There was an international flavor to Sunday's Boyne Highlands Classic race: the three top male finishers were from three different countries! Kari Tikka of Chelsea, Quebec finished the hilly 12 Km course in 39:06, followed by Strait Strider Denny Paull from Cheboygan, Michigan. Team NordicSkiRacer's Hugh Pritchard from London, England pulled in third in 41:37.
The small group of women racers elected to shorten the race to 8 Km. Julie Houle of Team NordciSkiRacer carried the day with a 35:26 winning time, followed by Carole Mueller-Brumbaugh (Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team) in 48:24 and Anna Kerekes (Cross Country Ski Headquarters) just behind in 49:09.
In Junior racing, Micheala Harris won the J1 female division (36:39), Kyle Endicott the J1 Male (32:22), Elliot Puttman the J2 Male (36:20), and John Hall the OJ Male division (27:51).
The race was delayed from 10:00 to noon, and then to 12:45 while the course was completely regroomed to recover from the previous night and morning's freezing rain. Most of the course was on new, 28 ft wide trails. All 28 feet were packed and corduroyed, then a double track was run along one side. The course was three 4 km laps for the men, two laps for the women and juniors. Temperatures were above freezing for the entire race, with occasional drops of water falling from the trees as skiers raced the heavily wooded course. Overall, snow coverage was excellent.
Downhills were wickedly fast, with a couple hard turns thrown in for interest. Skiers who could take bank off the snow berms in the corners could maintain a lot of speed going into the following uphills.
The uphills were long and hard. Many skiers who choose to use klister were skiing the uphills out of the tracks by the second or third lap as the tracks glazed over. Many had to resort to herringboning because of the slick conditions. Conditions were even slick for racers on waxless skis! Of the top three finishers, Tikka and Pritchard used klister while Paull pulled out his trusty no-waxers. Top women's racer Houle skied with klistered skis.
Hugh Pritchard once again raced with a cast over his wrist. This was the first time he skied classic with poles since he broke his wrist. Just before the race, he was borrowing Chris Weingartz's torch to heat his pole basket to turn it around backwards - the only way he could wrap the pole strap around his cast was to hold the pole backwards!
Mike Muha (Team NordicSkiRacer) left his klisters in their summer home (his freezer) and was borrowing klisters and cleaner from teammate Randy Kessler, Dell Todd (Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team) and Michael Seaman (Team Outside Edge). [Thanks guys - I owe you! - Mike]
Dell Todd forgot that his new Fisher RCS classic skis have the same wax pocket for klister and hard wax conditions and waxed too short. Says Dell,
"These skis have the newish hinged-bridge technology, sort of an all or nothing wax pocket, not the gradual camber of my Atomics. Thus the wax pocket is the wax pocket, klister or hardwax be damned. Forgetting this important detail, I unnecessarily shortened my klister application, which worked while I was aerobic, but slipped a lot while racing. Dang. It could have gone so much better. That Toko Orange didn't even ice at all. It was fast AND grippy. So close! I guess this is why it's so rewarding when kick waxing goes our way - because it rarely seems to!"
In some ways, it was a blessing that the race was postponed - people had extra time to play with klisters: there seemed to be lots of weird science going on in several racer's wax boxes! Those planning on using waxless skis had a much more relaxing pre-race experience.
The soup lunch provided at the end of the race was much appreciated: with a two and a half hour late start, breakfast was total worn off by the time the race finished. A number of people put on their skating skis after the race to take advantage of the good skiing before heading home to areas less snow-endowed.
This was also Boyne Highlands Nordic Directors Dave Austin's last event. Dave is leaving the Highlands to work on his other interests. Cross country skiing at the Highlands was greatly improved under Dave's tutelage. We hope Dave stays involved in skiing in one form or another. Thanks Dave!
Boyne Highlands Classic
|8 Km Race|
|Bib||Last Name||First Name||City||Start||Time||
J1 Female 16-17 - 8 Km
J1 Male 16-17 - 8 Km
J2 Male 15 & Under - 8 Km
OJ Male 18-19 - 8 Km
Female 20 & Over - 8 Km
|8 Km Race|
|Place||Bib||Last Name||First Name||City||Start||Time||Rank|
Male 20 To 37 - 12 Km
Male 38 To 47 - 12 Km
|3||261||Smigiel||Steven Jr||Cedar Springs||0:15:30||0:41:50||4|
Male 48 To 55 - 12 Km
Male 56 To 59 - 12 Km
|Male 60 To 98 - 12 Km|
|3||264||Tikka||Tehno||Sault St Marie||0:16:15||1:12:31||30|