A small but enthusiastic crowd of city folks turned out to watch the 100m World Record attempt held in Madison Friday night as the opening event of the 2007 Capitol Square sprints.
13 men and 2 women each had 3 attempts to set the fastest time on a very slight downhill grade down the main street in front of the capitol building. The manmade snow was fast but somewhat soft and punchy, as there was little time for it to set up in the 30 or so minutes between when it was brought to the square in dump trucks and when the skiers began warming up back and forth on a roughly 160 meter strip.
The big question was whether anyone could knock off Kevin Hochtl's record from last year, set in West Yellowstone on a flat or very slightly uphill 100m stretch. One after another the small but talented group of skiers gave it their best shot, cheered on by the lively spectators lined along the fence, with the announcer calling out each skier's name, what part of the country they were from, and their time as they crossed the line.
In the end, despite the slight downhill grade, the punchy snow kept all the men from breaking the previous year's record. Kevin Hochtl of Rossignol posted the fastest time of the day of 12.04 seconds, but was unable to beat his own 100M World Record of 11.94, set at West Yellowstone in 2005.
â€œIt was fun out there tonight and nice to be back in Madison. The course was a little slower than in West because the snow was softer, and slightly downhill. I think if it is slightly uphill you can get up and over your ski better and have more power. Still it was a good day for me and I look forward to a great weekend of racing.â€ —Kevin Hochtl
Laura Valaas of CXC found a familiar spot on the top of the podium winning the women’s competition in a time of 14.68. She was just two-tenths of a second from Sadie Bjornsen’s World Record of 14.48 also set at West Yellowstone in 2005.
â€œIt is amazing to see how quickly the organizers were able to bring snow in and set the course. This is my first city sprint and it’s fun to be racing under the lights and in front of shops and spectators. I am looking forward to the longer sprints this weekend, in particular the team sprint with my CXC teammate Caitlin Compton.â€ —Laura Valaas
The Capitol Square Sprints Winter Festival continues with the Freestyle Team Sprint Saturday evening and an individual Classic Sprint on Sunday. For more information and a detailed event schedule check out www.CapitolSquareSprints.org
Source: Brian Gregg and Ian Case
Full Results (times are best of 3 attempts):
1. Laura Valaas (CXC Team) 14.68
2. Caitlin Compton (CXC Team) 15.44
1. Kevin Hochtl (Rossignol/Axels) 12.04
2. Colin Mahood (XC Oregon/Rossignol) 12.43
3. Garrott Kuzzy (CXC Team) 12.91
4. Eric Strabel (APU) 12.93
5. Ken Statz (AET) 13.00
6. Mark Iverson (Rossignol/Steamboat Springs) 13.01
7. Anders Haugen (Rossignol/APU) 13.01
8. Tim Woodbury (XC Oregon) 13.25
9. Ian Case 13.38
10. Bryan Cook (CXC Team) 13.44
11. Joseph Graci