Streit proves tough to beat
Special to the Sun
“It was just a perfect day for classic ski racing in the Sierra,” said Tav Streit, winner of the 10-kilometer Snowshoe Thompson Classic at Auburn Ski Club on Sunday.
With skis that gripped perfectly on the uphills of the two-lap course and glided smoothly through the downhills and flats, Streit could afford to be ebullient about the conditions.
The Snowshoe Thompson is one of the premier classic technique events on the calendar. It’s the third stop along the way for both the season-long Sierra Ski Chase and Masters Cup series, and also is the first race of the coveted Fischer Cup Series of six of the top races.
And with a diagonal stride technique competition comes that extra little bit of pre-race stress, with racers all trying to “hit the wax” just right for that perfect combination of kick and glide.
In what seems to be common for this event, the morning’s weather conditions did not seem to cooperate, with high humidity, fog, some snow flurries and tracks on the course that changed from powdery to glazed in a matter of feet.
With juniors and masters alike scurrying to their wax boxes, searching for that right mix of wax, the conditions began to settle down, and most competitors were able to find skis that worked in most of the conditions out on the 5-kilometer course.
First tried were waxes in the purple/red range, such as Toko Red and Swix VR45. Then it was a move up to Yellow, VR50, 55, and even 60. But in the end, most racers enjoyed good to great skiing, and it turned into a barn-burner of a classic ski race.
It was the 32-year-old Streit, a former University of Nevada, Reno racer and head coach ” now back living in Reno ” who bested the field for the second year in a row in this interval start event, finishing with a time of 28 minutes and 10.2 seconds.
“I’m just using this as a tuneup for the Tahoe Rim Tour race,” said Streit, referring to the new, Jan. 27 event on the Far West Nordic race schedule. “That’s the one I want to be really fast for.”
Streit achieved that goal and more, managing a narrow victory over Far West Junior and current Williams College (Mass.) racer Alex Taylor of Truckee (28:15.3). Taylor may have given Streit even more of a run for his money had it not been for an unfortunate pole breakage midway through the course, forcing him to ski with one pole for a little way before finding a replacement.
Third place on the day went to yet another Far West Junior, Tyler Wright of Truckee (Montana State University), who finished with a time of 28:15.9, barely a half second behind Taylor.
In another display of overall dominance in the women’s field, 2006 champion Beth Reid of Palo Alto was unchallenged, finishing with a time of 29:27.1. Reid’s time was good enough to beat all but the first six men’s times on the day.
This marked the third win in a row for her in this event. The 48-year-old Reid used her quick tempo and flawless technique to outdistance second-place skier Judy Rabinowitz of Larkspur, who finished in 31:57. Brandy Stewart of Palo Alto managed third place in 33:44.
In the 5-kilometer Juniors race, Miles Heapes of Tahoe City took top honors, finishing with a time of 14:27, 15 seconds faster than his closest competitor, Justin Ondry of Truckee (14:49). Another Truckee junior, Carson Lindsay, was third with a time of 15:22.
For the Junior girls, it was once again Joanne Reid of Palo Alto who easily outdistanced her competitors, finishing in 15:27, and making it three for three in local Junior races for her. Annika Taylor of Truckee was second with a time of 16:12, 12 seconds in front of her Truckee rival, Sophie Aaron.
In the 2.5-kilometer event for young children, Samuel Zabell won the boys’ competition, with Elise Rust taking the top honor for the girls.
The local citizens’ races take a hiatus for the next two weeks. The next race on the calendar is a CNISSF high school/middle school Freestyle event at Royal Gorge on Jan. 11.
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