"Everything that could have gone wrong, did."
As race director for the Priority Health Krazy Klassic cross country ski race, those were not the words I was wanted to hear.
"But don't worry, everything is fixed."
Yes, once again Adam Haberkorn, Bill McConnell and the rest of the crew at Huron Meadows Metropark snatched a grooming victory from the jaws of defeat.
After a week of beautiful skiing on the man-made snow covering Buck's Run, Saturday's high temperatures turned the course to ice as the thermometer dropped. The high winds overnight with 50-60 mph gusts didn't help.
"I got to the park at 3:30am. The first thing I had to do was move the tree blocking the main road. Then there were two trees that had blown over across the course that had to be moved. Next, we used the plow on the front of the groomer to push debris to the side of the trail. Then the groomer broke. Then we spent two hours breaking up the ice with the other groomer. Then we found out the power was off in the ski center. We have a generator, but the power cable and plug were frozen. I have a propone heater on them right now. And Bill is out setting the final track right now."
The plug was eventually thawed and the power came on. And the race went off on time with plenty of snow and a pair of set tracks. (There's a reason this race is called the "Krazy" Klassic....)
Counting to 9
The course was the same as the one used last week for the Frosty Freestyle: We started on a wider section of trail leading from the ski center to the main loop, skied 9 laps, and finished at the ski center. Last week, a number of racers (including me) got a bit confused and did the wrong number of laps. This time, we were prepared: Bill sat in the heated groomer (it had been repaired enough to move the the beginning of the lap) and showed large kilometer markers through the window. On the "bell lap", he sounded a Freon horn to make sure the leaders knew they were on the final lap.
Although the gusts of 50-60 mph were gone, there was still a stiff breeze blowing at the start, with temperatures just under 20F. The snow on the course was abrasive: anyone who did not iron in a layer of green klister as a base lost their wax in the first couple laps.
Many of the top racers, realizing they might not hold onto their wax and that they wouldn't be climbing because course was flat, opted to doublepole the entire course and not use kick wax at all. It was the fast decision.
And out of nowhere...
Last week at the Frosty Freestyle, Alison Crocker came out of nowhere to ski with the top men and finish 3rd overall (men and women). This week, Martin Schmalz came on to the Michigan Cup racing scene for the first time ever, holding off Dan Yankus to take the win the 10k Krazy Klassic. Schmalz skied in Germany, lived in New Jersey for the past five years, and moved to Ann Arbor this summer to teach Finance at the University of Michigan Business School. And he knows how to ski.
Yankus tried to pass Schmalz coming into the finishing stretch but fumbled on some icy snow, finishing 1 second (or less) behind Schmalz's winning time of 25:49. Jon Morgan was just seconds behind for third in 25:55. Yankus and Morgan both race for Team Priority Health and for Team NordicSkiRacer. (Schmalz was quickly recruited as a member of Team NordicSkiRacer.)
In the women's race, Team NordicSkiRacer's Karen Dawson held off Hanson Hills/Cross Country Ski Shop' Hilary Witbrodt to take first. Dawson skied in 34:54. Witbrodt had a fall during the race but still finished in 35:25. Priority Health/Team NordicSkiRacer Amy Kostrzewa took third in 37:24.
Only one junior raced: Garrett Ruffner was first in 54:46. Garrett races for Team NordicSkiRacer.
