SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Big Applause! Snowshoe Racing Debut at 2014 City of Lakes Loppet

They’re here! Snowshoes invading the cross-country ski world of the City of Lakes Loppet Festival created a new event, a Sunday race so snowshoers who have the moxie race Saturday and Sunday for a double-up. Just perfect for gathering those points for one of the country’s largest snowshoe series, the Braveheart, formed right in the Twin Cities.

The start of the 2014 1st Annual Snowshoe Loppet race with winner Kelly Mortenson, St Paul (17), Jim Graupner, Lake Elmo (32) Ryan Albu, Mpls (23) and Jose Jorde, Cambridge (34). Women's group are Sarah Pitts, Mpls (12), Pam Nielsen, Minnetonka (3)

The start of the 2014 1st Annual Snowshoe Loppet race with winner Kelly Mortenson, St Paul (17), Jim Graupner, Lake Elmo (32) Ryan Albu, Mpls (23) and Josh Jorde, Cambridge (34). Women’s group are Sarah Pitts, Mpls (12), Pam Nielsen, Minnetonka (3) (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/go)

 

 

The Braveheart Race Director Jim McDonell raced the event NOT wearing his Braveheart outfit; unusual! It was hard to recognize him though he zipped a normal quick race by finishing in the top five. St Paul’s famously fast and highly experienced snowshoer, Kelly Mortenson, won the event in 45:46, out-distancing the ever fleet Ryan Albu, who captured the overall silver, by five minutes. Josh Jorde colored the snow bronze with his 53:22.

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Pam Nielsen (30) hangs tough with some of the best men snowshoers around, capturing the class for Minnetonka (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/g0)

Albu alerted me to a bandit in the group (I’ve identified a photo showing her but awaiting permission), a very attractive one unlike the lead character in the Gnarly Bandit Ultra Trail Series Events.. She “finished third,” Albu said,but as a non-registered racer, her time doesn’t get counted. “She was 100 meters behind me the whole way. I talked to her after, and she said she tried to register day of race, but they didn’t offer it. So she ran anyway.” Note: in 2015, register before race day.

Bandit chasing a legend, Jim Graupner, Snowshoe Magazine Person of the Year awardee (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/go)

Bandit chasing a legend, Jim Graupner, Snowshoe Magazine Person of the Year awardee (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/go)

The Minnesota State Snowshoe Champion,  Albu, told me, “The race was really fun. The course was perfect, the groomed ski trails are really quick. Good spectators. Sometimes skiers got in my way; once I ran into a skier and got wrapped around his ski pole at an aid-station.”

The race took a different turn just after the start after an unknown early leader “went the wrong way at the second turn, which caused everyone to follow him.  Luckily we figured it out quickly,” Albu said, “and I ended up in the lead for the next five minutes. But then Kelly blew past me, and I couldn’t hang with his pace.  He is a former Olympic Trials marathon participant.”

The women’s gold and fourth overall fell to the 55:44 of Pam Nielsen. Nielsen led Regina Horak who followed Jesse Daun across the line; Daun captured the last spot under a one hour finish. Bronze for the women went to Keri Baker. Between Horak and Baker came the dean of snowshoeing in Minnesota, Jim Graupner, with another of his top ten finishes.
Jeanne LaBore, Minneapolis (19) hung in to get her finish while Michelle Vanden Plas, St Paul (15) moved ahead in the results

Jeanne LaBore, Minneapolis (19) hung in to get her finish while Michelle Vanden Plas, St Paul (15) moved ahead in the results (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/go)

The top ten crown found Mark Gregware claiming the last spot in 1:08.

Other notables found three pushing across in 4:49: Margot Zweber led the way then, five seconds later, Michelle Vanden Plas tied with Anthony Munkhom as they chose to cross together.

Abbey Engebretson, Greg Schultz and Annemarie Peterson had a trio finish though the clock ranked them in this order.

Completing the day, the most senior in the

Abbey Engebretson, St Paul (11) runs the snowshoe road with Greg Schultz and Annemarie Peterson

Abbey Engebretson, St Paul (11) runs the snowshoe road with Greg Schultz and Annemarie Peterson (Photo: Steve Kotvis, f/go)

women’s class, Jeanne LaBore, capturing the only medal in her age class.

The (very) sharp action photo credits: Steve Kotvis (f/go) who said, “What a fine event it was. A little chilly, but as it is said, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes.”

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About Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works. Twitter: @iHarmonizing

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