MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — The weather for Day 2 of the Masters World Cup on Sunday was almost a carbon copy of Day 1, minus any appearances by the sun and a few degrees on the thermometer, keeping the course in great shape for the distance freestyle races.
Catherine Wullschleger of Switzerland finished second in her age group, about 3 minutes behind American Muffy Ritz, who won the women’s age group “7” 15-kilometer freestyle on Sunday. Reflecting on her race, Wullschleger said she had some confusion at the start. “One lady from the category 2 started together with us,” she said. “I thought, ‘Oh! She looks young,’ but I didn’t see the bib, and so I followed her, so actually I started a little bit too fast.”
Wullschleger explained she will be in Minneapolis for the entire week’s events. Asked about her overall goal, she said it’s “to have fun, and if I can, make a medal. OK, it’s fine, but now I have one.”
She described the course as in good shape despite the lack of natural snow. “They did a very good job,” Wullschleger said. “It’s a nice course. You have to work all the time. The snow was not the same everywhere. In the woods, it’s a little bit different, but it’s really a good course.”
Alexandra Jospe of Boston, who won the women’s age group 1 for the second-straight day, agreed. As she trains on a golf course back home, she said she’s familiar with the type of terrain Theodore Wirth Park offers. “We ski on a golf course [in Weston, Massachusetts], so skiing on a golf course here isn’t all that different,” Jospe said.
She won the Sunday’s 15 k freestyle in 39 minutes flat, 29.7 seconds ahead of another American, Davya Flaharty in second.
Jospe described the race course as “super fast, super fun, [with] a lot of transitions [and] very technical. It’s the stuff I like.”
She explained it was warm enough to keep the snow from being icy, and the uphills weren’t chopped up, calling them “pretty packed, [although] you had to look where you’re stepping.”
Jospe is only in town for the weekend, and will race Monday’s 10 k classic and 10 k freestyle (back-to-back races held about five hours apart), before heading back East. When asked what her ambitions were for the weekend, she said “at this point, it’s hard to beat winning.”
As for Monday, Jospe said, “Whatever happens … I’m pretty happy with it. … [I’m] starting to feel a little tired at this point, so I’m hoping just to enjoy myself again — see where that leads it.”
If several inches of snow predicted for Minnesota comes, Jospe noted “it will change the character of the course, for sure.”
The race organizers have no intention of canceling the events unless it affects the safety of the participants. If the snow comes, jury member Lars Erik Rosenquist said “Plan A [is] to start grooming at 5 o’clock in the morning, because most of the snow will come in the day.” Should the course become untenable, the jury would have to decide whether to cancel much earlier in the morning than their usual 8 a.m. meeting time.
Day 2 Age Group (AG) Winners
Women’s 15 k freestyle:
- AG 1: Alexandra Jospe (USA) 69:00.06
- AG 2: Nelson Margie (USA) 40:50.2
- AG 3: Sarah Peters (Canada) 39:02.4
- AG 4: Bonnie Weiskopf (USA) 37:04.1
- AG 5: Kathy Maddock (USA) 38:10.2
- AG 6: Jan Guenther (USA) 40:31.1
- AG 7: Muffy Ritz (USA) 42:37.5
- AG 8: Judy Bechanan-Mappin (Canada) 51:48.7
Women’s 10 k freestyle:
- AG 9: Trina Hosmer (USA) 28:25.6
- AG 10: Eva Carlsen (Norway) 33:56.2
Men’s 30 k freestyle:
- AG 1: Euginio Bianchi (Italy) 1:05:39.7
- AG 2: Joachim Gustafsson (Finland) 1:06:57.5
- AG 3: Ivan Batyutenko (Russia) 1:11:01.9
- AG 4: Aleksandr Pushkarev (Russia) 1:06:21.1
- AG 5: Virgo Karu (Estonia) 1:11:31.9
- AG 6: Barry Makarewicz (USA) 1:10:20.3
Men’s 15 k freestyle:
- AG 7: John Petter Harila (Norway) 37:03.9
- AG 8: Einar Bertrand Vikingstad (Norway) 37:23.2
- AG 9: Paul Graber (Switzerland) 38:38.7
Men’s 10k freestyle:
- AG 10: Finn Magnar Hagen (Norway) 27:15.8
- AG 11: Josef Schoeberl (Austria) 33:30.7
- AG 12: Thor Vikstrom (Canada) 50:26.8
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.