Snowshoe Thompson Classic – Auburn Ski Club Training Center – December 30, 2007
By Mark Nadell
â€œIt was just a perfect day for classic ski racing in the Sierra.â€ Those were the sentiments as stated by Tav Streit, the winner of the 10 Kilometer Snowshoe Thompson Classic race at Auburn Ski Club on Sunday. With skis that gripped perfectly on the (many) uphills on the two-lap course, and glided smoothly through the downhills and flats, Streit could afford to be ebullient about the conditions.
The Snowshoe Thompson is one of the premier classic technique events on the calendar, and is the 3rd stop along the way for both the season-long Sierra Ski Chase and Masters Cup series, and also the first race of the coveted Fischer Cup Series of 6 of the top races. And with a diagonal stride technique competition comes that extra little bit of pre-race stress, with racers all trying to â€œhit the waxâ€ just right for that perfect combination of kick and glide. In what seems to be common for this event, the morning’s weather conditions did not seem to cooperate, with high humidity, fog, some snow flurries, and tracks on the course that changed from powdery to glazed in a matter of feet.
With juniors and masters alike scurrying to their wax boxes, searching for that right mix of wax, the conditions began to settle down, and most competitors were able to find skis that worked in most of the conditions out on the 5 kilometer course at the Auburn Ski Club Training Center. First tried were waxes in the purple/red range, such as Toko Red and Swix VR45. Then it was a move up to Yellow, VR50, 55, and even 60. But in the end, most racers enjoyed good to great skiing, and it turned into a barn-burner of a classic ski race.
It was the 32 year old Streit, a former University of Nevada, Reno racer and head coach, now back living in Reno, who bested the field for the second year in a row in this interval start event, finishing with a time of 28 minutes and 10.2 seconds. â€œI’m just using this as a tuneup for the Tahoe Rim Tour race,â€ said Streit, referring to the new event on the Far West Nordic race schedule, slated for January 27th. â€œThat’s the one I want to be really fast for.â€ Streit achieved that goal and more, managing a narrow victory over Far West Junior and current Williams College (Massachusetts) racer Alex Taylor of Truckee (28:15.3). Taylor may have given Streit even more of a run for his money except for an unfortunate pole breakage midway through the course, forcing him to ski with one pole for a little ways before finding a replacement. Third place on the day went to yet another Far West Junior, Tyler Wright of Truckee (Montana State Univ.), who finished with a time of 28:15.9, barely a half second behind Taylor..
In another display of overall dominance in the women’s field, 2006 champion Beth Reid of Palo Alto was unchallenged, finishing with a time of 29:27.1. Reid’s time was good enough to beat all but the first 6 men’s times on the day. This marked the 3rd win in a row for her in this event. The 48 year old Reid used her quick tempo and flawless technique to outdistance second place skier Judy Rabinowitz of Larkspur, who finished in a time of 31:57. Brandy Stewart of Palo Alto managed third place with a time of 33:44.
In the 5 kilometer Juniors race, Miles Heapes of Tahoe City took top honors, finishing with a time of 14:27, fifteen seconds faster than his closest competitor, Justin Ondry of Truckee (14:49). Another Truckee junior, Carson Lindsay, was third with a time of 15:22. For the Junior girls, it was once again Joanne Reid of Palo Alto who easily outdistanced her competitors, finishing in 15:27, and making it 3 for 3 in local Junior races for her. Annika Taylor of Truckee was second with a time of 16:12, 12 seconds in front of her Truckee rival Sophie Aaron. In the youngest kids 2.5 kilometer event, Samuel Zabell was the winner for the boys, with Elise Rust taking the top girls honor.
The local citizens’ races take a short hiatus for the next two weeks, with the next race the CNISSF High school/middle school Freestyle race at Royal Gorge on January 11. After that, racing resumes up at Auburn Ski Club on martin Luther King’s holiday weekend with the ASC Classic Sprint Challenge, the second Junior Olympic Qualifier race, followed the next day by the Sierra Skogsloppet at Tahoe Donner XC, another qualifier. For full results and schedule, go to www.farwestnordic.org.
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Gunstock Holiday Race – Gunstock, New Hampshire – December 31, 2007
It was a great day with a mix of seasoned skiers and masters adding to the excitement and a good selection of local skiers. The new trail system got rave reviews as a very exciting course that keeps you on your toes and challenged throughout. It was a wonderful race for introducing the course and the new Gunstock Nordic Assoctiation clubhouse too! Many stayed on and enjoyed a BBQ lunch and Christmas goodies afterwards. Alex Howe won the men's race, and Jenia Badamshina paced the women's field. Full results can be found at http://www.nensa.net/news/news_more.php?id=2387.
Mt. Hor Hop – Westmore, Vermont – December 30, 2007
A large field showed up for the annual Mt. Hor Hop in Westmore, Vermont. Over 100 athletes participated in the freestyle event. Olympian Marc Gilbertson won the men's 10km race by over a minute. Nina Gavrylynn skied to a dominating victory in the women's race over the same distance, outdistancing the field by over two minutes.
Full results can be found at NENSA.net.