Would You Like That on Sourdough?
30K at 10K—a quirky look at long-distance snowshoeing in the Rockies
The author, Travis Macy, in the lead at the 2013 Sourdough Snowshoe Race, Nederland, Colorado.
"As you know, finishing positions and times are not always the best ways to measure success in a race. For most people, including me, success in a race is more of an internal thing. I finished first in races where I did not achieve what I wanted to. I ‘won’ other races, by my internal standard, where my time or place was inconsequential.”
—Tom Sobal, considered the founder of U.S. competitive snowshoeing (at least in Colorado)
In a Strava-nated world where data reigns king, mile splits are tracked by almost everyone, and just about every aspect of a run can be analyzed scientifically, some of us yearn to return to a simpler time. We are grateful for races with no entry fees or prize money or guaranteed marking. For races that don’t even have cell coverage on the course. For races that, although they cover only 30K, take much longer than a marathon. For races that require snowshoes even if there might not be enough snow because, as stated by the RD in a why-did-you-even-ask voice, “It’s a snowshoe race.” For races that, because they are within an hour of Boulder, Colorado, are guaranteed to have a strong field, even if it’s full with only 75 runners. For races, that is, like the Sourdough Snowshoe Race in Nederland, Colorado.
January 9, 2013, brought a classic Colorado day to Nederland and the Sourdough Snowshoe Race. Sun at the 9 a.m. start (if you’re not freezing on the line at 10,000 feet in the winter, it’s going to be a warm day) indicated enjoyable conditions for the fourth-year event. At the line, some of us actually reminisced about the legendary Tom Sobal, reflecting on the Turquoise Lake 20-Miler, the classic that started it all.