|1||Karen Dawson||Farmington MI||50-59||1||34:54||5:37/M||1042|
|2||Hilary Witbrodt||Auburn MI||30-39||1||35:25||5:42/M||1035|
|3||Amy Kostrzewa||Northville MI||50-59||1||37:24||6:01/M||1028|
|4||Catarina Gulledge||Roscommon MI||20-29||1||42:05||6:46/M||1036|
|5||Linda Weeks||Grayling MI||50-59||2||42:17||6:48/M||1056|
|6||Clare Tanner||East Lansing MI||40-49||1||46:18||7:27/M||1070|
|7||Jo Keeling||Ann Arbor MI||40-49||2||46:30||7:29/M||1045|
|8||Angela Bowers||Augusta MI||40-49||3||49:31||7:58/M||1033|
|9||Julie Johanningsmeier||Howell MI||50-59||3||51:01||8:12/M||1071|
|10||Gwenn Stevenson||Lake Orion MI||40-49||4||1:00:11||9:41/M||1040|
|11||Carole Merwin||Weidman MI||60-69||1||1:00:24||9:43/M||1030|
|12||Beth Caldwell||Ann Arbor MI||70-79||1||1:06:31||10:42/M||1053|
|13||Julie Hewlett||Tecumseh MI||50-59||4||1:12:04||11:35/M||1061|
|1||Martin Schmalz||Ann Arbor MI||20-29||1||25:49||4:09/M||1032|
|2||Daniel Yankus||Walled Lake MI||30-39||1||25:50||4:09/M||1034|
|3||Jon Morgan||Milford MI||40-49||1||25:55||4:10/M||1041|
|4||Ken Dawson||Farmington MI||60-69||1||26:44||4:18/M||1043|
|5||Alex Smith||Ann Arbor MI||20-29||1||27:01||4:21/M||1067|
|6||Doug Heady||Ann Arbor MI||50-59||1||27:32||4:26/M||1039|
|7||Allen Sorgenfrei||Bloomfield Hills MI||40-49||2||28:07||4:31/M||1060|
|8||William Kaltz||Pinckney MI||60-69||2||29:24||4:44/M||1024|
|9||John Britton||Zanesfield OH||50-59||2||29:25||4:44/M||1029|
|10||Douglas Cornell||Corunna MI||50-59||3||29:41||4:46/M||1038|
|11||Theo Von Wallmenich||Alma MI||40-49||3||30:24||4:53/M||1026|
|12||Randy Kessler||Milford MI||50-59||4||30:56||4:58/M||1055|
|13||Mike Muha||Wixom MI||50-59||5||31:25||5:03/M||1023|
|15||Lee Ries||Howell MI||60-69||3||31:57||5:08/M||1027|
|16||Jeffois Moore||Northville MI||50-59||6||32:13||5:11/M||1049|
|17||Anthony Percha||Commerce Twp MI||50-59||7||33:25||5:22/M||1058|
|18||Mike Temkin||Troy MI||40-49||4||33:28||5:23/M||1065|
|19||Tim Cook||Freeland MI||40-49||5||33:47||5:26/M||1072|
|20||Mark Madorski||Leonard MI||50-59||8||34:02||5:28/M||1050|
|21||Daniel Rimer||Farmington MI||50-59||9||34:29||5:33/M||1073|
|22||Adam Danes||Northville MI||40-49||6||35:20||5:41/M||1048|
|23||Douglas Ball||Linden MI||50-59||10||35:56||5:47/M||1052|
|24||James Gobeski||Plymouth MI||60-69||4||36:22||5:51/M||1066|
|25||Marvin Boluyt||Ann Arbor MI||50-59||11||36:54||5:56/M||1059|
|26||Brett Dowdican||New Baltimore MI||40-49||7||38:04||6:07/M||1047|
|27||Brad Plymale||Northville MI||40-49||8||39:09||6:18/M||1051|
|28||Spencer Ruffner||Tecumseh MI||60-69||5||40:29||6:31/M||1063|
|29||Stan Dinkel||Brighton MI||20-29||2||40:31||6:31/M||1044|
|30||Scott Hoffner||Brighton MI||20-29||3||40:56||6:35/M||1046|
|31||Greg Merwin||Weidman MI||60-69||6||41:21||6:39/M||1031|
|32||Mark Abbe||Saginaw MI||50-59||12||41:38||6:42/M||1022|
|33||Steve Vannocker||East Lansing MI||40-49||9||42:07||6:46/M||1069|
|34||Chris Pike||Northville MI||50-59||13||42:15||6:48/M||1025|
|35||Gary Faria||Northville MI||60-69||7||48:04||7:44/M||1057|
|36||Bruce Thompson||Whitmore Lake MI||60-69||8||1:05:36||10:33/M||1064|
|37||Marvin Stevenson||Rochester MI||70-79||2||1:08:38||11:02/M||1037|
|1||Garrett Ruffner||Tecumseh MI||14-15||1||54:46||8:48/M||1062|