Craftsbury Common, VT (January 28): It's all about kick when you have to do a classic ski race for 46 kilometers over Vermont hills and dales. Rossignol’s Eli Enman (Huntington, VT) and Marc Gilbertson (Hyde Park, VT) didn’t leave anything to chance when it came to a shot at victory at the TD Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon. Both chose the wax-less skis and Team Rossi came in one-two in the men’s race. â€œThese were the skis of the day!â€ said Enman, who had come in 3rd in last year’s race.
Winner, TD Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon, Rossignol's Eli Enman (Huntington, VT)
Enman and Gilbertson led from the start on Little Hosmer Lake. In pursuit was Dartmouth Outing Club’s Eben Sargent (Orleans, VT). Despite the wax — or lack thereof- a broken pole strap, and a fall, still Sargent held on to third place. In fourth was Topher Sabot, another Vermont native, now living in Williarmstown, MA. And fifth place went to Ford Sayre’s Chris Nice (Hanover, NH), who placed 6th in last year’s race. In terms of tactics, there were none in the men’s race. The time spread in the results says it all — racer said they battled to kick when they could and just tried to doublepole everything else.
The recent non-winter weather in the Northeast Kingdom caused the event organizers to re-route the traditional Craftsbury Marathon course. Usually starting at the Highland Lodge, in Greensboro, VT, and ending at the Craftsbury Common, this year’s course was run entirely on the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s ski trails and the nearby lakes. Although there was good snow coverage, the temperatures warmed quickly through the morning, making it nearly impossible to choose a kick wax that would kick through the varying and warming conditions. â€œToday was a good day to be a rower!â€ stated Craftsbury Nordic Club’s Judy Geer, a former Olympic sculler and director of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s summer rowing programs.
In the women’s 46km event it was a horse race for the first lap. Defending champion, Subaru Factory Team’s Kate Underwood (Woodstock, VT) led a foursome that included Rossignol’s Joanne Hanowski (Duluth, MN), Kimball Union Academy coach, Lindley VanderLinde (Meriden, NH), and Team FsX Nikki Kimball (Bozeman, MT). VanderLinde, who is just returning to the sport after a hiatus in Oregon, has made the New England race community sit up and take notice. Her choice of klister kickwax was right on. Underwood, who had led from the start, lost her kick going into the second lap. VanderLinde caught her, and they skied together for the next 20km until Underwood could fight no more.
Winner, TD Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon, Lindley VanderLinde – KUA/Meriden ,NH
Underwood's was not the saddest face, however, when she crossed the finish in second place. Kimball, who came in fourth, stated, â€œI love this sport, but I hated today!â€ Like many of the competitors behind her, she had been relegated to double poling and herringboning even the most marginal of hills. Still, as Barbara Bradlee, who skis for the Cambridge Sports Union, said when asked about her own experience, â€œIt was a beautiful day!â€
Third place went to veteran marathoner, Rossignol’s Joanne Hanowski (Duluth, MN), who also went with the waxless skis. Skiing with the front women for the first 10 kilometers, Hanowski faded back and skied the next five kilometers on her own. â€œThe girls went out so fast,â€ she said. â€œAnd their stride was shorter than mine. I needed to ski my own rhythm for a while.â€ Then she blasted back up to the front, caught Kimball and finished â€œin the potteryâ€.
This was the 25th annual running of the Craftsbury Marathon. The event is part of the prestigious American Ski Marathon Series (ASMS) as well as the TD Banknorth New England Marathon Series. It has also been proclaimed as one of the “Top 10 Winter Events in Vermont.” The top three in each age group won a hand-crafted pottery pitcher — perfect for Vermont maple syrup. And raffle prizes were provided by Rossignol, Alpina, Toko, Atomic, Ice Age, and Salomon. Concept II Rowing gave $50 to the male and female winners of the 25km and the 50km races, and raffled off a Concept II Rowing Ergometer. The camaraderie of the skiers, the volunteers that helped with shovel snow, feed and direct the skiers, and the announcers at the finish who acknowledged every racer’s and tourer’s finish between the music that kept the crowd rocking, made for a perfect day to be a skier who made it to the finish on quaint, Craftsbury Common.
Results, photos, and descriptions of the TD Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon are available at <www.Craftsbury.com. Please note: Timing and confirmation of over 1,000 racers and tourers, males and females, 25k and 50k results, and last minute changes are still being corrected. Results found on the website this evening are different than noted above, and will be corrected over the next two days.