A record 1040 skiers did The 2004 Great Race from Lake Tahoe, California to Truckee. Super California weather with sunshine and 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the start and temperatures in the fifties at the finish made for great racing conditions. The new wave-start format seemed to make the start easier, a night time low of 25 F and the usual amount of more or less spectacular crashes (causing a few minor scratches and sore buns) coming down the last hill at 40 miles per hour made for another (bloody) good Great Race.
The women’s (clear) winner was Brooke Bauman with Mari Storeng in second and Suzanne King in third. The men’s race was won by Scott Loomis with last year’s winner Patrick Weaver in second and (UAA coach) Trond Flagstad in third. (It’s great that Flagstad makes us coaches proud, but it must be tough being one of his athletes after time-trials describing to friends how it went: “well, I felt pretty good and was (only) 2 minutes behind Coach today”)
Loomis passed Weaver with only minutes to go in the race and got around the last downhill U-turn with Weaver on his tail. They crossed the finish in a full downhill tuck with only inches separating them -quite a sight.