I was not surprised to hear that the Jack 'n Jill randonee race was postponed by a week due to the blizzard, but I was surprised that no fewer than four other Missoulians were game to make the drive over to the Rocky Mountain front to have a go at the re-scheduled course. I have heard good things about this ski hill, and was excited to check it out. Teton Pass ski resort has a cool vibe and impressive sidecountry touring terrain when conditions are stable. And they did a great job hosting the race.
After a warm up and brief pre-race meeting, the gun went off. A Le mans start gave an appropriate, old-school flare to the race. Blake made it first off the line, with Ben and me in hot pursuit. Within a few minutes, Ben had taken the lead, and I was sandwiched betwen him and Blake. To my surprise, Ben was unable to open a gap, and I was able to get out ahead of him, but was not able to open a gap to the top of the first climb. Ben got out of the transition first, and we both skied hard to the bottom of the run. Ben had another good transition, and started up about 30 seconds ahead of me. I took in some fluid and calories at the bottom, then just rallied with all my might to the top. I was only able to close the gap by about 10 seconds during the short climb, and Ben held on to his lead at the transition, and through the descent. We finished within 25 seconds of each other. Blake came through a few minutes back, then Leah cruised over the line in first for women, and 4th overall. The rest of the Missoula crew was not far behind. In terms of excecution, I felt good going into the race, and was able to push hard without any real bobbles. Any day where I can stay within striking distance of Ben is about as good as I can ask for. The rest of the Missoula crew had strong races - Blake and Natalie are going to be deadly if they are able to scrape together full race setups, and Janine completed her first ski race of any kind in good style.
We spent the remainder of the day hiking to the top of the mountain and riding lifts. The awards were fun, with plenty of prizes to go around. Good times, and a big thanks to everyone at the resort for putting on a great event. Results are here.
Still waiting with baited breath for stability to improve in the Bitterroot...
|Post-race mug shot. Thanks for the battle Ben.|
Photo: Teton Pass
|Coming into the finish line. No helmet, no problem. That's how we do it|
in Montana (and Europe, I suppose). Photo: Teton Pass
|Team Missoula all back at the finish line. Photo: Teton Pass|
|Checking out the big explosive triggered crown from the night before |
during our sidecountry excursion to the summit. Photo: Blake Votilla