David Sinclair and Heidi Halvorsen were the men’s and women’s winners of the 4th App Gap Challenge, a roller ski duathlon from Waitsfield to the top of Appalachian Gap in northern VT. The race was the final event of a week-long training camp for 16-18 year old skiers at Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield. Men skied 7 k and women skied 5 k.
Sinclair’s winning time of 30:34 set a new course record by 5 seconds. Eli Enman was the second male finisher in 32:36; Noah Brautigam placed third in 33:36. Halvorsen eclipsed the women’s course record by 58 seconds, finishing in 28:18. She was followed by Emily Stitt at 30:04 and Kristin Halvorsen in 31:06.
Skiers started at 30-second intervals. The men went from the intersection of Route 17 and German Flats Road, while women started further up Route 17 at the entrance to the Battleground condominium development. In a nod to the course profile, skiers started out skating on relatively easy grades. The climb got steeper as racers approached the Mad River Glen Alpine ski area, where they transitioned to classic gear for the final climb to the top of the gap. Grades exceeded 10% in some spots on the way to the summit. After the first kilometer or so, there was little shade to shelter athletes from the sun.
In its first two years, the race was open only to those attending the GMVS summer camp, according to GMVS Nordic director Justin Beckwith. This was the second year the duathlon was open to other skiers.