Michael Sinnott (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Olympic Development Team) won the 10K individual start classic race Saturday in 29 minutes and 35.2 seconds. Adam Kates (Big Thunder) in second place was just over a second behind, crossing the finish in 29:36.5. Garrott Kuzzy (CXC) was third, clocking in at 29:37.5.
“I could definitely feel the sprint from yesterday, but I felt pretty good,” Sinnott said to FasterSkier after the race. His strategy for the race was to focus on skiing smoothly and keep the tempo up through the double-pole sections in early part of the course.
“The course has a lot of transitions, so I tried to make sure I skied well,” he said.
After Saturday’s victory, Sinnott earned another 30 points for the SuperTour series, and is now only 37 points behind Lars Flora (Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Club) for the overall lead.
“The goal is to get ahead of Lars (Flora). I want to have a buffer on Lars so I don’t have to sweat too much when the SuperTour hits home later this season,” the Sun Valley skier explained.
While Sinnott certainly was among the favorites on the start list and didn’t disappoint, Canadian Adam Kates (Big Thunder) came out of left field and raced straight into second place in the men’s 10K classic.
“I heard it was tight. I was one of the first skiers out so I didn’t know how tight it was,” Sinnott said. “When I finished I had a mental idea of how I had done, and I knew it was tight.”
“I would categorize him as at least a semi-retired skier, coaching with one of the Thunder Bay programs. He just decided to jump in the race earlier this week and then we see him on the leader board at 7.5K. But Mikey (Sinnott) was able to come back and take the lead again,” race director Joe Haggenmiller of Michigan Tech said.
Stuber tops women
Maria Stuber of CXC won the women’s 5K individual start classic race in 17 minutes and 48.3 seconds, leaving her a comfortable 5-second margin down to Carolyn Freeman (UWGB) in second place (17:52.7) Yesterday’s sprint winner Christina Turman (Northern Michigan University) was third in 17:53.
“I had no idea that I won when I finished. I thought I heard someone said I was second,” Stuber said to FasterSkier, explaining that it was a nice surprise.
For Stuber, the classic victory was particularly tasty, as she has worked hard for a long time to make progress on her technique.
“It was fun to finally feel that my classic skiing in coming along, since that has been a weakness of mine,” Stuber said. “I think the work I did last year is paying off now, and I did a ton of work on it.”
Stuber also noted that with a course as technical and full of transitions as the one at Michigan Tech, it was a benefit to know be familiar with the terrain ahead of time.
“I’ve raced this course literally a million times in college. You have to go out hard to go all the way. Knowing the course is for sure a big benefit anytime, but especially here where you have to go out so hard,” Stuber explained.
Sunday: Mass Start Skate
The SuperTour concludes the stop at Michigan Tech with mass start skate races Sunday, 10K for the women and 15K for the men. And Sinnott is ready to continue the surge.
“The mass start should be fun. You never know what happens, there is always an element of chaos in a mass start,” Sinnott said, adding that he thinks his chances for the podium are decent. “I think a lot of people are starting to feel a little worn down by now, and others might feel a bit more worn down than I do right now,” he concluded.
Haggenmiller predicts that Sinnott and Kuzzy will be fighting for the podium, and that Brian Gregg (CXC) and Santi Ocariz (CXC), who was fourth in the classic race, will be right up there as well.
“And apparently Adam Kates too, his form ain’t too bad either,” Haggenmiller added.
Stuber is also excited for Sunday’s skate race.
“The skate race will be good. It’s my favorite technique. It should be a good one,” Stuber said, adding that her strategy is to open hard to be with the front pack and then stay there and see what everybody does. She suspects that her biggest contender will be teammate Caitlin Compton.
“Caitlin will be back on her game again tomorrow so I probably won’t control much of it,” Stuber said with a laugh. “She’ll have a good one.”
The forecast calls for a little more snow during the race, but nothing that should cause the wax tech to lose any sleep.
“When it’s skating, it doesn’t get as tense in the wax room when it snows,” Haggenmiller said.
The mass start skate races start at 9:30 am with the men’s SuperTour race, and continues with the women’s SuperTour race at 11:15 am.
Complete results from Saturday’s classic races here.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.