Washtenaw Ski Tour Club member Dieter Hohnke called from Pozza di Fasa in the Dolomites (northern Italy) this morning to report that he and Howard Feit, both in the 60-69 age group, completed the Italian 70K Marcialonga World Loppet yesterday in 7 hrs.!!! He said the area hadn't received any significant snow since December. The track conditions would have been icy, but the professional racers conveniently churned up the snow as THEY rocketed to the finish line in just over 3 hrs! This left an improved track for determined, but slower, participants to follow.
Toko wax consultants on hand for the race had recommended a layered palettte of waxes: bottom base of green klister, then purple klister, topped off with Blue Extra (the favorite of our WSTC Black Mountain trippers this past weekend). Dieter said this concoction lasted for 65K, at which point he rewaxed with Extra Blue for the final herringbone up, up, and up to the finish line. He said the additional waxing was useless on the steep climb (moral: never wax on the wane!).
If you haven't gueesed, this was a classic race - no skating.
Dieter said the race course wound its way through valleys, rolled along the river and up into the mountains, passing through 7 villages where people yelled "Go! Go! Have Courage!" as the skiers passed by. The course through the valleys required a lot of double poling, leaving many aching arms after the race! There were 3000+ skiers doing this "World Loppet" but only 13 were from the US.
Dieter and Howard will now travel to Oberammergau, Germany, where they will compete in the "Koenig Ludwig Lauf" 50K World Loppet next Sunday, February 6.
The official World Loppet web site is http://www.worldloppet.com/index.php .