The 2008 edition of the White River Snowshoe Races will go down in history as the greatest of the event thus far. The X-Dog Event team, led by race director, Kevin Foreman, showed their promotional flair in attracting nearly 200 snowshoers to attack this classic mountain course, making it the biggest gun in the west when it comes to participants.
Staging a dozen or so events through the year, this organization is very experienced at developing excitement and making the experience memorable. Although they annually stage ‘The Grandfather of Filth.’ the Mt. Hood Scramble in mid summer, today’s race in the pristine white beauty of the White River canyons seems a long way from that. No roaring creeks to cross, just frozen abyss; plenty of sweat, though, as the entire USSSA Qualifying field once again found themselves chasing multi-year National Snow Team Member, Richard Bolt (see picture), over these mountain ranges.
8 KM USSSA NATIONAL QUALIFIER
At 21 degrees F, snow began falling during the race and was heavy at the finish. This was on top of 8” of fresh powder overnight, sure to wear down the legs.
Kevin described the course layouts: “The 4k is a one lap course, lollipop style… same half mile start-finish leg. After that a solid 75 yard climb starts separating the field. The 8k follows the 4k course for 1.2 miles then loops through the woods to the end of White River Canyon. The course features about 600′ of elevation gain, with a zero net gain.”
He further noted that Tubbs was the dominant brand during the event with all makes having representation.
Winning overall gold for the second consecutive year, Portland’s Richard Bolt crossed in 42:03. Silver overall, Dan Walters (picture), also of Portland, 70 seconds later, claimed his finish that leapt him up from last year’s tenth overall to his best finish ever at the White River.
Daniel Bartos grabbed the bronze at 44:19 for a top three medalfest for all Portlandites.
In the women’s category, Myra Klettke, Lake Oswego, with her snow white television smile (picture) once again won with her finish of 48:36, seventh overall. She was chased by the much younger Susan Barth (picture), Portland, who was the last finisher under 50 minutes with a 49:33.
Patty Sturdevant, Portland, took third in the overall women’s class at 54:18, missing by just six seconds a 10th place overall that Scott Hull, Portland, claimed.
Over 110 entered this USSSA Qualifier, dominated by snowshoers from Oregon, and Washington naturally enough. But the race drew an entrant, Jeffrey Fink, Virginia Beach, Virginia, who did the East Coast proud with a 29th overall.
Studying the course and the entrants, I can now reveal the secret on how one can win the 60+ class: Show Up!
Amazingly, there was not one entrant in that age category. I’m moving to the Northwest – no one ages! Wait until some of the Hot Shots in that classification around the country catch on to this. They’ll be here in droves . . . In many Qualifiers throughout the winter, the 50+ and 60+ classes are the busiest. Maybe this year’s oldest finisher, Marty Callaghan, 59 of Portland, with a 1:48:57 time, will be the 60+ winner in 2009.
4 KM SNOWSHOE RACE
Robert Kirchmiller, Hillsboro, zipped through this race going away at 36:08, taking the overall gold.
David Delmore finished second at 42:13.
Lindsey Johnston, Lake Oswego, won first woman and third overall at 43:17. Jason Buce finished fourth with 44:13. Sophie Mather, Portland, won the woman’s silver and finished fifth overall, followed by Noah Brockman.
Kirsten Free, West Linn, was the bronze winner in the women’s category, taking seventh overall, barely edging East Coast snowshoer, Cristina Hayter of Victory, NY, by a couple of ticks.
Again, no 60+ entrants in this race, the most senior snowshoer finishers being Bonnie and John Hennessey, Vancouver, Washington.
The awards ceremony featured potato soup, pretzels and pork rinds, the cornerstone of any nutritious snack.
Kevin announced to the group, “Our next event is also getting registrations at record levels. It is the Frog Lake Snowshoe at Mt. Hood on February 3.” Maybe frozen frog legs afterward?
The day started out with a blaze, but not on the race course. A bus caught fire on the road leading past the event gathering point, causing a 14 mile traffic jam, creating worry and stress for many entrants about making it to the start on time. Snowshoers are not only a hardy bunch, which I have long contended, but ingenious, too; many new paths were made in getting past the stoppage.
The blazing on snow, however, began with the mass start, the tsunmaic wave of clanging snowshoes chasing after Richard Bolt’s burning pace.
(Photos courtesy of Kevin Foreman)
White River Snowshoe race and other events: http://www.Xdogevents.com
United States Snowshoe Association: http://www.snowshoeracing.com
Ultra Superior: http://www.ultrasuperior.com
Phillip Gary Smith firstname.lastname@example.org