Heavy snow at Bohart Ranch turned the inaugural Dick Walter Subaru Sacagawea Ski Marathon into a slow, grinding war of attrition. A 35K classic-only race, the Sacagawea course covers much of the same hilly terrain as the 30K from the 2002 US National Championships, but added Bohart's classic Loggers Loop, a steady 3k climb, to the mix. Each of the 17.5 km loops featured four major climbs with steady snowfall filling the tracks.
In the women's race, 2002 Olympian Barb Jones (Subaru) skied powerfully with a group of three men to put a 2 minute gap on former Norwegian National Team member Grethe-Lisa Hagensen (Alpina Racing). Hagensen skied alone for much of the race but remained strong to finish in the top 10 overall. Jones, whose training is now limited by medical school, said after the race that she is considering becoming more of classical specialist.
In the men's race, John Yarington and Scott Creel (Team Rossignol) broke away in the first kilometers and shared the trail-breaking. Creel broke away with a surge at 25 km on the second trip up Logger's Loop, and built a one minute lead by the finish. Yarington continued strongly to hold off bicycle racer and ultramarathoner Keifer Hahn, who took third overall.
The organizers hope to build on this year's 160-odd racers to develop the Sacagawea Marathon into a national-level race for those looking for a tough race on classic skis.
Full results at http://www.bohartranchxcski.com