Monday, January 25, 2010

Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race Report

This past Saturday, Jan 23rd, I was fortunate to participate in the inaugural Dion Frontenac Snowshoe race, held in Frontenac Provincial Park, just North of Kingston. A race in this park had been a long time dream of Race Director Derrick Spafford, of Spafford Health and Adventure, and a snowshoe race seemed like a fitting event for Derrick who is an avid snowshoe racer. Derrick’s passion and attention to detail was evident in his frequent course updates, including a Video of the course made by his wife Sara, and the grooming of the course he performed leading up to the race to ensure all races had the best experience they could. He sure sets a high bar.

Kimberley and I drove up from Kanata early in the morning so I would have time to get a good warm-up in prior to the race. My main focus this winter is the Peaks Snowshoe Marathon in March, so even though this was not my “A” race, I will still hoping to perform and place well. (What race don’t you?). Even though there was not a huge field, with only 35 participants, the race had a very diverse range of talent and abilities, so it was hard to predict how well I’d place.

The race was, as Derrick described, a lollipop course; straight out on an undulating, fairly wide open trail for 1.9km, a loop through some single track trail for 3.5km and then a return on the original 1.9km section. We all lined up, got the pre-race instructions and cautions and then we given the “Go” by one of the park’s rangers, a nice touch.

I started off cautiously a couple of rows back; wanting to let the faster people and those with a bit more early adrenaline, start off ahead. I settled into my pace pretty quickly, keeping it fairly light for the first 1.9km as everyone settled into the race. I did manage to pass a couple of people through this section and by the time we turned onto the single track, I was running alone. When we hit the single track trail, I am sure I must have looked like the Cheshire Cat, with a huge grin on my face. I love running on tight, twisty trails, and in snowshoes, its all the more fun. Derrick and crew had done a great job packing the trail. I passed one other runner on this section; I felt strong throughout and could really feel the training in my legs and form. Coming off the single track and the final stretch to the finish, I could see no one in front or behind so I thought I’d have a nice easy run in. About 400 meters later, I looked over my shoulder and saw the racer I had previously passed starting to close the gap; the race was on. From there to the finish, I was running scared and pushing hard. I was glad for that as it turned it into a true race at the end. I crossed the line in 39:01, placing 5th overall (nice). I waited for Kimberley to finish, and she did so with her usual hard sprint to the end; snowshoes, trail shoes, or road shoes, do not get in her way at the end of a race or she’ll run you over. Kim had an amazing day finishing 5th female and 1st Masters woman. Well done.

The post race did not disappoint with some excellent home made chili and amazing awards and prizes. Once again though, I was shut out of any of Grandma Rosie’s homemade fleece socks, but that is alright because I am holding out for the double lined fleece mitts.

Once again Derrick and Sara put on a spectacular event. Every detail was thought of, including the good weather. Thanks so much. But an event like this also requires a number of unsung heroes in the volunteers who seemed to love the day as much as the racers; to them we are eternally grateful.

Derrick, the happy race director

Sara and Derrick

Kimberley with her well earned medal

So now back to the training for one last push before Vermont in 6 weeks.


Sara said...

Great racing by both of you on Saturday! It was so nice seeing you two, as always. I love the vision of you grinning on the gnarly stuff, David! (Taylor mentioned he loved that part too.)
One step closer to Vermont now! Should be a blast.

Kimberley said...

HUGE congrats David! I knew that you'd rock the course and 5th place overall is sensational. You looked very happy and in your element out there. Love seeing you grin toots.
Thanks for making races so fun and special.

EJ said...

Great racing again with you and Kim again. I love soaking up your enthusiasm for running. Good Luck in Vermont. I hope we get lots of snow for your training.