HELLO? HELLO? IS THIS THING ON?

Yes, we’re still here and putting together a 2020-21 Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series. Actually, Laura Clark has been working for months to try to assemble a list of races – the radio silence has primarily been my fault, my paying job (which truth be told I also love) has been the most time consuming and exhausting that it’s been in my almost 30 year career. But the time has come to reveal our plans for this season, mainly because we might actually have a live race happening in less than a week…

This is likely obvious to everyone, but I’ll run through it anyway. This is not going to be our usual snowshoe series. Live races will be thin on the ground, and some that are currently planned may not end up being allowed to happen. Many of us can’t legally cross state lines to attend races outside of our home state, and some states likely won’t even let live races happen even if we could. Some folks will be comfortable attending a live race, others not. Various modifications to race formats will be needed to try to make them as safe as possible for participants, including limiting numbers and allowing online preregistration only.

In light of all of this we’ve decided to focus on participation and encouraging people to get outdoors to snowshoe or non-snowshoe run, walk, and hike, whether it’s by participating in a live race if one is happening or simply spending time and distance outside close to home. The plan is to have a particular distance to aim for each week. If there’s a live race that week, that could be one option for accomplishing that distance, but anyone is free to participate wherever they are. Later this week I’ll post details about recording participation, which will be on the honor system. Toward the end of the season we may have a raffle for some prizes and Laura may revive a version of Farmer Ed’s Barnyard Awards (how many people reading this remember those?)

At the same time we will also be running a distance challenge where the goal is to see how many miles of snowshoeing you can do this season. Top mileages will get bragging rights and maybe some prizes if we can rustle some up.

The fun starts the weekend after Christmas, hopefully with the first live race of the season – 2.5k and 5k at the Gore Ski Bowl Nordic Center. Online registration will open as soon as permission to hold the race is granted and I’ll post full race details once we know it’s happening, but at the moment the day and time to keep free is Sunday, December 27, with a rolling start between 2-2:30 PM, in North Creek NY.

Stay tuned!

2019-20 SERIES WRAP UP – AND THE WINNERS ARE…

… all of you who participated in any of our 16 races (some of which had two or even three distances to choose from) this season. We had 431 finishers between all of the races, which is pretty impressive considering how feeble winter was at times and how many races and activities there are to choose from. Thank you for choosing to spend some time with our crazy crew.

Actually, you’re a winner if you got outdoors this winter, even if you didn’t do one of our races, rather than vegetating indoors for the last four months.

Every entry into a series races counts as an entry into the series raffle run by Dion Snowshoes. There are two raffle winners, each getting a Dion logo piece of apparel. Our congratulations to Kathy Furlani (Hoot Toot & Whistle) and Jim Rucker (Garnet Hill). Please contact Bob Dion to make arrangements to claim your prizes.

The series champions are determined by the top combined points for their best six races. Each gets their choice of a complete set of Dion snowshoes. Not a lot of folks did six races this season, so the qualifying field was small, but our two champions definitely stand out. Congratulations to Stephan Fowlkes (527.9 pts) and Christine Natalie (524.1 pts) for being named 2019-20 Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series Champions! Please contact Bob Dion to make arrangements to claim your prizes.

I’d also like to mention two individuals who I think set the record for most series races run this season – Matt Miczek and Laura Clark, who each ran 12 races. They also attended all six of the Tuesday evening  Gore Nordic Citizens’ Races, completed the Merck Ultra 25k, and spent countless hours on the trails at Saratoga Spa State Park & the Wilton Wildlife Preserve getting things ready for the two Saratoga snowshoe races. We don’t have awards for the most miles/hours spent on snowshoes, but if we did they would go to Matt and Laura.

There are still a few more updates to post before we go into snowshoe hibernation until fall – stay tuned.

RESULTS FROM FEBRUARY & MARCH RACES

Keep an eye out for the overall series champions and the series raffle results (2 winners, each race you ran is one entry to the raffle.) I should have those compiled and calculated in the next few days.

