Elm Creek Series Results
Conditions: Air temp. 0F (wind-chill -18F) and still dropping; man-made snow; great racing condition.
Race course: 2 laps of 2.5K for skate and classic races (Valley Trail Loop). The skating lanes are groomed and hard-packed by earlier HS races, with a little bit of wind-blown snow on top. Tracks are groomed well with only two spots washed away by the earlier HS races.
Race distance: 5K skate; 5K classic, mass start.
Commentary: When Craig Stolen showed up and asked, “Am I the only one tonight”, you know it was an unusual night. It was not the -28F (-40 windchill) Vasaloppet China 52.5K classic race (that was a crazy event when 60+ skiers crossed the finish line); and it was not the Arrowhead 135 (the world’s most famous ultra-winter endurance race in MN) a couple of years ago when no bikers or skiers finished the race due to the weather. But, it was still, indeed, a frigid coldest night of this season of Wed.-night time trials. Whether it was 2.5k, 5k, or 50k distance, it would hurt. The four (4) die-hard skate racers lined up ready to go when I decided to jump in the last minute for one (1) lap of classic “race”. With a 30-second lagging behind at the start, it was a race of my own, a race against myself, and a race that drew all my internal strength. There was no drafting, there was no one around me to push. It was solitude and peaceful. My only goal was to cross that 1-lap line before Craig would finish the 2-lap skate race. With Craig’s girls’ cheering, race director Melinda and volunteer Steve’s cheering, Craig made a huge margin against the field and “almost” got me race in the never-ever land, a heart rate “Zone 6”! Tonight’s closer race was between Jesse Longley and Tim Hieb. It was amazing to witness the racers’ ALL OUT effort. It was an honor to ski with and cheer on Joel at the end. Thanks all for coming tonight. Craig, your girls will not forget what you said to them in the Chalet after the race – “To win it, you just need to work harder.”
Freestyle(F)/Classic(C) Craig Stolen 12:39 (F) – male winner of the skate race Jesse Longley 15:07 (F) Tim Hieb 15:52 (F) Joel Benton 17:36 (F) Amy Xu (1-lap) /10:45 (C)
--Melinda Silbernick (Race Director/Timer), Amy Xu (Results)