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Rock/Creek Race Team Member Dan Miller Gets His SnowShoe in the Door for USSSA National Championship

Dan Miller from Signal Mountain, TN- new to the 2010 Rock/Creek Race Team– traveled to MI earlier this month to test his skills against 200 racers in the Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle on February 6th, 2010. He finished 4th in his age division allowing him to qualify for next month’s PowerSox US National Snowshoe Championship in Syracuse, NY! Here is a brief report from Dan, and Rock/Creek looks forward to an exciting Nationals recap in March! ~
“It must have been about 10 years since I had last toed-the-line in a snowshoe race, however, something just felt right as we watched the snow fall and the race director introduce athletes. Any anxiety I had was quickly converted to energy as almost 200 racers ran down the start hill and jumped into single track almost immediately. Faring well in 5th place I hoped to maintain position and place top-ten to qualify for the National Championship in Syracuse next month. So far so good, just 10 grueling kilometers to go.
I would say running in snowshoes is most similar to either running in ankle deep sand or running in about 2 feet of water. It’s an anaerobic activity with very little recovery and has a cult type following – similar to ultra running. The Snowshoe Shuffle is one of the more established races in the USSA Northern Region, which ranks as the third largest qualifier for Nationals – great course, great competition, great fun.
Miller1With aerobic threshold hit within the first three minutes, there is very little position change that occurs. I was fortunate enough to establish a rhythm that was both comfortable and competitive. The mistake several age-groupers make is simply to attack from the gun and are often found passed-out only one or two kilo’s down the trail.
I was able to hold position and lead a chase pack of about 5 athletes through most of the opening 5-6 K’s. As the pace of the race was established, my race plan to hold steady and push the middle of the race hills in the Long Lake Nordic Park paid off. I was able to establish about a 30-40 yard gap of the same chase group and hold this until the final gut-buster climb to the finish. I had one athlete between me and the finish and somehow managed to increase my leg turnover in what felt like waist deep corn snow. I managed to nip that athlete at the line and place fourth overall, closely followed by Redfeather Elite team captain Chris Miller (My Brother pictured to the left). Fortunate enough to both qualify, we left the race venue in our next race – flights home.
We were fortunate enough to squeeze this race into both of our busy family and work schedules and more fortunate enough to take the show on the road to Syracuse. With more focused training, nutrition, and mental focus, we hope to put Redfeather atop the podium. Now if only I can find a way to bring more snow to Chattanooga, maybe then I can actually train in these things…..
A special thanks to all the folks helping me out – Redfeather Snowshoes, Gu Sports Nutrition, The North Face, Smith Eyewear, Carmichael Training Systems and special welcome to Rock/Creek.