Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reminiscing Past Snowshoe Mentors

Every snowshoe season, the time around Nationals arrives and I can't help but remember a couple of  past enthusiasts that affected my approach to the sport. Both of these athletes were always active in their local events as well as Nationals. We crossed paths many times. 

Unfortunately, these two are no longer with us due to eventually losing their race with cancer.

The USSSA gives an annual award in the name of one, Cindy Brochman. I first met Cindy as Cindy Schneider before her marriage to Kevin Brochman. They were both very competitive at trail races that I raced in Minnesota and Iowa.  Cindy asked me to be a part of a mixed-masters team for a relay at my first Snowshoe Nationals in Vermont in 2006.

Jim Graupner, Curt Krieger, Cindy Brochman, Jim McDonnell
Here's a video of the 2011 award in her honor.

Also this year's Nationals are holding the banquet on Saturday night in honor of Tim Dusick. I met Timmy D at snowshoe races each year in Luck, Wisconsin. 

One year, he was going to sell me a pair of his used Tubbs racers but ended up just giving them to me.  I'd brought a running moose ornament with miniature Tubbs snowshoes that I'd made from paperclips that I gave TimmyD for the favor of allowing me to buy his used snowshoes. After the exchange, he told me to take charge.


I have very fond memories of both these athletes and miss them , especially when I'm able to attend Nationals!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beware the Talons

While I haven't been posting daily as I did when I first started the blog, I have continued to get out on the trails almost daily.

The really cool thing about running the trails on snowshoes is the snow...or rather the signs of activity in the snow. I can see when hikers have been out, when dogs are along, the paths preferred by snow bikers, and animal tracks or similar sign.

Yesterday and today I was intrigued by several locations with blood spatters! Some appeared to be from rabbits others from squirrels, but in either case I wondered about the cause.

Squirrel feeding activity via acorn shells

Largest spot of blood and nearest where I flushed a Barred Owl

Again some obvious squirrel activity by way of walnut shells

At the location of the largest blood residue and waste pile of walnut shells, I noticed a movement in the trees as a Barred Owl flew from its roost. This is very likely the source of the mayhem that resulted in what was most certainly an evening meal.

Fun to see an adult Bald Eagle yesterday then a juvenile Bald Eagle (probably 2 -3 year old) today. A Red Fox ran across an open section of the quarry pond today while I was just emerging from the woods.

I've been pleased with some progress on the snowshoe running front. It helped to have received a significant amount a couple weeks ago, although that has slowly deteriorated through all the temperature fluctuations. Snowshoe Nationals are this weekend so there's no time left to improve my fitness. I'll be racing with the knees as they are and hoping for a good day with adequate snow conditions. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lovin' the Snowshoes

No posts for a while but I've kept busy with coaching on weekends (indoor track) and finally getting out on some real snow. 

A couple weeks ago I was able to qualify for the U.S. Snowshoe National Championships by running (without snow) the Iowa State Snowshoe Championship in Cedar Falls. So now that my region of the state has received a nice snowfall, I can begin to see my snowshoe fitness return.

Here's a few shots of something I've done the past couple of days to warm-up and cool-down!

Practice set