The Big Challenge Of Pursuit Racing

FasterSkierJanuary 21, 2004

The Men’s and Women’s Pursuit race were held at Master Nationals in Marquette, Michigan on Tuesday. A few inches of new snow and a chilling 3-4 degrees Fahrenheit met the men’s category for the 10 AM start. It had warmed up (slightly) for the women’s 11.30 start.

Each age category started in waves with three minutes interval between the groups. The cold weather and superb grooming made kick waxing easy. The courses were good and tested all types of uphill skills except for long uphills. A few good dowhills got you up to speed, in to real downhill positions and some good U-turns – great fun!
The five-kilometer classic was followed by a NASCAR type pit-stop exchange into skate gear followed by the 7.5-kilometer skate portion of the race.

Unlike in World Cup racing where the skiers jump right from classic to skate gear – master participants had to run roughly 20 seconds from the “official end of the classic race line” to “the official start-line of the skate race” where you picked up your skate skis and took off. Most skiers seemed to do the classic race on classic skis, (but) used their skate boots to avoid having to change boots.

Comments from some of the racers included that it was “ a funny feeling” classic skiing in skate boots but not a problem.

Race Highlights
Jennifer Ryan (35-39) was the fastest women under 50 and Carolyn Tiernan (50-54) the fastest in the over 50 category. Barry Makerewicz (40-44) posted the fastest time among men under 50 and Chris Ransom was the fastest over 50. It was interesting to see that Chris that has a broken arm and skis with a cast decided to not bother switching to skate skis but did the entire race on classic skis.
Ransom comments;
“I had my skate gear ready but decided to just keep going when I had got a lead in the classic part. I can’t skate much faster than I can classic with this cast and this way I didn’t have to waste time with the exchange” – It worked!

Other interesting observations:
I was surprised when I saw Russian-born Antonina Anniken in age category 65-69 on the start-line. No gloves and no hat. One guy commented that that’s how she always skis. The temperature was 10 Fahrenheit – they don’t make people like that anymore!

Torbjorn’s Race Report
First a quick apology and correction regarding my earlier comments from the the sprint relay:
The organizers did follow the rules regarding age combinations in the sprint relay. This means that Team TorbjornSport/SOLDA won age category 120-149 while team Makerwicz, Frank Lunden and Dave Knoop won age category 90-119. We can all rest in peace now.

My race:
The temperature was a little colder than I had hoped for. I spent the last fifteen minutes before start trying to warm up my hands and gloves in the warming hut. That worked and I had no problems in the race but I was not up to Coach Sten Fjelheim’s start pace. He took off and got a quick lead. I had tried to gently intimidate him at the start line with comments like: “You are not going to race on those skis are you?” and “your boot buckles are open” but he laughed it off. Not today Torbjorn!

Sten and I have known each other since the mid-eighties and have played numerous practical jokes on each other at various stages in our lives. I’m not going to bore you with many such stories today but it was pretty funny at the 1994 Olympics when we had placed a walkie-talkie under his bed when his wife came over to visit (after Sten had been on the road traveling for three weeks).

Anyway, Sten took off – I was in second and that’s how we ended up as well. I was 53 seconds behind Sten with the 4th fastest time of the day (among all age categories) and Sten had the second fastest time. I lost 44 seconds in the classic part but only 9 seconds in the skate race. The skate race actually felt very good and my time compared to skiers that was close or ahead in the 30-kilometer skate race greatly improved. I’m thinking that I’m adjusting to skiing and racing at sea level again. Skiing at high altitude in Utah makes you strong but it takes awhile to adjust to the higher turnover needed for this low elevation.

Race Wax:
I had great skis with my SOLDA S-30 over S-20. Superb skate skis.
Other skiers with the same wax included: Dan Packman (2nd age 35-39), Chris Ransom (1st age 50-54), Per Johnsen (1st age 55-59), Dan Karig (1st age 65-69).

Log on to < for more info on SOLDA glide wax.

Results of the Masters Nationals races can be found here: <FasterSkier Results Section


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