Tag Archives: Run

Team Atlas Conquers Race Season

Atlas Snow-Shoe Company is fortunate to have a partnership with the Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado. If you’ve ever been interested in trying out our snowshoes, Beaver Creek is the place!

In addition to our Nordic Center partnership, Atlas is proud to sponsor the Beaver Creek snowshoe race series. A collection of three snowshoe running events that bring together the very best athletes, as well as snowshoe enthusiasts just looking for a good time.

You may remember our series of training advice and blogs, straight from our Atlas ambassador athletes themselves. In case you missed it: Part 1        Part 2        Part 3

The end of the snowshoeing season marks the end to the race season as well. Below, we check in with Team Atlas to see how their Beaver Creek races went. Read on and sign up next year!

Emilys 1st place

Emily:

The Beaver Creek Race Series are three races at the Beaver Creek Resort near Avon, CO. The race offers either 5k or 10k distances with each race having a unique course. I elected to compete in the 5k distance, as I seem to be injury prone in snowshoes. My goal for these races was to utilize them as a challenging but fun workout in my training towards Snowshoe Nationals in Vermont!

To train for the race series, each week I did an 8-10 mile long run on snowshoes in the mountains, one 10k geared speed workout on the treadmill, and then easy trail miles with friends. My average weekly mileage stayed around 45-55 with spinning classes mixed in there to increase strength. The snowshoe long runs allowed me to explore areas that I otherwise would not have been able to access in the winter. My favorite trails are those around Nederland. These are quieter and almost always snow covered in the winter.

The thrill of the Beaver Creek Race Series centers around not being able to look up the course including the exact distance (anywhere from 5k to 3.5 miler) and elevation gain (700 to 1300 ft) before the race. Of the three races, the last one was my favorite. This course was 80% groomed and started at a higher elevation. Racers had to take the Strawberry Ski Lift to reach the Nordic track (given the 30 mph winds, this was excitement in and among itself!). The race course provided amazing views of the surrounding peaks, and the race crew from Beaver Creek was great, as always!

My least favorite part of the race series did not involve the race itself, but the drive to the race. I drove from the Boulder area each time and the drive took anywhere from 1 to 2 hours longer than it would without traffic. The second race, I missed the start by 20 minutes due to a traffic accident. If travelling to the race I would recommend either staying the night before, or leaving around 5am and relaxing at a coffee shop before the start.

EDITORS NOTE: Emily went on to compete in Snowshoe Nationals and took home the silver, earning her a spot on the worlds team. Congrats Emily!!

Tim:

The Beaver Creek Snowshoe series certainly dishes up some of the best snowshoe racing in the country, and 2018 did not disappoint! I raced the first race of the series in January and was excited to see how my run training in Denver would pay off. I am doing an Ironman on 4/28 so I had just started ramping up some of my miles. I chose the 10k race knowing it would take me a good hour to finish the winding and hilly course.

The resort got a good 6 inches the night before so the trails were great for racing. I strapped my trusty Atlas Race shoes and before I knew it we were off! Right away, I was in the front, but soon dialed into 2nd place. We went straight up the mountain and climbed for about 2 miles. I was feeling good and my feet felt very light with my racing snowshoes doing a lot of the work. After 15 minutes or so, I could tell I was going to be racing in 2nd for a while as there was no one behind or in front of me. I took in all of the views as best as I could while still pushing hard to the finish. The snowshoe course covered some incredible trails that have seen the likes of XTERRA, US Cycling Pro Challenge, and even the US World Alpine Skiing Championships back in 2015. So, yes, it was a hard course! I cruised to the finish in 1:04, 2nd overall, about 5-6 minutes back from 1st place. It was a fantastic time and I just wish I could have raced more!

Thanks to Atlas for all of the support…their snowshoes are the best!

Brandy:

The Beaver Creek race series is always appealing as the venue is stunning. However, the I-70 traffic can sometimes be a deterrent. My family and I moved to Summit County this past June as my husband took the Athletic Director position at Summit High School. Being less than an hour away from Beaver Creek, I decided to lace up the snowshoes and jump into the series after a several year hiatus.

I have a love/hate relationship with the January race. I enjoy the holidays and probably indulge a bit too much in Christmas sweets. So I always go into the 1st race feeling a little undertrained and overfed! My goal races are typically mountain races over the summer and into early fall so I’m in the middle of my base-building phase.

