed by Nathan early on. I was walking, and he just ran on by as if I was standing still... well, I almost was, but you know :-) He ended up having a great race! Should have tried to keep up with him, I guess!
The descent down South Ridge was fun in an out-of-control sort of way, and slightly nerve-wracking with people breathing down your neck. I lost the guys behind me as we climbed back up to the playground and then made our way over to the Switchback, the devilish route back up to the summit. I admit to walking some of the steeper stretches between the Switchback. Aie. What can I say? By the time I got to the top, I was tired, and I let the two guys behind me by - turned out to be Sean and someone else, both of whom sped out of sight. I was a bit down at that point, wishing I could turn on my drive a bit, but I have still to work on that part of racing. I'm competitive but not quite enough :-) In any event, once they were past me, I actually really enjoyed the rest of the course - the little stretch on the Boundary before cutting over to the Tote road was nice, and the Tote was great running! I was having fun! Wait, did that mean I wasn't working hard enough? OK, turn it up a bit then, Danielle! Worked my way back up towards the summit, and then flew as fast as I could down the Terrace and in. I felt like I had a strong final few miles, and am overall pretty happy with how the race turned out, just wish I didn't quite "give up" as easily when passed by Nathan and Sean :-) Ah well. With Leslie not there, and me not feeling under the weather, I ended up in 2nd place for both the race, and the series, which was cool, although I think Jennifer beat me by about 5 minutes today, and 15 minutes in the overall standings. Ouch!!
I hung around after the race, chatting with friends and enjoying some yummy soup and goodies, and even had time to stick around for the awards. I chose a Frontier giftcard for my prize, which we put to very good use tonight for dinner - YUM! It was a great (if that is the word for a fun, if slightly torturous and hard) series, and many many thanks go out to Ryan, Ian, Valerie and Mindy, all of whom put in some serious time to make things happen, as well as the rest of the volunteers! Thank you! Thank you!
Now that the race is over, I'm ready for the snow to melt and the mud and dirt to appear :-)