This USSSA Qualifier, held high in the Colorado Mountains, featured extreme cold, stormy snow falls, and plenty of servings of hardmountain snowshoeing – just the ticket to win extra servings of the post event feature: Hot baked pasta.
No trips around the city park here; taking off at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, ‘Volunteer’-ing, at 10,404 feet, to enter a grueling 10 km trip through the high country. Bruce Kelly, speaking from the beautiful PedalPower Bike Company location in Vail Valley, described the course as “very demanding.”
He added, “Our courses are typically off-track, in the woods, with lots of untracked and single-track snowshoeing. This 10 kilometer course was no different, easily five miles of the course was in challenging woods, weaving and snaking up and down the Tennessee Pass location.”
COLORADO STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS USSSA 10KM QUALIFIER
One of the most rigorous courses on the 21 USSSA Qualifier circuit, the finish times reflect the devious challenges this Tennessee Pass layout offers. Overall winner of the 2008 edition of the Colorado State Championships was Travis Macy, 24, with an amazing 1:10:56 reading.
Finishing less than 90 seconds later, with the overall silver: muti-year USSSA National Team member Bernie Boettcher, 45, a great race considering the age difference.
Taking men’s bronze , Seth Wealing, 29, at 1:18:18 finished fourth overall.
Sizzling finish by the Women’s overall winner and third overall in the entire field was Keri Nelson, 26, with a 1:16:51. Laying down a notable time, this USSSA National Team Member from Grand Junction, CO, and 2007 National Championship runner-up, is a real factor to challenge for the 2008 PowerSox National Championship to be raced March 8th at Snowbasin, Ogden, Utah.
Anita Ortiz, 43, women’s silver medalist in this race and two time USSSA National Team Member, finished an impressive fifth overall just behind fourth place Logan Wealing’s 1:22:59 by 19 ticks.
Katie Mazzia won bronze in the women’s overall.
35 men and 20 women completed this 10km USSSA Qualifier test.
Special mention for the performances of Jim Mykleby, 61, and Bill Moyle, 68, finishing as the ‘most senior’ of the snowshoers today.
Bruce Kelly, reflecting on the results, “As you can tell from the times the course was very demanding and the participants ability to handle technical snowshoeing up and down through the woods was very helpful.”
Northern Lites Snowshoes, manufactured in Wisconsin, were worn by both winners. Bruce commented, “They seem to be the shoe of choice for all of our races. When the terrain is untracked or single-track these shoes seem to provide better stability, especially down hill.”
Russ Post (see picture), founder of Northern Lites, when asked why they would be working so well in these conditions, answered, “ Our shoes typically have the most ‘inches’ on the ground to provide flotation. We’re as light as any others, getting our savings not by skimping, but using very expensive tubing for the frames to get the weight out.
“Our grip is exceptional, too, as we use full size crampons even on our race shoes because we can – they’re ‘lite’ enough! Our bindings (see picture) are an advantage because we use poly urethane which I believe is unique in the industry — very expensive, low weight, and strong.”
COLORADO STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 5 KM
Darren Brungardt won the five kilometer overall as the only finisher under one hour with a time of 59:03. Gilberto Montiel took overall silver at 1:02:06 followed a few minutes later by Innes Isom.
Colleen Gregory won the women’s overall with a 1:16:45 only one second in front of Laura Wolf’s silver performance, in the best race of the day.
Heidi Soweto captured the bronze. Five men and six women finished the race.
Sources tell me the ‘champions’ at the awards ceremony were the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse crew, providing everyone with a terrific post race meal of steaming baked pasta, salad, an assortment of warm breads, and the cornerstone of every delicious dessert, homemade cookies. Providing the backdrop for the celebration is the Nordic Center building, “the most perfect setting for an event of this type,” says Bruce. “A full log building, fire burning in the stove heating the space, plenty of wood and log furniture adding to the ambiance . . . .”
This event easily wins ‘best poster’ (see picture), using that medium as a way to advertise the races PedalPower conducts. “We hope to put on many more great races here including an inaugural winter tri next weekend.”
Food, warmth, friends, achievement, snowshoes stacked by the door . . . almost makes one forget about the seriously tough challenge today’s racers faced in this Rocky Mountain high country snowshoe course.
For Further Information:
PedalPower Bike Company http://www.pedalpowerbike.com
United States Snowshoe Association http://www.snowshoeracing.com
Northern Lites Snowshoes http://www.northernlites.com
Phillip Gary http://www.ultrasuperior.com