North central Wisconsin saw a significant increase in temperature over the last week, melting a lot of the winter’s snow that had accumulated. There were worries that there wasn’t going to be much snow for Edgar’s Woodland Waddle 5-kilometer snowshoe race held at the Scotch Creek Preserve in Edgar, Wisconsin on Sunday, February 20th. But in the two days previous to the race, temperatures dropped below freezing and the remaining snow froze and became quite solid. This made the snowshoe course at Edgar perfect for fast racing, as the snow underneath was hard-packed and the ski trails there were flat and wide open. This was the first weekend of the winter that allowed for fast racing of this magnitude, due to how the conditions were for the majority of the winter leading to mostly sugary snow on a continuous basis.
This was the second year of the Woodland Waddle event in Edgar, and this race also dodged a bullet as an incoming winter storm leading to 14 inches of snow in the area was holding off until a little over an hour after the race started. This course had some single-track in the woods as well, which was well-marked by dozens to hundreds of pieces of orange ribbon to mark the way. The race had an open-field start and used the same big loop for the finish as well, which made it great for spectators.
The overall winner of the race was Westboro’s Jeffrey Quednow, 19, who added another win to his snowshoe racing repertoire (see picture of Quednow). He held off Kronenwetter’s Kris Borchardt, 31, ending his four-race/event winning streak. Quednow took the lead from Borchardt just over five minutes into the race, and they stuck together for another five minutes until Quednow started pulling away at the midpoint section of the race.
Quednow extended his lead on the single-track section and had opened up a wide lead heading until the final quarter-mile. Borchardt closed the gap some on the wide-open loop in the field but Quednow came away with a 20-second victory, 23:29 to 23:49. Borchardt was able to keep relatively close to Quednow despite falling to him by several minutes in a couple of snowshoe races earlier in the season (see picture of Borchardt).
Quednow was relieved to get the victory, “It was nice to finally win again – I did two other snowshoe races this season and faced some pretty good competition.” He had previously raced at a Nationals qualifier in River Falls and then at the inaugural race at the Phillips Flurry. Quednow’s winning trophy was a customized cowbell with a picture of the race mascot, Waddle the Penguin, on it. Waddle ran with the kids for a short kids race before the main event. All kids and many racers received medals for their efforts on the day.
Third overall in the men’s race coming in further behind was Medford’s Jason Ruesch, 38, finishing in 25:26. Fourth overall was Medford’s Bill Bellendorf, 42, close behind in 25:35. Westboro’s Mike Quednow, 47, on the tail end of this pack of three, was fifth overall in 25:52. There were 64 racers that completed the 5-kilometer race, 28 men, and 36 women.
The overall female winner was Edgar’s hometown favorite Andrea Mueller, 32, who finally was able to win a snowshoe race in her hometown (she was beaten by West Lakeland’s Kristin Miller last year, see picture of Mueller this year). Mueller showcased her snowshoe racing dominance by beating second place finisher Paula Liske, 50, from Medford, by over three minutes. Mueller’s time was 27:46. Liske crossed the line in 31:08, and was also a few minutes ahead of her next competitor. Third place for the women was Athens’ Chris Kepner, 48, in a time of 34:55 – Kepner helped organize the Athens Udder Snowshoe race held two weeks earlier.
Fourth place for the women went to Milladore’s Michelle Czlapinski, 32, who completed her race in 37:28. About a minute later the fifth-place woman crossed the line in 38:33, Phillips’ Charlene Kerner, 32. These women and other racers enjoyed a beautiful and fast course where they were able to open it up, full throttle, on the hard-packed surface.
Race director Mark Stankowski designed the course and had the registration fees go right back to the maintenance of the trails in the Scotch Creek Preserve, and he was satisfied with how the promotion for the trails and the raising of the funds was accomplished. After the race, there was a diverse amount of desserts and a wide selection of door prizes. During the awards ceremony, the cowbell prizes were awarded to Quednow and Mueller and many received medals, just as the threatening winter storm started hitting the area, making the drives home difficult and hazardous. However, Mother Nature held off so that the Edgar Woodland Waddle event could go on and allow for some super-fast racing first.
Additional information and results of these races are available at http://performancetiming.com/admin/results/All_Results.pdf. Also check out http://www.badgerstategames.org/bsgwin/snowshoeracing and http://www.waow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13935796.
This race was a part of the Braveheart Snowshoe Series, more information at www.uppermidwesttrailrunners.com and www.cutemoose.net.
See United States Snowshoe Association information at www.snowshoeracing.com.