…we once more enthusiastically bounded off on the Hoosac/Wilmington narrow gauge rail trail delighted to be mounting Dions and not Yaks in this Year of El Nino, 2016. The more than adequate snow coverage was delightful but did make it appear as if we were running on a totally different trail than during a snow year. Somehow, there seemed to be fewer rollers, mostly because there was less accumulated snow. Passing on the narrow trail was no longer problematic as the surface area was much wider due to the lack of snowbanks. It was a good day for the speedsters; less so for those who rely on guts and leg strength.
The normally hair-raising car ride past the windmill mountains was tame, too, as the absence of layered ice produced a complacent, Ho-Hum trip. That was probably just as well for me as I left my house, eager to get to Kohl’s and pick up the rest of my carpool, only to realize I had forgotten to pick up Jen Ferriss, just a mile past my house! I was not going to tell her, but embarrassingly she noticed Annie speeding by. Although due to my forgetfulness, Annie had not of prayer of beating Laurel Shortell’s Sam into the parking lot, she did manage to secure the last available spot in prime school territory.
I thought we had plenty of time and was taken by surprise when Bob Dion issued a bus-boarding call. Turned out he was having the same kind of day I was as he thought his race began at the usual 10 and instead of 10:30. In my hurry to get ready, I forgot to secure my gators, which caused the excess material to flap against the snow, leading me to trip repeatedly as if I had been at the tail end of a marathon effort. Actually, this had never been a problem before so how should I have known? I spent frustrating minutes trying to get in the flow, but every time I succeeded I stumbled. The stress eventually proved too much for my front strap, as it scraped against the snow and loosened.
After I had fixed that, I thought I was home free. Until I fell. Hard. On my good knee. Luckily, Richard Godin was behind me and scraped me up and surprisingly, everything seemed to work OK. Gentleman that he is, he stayed behind to make sure I could still function and then politely passed me. Surprisingly, my knee felt fine the next day and I ran three hours. Monday, it was still fine and I was able to enter our inaugural Lunchtime Library Stair Climb workout. Which was a good thing as it was my idea.
The race seemed fairly long for a three mile effort, but then again I wasn’t having my best day. Later on, though, and much to my relief, I learned that the course had reconfigured to something closer to 3.5 miles. The Saratoga Stryders carpooled a large contingent, with five of us winning railroad spikes. Jen Ferriss broke her bad luck record, probably handing it to me, and joyfully spiked. So too did Maureen Roberts, Michael DellaRocco and Karen Provencher. Steve Mitchell, at 74 years young, had the biggest success story, picking it up during the last mile of track and overtaking Laurel Shortell. Watch out for Steve as he is seriously training for Ironman Lake Placid and will be even tougher to beat as the season progresses. My 60 year age group has spiraled out of my league, with Karen Provencher and Kathleen Furlani leading the pack. I figure in two years, I will turn 70 and have a year to collect hardware before Kathleen catches up. Notably, and apropos of nothing, two of the spikers, Jen and Kathleen were wearing white. I am so jealous! I so much admire folks who can wear snow white without griming it after a hard effort.
…With a Hoot, a Toot and a Whistle, onward to more snowy white, and not just in clothing selection.
By laura clark