Snowshoes enjoy challenging terrain |

Snowshoes enjoy challenging terrain

Ian Cropp
SSR Pedal Power PU 12-31

EAGLE-VAIL – Snowshoe racers are a bit sado-masochistic. They speak of challenging terrain in the most endearing terms, and rave about how much fun it was to climb up and down slopes with steep grades that can’t be found on the ski slopes.”My favorite parts were the steep uphills and heinous technical terrain,” said Travis Macy, who finished first in the men’s 10K in Saturday’s third installment of the Pedal Power Adventure Snowshoe Series with a time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 59 seconds.Sarah Raitter, who finished second on the women’s 5K, didn’t exactly feel the same way about the downhill portions.”There was this one section when you need to really climb steep uphill, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, I’m know we’re going to come screaming right back down the path,'” Raitter said. “But it’s fun though, I had a great time.”But Saturday’s race proved that it’s not just repeat racers that enjoyed the terrain.”I’ll try it again,” said 9-year-old Ashalou Harrison, who lives in Hawaii and showshoed for the first time Saturday. “It looks more fun when you do it again.” This year’s race didn’t fail to give competitors a great view, and a nice tease at the end.”Towards the end, at the last straight away, they take you back up in the woods, and you just want to get to the finish line,” said Jon Kedrowski.

When Kedrowski crossed the finish, he celebrated by gracefully plopping forward on his stomach.Other racers found themselves face down, but not by choice.”I made it through the whole course without falling, then (on the final stretch) I fell,” Macy said.And some racers collected ice on places other than their snowshoes.”My bum is frozen,” said Mexico City resident Veronica Granados, who decided to compete in her first race while on vacation in Vail.Breaking tracksMost of the 5K racers benefited from the trailblazing of the 10K racers.”There were plenty of 10K in front of you, so you weren’t in fresh tracks that much,” said the women’s 5K winner, Linda Andros.

Leading the way in the 10K women’s race was first-place finisher, Anita Ortiz.”I was pretty much by myself the whole time, which is tough,” Ortiz said. “It’s almost easier when you are pacing with someone.”Both Andros and Ortiz are 2-for-2 in taking the top spot on the podium, as both won the first race in the Beaver Creek series.The Eagle-Vail venue, however, was a lot more technical than the Beaver Creek race.”This race is always more technical compared to other ones,” Ortiz said.Each year, the Eagle-Vail race has a nice twist, keeping competitors on their toes.”At the beginning, they put us on the side of this hill, and you couldn’t really run because you would fall,” said Bill Raitter, who won the men’s 5K.Even Kedrowski, who grew up in the surrounding neighborhood, had a few surprising moments.”It was fun going up there and exploring the woods, trying to think where the course is going to lead you next,” Kedrowski said.

Finding the finishLike any outdoors race, there are a few turns that can lead racers astray.Macy erred a bit from the course before realizing he needed to find his way back into the leader’s position.”I came around corner and stopped paying attention a bit,” Macy said. “I was leading and then made a wrong turn and got out of the way for a while and a few people passed me. I realized it, and got kind of angry and luckily I was able to gain ground and pass them.”Raitter kept a vigil ear at the beginning of the race in hopes of staying on course.”I’ve been in the lead in a lot of cross country races and have lost by not listening,” Raitter said. “So I listen now.”Real competition

While many racers finished staggered, two snowshoers battled it out to the final step.Rinchen Harrison edged out his uncle, Al Slavin.”It feels good,” said Harrison of being the first in his family to finish.Slavin, who lives in Leadville and says his house sits at 10,200 feet, said he wasn’t totally prepared for the race.”I wasn’t prepared to lose to someone from Hawaii,” Slavin said, noting his nephew was from Hawaii and had never raced before.But Slavin wasn’t too upset about losing to his nephew.”This is the only time he will beat me this year,” Slavin said. “Because there are no more races today.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or Colorado

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