The first race in the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks' 8th Annual Chest
Medicine Fairbanks Distance Series was held Sunday, December 4 at Birch
Hill under chilly conditions. The race was the “Gundeloppet,” a 15Km
and 7.5Km free technique event, so named to commemorate Gunde Svan's win
in the 15Km World Cup race held at Birch Hill in March 1984. The
temperature at race time at the stadium was around -10F, and was
somewhat colder (-15F to -20F) at the far end of the 15Km loop on the
White Bear Trail.
With such cold temperatures, there was much discussion about whether it
would be preferable to skate or classic. Nearly 60 skiers started the
race, only about 10% skated. Following the race, those who did skate
unanimously agreed that classic would have been preferable.
Jim Lokken, who skated (and regretted doing so), was the overall winner,
and topped the 40-49 men's class. He recorded a time of 56:30.5, for
the somewhat long 15Km course (the '84 World Cup course was 16.6Km in
length), beating classic specialist Bruce Miller (30-39 Men) by 29
seconds. The next three finishers, Ken Leary, Bad Bob Baker and Dave
Edic (all 40-49) were all classic skiers. Max Kaufman was the second
skater in 1:02:00.9, just 58.8 seconds ahead of the first female (and
first female skater), 44-year-old Karin Gillis.
Gillis won the women's class by 12:23 over Jane Leblond, who was 22
seconds ahead of Roselyn Ressa Smith and 40 seconds ahead of Janna
Miller. Gillis was the only skater among women.
Although the temperature was cold, only one very minor case of frost nip
was observed, and most skiers went back onto the trails for a
“cool-down” after the race. Fred Raymond and Raven Cross Country
provided the prizes, and the Lathrop High School Ski Team Boosters
provided the labor force and post-race refreshments (proceeds go to the
LHS Ski Team).
The next race in the series is the January Jaunt, a 20Km and 10Km
classic race (mass-start) on Sunday, January 22 at 11:00am.
To see results, go to www.sportalaska.com/skiresults/2005-2006