Skiers from all over the Midwest converged on Baker Park in Maple Plain, Minnesota Friday morning. The occasion? The 10th annual Ringer Roll.
The 10 kilometer rollerski race was established in honor of Chris Ringsven, a skier and coach who was killed in a whitewater rafting accident on December 2, 2000. The event is the largest rollerski race in the Midwest.
A smoothly-paved bike path provides a relatively flat course, but competitors had plenty to think about as they swerved to avoid bikers and the occasional deer. The race attracts a wide range of ages and abilities, this year ranging from youngest competitor 12-year-old Margie Freed to Ringsven’s mother, Renatae, who toured the course on rollerblades.
Racers decide for themselves whether to classic or skate, giving race organizers a challenge in calculating results. In addition to technique, there are different categories for age as well as style and brand of rollerski, giving more athletes a chance to take home one of the prizes donated by local ski shops Gear West, Finn Sisu, and Pioneer Midwest.
The men’s overall champion was Matt Liebsch (Go! Training/CXC), whose time of 18:55 on the second lap of his 20k effort put him in first place by over 2 minutes and set a new course record. (The split on his first lap also earned him fifth place overall). Scott Williams and Luke Gossen of the Minneapolis Ski Club, both 17, finished in second and third place, respectively.
Jenny Beckman (Go! Training) was the fastest woman of the day with a time of 25:00. Eleanor Magnuson (Go! Training) narrowly edged out 2010 Olympian Caitlin Compton after skiing with her for the duration of the race to place second with a time of 26:02.
Claire Galvin posted the fastest classic time for women, finishing in 31:17, while Alex Cross took the men’s classic title in 28:28. Renatae Ringsven won the rollerblade division in 45:00.
Full results and pictures from the race can be found at http://www.skinnyski.com/result.asp?Id=19597