The Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo was held last Saturday in Exeter, NH. Besides being a snowshoe race with a fantastic name, it served as the final tune up for snowshoers in the area before this Saturday’s national championships in Vermont.
The Hullabaloo was tightly contested, especially for a snowshoe race. Ryan Kelly earned the win with a 33:22 and Ryan Welts was a mere seven seconds behind him. Only seven seconds behind Welts was the ageless wonder Dave Dunham. Kristina Folcik-Welts was the top woman on the day and fifth overall in 35:45. It was yet another strong showing by the Dangergirl.
For more about the race, we defer to Mr. Dunham (double-d Mountain Runner), who not only competes, then runs back out and gets pics (you got Dunham’d!), and finally caps it all off with a solid blog recap:
Exeter snowshoe hullabaloo – My final snowshoe race leading up to the nationals was the penultimate Granite State series race this weekend. I’ve never run in a “hullabaloo” so this looked very interesting to me.
I got to the race early, with the late start (11am) I got in a run earlier in the day to help loosen up, and headed out for my normal 3 mile warm-up. It was already about 50 degrees and warming. The snow was going to be very soft. I changed into race gear and headed out for a mile on the course in snowshoes. This was going to be interesting! The course was a big figure 8 with a ton of up/down and turns. Basically you never went more than 100m without a change in direction and/or a climb/descent. It was also entirely single-track and the snow was soft and getting softer.
It truly was a hullabaloo at the start as 80+ anxious runners took off down the single-track. I got out cleanly in 2nd place as Ryan Kelly stormed off. The fifth runner of the line got his shoe stepped on and went down blocking the trail and nearly getting trampled to death. I heard a lot of yelling during the first half mile, I guess it was people calling out “on your left” as they attempted to pass and sort things out. It is considered good sportsmanship to yield the trail to a faster runner. I heard after the race that this did not happen and especially the top woman runner was impeded. Sad to hear that.
Anyway, I was out clean and working hard to keep Kelly in sight. I had Ryan Welts and Chad Carr right behind me keeping me honest. The effort felt very hard, mostly the footing was very poor and you’d slip/slide or punch through a lot. That can be exhausting. I looked at my watch at 16 minutes in and thought “probably half-way done”. Right around the same time we did a section of the course with a big looping turn and I could see Kelly out in front but only about 25 seconds ahead. Within another minute or so Ryan Welts made his move and flew by me on a downhill. I was happy to have him lead for a bit and I settled in trying to place my snowshoes wherever he got good footing.
At 22 minutes I snuck a peek at my watch again. I was getting tired! We turned the corner onto the pipeline trail and with the long straight-away we could see Kelly not that far ahead. Chad Carr made his move and flew by me and Welts. He looked like a man on a mission. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on where you were in the pack, that was about the point where the snow was the deepest and least tracked. Kelly and Carr were doing a ton of work stomping through the deep and very heavy snow. It wasn’t easy back in fourth place but it was slightly better than being in the lead.
We continued to close on Kelly and with ½ mile to go Welts and I both made a move to go by Carr who graciously allowed us by. The last climb over “Camels Hump” was difficult and I egged on Ryan with a shout of “come on we’ve got him”. We got to within a couple of seconds of the lead when we hit 400 to go and the first really packed out section of the course. Kelly took off, Welts said something like “damn tri-athletes” and he took off as well. I was already all-out and was left flat footed. Kelly took the win in 33:32 with Welts 7 seconds back and me another 7 seconds back. Chad Carr rolled in 25 seconds later and a fast finishing Kristina Folcik took 5thplace overall (despite the aforementioned tangle with some less than gentlemanly runners).
Another great event put on by the Acidotic Racing crew on a perfect late winter day.