Chary Griffin, Race Director for the 2010 USSSA Dion National Snowshoe Champion, recreates that fun and historic course for the Highland Forest Snowshoe 5 km and 10 km with this command: “Come Conquer the Trail!”
Just in case you were there in ’10, the (downloadable and free) souvenir race poster answers the elephant-in-the-room question: What about the hill?
The featured image is that famous finish line at the top of what felt to be the peak of Old Smoky: a long and arduous climb at the race’s end, challenging lungs and the quad choir singing in the legs to make it up there . . . and then over the line, a minor detail. What doesn’t help is the no speed-zone downhill completing this U-shaped finish where the chance to catch the racer in front is tantalizingly dangled, but the cost is called “depletion” when going back up.
What’s a racer to do?
It won’t be any easier as a foot-race either, a requirement this year as snow has drifted north and south of the course. Griffin reminds us “The race features wooded forest trails, single track, groomed and ungroomed trails,” such anonymous words masking the exciting challenge awaiting those venturing into this fun-but-tough challenge.
Overall gold was taken by Eric Sambolec in 42:08 while Kenneth Burd came in for the silver at 45:08 with Steve Rivers securing the bronze in 55. James Miner and Kermit Cadrette both had finishes.
In the women’s class, winning overall was 18-year-old Rae Tobey in 49:39 as Jill Cusack just missed a sub-hour finish for the silver. Mary Rivers took the bronze and Elaine Kimpel finished with the Pewter.
Rachel Jones (13) won the 5 km under 30 minutes, 29:08. Lisa Jones and Cindy Bell were silver and bronze. Eric Hulbert, 16, took the gold in 22:56 as John Ferrini, three times Hulberts age, finished two minutes back. Dave Jones just missed a sub-to minute finish.
Bike Loft East, Syracuse, has stepped up as sponsor for the Highland Snowshoe Race, now carrying Atlas Snowshoes.
A generous noon start is a treasured treat for racers along with the gorgeous Skyline Lodge accommodating the crowd while affording terrific views.