Far West Nordic athletes rollerski race on ‘Old 40’
Special to the Sun
Far West Nordic’s first “official” rollerski race in 27 years took place on Saturday on Old Highway 40 west of Donner Summit.
Whether you call it global warming, nature’s wrath or just a slow start to winter, rollerskiing has been the training choice of many Nordic skiers this autumn, and University of Nevada, Reno Head Coach August Teague decided to hold a time trial-format rollerski race on one of the more popular training roads in the Sierra Nevada.
“We originally were interested in putting together a National-caliber weekend event sometime this year,” said Teague. “A sprint race, time trial and open race might have attracted skiers from around the country, but (Fischer/Swix Sales Representative) Dan Hill and I decided it was better to start small with this event.”
With a few of the likely junior participants choosing to head to Mammoth for some very limited on-snow skiing time, the first University of Nevada Rollerskiing Open race was attended by mostly the UNR Nordic team, a handful of hard-core Master racers and a lone Far West Nordic junior.
Held on a beautifully sunny day, the course was a mostly uphill 10 kilometers, on a slightly undulating profile from Cisco Grove at 5,600 feet to Kingvale at over 6,000 feet. Skiers were sent out at 1-minute intervals on seldom-traveled Old Highway 40 next to the Interstate.
Tops for the day was UNR racer Elias Bucher (25:17), a young Swiss skier in his first year at Nevada, hoping for top results on the NCAA circuit. Bucher’s sister skis on the World Cup circuit for his home country.
UNR’s Jonathan Pluvinet took second, almost a minute behind, with former Bend, Ore., junior Charlie Smith taking third. Truckee’s Rick Reynolds was the top non-UNR racer, finishing in ninth place.
In the women’s flatter 5-kilometer race, UNR’s Ase Carlson, a former U.S. World Junior participant from Bozeman, Mont., won overall (13:26), with UNR’s Kristin Ronnestrand taking second and former UNR racer Kara LaPoint taking third.
Even though a 10K uphill time trial is a grueling way to start off the race season, there were smiles all around at the finish line, as some realized they were part of California Nordic history, participating in a unique event, and making the best of what can be mildly termed a disappointing late fall for skiing.
1 Elias Bucher 0:25:17 M 1
2 Jonathan Pluvinet 0:26:05 M 2
3 Charlie Smith 0:26:29 M 3
3 Lutz Preussler 0:26:29 M 3
5 Sam Newcomer 0:27:08 M 5
6 August Brautigam 0:27:28 M 6
7 Vincent Caccamo 0:27:38 M 7
8 Gus Johnson 0:28:58 M 8
9 Rick Reynolds 0:29:08 M 1
10 Dan Hill 0:30:03 M 2
11 Jeff Camp 0:32:45 M 3
12 Tom McElroy 0:34:34 M 4
1 Ase Carlson 0:13:26 F 1
2 Kristin Ronnestrand 0:13:51 F 3
3 Kara LaPoint 0:14:24 F 2
4 Chelsea Holmes 0:14:48 F 4
5 Jordan McElroy (Classic) 0:18:30 M 1
6 Martha Bellisle 0:19:13 F 1
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