As the race approached, the snow conditions looked dismal. However, the night before the race, CO got some fresh powder. I got to the venue a bit early to ease my pre-race jitters, did a short warm-up, used the port-o-potty a zillion times and soon enough the gun went off and the rest was history! I was thankful for all the times I’d run up/down Keystone already this winter as I forgot how much fun bombing down the steep donwhills can be in fresh powder. It was a great rust buster, workout, and fun to catch up with Atlas teammates and friends.

Karen:

The beaver creek snowshoe race series was again a great success! Mother nature was kind to us and we always had fresh powder for each race. (Unlike road races snow is welcome sight!) The courses consisted of deep snow, singletrack and steep climbs and descents. The organizers always manage to find great trails for us , keep them well signed and marked , and you can’t beat the free lunch after the race.  Atlas Snowshoes also provides free running and race snowshoes to try out!  Snowshoe running is not completely like running on the roads. It requires a higher leg lift and wider stance. And you find yourself transitioning from running to hiking and back again. So having a great pair of snowshoes specifically designed for these conditions is awesome and allows you to make the most of your experience at the race.

 

 

 

 

Long Distance Runners Can’t Jump

By Adam W. Chase, Atlas Team Captain

Adolescence is an intimidating enough period of life as it is, especially for runners, who tend not to “blossom” until much later in life . . . like our 40s or 50s. Add to that the awkwardness of growth spurts, cracking voices, acne, hair or glandular sprouting, and the angst of Holden Caulfield or Napoleon Dynamite the fact that we had to take the Presidential Fitness Award tests in junior high or middle school gym class and you have a veritable crescendo of humiliation.

I can’t say that I had really begun puberty by the eighth grade, or the eleventh grade for that matter, but I did suffer the embarrassment of having that delinquency made all the more apparent by forced showers every first Monday of the month, following the mandatory “20-minute run” in gym class. One first Monday we didn’t have the usual run. Instead we got to go through a battery of tests for the Presidential Fitness Award. Our gym teacher, who was the quintessential gym teacher who was only there to coach football and wore the obligatory polyester shorts, knee socks, polo shirt, whistle, and baseball cap, announced that we would be doing eight different tests and that would be scored against National standards. Before you read the next paragraph, quiz yourself to see how many of the tests you can dredge up from those awkward days.

The tests were: the mile run, 100-meter dash, shuttle run, curl-ups (sit-ups), push-ups, pull-ups, sit and stretch, and vertical leap. Girls did the “bent arm hang” in lieu of pull-ups. How would you fare if you were to perform those tests today? They will likely throw you right back to junior high or middle school days and make you feel humble. Hitting the 90th percentile or above in each of the seven graded tests – for some reason, the sit and stretch isn’t counted in the final tally – is a worthy goal because to do so locks in the Presidential Fitness Award.

As a runner, meeting the standard is relatively easy in the mile. The pull-ups, curl-ups, and push-ups may be more of a challenge. For push-ups the rule requires that you touch your chest to a three-inch pad for it to count and the women are allowed to do them with their knees on the floor. The shuttle run is harder than you’d think. The trick is to wet the soles of your feet for greater traction on dusty gym floors. Long-distance runners may be challenged by the 100-meter dash.

But, for endurance folks like me, the sockdolager of the Fitness Challenge is the vertical leap. Is this a test for basketball players? Hell, I skip rope and do squats on a regular basis. As a snowshoer I have to regularly leap over logs, small dogs, and other obstacles that block the path. And I’m not a heavy guy either. What’s the story?

I was bemoaning this fact to Nikki Kimball, who was on the podium back at the first snowshoe National Championships and was a member of Team Atlas, and is a physical therapist, and she told me that the book she was reading had the perfect explanation. Bernard Heinrich’s Why We Run, does indeed put it quite nicely: “One cost of aerobic running fitness is loss of explosive muscular strength.  When untrained, I normally bound up three stairs at a time, but I know I’m becoming trained for long-distance running when I can do only two at a time.”

Well, I suppose that after more than 30 years of training my body to run long distances, there just isn’t much spring in my skinny little legs. At least my voice doesn’t crack, I don’t have zits, and unlike some of the big guys out there for the Fitness Challenge, a mile run is merely a warm-up.