The third racing day at the 2004 World Masters ended up being a long day. All age group classes skied both classical and free 10 km races, with the classical races starting at 9AM, and the skate races at about 1 PM – all on the same 10 km course.
A warm wind met the first skiers in the morning at the 1994 Olympic venue – the Birkebeiner Ski Stadium. The snow was still dry, but the temperatures warm enough to see a mix of kick waxing. Many of the US skiers used blue-violet hard wax, while several of the (Norwegian) age group winners used Universal klister covered with hard-wax.
The course used for the 10 km races were a little hillier than the longer races the day before, which made skiing a little more interesting for most. The courses at these Masters Championship are still much easier than most regular competition courses – to the liking of many.
For the skate races in the afternoon the courses were regroomed, which caused softer tracks, but the snow stayed overall fast. Most skiers addded some structure to their bases to speed up the skis even more.
Several of the age group winners impressed with fast and good skiing. However, the most media attention was given to 1982 World Champions Oddvar Braa and Alexsei Savjalov, which skied in the 50 – 54 age group. None of them won, but the Norwegian Braa showed that he has stayed in best shape by ending up 6th, while Savjalov finished 42nd in his group.
The US results were led by Allison Bradley (former Kiesel) and Ann Mize with Gold medals in the F5 and F6 age groups (skate races). Other US medal winners in the skate races were Susan Holway (3rd in F5), Kelli Boonstra (3rd in F1), Murray Banks (2nd in M6) and John Engen (3rd in M4). In the classical technique races, the US medal winners were Ingrid Butts (2nd in F3)and Todd Boonstra (3rd in M5).
The next competition is the National Team relays on Thursday. Each nation can start with one team in each age group. The weather here is turning cold and clear again – just like it was during the 1994 Olympic Winter Games.