What a weekend in Bavaria! The snow situation in Central Europe was looking bad, really bad. It was foggy, rainy and way to warm with temps not even close to freezing on days before the race. On Friday morning skiers checked the course and tested skis. Very soft and wet with a lot of dirt and don’t ask what else mixed in the snow. Due to weather conditions and lack of snow the race for the next day was shortened from 50 to 40k doing two labs on a relatively flat course. The climbs were on the first 5 k of the course. The rest was rather flat. After checking out the course, picking up bibs and chilling out in Oberammergau we (Dave Knoop of Park City, Utah, Laurie Humbert, Salt Lake City, Utah and Meiko Hoemke of Germany) were on schedule to get ready for the race.
Saturday morning the race was on! It rained at race start with temps between 33-35F and a mix of soft and hard sections on the course. We all lined up in the first wave of the race with probably another 800 skiers behind us. There goes the gun. I had a great start and won the sprint on the right side of the start field to the first road crossing (after approx. 100 yards). But I was surprised that when I crossed the road a group of 20+ skiers dashed in front of me coming way from the left of the start field. I settled in to the end of this first group and found my rhythm. Although being thick all week long I felt good to go the pace. The first 5k of this race are a mad dash into the woods, as the course narrows down after that and it is extremely critical to be in a fast train at that point and not to be stuck in traffic. The next part of the course was rolling with one bumpy downhill. And of course my legs were full of lactate; the guy next to me makes a move to avoid a crash and takes me out. Bummer I went down hard and lost the first fast group. When I got up I lost a lot of ground and skied on my own for a few kilometers before I got caught from a vulture train. After that the race was pretty uneventful for me. I skied in the pack and I made it to the finish in 32nd place overall (4th age group, time: 1.43h). Nordic Dave (Knoop) after having a great race made it to the finish as 45th overall (6th age group in 1.48h). Nordic skied very well through the initially bumpy and then on the second lap very soft and mushy course. RJ Guiney, Park City, Utah in 60th place and Bill Bothe as 116th completed the good results from Park City locals. In the women’s skate race Laurie Humbert excelled with a great performance. She skied one of her best races ever by flying around the course with great technique and power to finish an outstanding 3rd place overall in 1.54h! She did not slow down during the race and showed those German guys that a US girl knows how to ski hard and fast by driving the train to the finish. For full results please check: http://www.koenig-ludwig-lauf.com/ergebnisse.html
On Sunday the classic FIS marathon cup race over 40k was started with beautiful blue sky and great firm, frozen and super fast conditions. The start was a very impressive show of world class double poling. The Scandinavians dominated the race and Daniel Tynell (Sweden) won in 01:24:49.4 ahead of Stan Rezac (Tech Republik) (01:24:49.6) in a breathtaking sprint. Amongst the top ten there were 8 skiers from Scandinavia. Susan Hallenberg from Park City finished in 29th place overall. RJ Guiney had enough energy left to ski a 50th place in the 20k classic race.
After the race the party was on and as usual in Germany there has to be beer. Overall the weekend was great. Housing, food and hanging out with the Eintracht Braunschweig ski club made it a well rounded adventure. Enjoy the pics