Masters World Cup: Day 1 Classic Distance Races

FasterSkierJanuary 20, 2018
World flags waving on the first race day of the 2018 Masters World Cup on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — With temperatures staying in the mid-20s overnight on Friday, it was a warm, slightly sticky start to the 2018 Masters World Cup on Saturday in Minneapolis. However, despite temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s, the 7.5-kilometer loop course at Theodore Wirth Park held up well — an important thing, as Saturday was all classic races.

Tom Ajax, of Minneapolis, finished 14th in his men’s age group “6” 15 k classic on Saturday at the Masters World Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to Tom Ajax, a Minneapolis-based skier who raced in the men’s 30 k classic on Saturday (and also coaches with the Ride & Glide ski club), the course was “very clean. Spectacular, loved it.”

The tracks held up well, and the hills, though a little tough, were “doable,” said Ajax, who finished 14th in his age group “6” and described his last laps as stronger than his first. Helping to keep the course in good shape were the racers.

“Nobody snowplowing, nobody dogging it—a lot of strong skiers,” he said.

The sun did make a few short appearances on the overcast day, which modified course conditions some for the afternoon racers.

Boulder Nordic Sports Race Service Director David Chamberlain described conditions as “fairly consistent throughout the day.”

“In the morning we went with a little harder klister … but then switched over to a little softer one [around 10 a.m.],” he said.

At the same time, Chamberlain noted the course was “a little variable. Some of the hills got baked in the sun in a couple spots, and then [it was] a little drier in other places. The kick wax that worked in one place may not have worked perfectly in the other place.”

Generally, though, the overcast skies kept things pretty constant.

Conditions for Day 2 look to be about the same as Sunday, if perhaps a bit cooler. But, with a winter storm watch set for the Twin Cities metro area from Sunday night into Monday, things look like they could get a bit interesting for the shorter distance classic and skate races on Monday.

Elspeth Ronnander of the U.S. racing to third in her age group, the women’s “1” 15 k classic, at the Masters World Cup on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The races were broken into 24 different age groups, with the youngest racers being in “1” (e.g. born in 1986) and oldest in “13” (e.g. born in 1926). The largest race on Saturday was the men’s age-group “8” 15 k classic, which had 47 finishers. Finland’s Leino Nisula won that race in 41:19.7 minutes, another Finn Heikki Ruokonen won the men’s “7” 15 k in 40:07.4, and yet another Finnish man, Veikko Piirainen, won the “9” 15 k in 44:28.4.

The largest women’s age group was the “7” 15 k with 18 finishers, which Finland’s Marianne Niemi won in 47:18.9. American Carolyn Tiernan won the women’s “8” 15 k in 53:54.8.

Also racing 15 k were the women’s age groups 1 through 6. Elizabeth Youngman of the U.S. won the “6” in 45:31.7, Norway’s Ragnhild Bolstad won the “5” in 43:11.8, American Kim Rudd won the “4” in 45:49.3, Sweden’s Linda Hasselqvist won the “3” in 46:45.0, American Josie Nelson won the “2” in 45:51.8, and American Alexandra Jospe won the “1” in 45:45.9.

Women’s “9” through “11” raced 10 k, with American Gabriele Andersen winning the “9” in 30:37.0, Norway’s Else Marie Scharff won the “10” in 40:46.4, and American Patricia Kaald was the lone participant in the “11”, finishing in 1:06:56.5.

Rick Hubbard (9532) of the U.S. chases another masters skier while racing to 10th in his age group “10”, in the 10 k classic on Saturday at Masters World Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The men’s age groups 1 through 6 raced 30 k, with American Paul Allison winning the “1” in 1:15:16.5, American Erik Solberg winning the “2” in 1:25:47.3, Russia’s Andrey Lushnikov winning the “3” in 1:19:23.0, American John Bauer winning the “4” in 1:16:29.0, Sweden’s Tommy Gustafsson winning the “5” in 1:13:28.2, and Norway’s Jon Arne Envoldsen winning the “6” in 1:18:29.9.

The men’s “10” through “13” raced 10 k, with Norway’s Richard Johan Kringhaug winning the “10” in 29:12.9, Finland’s Tuomo Venalainen winning the “11” in 38:31.9, American Reno Deprey winning the “12” in 51:53.2, and the lone racer in the “13”, Charles French of the U.S., finishing in 49:47.4.

The 2018 Masters World Cup continues Sunday with 10, 15 and 30 k freestyle races.




About Andrea Potyondy-Smith: Andrea hails from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis (dontchya know) and has an MFA in creative writing. When she is not being an English geek, she can be found on her bike or skis, or playing in the Northwoods … typically on her bike or skis.


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