Seven NWVE skiers toed the line for the Bretton Woods Marathon this weekend. This years recurring theme of cold morning temps followed by rapidly warming conditions during the race dominated the conversation before the race. Waxing was easy in the morning, as most decided that VR45 was working the best. All were aware of the potential for changing conditions, so some chose to throw on some warmer wax under the foot. The course was one continuous 21k loop, and the full marathoners would do two loops. Ski changes are allowed during the race, so nearly all two loop racers had a spare pair of skis ready to go for the second lap. Those who didn't stashed some wax by the side of the trail to make adjustments. Everyone assumed the VR45 would last for the entire first lap.
As the race got underway, NWVE immediately made its presence felt as Chris Burnham blasted out of the stadium, followed by Eric Darling and Tyler Magnan. Chris quickly pulled away, and won the 42k by over 12 minutes. Eric also went out of sight from the chasers on his way to winning the 21k by a comfortable margin. Behind them, packs began to form. Tyler teamed up with CSU's John Sakalowsky and an unknown skier who was later found out to be Jon Ignatowski, a coach for the Clarkson nordic team. A little further behind, Stephen Wright was mixing it up with familiar foes like Andy Milne and Nat Lucy. Behind them, Sarah Pribram skied with the ageless Peter Davis, with Kyle Darling chasing.
The story of the day was the dramatic change in snow conditions halfway through the first lap. I've heard some legendary stories of crazy conditions for this marathon from past years. In those days, the race was held in march, where changing conditions are the norm. Apparently Mother Nature didn't notice the race got moved to February. Everyone had great kick for about 10k, and then like a switch being turned on, the snow changed, and nearly everyone immediately lost their kick. In the span of about 100 meters, the skis went from great kick to absolutely no kick. There were a couple exceptions to this as I heard Jud Hartmann had klister covered with hard wax, and managed to maintain kick, while everyone else was herringboning up 2% grades. This dramatic turn of events split some groups apart, as racers just did what they could to struggle to the finish or the lap zone.
At the 21k mark, Eric took the win, with Stephen Wright taking 2nd. Sarah took the women's victory, edging Peter Davis for third overall. Kyle followed shortly after in 6th. Chris and Tyler continued on for a 2nd lap, while Emmanuel Betz apparently had enough after one lap, and called it a day. Chris switched to zeros, and Tyler jumped on a pair of R Skins. The tracks were significantly faster on the 2nd lap. Nearly everyone in the field ran negative splits. The fast tracks, and fast skis gave Tyler a second wind, as he chased down and passed the men who had dropped him on the first lap, narrowly missing 2nd place by 10 seconds.