Great spring conditions with warm weather and sun made for fast skate skiing for the skaters and very good klister skiing for the classic skiers at the 2004 West Yellowstone Rendezvous.
The weather forecast the day before the race (Friday) called for a temperature drop down toward 0 Fahrenheit. That did not happen. The low overnight temperature was 25 F and at start time at 8.45, it was 30 F, sunny and no wind.
The 50 k freestyle race
Third place finisher David Stewart was only 4 seconds behind these two.
The women’s race was won by Brooke Baughman with Roxanne Toley in second and Kristina Sandberg in third.
John Engen (46) was 5th overall and less than 1 minute from first despite getting tangled with a skier (from the 25 k race) and falling down with only a few kilometers to go.
Randy Beckner (51) was the fastest over age 50 and 18th overall
The 25 k freestyle race
The women’s 25 k was won by Team TorbjornSport member Stephanie Williams (11th overall!) with Kelly Milligan (15th overall – also of TBS) in second. Not bad for two ladies around age 40! Mandy Bowden (19) was third.
Torbjorn Karlsen and Brian Abrams – Classic skiers this year.
Â Anyway, I like classic racing a great deal and klister skiing is the most fun you can have in ski racing especially if you â€œhit the waxâ€ — which I did.
The snow froze overnight and I put down a very thin layer of Rode Blue klister as base and covered this with a mix of Rode Red Rossa and Universal. I dotted a little Start Universal Wide klister on top of this.
My glide wax was SOLDA F-31 Orange with HPO5 on top. I had great glide and kick the entire race.
I started the race in the front row (25 skier wide rows) and was around 10th place overall after 500 meters. At 1 Kilometer I skied up behind the leader, Petr Jaki. At 3 K Petr and I had opened up a gap to the chase group. I felt great â€œsittingâ€ in second
That was until we came down a hill approaching an inter section that was not closed off. He went straight and I (that should have know that we should have turned left after skiing in West Yellowstone for 20 years) followed him! I yelled to him that we had to turn. We stopped and skied back up again looking at all the skiers making the right turn up ahead of us. We were now in 25th place and started the task of catching up to the front again. We did that by skiing and passing outside the tracks (only one track since the skate race starts 15 minutes later) — no reason to ask for â€œtracksâ€ anyway. Four kilometer later we were in the front again. Two kilometer later we were skiing away from the â€œpackâ€. One additional skier, Tim Downey had also joined us. We were trading of in the lead for the next 5 k when Petr and Tim skied away from me and got a 30 seconds gap (to me) at the hardest section of the course.
I felt however still good at the highest point of the course with 10 k to go and decided to try to catch them. I had as mentioned great skis, felt good, worked very hard on some flat double pole sections, skied the downhills very aggressively and caught them with 6 k to go.
Petr and Tim now â€œdecidedâ€ to try a wrong turn again (!) and I had to yell for them to turn — which they did.
Tim and Petr got a 10 seconds gap to me up the last long hill with 3.5 kilometer to go. I closed it down to 5 seconds with 1 k to go but didn’t have that little extra it would have taken to catch them and I ended up in third, 11 seconds behind Petr who won.
At the finish!
Team TorbjornSport/SOLDA report.
Team TBS members reported having great skis. Many went with what we recommended the day before (when we thought that it was going to get a lot colder overnight) which was SOLDA HPO5 or PowerJet on top of Violet or Orange or Orange and Violet mixed. I was one of those and felt that I had great skis. Other member adjusted the wax in the morning and heated in PowerJet 1 or Warm Fluor on top of what they waxed with in the evening. That was very good as well. I think it was necessary to add something like a 1 or 2 mm structure (after waxing and brushing) to your skis to have the best possible skis on the second lap if you skied the 50 k skate race.Â
Team TBS/SOLDA highlights:
Randy Beckner 1st age 50-54, men’s 50 k skate
Mark Hollinger 2nd age 45-49 men’s 50 k skate
Diane Tremblay 2nd age 30-34 and 5th overall women’s 50 k skate
Stephanie Williams 1st overall women’s 25 k skate race
Kelly Milligan 2nd overall women’s overall 25 k skate race
Richard Dressen 1st age 30-34 men’s 25 skate race
Torbjorn Karlsen 1st age 45-49 — 3rd overall 25 k classic
Gordon Lange 2nd age 45-49 — 7th overall 25 K classic