Sun Valley lived up to its name Saturday for the 32nd Boulder Mountain Tour. Temperatures did not reach predicted lows overnight and a strong sun and warm wind quickly turned the snow much warmer than most racers expected. The track was hard and perfect from start to finish and a strong tailwind contributed to blistering fast times over the 32km course.
In an unusual turn of events for this race that drops 1100 feet in elevation and usually ends up in an exciting bunch sprint, both the male and female winners broke away from the field and soloed in to victory. Nordic Combined skier Bill Demong dropped a large lead group with 12km to go and never looked back, winning in 1:10:12.2 while XC Oregon racer Evelyn Dong used great skis and top form to pull away from the women’s field eventually winning by over three minutes over runner up Kate Pearson. Dong’s winning time was 1:16:06, putting her in 35th place overall.
Demong dropped impressive company with 4 previous race winners in the fray. The winning move came after Carl Swenson (Subaru Factory Team) sprinted for the first sprint prime at 14km. Swenson’s move shattered the huge lead group of 25 and Demong was the first one to catch back up to the leader.
â€œI said to Carl, â€˜let’s go, just like a bike race to the finish, we can work together.’ Carl stepped aside and said, â€˜you’ll have to do it alone’, so I kept skiing and was surprised to get away like that.â€
Swenson later confirmed that law school was distracting him from the training required to be able to sustain that kind of pace. He skied to a strong 7th place showing in 1:12:03.
FSx/XC Oregon racer Zach Violett finished second in 1:11:35.2 with Marshall Greene of Alpina/XC Oregon 7 seconds behind in 3rd. Inge Travis of Park City, UT, rounded out the women’s podium in third place, only four seconds behind Pearson. 818 racers finished the 32km distance. Complete results are available at www.bouldermountaintour.com
The next major race on the North American schedule is February 10 with the Owl Creek Chase in Aspen, Colorado. The 25km point-to-point race covers one of the most difficult courses in the country, starting at 8000ft elevation with over 1200 feet total climbing. The race is part of the Supertour, Colorado Cup and Aspen town series.