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Skinnyski Race Team Weekend Recap

By Bruce Adelsman
March 19, 2003

As the season winds down, the races tend to go more low-key. One particular end-of-season favorite among many skiers is the Pole, Pedal and Pant winter triathlon at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, MN. The event combines a 10K freestyle ski, a 10K mountain bike, and a 5K run. A number of the Skinnyski.com Race teammates competed this year, including Grant, Dave and Josie Nelson, Per Nelson and Margie Tilman. Temperatures were well above freezing, making the ski race a slow tromp. Josie was second women and Grant Nelson finished third for the men. Most of all, everyone had a great time celebrating on a warm spring day.


Race Team Results

March 15, 2003  Pole, Pedal Pant Triathlon
  Josie Nelson     2nd female
  Margie Tilman    3rd female
  Grant Nelson     3rd male
  Per Nelson      10th male
  Dave Nelson     11th male

Team Member Race Reports

Race Report from Grant Nelson

    The Pole-Pedal-Pant (PPP) triathlon at Giant’s Ridge is by far my favorite triathlon of the year! (To be honest it’s the only triathlon I’ve ever done, but every year I have a great time) It consists of a 10km skate ski on the fabulous silver trail, followed by a 10km mountain bike and then a 5km run.

    I’ve competed in the PPP for the last four years and every year each event has a unique challenge and excitement of its own. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the fact that the PPP is also a costume contest. I have to admit that I rarely fully participate in the costume part of the race, but it sure makes for fun spectating.

    My first PPP I competed in, we had a challenge just getting to the race. It snowed about 6” the night before. It wasn’t that big of a deal until the University of Minnesota Suburban my friends were driving got stuck in our driveway at our cabin. We all piled into my pickup truck and made it with time to spare.(The people that got stuck in the back had a cold drive to Giant’s Ridge.) Even though we had 6” of new snow, the ski leg was actually on the downhill run because of a poor base. I had a great ski leg until I hopped on my mountain bike. I had just built up a sweet new lightweight mountain bike and was excited to try it out. The mountain bike section was on the snowmobile trail for most of the way. The new snow made for some technically difficult biking. My new narrow front tire and my poor snow biking skills made for a long tough bike leg. In a matter of a few kilometers I went from the lead to the middle of the pack! Because I ran so much on the bike leg, I figured it was more like a 10km ski, 5km bike and 10km run.

    My second PPP we actually were able to ski on the silver trail. A large pack of 8 or 9 guys finished the ski together. Rod Raymond gave us all a demonstration of fast biking and running by dropping the whole field. Last year was a very memorable year as 6-7” of snow fell during the race and combined with a whipping wind. I still remember how cold my elbows got and how exhausted I was as I finished up the last few kilometers of the run.

    Grant Nelson competing at Giants Ridge during
    the Ridgenator earlier this season

    When I saw the weather predictions this last weekend for 50+F, I knew it would be another unique and exciting PPP. On Friday afternoon I started getting everything ready. One thing nice about extreme temperatures is that the wax decision is really easy, or so I thought. I got worried when my warmest waxes Fastwax Flite and bronze had a maximum temp of 42F and 50F respectively and didn’t even reach the projected high temp. I rationalized that it hopefully wouldn’t be that warm at 10:00AM. I was happy my bike checked out fine after a long winter of sitting in the basement. It is generally faster to avoid clipless pedals and bike with running shoes, but I have rationalized over the past few years that the added enjoyment and minor speed that I gain through using the clipless pedals more than makes up for the added time in switching to running shoes. . My final dilemma was whether to wear a costume or not. I brought some possible costume materials and headed up to our cabin.

    As we drove to Giant’s Ridge the temperatures were already in the mid 30s and it was obvious it would be a sizzler. My sister-in-law Josie was dressed as Wonder Woman, my friend Katie was a pirate and my brother Dave looked something like a retro bodyshop mechanic with poor fashion sense vacationing in Florida. I was all prepared to wear my fathers styling wool orange and black plaid shirt and a red bandanna when I realized that I would likely overheat before hitting the triple threat. I ended up wearing my matching bike shorts and short sleeve bike shirt which actually turned out to work perfectly. There were a few other great costumes and a couple of bear chested guys as we started the race.

    Grooming on the silver trail was superb, but the warm temperatures had already made the sunny areas quite slow. From what I could tell, a pack never developed as Tim Trudeau and Peter Hanson gapped the field. For most of the race I skied on my own pretty comfortably 30-50 ft behind Tim and Peter. At the exchange, I was on my own, about a minute behind the leaders. As I started the bike section two relay guys caught me. I naturally hopped behind their back wheel in search of a free draft. Instead of making things easier, I was greeted by a rooster tail of muddy water from there back tires. The three of us ended up biking together side by side pretty much the whole way. Even though the constant stream of mud and water seemed to get everywhere, including my mouth, it was actually rather refreshing. I managed to hammer up the final hill of the bike and drop both of the relay guys before the exchange area. As I switched on my running shoes and took off, my legs were feeling pretty sluggish. The two relay guys caught up to me and I was quite thankful that I was actually able to draft behind one of them as we headed into the wind. The nice part about the run is that it is an out and back so it is possible to see where everyone is. I felt I was in a pretty solid third place position until with 400 yards to go I saw a guy behind me closing fast. I did some calculations, quickened my tempo and managed to hold him off by three seconds!

    As I wiped some of the dry mud off my body, cheered for the other finishers, and basked in the unseasonably hot late winter sun, I knew this was another memorable PPP


The 2002-2003 Skinnyski.com Race Team is presented by Enervit America. Enervit produces top quality food supplements for sports and active life. Other sponsors include Toko/Yoko and Rudy Project.

Grant Nelson, Josie and David Nelson are based out of Hoigaard's and FastWax. Per Nelson and Margie Tilman are based out of Finn Sisu.

  Find out more about the Skinnyski.com Race Team

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