After, and only after, a heart-rendering rendition of the National Anthem by Patty Jo Struve trumpeting with her horn, do snowshoers attack the rolling hills of the Bear Valley Cross Country. Altitudes reach the sky with elevation in the area ranging from 6,600 ft to over 8,000 ft ringing from her annual opening solo.
After Paul Peterson, BVXC owner, detailed the course layout for the group, everyone listening closely just like in music class.
The lyric “Oh, say, can you see” must apply to overall 10 km winner, Jason Reed, 35, whose snowshoes sang true for his 55:35 finish, the only finisher below one hour this day. Struve said, “Jason has been a part of this event for seven years and always makes a great showing at this race, and at many other ultra running events through the country.”
In January, Reed won the Crystal Springs Winter marathon in 3:34:40, just missing the course record. He raced the 2013 Quad Dipsea, the Tamalpa Headlands 50Km, the tortuous Pikes Peak Marathon along with numerous other tough events in 2013 just to be ready for his place in the JazzTrax Stomp; that’s the spirit!
Taking the silver finish in the men’s division, Gino Mendoza, 48, in 1:07; Richard Renati finished out the podium three minutes later.
Josette Sommersett, 32, stomped the snow in 1:06:18 to capture the division’s gold but also second overall. Sheri Mulroe beat out Arrah Mann for the silver medal finish.
Youngest in the field, Joseph Renati, 14, completing the distance in 1:34, just behind the most senior of the 10 km field, Richard Wigt, 63. John McAdams won the race’s last-place honors.
The 5 km event, the most popular distance here, found a very fleet-of-(snowshoe)-foot Vicky Brae-Johnson taking the overall win in 29:33, the only finisher to break the 30. Mark Sheperd chased after her but didn’t quite make it in his silver overall 31:57.
The race for the women’s silver became a real fight as Jill Hornbeck and Amy Haberman pressed for the finish; Hornbeck nailed the finish in 33:35, a handful of seconds over Haberman. The young racers highlighted the day as two seven-year-olds, Tanner MacDonald and MaKenna Tutthill, crossed together at 49:22. Then Macella Renati, 11, and Riana Clemens, 13, and 12-year-old Delaney Clements completed the layout in 1:23.
For the boys, Atticus Cummings, 10, scored a 44-minute time in his first race wearing snowshoes, with Ryan Hornbeck, 11, next. Thomas Wimple took the last spot in the class.
In a fabulous display of fitness, Ken Nash, 86, made the distance in 56:39 even while “he raced with a broken collar-bone.”
The One-Mile Fun Run has Katie Ottman, 11, winning while Top Male is Charlie Easterly. Soley Sommersett opened new horizons in snowshoeing with her finish as a three-year-old. Struve noted, “Soley sprinted for the finish line! So adorable.”
Gathering in the Sky High Pizza scene in BearValley caused high notes of joy like one who said, “This is my favorite part of the whole day.” Two groups of junior high school musicians performed for the captive audience, students of the race director, that featured NCA Jazz and Element 116.
Paula Gonzalez, a local caterer and former band mom, gave her service with a smile and hugs. Every racer received an award while raffle prizes were in abundance. Sponsors include Atlas Snowshoe, Hammer Nutrition, Bear Valley Cross Country, Bear Valley Mountain, Sky High Pizza (and their friendly servers), Andrea Sullivan, Sandy Ackinclose, Carolyn Berger, Stevenot Winery, Shirt Tales, Colleen Hair Styles (it’s always important to have a coiffed-look for a snowshoe race), Hazel Fisher School, SNAC, Camp Connell Store’s Donna, Best Ride Ever and the Cummings family.
And, of course, the trumpet.