Crested Butte Nordic Team tested over weekend at Minturn race
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
“I’m optimistic about it”
Last weekend posed the first real test for the athletes on the Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) as they headed to Minturn for their first Junior National Qualifier races of the season.
The team has been mixing in training days with a series of local Citizen’s Races with the first qualifier weekend in mind as well as a bigger plan for the entire season.
“We’ve been working hard on getting ready for these races and making sure they’re fastest at the end of the season for Junior Nationals,” says coach Austin Ross.
Ross did share one overreaching plan for all of his skiers.
“Certain parts of a ski race are under their control and some are out of their control,” explains Ross. “I told them to focus on what’s under their control and put in the best effort they could.”
The weekend opened on Saturday, January 19 with the freestyle, or skate, race.
Sofia Deer was the lone girl to make the trip for the team, finishing fifth among a small group of OJ age class (ages 18-19) racers in the five-kilometer race.
“I think she skied really well,” says Ross.
Truth be told, while Deer’s results may not impress on paper, her season this year is focused on one goal in mind, a 90-kilometer Nordic race in Sweden, the Vasaloppet.
“I think she’s on track to achieve her goals later this winter,” says Ross.
Forrest Smith and Prawit Durgan are first year J1 (ages 16-17) racers, which means a jump from a five-kilometer distance to the 10-kilometer distance in the freestyle event.
“We’re still working on pacing with them,” says Ross.
While Dugan had a tough go of it with dehydration forcing him to drop out, Smith stayed the course to place seventh among J1 skiers with a time of 32 minutes, four seconds.
Aiden Truettner and Ben Swift are in a similar boat as first-year J2 (ages 15-16) skiers, with Truettner making his first foray into serious racing. The two skiers showed promise in their first J2 qualifier race as Truettner finished in 15th place and Swift in 18th.
“For Aiden I think it was a really good result and Ben looks pretty smooth,” says Ross. “It’s a challenge being a first-year J2 and he held his own.”
Meanwhile, the CBNT J3 (ages 13-14) and J4 (ages 11-12) skiers cracked top 10 results among their peers. Woody Martineau led the J3 charge with a ninth-place finish and Robbie Oberling had the top CBNT J4 result, coming in fifth place.
“The J3 and J4 boys are really enthusiastic skiers,” says Ross. “They’ve got great energy and skied well.”
The team then lined up on Sunday for a series of classic races.
This would be the first time both Smith and Durgan would race a 15-kilometer classic race and the two worked off each other to place fifth and sixth, respectively.
“They worked together pacing and drafting,” says Ross. “It was cool to see them out there doing it together.”
Truettner closed his weekend with a 13th-place finish in the five-kilometer classic with Swift coming in 21st. Martineau led the CBNT J3 contingent again with an 11th-place finish and Oberling placed eighth in his J4 class.
Deer used the classic race to continue her training for the race in Sweden and placed sixth in the 10-kilometer race.
“I was really proud as a coach to see everyone give their all and their attitudes were great,” says Ross. “It was a good weekend.
The team has two weeks off from racing before a small contingent will head to Soldier Hollow, Utah for a regional qualifier while others will stay behind to compete in the Alley Loop.
As far as the big picture goal, Junior Nationals, is concerned, Ross sees hope that CBNT will be there to represent in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“It’s still a work in progress but we’re headed in the right direction,” says Ross. “If we keep improving throughout the season a couple skiers have a shot at Fairbanks. I’m optimistic about it.”