On to the results:

Camp Saratoga snowshoe race 2/8/20

Brave the Blizzard trail race 2/15/20

Frigus 5k/15k45k snowshoe race 2/15/20

Stone Bridge Caveman 6k/15k snowshoe race 2/16/20

Hoot Toot & Whistle snowshoe race 2/22/20

Gore Nordic Citizens’ Race #6 snowshoe race 2/25/20

Garnet Hill snowshoe race 2/29/20

Nor’East Evening snowshoe race 3/7/20

YOU ARE INVITED TO A SNOWSHOE PARTY!

by Laura Clark

Bet that header got your attention. Unfortunately, you are too late. The final event in the Dion Snowshoe Series, Nor’easter’s March 7 Punxsutaweny Phil 5K at the Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry, Vermont included a pop-up birthday bash.  The Catch 22, of course, is that Phil’s birthday was the previous Sunday and not the following Saturday.  But that only gave Phil more opportunity to solidify his prediction of an early spring….

The route was indeed spring-like, with frozen granular and a few aspiring puddles peeking through, but excellent for a fast 5K tour through the woods.  Occurring as it did before the Spring Ahead mandate, headlamps were required but really not necessary as the fortuitous placement of the full moon, assorted trail lights and kerosene lanterns provide plenty of illumination.  I have come to a greater appreciation of the cast iron stomachs colonials must have possessed to eat their supper while breathing in the fumes.  Running was another matter altogether, but in my mind it was a small price to pay for the atmosphere.

For me, the most difficult thing to deal with was the timing of the event.  While I love the concept of running in the dark, where it always feels as if you are motoring faster than you really are, it is more difficult to wait around on the weekends.  The Tuesday evening Gore Mountain race series was easier to approach.  You go to work and then drive to the mountain.  Here, on a weekend, when I am accustomed to waking up and going for a long run, things played out a bit differently.  While I did get my errands done while other folks were still watching their Saturday morning cartoons, I then had to figure how to spend the rest of my day.  Did I tire myself out with housecleaning? And when and what to eat for lunch?

Clearly, the nutritional aspect was already bothering our car mate, Maureen Roberts, who kept chatting about finding a convenience store to score some sustenance afterwards.  Matt Miczek and myself, who had been to Viking before, looked at each other incredulously and wondered where she would find a store open at night in the middle of true Vermont countryside, even if it was Saturday.

I have been listening to Ben Thompson’s irreverent Guts and Glory series, nonfiction accounts of various pivotal moments of world history. Coincidently, my current download is titled: The Vikings. So I was able to distract Maureen with trivial pursuit-type facts.  For example, did you know the legend of the Tooth Fairy was created by Viking mothers who rewarded loose teeth with sweets?  Apparently that was before the advent of dentists.  How about this one: Vikings discovered and then forgot about Iceland a total of three times before they finally broke out their snowshoes and settled it on the fourth try. If you are into history or have kids you want to entertain, these are humorous, lively and totally non-boring accounts. (End of infomercial).

Moving right along…The Viking Nordic Center also has cabins to rent and one of these was occupied by a huge group celebrating two birthdays with two kegs of beer, Sloppy Joes and lots of desserts whether or not you  had recently lost a tooth.  And they urged all the racers to stop by after we had sampled mulled cider, pie and fudge in the race cabin.  What a deal!  A race, a party and a dinner solution!  And it was even better than that – trails can seem lonely at night, so the whole crew came out to cheer us on.  Feeling somewhat obligated, we hiked over (groan) to their cabin, Maureen all the while insisting it was “for the story” and not the beer. Weirdly, one of the families hailed from Cambridge, NY, a town near Saratoga, and Dr. Maureen had interned with the local doctor!

While we arrived home very late and still had to officially Spring Ahead, (think New Year’s Eve), Matt had still another party to attend. The rest of us hung up our snowshoes and went to bed…. a wonderful end to the 2020 Snowshoe Season!

—  Laura Clark is an avid snowshoer, trail runner, XC skier, race director, 2017 World Snowshoe Federation Championship 70-99 Female Age Group winner, and 2018 National Championship Half Marathon 70-99 Female Age Group winner