The day dawned bright, blue and glorious, just like Tim Dusick would have willed it. In fact, he may just have.
Shelly Wilson (see picture), overall woman’s winner in the Seven Mile feature at this 12th version of Timm’s Hill Trudge Snowshoe Race , said, “Clouds were forecast for today and moved in last night, but Tim opened up the sky, clearing it for the sun and the race.” Succumbing to cancer earlier this year, Tim Dusick meant snowshoeing in this region.
Jeff Crosby, talking to the runners in the bright sunshine and eight degree temps at the 10:00 a.m. start, proclaimed, “Today’s race is dedicated to Tim. Timm’s Hill was his favorite race. He considered it his. I’m snowshoeing this race in his honor.”
In true woodsman fashion, the race was blasted off with a shotgun. Leaders off the line included Nat Wilson, Jeff Crosby, Ed Cerv, Chris Jarosinski and Steve Heil. The course starts at the quaint Snowshoe Lodge at High Point Village, located a few miles East and South of Ogema, Wisconsin. The route is named for the major hill snowshoers climb about five miles into the event. Its height registers topographically as the tallest in the state. Within the first mile of the race, however, the pack could begin to feel as if they had already made the climb as several long grades punish the quads. Little problem, it seemed, for Mike Most and Shelly as they began passing from the back early into the race. Mike finished with a second in his age group, and as indicated Shelly won as the overall women’s finisher.
But what seemed more important to her? “I’m just trying to beat Mike,” she explained, “We always race each other, and he generally wins.” She had to catch him first as he had an early lead between them, but her ‘winning’ margin was 40 seconds.
Younger brother, Nat Wilson (picture), zapped the entire field by finishing under one hour at 59:50, the only racer to do so, leading to repeat wins this year for both he and Shelly. When it came to the big climb at Timm’s Hill, a route reminiscent of a ski jump’s steep return trail, Nat said, “I tore right through it.”
Nat uses a technique of snowshoeing up hills by spreading his snowshoe tips outward, much like a XC ski, “so the quads don’t get used up. You’re using different muscles for the climb, saving the quads for the downhills.” Except for a couple of steps, he ran up the entire hill. He felt his new Dion’s, in this first race with them, took minutes off of his time perhaps garnering his victory.
“With my lighter weight, the deep crampons option you have with this brand really helped me on the downhill. I was going so fast I almost crashed, for the second year in a row, into the large tree as the trail turns sharp left at the bottom.” With the deep snow, packed on the trail but sugary on top for each step, racers trudged the trail and, as Nat did, tried to find the firmer parts of the lane. “I weaved back and forth a lot, rarely taking the direct line.”
One 7 mile participant carried a ‘Flat Stanley’ (see picture) elementary school project, popular throughout the country, for a young relative during the race.
The 3.5 mile trail, by far the most popular distance at this event, is not only shorter but bypasses Timm’s Hill. With a record pre registration and a large number of race day entrants, this group totaled over 100, nearly five times that of the 7 milers.
Pat Youll, medalist in his age group, said a plaque he won last year at the awards party described Cathy and Lyle Blomberg, owners of the High Point Village, and the race itself: “Because Nice Matters.” Everything about this event was nice, friendly, obliging, and radiating warmth.
Overall winner, Kyle Schmidt, 33, won with a 26:49, edging Jason Ruesch, 35, who was closely pursued by 59 year old John Wilke. They completed the course on the 1/3 mile jaunt on Timm’s Lake, a straight shot laid out between wooden snowshoes stuck vertically in the snow to the finish line.
USSSA Junior National Team member, Michayla Heil, 16, prepping for her National Championship competition March 9th in Snowbasin, Utah, won the woman’s race and beat most males with her 29:10 time, the only woman to break 30 minutes. Michelle Brost, 38, just missed, finishing at 30:32. Mary Lucas rounded out the top women’s 3.5 mile group with a 33:45.
Certainly this was a family day as couples and families raced this shorter snowshoe race, many for the first time on snowshoes. Family names like ‘Enders’ with grandmother, mother, and children all finishing, with many of the hand-crafted wooden snowshoe ‘medals’ in their possession, dominated this groups’ results. Six year old Peyton Enders showed true potential as the youngest finisher in either race.
Nicole and Ashley Holm, both 15, finished tops in their group.
The after race celebration at this village is perhaps the most fun racers will find. Cathy gets so carried away with awards that in some ‘deep’ race categories, she just keeps handing out medals. Two beautiful pair of Tubb’s snowshoes were won during the giveaway (several participants were wearing Tubb’s they bought at the Crazy Loon in Phillips, WI), along with numerous other homemade craft prizes.
The chili and brownie combos (see picture of Pam Metsala), replenished all calories lost during the race, requiring many to consider another loop just to work off the excess.
Paula Dusick snowshoed the 3.5 course in what had to be a very personal trek on this day. Afterward she and Jeff Crosby climbed Timm’s Hill, scaled the lookout tower and, as the sun began dropping in the west, ceremoniously scattered the ashes of Tim Dusick to the pure white snow trail below.
Going forward, anyone climbing Timm’s hill will have two ‘Tims’ to commemorate. First would be Tim Graham, owner of this logging camp property before the park was bought in 1983. Now, a quarter of a century later, a new Tim has been added.
No longer will snowshoers trudge up Timm’s during this annual race. From this day forth, racers will now ‘ascend’ the hill, entering a comfort zone at its zenith where Tim Dusick’s spirit will reside forever . . . pulling and lifting snowshoers to his peak, providing a steady hand as one passes through, watching over racers as they head down the steep single track to their own finish.
For race results, click the following links: https://www.snowshoemag.com/raceresults/TIMMS_3_MALE.pdf and https://www.snowshoemag.com/raceresults/TIMMS_7_MALE.pdf.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
High Point Village – http://www.highpointvillage.com
United States Snowshoe Association – http://www.snowshoeracing.com
Tubbs Snowshoes – http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com
Phillip Gary Smith – http://www.ultrasuperior.com