Nationals: Sprint Race Postponed for Thursday

Train WreckJanuary 7, 2009

More cold temperatures in Anchorage have caused today’s race to be canceled. Today was close to the coldest day of the week, with temperatures not rising above -10F in the stadium area, and variably staying between -15F and -20F in the coldest areas.

This is the second official loss for the National Championship, as tomorrow (Thursday) is the only remaining day on the schedule to hold a race. Coaches, Athletes, and Volunteers have been out in sub-zero temperatures for the last 5 consecutive days in an attempt to grab any opportunity to hold a race.

This is the longest cold spell in memory according to Anchorage residents, who have lived an average of 30 years in this young town. The holiday season of 1999/2000 was the last time that the South Central Alaska experienced temperatures that periodically dipped below -20F, but no one here seems to remember a week quite like this.

“It’s difficult for the athletes, difficult for the waxing, and difficult for the organization,” commented CXC Elite Team Coach Bryan Fish after Tuesday’s cancelation. “It’s a difficult and costly challenge, but it’s a good decision. We’re putting a lot of wax on the skis, but in the end it’s a good decision for the athletes. The most important thing is that we don’t want to put any of our athletes in danger.”

Pete Leonard, Head Coach of Fairbanks Cross Country was frustrated, but was a jovial mood. “[Man], I was so dialed today, too!” Pete said about preparing skis for the classic sprint yesterday. FXC athletes would be most acclimated to recent conditions, where compensating for cold weather is part of the routine.

USSA Nordic Director John Farra maintains that the individual classic sprint has the highest priority this week, so it has been rescheduled to start at noon tomorrow. It is also important to note that today’s decision officially knocks the classic distance race out of the event lineup.

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