Tough climb, good time at snowshoe race
BEAVER CREEK – Who needs practice? Erik Frank and Nate Shopay don’t seem to need much.For Frank and Shopay, Saturday’s 5K snowshoe race as a part of the BC Snowshoe Adventure Series was their first race ever, but they hit the snow like veterans, taking first and second, respectively.And to think, Frank almost never made it to his first starting line.”We almost missed the race because of all the ski traffic,” said Frank, who drove up from Westminster.Frank was such a late entry that when he crossed the finish line, the announcer had no idea who he was.Less than a minute after Frank finished (42 minutes, 47 seconds), Shopay (43:22), crossed the finish line in what he thought was first place.”I lost track of the dude in front of me, and coming down at the end I thought I was in first, and then my wife told me I got second,” Shopay said.Still, not a bad finish all things considered.”This was the first time my feet have been in showshoes,” Shopay said. “I had my shoes drilled into them yesterday. The guy told me, ‘You should probably do that,’ so I took his advice.”While the race had many newcomers, there were plenty of familiar faces standing on the podium by day’s end.Josiah Middaugh finished first in the men’s 10K in 54.34, only 10 seconds ahead of Greg Krause.
“It was too close for comfort,” Middaugh said. “Greg is so strong. I don’t know why I keep inviting him up here.”Anita Ortiz led the pack in the women’s 10K, finishing at 1:06:07, more than five minutes ahead of second-place finisher Lisa Goldsmith. Lynda Andros took the top step on the podium for the women’s 5K race with a time of 47.17.Christian Kloser won the boys’ 1K race, and Alysha Pelchat and Madison Wasmer tied in the girls’ 1K race.Hard climbMost racers noted that the hardest part of the course was the first mile-and-a-half.”It was steep at the beginning, then you get a break, then it was uphill again,” Andros said.Frank said the climb was not what he had expected.”The original climb out of the starting area was brutal,” Frank said. “It was only the third time I’ve ever been snowshoeing and I was not adequately prepared for that kind of climbing.”Nobody cited the climbs as the most exciting part of the race, but Middaugh seemed to benefit from them.”Those long grinds are where I excel,” Middaugh said. “But I don’t like them.”
The last part of the course, a downhill stretch, was given high acclaim.”Once you come down and are on that solid ground, it’s like heaven,” Shopay said.Patches of the course had deceiving terrain that caused some slipping.”There were a lot of groomed sections, but they were soft, so the footing was unstable,” Krause said.For Shopay, the transition from his previous running experiences provided for an interesting adaptation.”The footing was ridiculous,” Shopay said. “I thought I twisted my ankle three or four times, and then I had to latch onto somebody, so I was staring at somebody’s butt for about a mile.”Because of the steep conditions and deep snow, the snowshoe race brought out what could be considered a major faux pas in any speed race – walking.”I didn’t expect to walk as much as we did,” Shopay said. “It was walk, run, walk, run for the first mile.”Even with the 10K racers laying down tracks first, the 5K racers still had some work to do.”A lot of the snow was broken from the 10K people, but the snow was still up to our knees,” Andros said.Time for two
Snowshoeing requires a lot of energy on any type of snow, but it can be a bit more of a burden digging in deep snow with extra weight on your back.”All of a sudden you are punching through what you expect to be a few inches, and then you are eight inches deep, and you’ve got Mr. Heavy man on your back,” said Kurt Desautels, who raced with his 15-month-old son Luke strapped on his back.Kurt Desautels may have been toting extra weight, but with that weight came a personal cheerleader.”All the way down he was chanting, ‘Go, go, go,'” Desautels said.That’s not the only talking Luke was doing, though.”He was trash-talking,” Desautels said. “We would go by people and he’d say, ‘Bye-bye, bye-bye.’ He was trash talking all these poor women.”So is it fair to divide Desautels’ time by two?”That would be a good idea,” Desautels said, who prefers to use Luke for a different advantage. “There’s no pressure on me to do well. I have the perfect excuse.”Desautels’ wife, Jeanne, broke up family time by racing ahead of the Kurt and Luke duo.”I’m just too competitive,” Jeanne Desautels said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado