Event Report: Catamount Trail BC Challenge

Sunday March 1
Results:
Women's Race
Place  Bib #  First Name   Last Name    Finish Time
1       11      JoAnn       Hanowski     2:16:45
2       14      Betsy       Richert      2:19:14
3       10      Carrie      Nourjian     2:36:40

Men's Race
Place Bib #  First Name    Last Name    Finish Time
1        1      Eric        Tremble       1:35:46
2        18     Marc        Gilbertson    1:36:50
3        16     Chris       Rodgers       1:48:22

Full results online:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pVe5Lbo_qswpiN3t0znMAEg

WCAX News Story about the Catamount Trail BC Challenge click here

Race Report From NWVT Skier Eric Tremble

I’ve been looking forward to the Catamount Trail Trapps to Bolton race for quite some time, pretty much since I crossed the finish line last year. It’s an awesome event; difficult race, unknown conditions and tons of variables, great prizes, free food, good cause, etc.

The race starts with a couple of k’s on the groomed trails at Trapps before dropping down Old Country Rd into the Nebraska valley. Then after two road sections where you need to take your skis off and run, you hit the main obstacle on the course, a long grinding climb up over the ridge, topping out at over 3000 feet. Once you’re over the climb, you have to navigate a technical decent down to the Bolton nordic center.

In the weeks leading up to the event, I was doing a bunch of testing and going back and forth between two pairs of skis, one with a metal edge (for control), and one without (for climbing speed). With the nasty rain, tiny bit of snow, and cold that we got Friday into Saturday, I was back to square one with no idea what I’d use. Luckily, I had time on Saturday to go out and test both the climb (from the Nebraska valley), and the decent into Bolton. I realized that the decent was going to be nasty no matter what skis I had, but the climb was going to be next to impossible on fish scales alone. There just wasn’t enough new snow on top of the boilerplate ice, so the scales had nothing to grab onto. I made a last minute decision to borrow a pair of kicker skins and use the lighter skis without edges.

As we lined up to start the race, I sized up the competition (Marc Gilbertson). He had similar skis, but no skins so I knew he would open a gap on me while I was putting on the skins, but I hoped I would be able to make it up on the long climb. Another wild card was Eric Carter from UVM. He was going to give it a go on waxless race classic skis. He’d definitely be fast on the groomed part, but I was pretty sure I’d see him suffering on the climb.

Out of the start I settled into 3rd behind Eric and Marc. Eric was quickly out of site on his fast race skis, and Marc opened a gap on me pretty quickly too. Jake Hollenbach was cheering at the top of the groomed trails, and he said Eric was 1 minute ahead and Marc was about 15 seconds ahead.

At the first road crossing, I struggled to get my skis off and by the time we got to the base of the climb after the second road crossing Marc was out of site. I put on my skins as fast as possible, but it still seemed to take forever and I almost got caught by the next racers. Once I started climbing I was making pretty good time, and sure enough I quickly caught up to Eric Carter. He must have had no kick at all because he was trying to run up the trail carrying his skis.

A while later I passed Sam von Trapp who was doing the tour, and he said Marc was 4 minutes (!) ahead. I thought he was joking. I was sure I was making up ground, but 4 minutes was a lot. I thought it might be over, but I kept on and with only a few switch backs remaining before the top, I finally caught and passed Marc. I tried to get out of site as fast as possible, but I was starting to bonk so it wasn’t easy. Finally I got to the end of the ridge, ripped off the skins and headed down.

The first few turns were tough due to the icy snow and my shaking legs, but after a few falls I got the hang of it and cruised the rest of the way down to the Nordic center to take the win.

Just finishing this race is a real accomplishment. Congrats to all participants and thanks to Catamount Trail Org, Trapps and Bolton for making this a great event.

More info and full report available at http://www.catamounttrail.org

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