This past Sunday I raced in the Red Barn Snowshoe Race, which is the series finale in the Dion Snowshoes Eastern Ontario Series. I had hoped to take part in several races from this series this year, but as it turned out, this was the only one I could make it to. If there was only one to go to though, this was the one to pick!
We had a glorious, sunny day. The weather was cool, just a few degrees below freezing, with a bit of wind, but not too bad. The course conditions were great. We've had a load of snow this winter, but last week we got some pretty heavy rain, and then cold temperatures after that which firmed up the snow a lot. The course was quite smoothly groomed as well in spots, so we were able to go quite fast.
I lined up right at the front, figuring I would be somewhere in the lead group, and I wanted to make sure that I didn't get stuck behind people as the trail narrowed down. When we took off, I tried to get out pretty quickly, and within a couple hundred meters I settled into 6th spot, which I held for most of the race.
For most of that portion I could see 3 guys in front of me, and they weren't really pulling away- I was just holding the same distance back from them the whole time. I was figuring that if I saved my energy and held steady, I might be able to pick it up toward the end and get one or two of them.
At about 4km in I came around a bend to a straight spot, and I could see 2nd through 4th all lined up in a row ahead of me, with not much distance at all between them all. I started to pick up the pace, and found that I was gaining on the guy in front of me pretty quickly. We hit a short but steep hill and that was what I needed to get past him. He sounded like he was struggling, so I pushed hard and passed him just as we got to the top.
It turned out to be a pretty close race in the end. The guy in first blew us all out of the water, but there was only about 40 seconds between 2nd through 5th place, with 6th not that much further behind too. That's some pretty good racing!
I ended up with a pretty good haul of loot too between the draw prize and the Master's win.