It was another Zak/Club doubleheader this weekend with the Flying Moose Classic on Saturday and the Mansfield Duathlon on Sunday. With the recent snowstorm, skiers expected great conditions, and both venues delivered just that. The race course for the Flying Moose was slightly relocated this year. It started and finished behind the Bethel Village Inn. For those that remember this race from 10+ years ago, these trails are the flat half of the old one lap course. It is a dramatic shift from the technical ups and downs and turns of the Pine Hill trails.
As expected, racers found a blanket of dense, high moisture powder on the trails, and went to work testing waxes for these tricky conditions. The very active race announcer suggested red klister, and there was some debate as to whether he was joking or not because that was clearly a poor suggestion. It seemed like most ended up with something in the VR60 to VR65 range, and some covered it with Terva for a little better glide. Kyle Darling pulled out some VR62, prompting some less up to date skiers to wonder if he was concocting his own waxes. It turns out this is a real thing, and may have just been the perfect choice for the day.
7 Club members made it to the start line, which made up 15% of the field in an unfortunately low turnout. There were 8 start lanes, which quickly narrowed into two lanes, but there was a pileup midfield even before that became an issue. A lead pack quickly formed including Eric Darling and some high school and college skiers. Kirk Siegel, on his home course, reeled in this pack around 4k. Tyler Magnan pulled a couple others along, and nearly caught the lead group around 6k, but his legs suddenly remembered they'd done three marathons in 6 weeks, and he fell back.. Then there was a little controversy as a very poorly marked intersection caused some to take a shortcut. Perhaps Steve Wright caught Tyler at just the wrong time (or right time) as he followed Tyler through the shortcut, but it proved to have no effect on the finish results. Cipperly Good was less fortunate, as she went the correct way, and lost positions to those who went the short way.
On the 2nd lap, the lead pack broke apart a bit. One went off the front, while Eric stayed with a couple 18 yr olds until they sprinted away from him on the final climb to the finish. He still took home top masters honors as Siegel fell back a little. Steve Wright and Kyle Darling continue to put down some solid consistent results and pile up some good quality race Ks this winter. Perry returned to racing after a month hiatus. He had a solid result, but he felt like he should be double poling more, as his great striding technique didn't seem to be helping him gain ground on the very easy gradients that the course offered. Tyler concurred with this idea, but the softness of the snow absorbed a lot of the double pole power, and the stickiness of it also built up snowballs in the pole baskets. On the women's side, Sarah Pribram found herself comfortably in control of the top masters spot, and put it on cruise control a little so she could save something for Sunday's race. Aside from being on the wrong side of poor course signage, Cipperly seemed happy to get in a good race, and score some good points for the club.
In the post race discussion, everyone seemed happy with the performance of their skis, and very pleased with the post race soups that were served. Opinions of the new course were mixed. Those who like difficult, technical courses prefer the old course, while those who like a gentler course prefer the new one. Unfortunately, a road stands in the way of doing one lap of each.