It was wonderful to be back at the West Yellowstone Rendezvous after a 10-year hiatus. It was gratifying seeing old friends and the hard-core rocky and intermountain contingent still getting after it. The Rendezvous had been the first marathon of my skiing career so it has always been a special race for me every time I enter. I was fortunate enough to have won the event in 1993, '97, '98.
We awoke on Saturday to ½ inch of fresh cold powder on top of a firm base with the air temps about 15 degrees F. Jack Hart and Fabian Blondeau confirmed these conditions, as they got up early to test skis and wax bringing information out to the skiers. It was yet another example of a beautiful, winter West Yellowstone day.
At the start I squished my self between two fast skiers, an old Olympic and Factory Team mate Erik Wilbrecht and the other a fast friend from Park City, David Knoop. I knew if I got next to them I could tuck behind in the double pole and secure a spot in the field. The cannon fired and off we went.
I was fortunate again to realize that my one pair of next year's Solomon skate skis with a 615b Ultra Tune grind and fast Swix LF4-FC7 wax to be able to hang with the pack of the top 6 men until about 35 k. The winds were gusty at times and I was not pulling so I held on for the ride. It was lucky for me this day that the men were not skiing at there usual fast pace.
At 37 k Erik cheered nicely for me to hang on, as I was still skiing in the back basking in the draft of the pull. However, it was also at that point the men decided they did not want me around anymore Erik, Jon and Barry decided to pick up the pace a little, and off the back I went. Luckily I had a partner in Joe Jensen and we were able to ski the rest of the race back and forth together, Joe being generous in the end, letting me pull ahead to the finish line.
It was a fun race, I felt fortunate to be back in the Rockies my mind floating back to so many skiing memories and racing with great old friends. Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers for continuing to make the Rendezvous happen. It is always a pleasure to spend time in West Yellowstone.
1 Michael Brothers, Monument CO 2:30:04.7 2 Barry Makarewicz, Salt Lake City UT 2:30:42.7 3 Erich Wilbrecht, Jackson WY 2:30:43.1 4 Jon Engen, Ketchum ID 2:30:59.3 5 Jonathon Rulseh, Bozeman MT 2:31:12.1 6 Gunnar Kristiansen, Bozeman MT 2:32:42.7 7 (1st Female) Laura McCabe 2:34:34.7 8 Joseph Jensen, Boise ID 2:34:36.2 13 (2nd Female) Sarah Max, Bend OR 2:40:32.0 24 (3rd Female) Nikki Kimball, Bozeman MT 2:48:44.2