Racing to the top of the mountain and beyond |

Racing to the top of the mountain and beyond

I try to participate in the Billy Dutton uphill every year. Initially, I would snowshoe the race just for the opportunity to toe the line with Nordic skiers and be able to actually race them. Then it became a race that I do because I want to support Betty Walsh. She always made me feel welcome in a field full of skiers and made me believe that Billy would have supported the charging snowshoer.

And now, this year, Iand#8217;ve learned something new. Debbie Dutton shared a story about the headband with me. I never knew but Billy was known for the wide folded bandana. If you think back you will probably remember seeing many participants in bandanas. Until now I didnand#8217;t think much of it. Because of this discovery, I know that I will be wearing a bandana in honor of Billy. I hope others do the same. Hopefully weand#8217;ll still be enjoying sun and it will keep the sweat out of your eyes.

Itand#8217;s a challenge to race uphill. There has to be a trick. I wish there was. For me the trick is to embrace the climb. But not so much that you red line and have to reduce your effort to a crawl.

The gun will go off and there will be those who take off like it is a road race, myself included. The key is to get that out of your system fast and find that sweet spot in your pace and breathing that letand#8217;s you maintain a valiant effort. The key for me to maintain is to stay at that pace just above my ability to talk. Any more than that and you will run out of gas quickly.

There are two steep climbs in the course; find a rhythm and power up them. They arenand#8217;t that long and once you crest and make that right turn your legs and lungs will recover pretty quickly. That is, until you see High Camp and think youand#8217;re about there.

Go with that. Youand#8217;ll make that turn that forces you under the Links chairlift for a while until you make that final decent to the finish. I like seeing people put it all out on the line for the finish. Skiers get to recover to the finish. If youand#8217;re on snowshoes, youand#8217;ll have to run and blow every last bit of energy you have.

Thatand#8217;s a great finish. You can be bringing in the rear, and if you finish like that youand#8217;ll have done Billy proud.

and#8212; Peter Fain of Truckee is a competitive runner and 2009 National Snowshoe Champion. He may be contacted at

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