Craftsbury Marathon: Day 2 - 18.5km Skate
For day two of the Craftsbury Marathon Ski Festival, all competitors got to ski the same distance. There did not seem to be as much activity preceding the race today. Perhaps a sign of some fatigue due to yesterday's strenuous efforts. Also, people did not need to test kick wax and contemplate what would happen with the snow conditions. Many people skied both days; however, many new faces arrived today for the freestyle event.
The course was the same as Saturday's skied in the same direction. The snow was well-packed from all of yesterday's activity and groomed overnight. The snow set up firm with a slight glaze but remained primarily fresh powder. Sections of the course did reveal how thin the snow is, with some debris making its way to the surface where there was bare ground two weeks ago on Sam's and Dante's. This did not impact racing at all. The skies were overcast with no detectable wind.
With ten minutes to go, skiers were filling the start corral. Skier seeding was okay for the first few rows, but a few latecomers were not quite where they ought to be. Today, Race Director Ollie Burruss (Craftsbury) was in the field, and the Chief of Timing, John Ogden, gave the pre-race instructions. The men started first and were quickly on course. The start was clean for the second day, and with a flurry of cheers, the race was on.
Craftsbury GRP and Club skiers led the charge up Teaching Hill, followed by NWVE Skiers Jake Hollenbach, Thomas Clayton, and Eli Enman. Tom Thurston (NWVE), Brian Lavoie (NWVE), and Neal Graves (NWVE) were also right in the mix with
Jeremy Huckins (Stowe Nordic) and Michael Gaughan (MNC). The pack swelled, and Ben Coleman (NWVE) led me through a few groups around Murphy's Field. We were trying to keep our eyes on Mark Isslhardt (Craftsbury), who started a few rows ahead of us. Further back were Jamie Willsey (NWVE), Scott Magnan (NWVE), and Ethan Dreissigacker (Craftsbury). I am unsure how he did it, but Ethan quickly worked through the field. Jud Hartmann (NWVE) played it safe for his first skate ski of the season and day two of his weekend, relegating himself toward the back of the pack.
Jake Hollenbach (NWVE) skied with the elite group for the first few kilometers of the race. As he cruised through 5km with Craftsbury’s Braden Becker (overall winner), Adam Caldwell Martin (Brodhead Challenge Champion), Raleigh Goessling, Ollie Burruss, and Caldwell Sport’s Kris Freeman, he thought to himself that what he was doing was going to be sustainable for another 15km and had to let off the throttle a bit. In a scramble to latch on, Eli Enman (NWVE) faltered and fell, losing momentum at a critical time, and could not regain the seconds lost to connect with the elite pack.
Tom Thurston (NWVE) made the right moves and stayed in a good group with Jeremy Huckins (Stowe Nordic). Thomas Clayton (NWVE) and Brian Lavoie NWVE) did not read the pack quite as well and were on the wrong side of a gap when Tom made an effort to get around a skier being dropped. They chased but could not latch back on. I worked my way through the field, hoping that Bryce Wing (Ford Sayre), Mark Isslhardt (Craftsbury), or Rick Powell (Ford Sayre) would join me to get something going. No takers and I skied alone, watching Tim Van Orden (Prospect Mountain), Ethan Dressigacker (Craftsbury), Adam Groff (Ford Sayre), and Roger Prevot (Craftsbury) organize and slowly pull away. Damien Cyrenne (Bioracer) and George Aponte Clarke were dropped from that group, and I was able to catch George.
Ben Coleman (NWVE) found himself skiing alone with his sites Ed Momm (Gunstock) after passing Jeff Palleiko (Gunstock) and Brett Rutledge (Boulder Nordic) around the 5km mark. Ari Ofsevit (CSU) tried to hang on to Ben for the long haul, but the fatigue from battling Eric Tremble (NWVE) in the classic race eventually set in. Other Wednesday Night Worlds regulars Jamie Willsey (NWVE) and Alan Cote (Unattached) connected with Mark Isselhardt (Craftsbury). Scott Magnan (NWVE), feeling his legs and skis kick in, drove a hard pace after getting a boost passing Bryce Wing (Ford Sayre). Scott skied up to Alan, but Jamie’s fresh legs gave him the advantage in the final meters of the race.
Robert Faltus was psyched to be racing stateside and invited everyone to the Gatineau weekend. Otherwise, he is not sure when he will see us again. Todd Taska (Unattached) used course knowledge to his advantage cooking Christopher Naimie (Bow Nordic) on the sustained climb up Kirby’s late in the race. Bruce Katz (Unattached) was not going to let Jud Hartmann (NWVE) get away from him on day two. Bruce stayed composed and skied it in alone. Jud was able to use finesse over most of the course to hold off Pascal Cheng’s (MNC) endurance. Jud did come apart a bit at the top of Kirby's, but the gains made were enough to carry through to the finish line.
The women started 15 minutes after the men. The field splintered early, and things spread out even more when they had to navigate the men. The caught men did reciprocate the politeness exuded by the caught women on Saturday. The GRP once again led the charge. Annika Landis and Michaela Keller-Miller worked together throughout the race to go one-two in the results. Sara Graves (NWVE) was in a chase group with Marit Ross-Sonnesyn (Unattached), Jessica Marion
(Dirigo), and Hallie Grossman (Craftsbury). As the race progressed, Sara felt good and knew her skis, fresh from Caldwell Sport, were good too. She pushed the pace and strung out the chase pack, putting in a final surge to take third overall!
Sarah Pribram (NWVE) had another outstanding day. She was just a short distance from Susan Dunklee (Craftsbury) and Greta Kilburn (MNC). She worked much of the race with Alia Johnson (Unattached), who turned out to be a fellow Middlebury College alum. Kasie Enman (NWVE) was also in close pursuit. She held off Rosalie Wilson (Ford Sayre), who had a strong comeback from Saturday’s race. Jessica Bolduc (NWVE) worked much of the race with Anna Milkowski (Unattached) and Melanie Gauthier (Unattached). The group was passed on Sam's by Tricia Groff (Ford Sayre), who cranked by with a quick tempo. Jessica kept Tricia in site up Daunte’s and back to Viviana’s field but did not have the skis today. She lost ground on the downhills back to the center, and Anna's skis were much faster when the course turned back onto Ruthie’s. Linda Ramsdell (Craftsbury) yielded to Christine Pasterczyk (Freedom Trail) after a long weekend on the Craftsbury trails.
The day closed out with a quick awards ceremony. Sara Graves (NWVE) made the overall podium, and many NWVE members took home category awards. The scene after the race was festive, with people enjoying their meal as new snow began falling. Many athletes were pleased with their accomplishments and looked forward to the next event.
Craftsbury did a fantastic job hosting the race and making the Center look like things have been in full swing all season long. While there has been skiing, and even with the recent snow, a massive effort behind the scenes made the weekend a stunning success! Participants appreciated the opportunity and helped make the event something special to remember. Hopefully, the momentum will continue as the season progresses, and we will see each other at future events. Congratulations to all on making it an amazing weekend!
NWVE placed many athletes in the combined Brodhead Challenge:
2. Sara Graves
4. Sarah Pribram
5. Eli Enman
7. Thomas Clayton
8. Tom Thurston
12. Damian Bolduc
16. Scott Magnan