Streit, Young win Sierra Skogsloppet
Special to the Sun
When you’re an endurance athlete, and especially one who trains and races in the winter, the word “cold” can be a relative thing. What might seem to be bone-chilling temperatures to the meek and mild can often feel toasty-warm and perfect for those who call cross country skiing their chosen sport of competition.
And when the two previous races of the weekend featured single-digit temperatures and/or that nasty easterly wind that infuses every part of the body with an icy feel, the Sierra Skogsloppet at Tahoe Donner Cross Country on Monday made competitors feel like they were racing in the Bahamas by comparison. And that was with an overnight low below zero and race time temperature barely in the teens.
But sunny skies and a lack of any wind can make even freezing temperatures seem comfortable in the Sierra Nevada, and racers for the annual Sierra Skogsloppet were treated to some of the best racing conditions found in the mountains. Cold, firm snow with great trail conditions made for an incredibly fun and exciting race around the Home Range trails of Tahoe Donner Cross Country.
Reprising his win of two weeks ago at Auburn Ski Club, Subaru Factory Team skier Tav Streit of Reno used a burst of speed in the middle of the first lap of the two-lap, 15-kilometer course to pull away from his competitors and cruise comfortably to the overall win with a time of 42 minutes and 16 seconds.
“I just had rocket-fast skis today,” said Streit. “I picked the right ones and let them do the gliding.”
Those who watched Streit ski away from the pack on the first major uphill knew that it was more than just good skis that caused the ensuing gap.
Rick Reynolds of Truckee was also able to pull away from the main chase pack early on in the race and managed to corral second place a minute and 12 seconds behind Streit.
The closest race of the day was for third place, where four racers were trading leads throughout the course, each trying to get a leg up on the others, but with none able to pull away to any safe distance. In the end it was Carl Reid, a Junior racer from Palo Alto who was able to nip Truckee’s Jeff Schloss through the finish area.
In the women’s division, it was a battle of two former champions of their sport ” road cycling’s Julie Young of Auburn and Alpine skiing’s Kristin Krone of Truckee. By the end of the race, Young was able to maintain a 47-second gap over Krone, finishing with a time of 51 minutes and 59 seconds. Third place went to Brandy Stewart of Palo Alto with a time of 53:36.
In the Junior division 7.5K race, it was a battle of Junior Olympians for both the boys and girls top spots.
Truckee’s Russell Kennedy, who was able to start fast and hang with the lead pack of the 15K racers, cruised to a comfortable margin of victory over his nearest competitor, Tom McElravey of Tahoe City, with a time of 22:47. Third place went to Homewood’s Miles Heapes.
In the girls race, Mammoth High teammates Sophie Leonard and Dayna Stimson took the two top spots, with Leonard’s time of 23:35 a comfortable minute and 10 seconds ahead of Stimson. Joanne Reid of Palo Alto was the third female Junior to cross the line.
In addition to the major races going on, 16 young Juniors took to the trails for a 2K race, with Patrick McElravey and Ashley Vomund winning for the boys and girls, respectively.
All in all, 184 competitors signed up to race the Skogsloppet, with the proceeds of the event being generously donated by Tahoe Donner to the Truckee Nordic School Teams ” Truckee High School and Alder Creek Middle School.
For full results and schedule, go to http://www.farwestnordic.org.