The first few laps of the team sprints saw some intense action and tight competition with a narrow course, sharp corners and a steep uphill provided by a specially constructed bridge. In the finals each male skier raced five, female skiers four one kilometer legs. Leads changed often as the stop and go course filled racers legs with lactate.
Caitlin Compton and Laura Valaas of CXC established a lead on lap 3 and extended it all the way to the finish line. The race for 2nd was a close battle with Nicole Deyong and Kate Whitcomb of SV/FSX skiing right with the team of Kate Underwood of Subaru and Karin Camenisch of Rossignol. Camenisch stumbled on the bridge hill on the last lap and Whitcomb brought it to the line.
In the men’s race Eric Strabel had a smooth tag on lap 3 and Lars Flora took the lead and put a gap in the field. Skiing strong the CXC team of Bryan Cook and Garrott Kuzzy caught back up, but last week’s Team Sprint National Champion put the hurt on shortly there after. The FsX team of Colin Rodgers and Zach Simmons came in 3rd.
Quotes from the winners:
â€œThe sharp corners and the bridge were challenging since you would have to slow down and then immediately accelerate. It was pretty cool to have such a diverse crowd of spectators too. Many people saw the lights and heard the announcements and were pretty surprised to see a ski race going on downtown.â€- Caitlin Compton
â€œIt is really nice to see the training and work we did all summer pay off. During the summer I felt like the slow kid of the group, training with Compton and my CXC teammates, so it feels good to be skiing fast now. We focused a lot on roller skiing and strength this summer and that has really made a difference.â€ —Laura Valaas
â€œMadison has done a great job with this event. It would be great to see it become a World Cup race in the near future. The terrain is certainly there. Today surprised me, because I wasn’t feeling very good and even though this is an easier week of training, I was pretty tired. Once the race started though I felt great though and went for it. It felt almost effortless, and those are the best days.â€ —Lars Flora
â€œI wasn’t feeling too good in the semi. Garrott Kuzzy was very tough in both the semi and the final. Still, it is hard to lose when you have Lars Flora on your team. It is a great atmosphere here in Madison. The people are great. I don’t usually spend much time in the city, but it is fun to do a race on the streets. I am looking forward to seeing more of the town and socializing Sunday evening.â€-Eric Strabel