It’s become sort of an annual tradition for me to spectate the Susitna 100. Go to the start, head out on the trail a few minutes before the racers, then cheer them on as they pass by. I usually get in a nice long ski as well. I don’t really have any interest in racing the Su 100 again. There are a number of things about the race that I don’t really care for. But the racers – I respect and admire all of them, so its fun to get out on the trail and cheer them on.
This year, Rob and I went together. Our original plan was to ski out to Luce’s Lodge. We’d get to spend the day in the middle of the pack, seeing a lot of the bikers and skiers. We’d stop there for a burger, then turnaround and ski back to the start in the evening, seeing the runners and the rest of the bikers and skiers along the way, and maybe even get passed by the leaders near the finish. That would have been an ambitious day (75 miles), for a couple of spectators. Because of a litany of excuses ranging from head colds to cats, we decided to turnaround just after we hit the Yentna River. So it was only a 60 mile ski.
The race was really interesting, as always. After pre-race rumors of “a foot of new snow”, there were only a few inches at the start. It had been packed well enough that the bikers were able to ride without any problems. But the cold, dry snow didn’t glide very well for the skiers. By Flathorn Lake, there wasn’t any new snow, making the trail even faster for the bikes, but at least by then the sun had warmed the snow enough that the skiing was pretty fast too. The lead bikers rocked it the whole way. Three guys finished around 11 hours. That’s fast. Given the conditions, I would have expected relatively fast skier times as well, but we only saw about have the course, so who knows what it was like the rest of the way. I do know that Chet had some problems with his sled early on, so that was likely a factor for him. But no skiers under 20 hours – I can’t remember the last time that happened.
For us, it was a fantastic day of fun in the sun. Here’s a link to our route on a map. Once again, Rob was the trip photographer.
I had an idea that since we’d be seeing so much of the race, it would be fun to create a little documentary video. So early on, I tried to get video clips of everyone. But I didn’t realize that my memory card was pretty much already full of photos and videos of my kids. So I ran out of card space before we were even got to Flathorn. Bummer! So instead of a cool race documentary, all you get is a little video dump of all the footage I did take in the first couple of hours.