Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stampede Skiathlon

The Stampede has a long history as a 15k skating race, but this year, Race Director Carey Gazis and Chief of Course Peter Boveng decided to throw in a new wrinkle and turned it into a skiathlon, or continuous pursuit.  That meant everyone skied a 7.5k classic loop, skied into the transition zone and switched to skating gear, then immediately headed out for a 7.5k skating loop.  From my great vantage point as transition zone monitor, I got to see all the action up close, and I concluded that almost everyone thought it was a hard day, and everyone thought it was fun and would do it again next year -- it's a win win!

The hard part? Jumping off classic skis and heading right out on skaters: a surprising number of people, breathing hard and trying to rush, had trouble clicking into their new skis, sending skis flying off the course when they tried to skate away.  Many people also commented on how squirrely their legs felt, switching from striding to skating with not even a tiny break in between, especially on the very hard-packed and fast skating lane.

Here are some of the other things I noticed.  Combi boots were a must, except when they weren't.  Those who switched from classic boots to skating boots between laps lost huge amounts of time, but combi boots, softer than regular skating boots, were also bothersome to some people in these conditions, where less support meant more difficulty getting an edge and being able to push hard on the super-firm snow.  Perhaps Rune had the best alternative: he skied both laps in his skating boots, but left the ankle cuff unbuckled for the classic leg.  It's hard to argue with his results!  Some people used skating poles for both laps, and found that the hard fast conditions mixed with long poles led to excellent double poling.  I also noticed a few people with those pole straps that you click into, making for super-fast changeovers.  And many people set up their own little feed zone in their transition area, which was very smart, but the smartest of all also had a mat or piece of cardboard at their transition area, to provide firm footing and prevent snow from caking up on the bottom of their boots as they switched skis.

The weather came through in a big way.  After weeks of fretful snow/rain/snow/rain, with freezing levels bouncing from 1000 feet to 8500 feet and back, it snowed like gangbusters overnight, leaving us with a snowed-in parking lot that could only hold about half its normal capacity and a slow commute for many people, with rolling slowdowns along the lake keeping speed limits topping out at 20 mph.  The temperature at race time was just about freezing under damp gray skies, so it was the usual wax melange -- klister, covered klister, purple stuff, and zeros, the ski of choice for dads who were still waxing their kids' skis in the moments before the race!

After the race, it was time for chili and cookies and fabulous prizes from our sponsors, Marmot and Second Ascent and Keen and Essential Baking -- thank you, all of you, for the generous support!  And thank you, of course, to all the volunteers -- as Carey noted, there was almost one volunteer for each racer.

Brad Bauer was the overall winner in 39:39, making him three for three in racing this winter.  Kent Murdoch was second, in 40:18, and Sean Kato was close behind, in 40:33.  Mona Deprey won the women's race in 49:36, with J3 Hanne Boveng in second in 1:03, even after a complete boot change, and Suzanne Corkran, all the way from San Francisco, a minute later in 1:04.  In the 7.5k skate-only citizens' race, Roberto Carcelen was the winner, in 18:56, and Lara Fowler won the women's race, in 26:00. Super cool new thing: Peter Boveng devised an algorithm that handicapped race times for gender and age to calculate the Master of the Ages -- unsurprisingly, Kent Murdoch, who evidently is never going to slow down!  Full results are posted on the KSC website, www.kongbergers.org, and, with lap times, on Webscorer, www.webscorer.com.


The transition zone...


Chief of Course Peter Boveng sets up his zone ...


Ozzie Nordheim, always ready for a fun day ...


Ida Ottesen, cheery in red ...


Michael Karas ...


Master of the Ages Kent Murdoch ...


Second-place woman Hanne Boveng ...


Course monitor Frank Harris ...


Race secretary Anne Johanssen and always-smiling Pat Kaald ...


John Garibaldi ...


Team Fewster (raise your hand if you love Daniel's smile!) ...


Racing action, Sean and Kent ...


Jon Fewster heads out ...


Women's winner Mona Deprey ...


Brian Palm ...


... and my camera ran out of memory.

Thanks, everyone, for coming out to try something new and make it a fun day!  See you at the Ozbaldy!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice photos and an excellent report as always Debbie !!

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