Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ski to Sea

Memorial Day weekend 2011 will be memorable. I raced in the Ski to Sea race and I climbed and skied Mt. Baker. First, the Ski to Sea.

S2S is an adventure relay race that starts at Mt. Baker ski resort and finishes in Bellingham Bay, Washington. It travels 100 miles and includes the following legs: XC ski, alpine ski, run, road bike, canoe, mountain bike, and sea kayak. My teammates for this event were pulled together by Billy D and a Bellingham local who had some interest in bidding for the win. In other words, I had the privilege of racing with some accomplished athletes. Our team was called "Tony's Demons" and included Taylor Fletcher (XC Ski), Me (Alpine Ski), BJ Christenson (Run), Sam Krieg (Road Bike), Trevor Robinson and Ivan English (Canoe), Mitchell Peterson (Mountain Bike), and Andrew McEwan (Sea Kayak).

Tony's Demons raced strong throughout the race. Of the 500 or so teams that entered, Tony's Demons finished 4th overall with a time of 6 hours and 27 minutes.  Barron's Heating won the contest and finished in 6 hours and 11 minutes. Team Barrons is apparently a fixture in the S2S and has won multiple times. Because all of Tony's Demons are competitive (maybe to a fault), most of us were slightly disappointed at our placing.  That said, we were very happy with the way our individual legs went and feel like our efforts were good.  As the dark horse, it was fun giving the favorites a legitimate run.

My leg involved a short downhill ski, a ~1000 foot booter, and a fast groomed descent.  It was sandwiched between the XC ski and the run.  Given the relative shortness of the leg, I was surprised when Max Taam, Brandon French, Chris Kroger, and Greg Ruckman--all members of the 2011 US Skimo Team toed the line. Apparently, Bellingham is serious about the S2S.  Ruckman ran the race sans poles and decimated the course record, finishing in 17:58, and earning the "Top Gun" award.    Max (18:17) broke his ski.  Brandon (19:30) was wearing shorts.  I finished in 19:33 with my lungs and legs on fire.  As always, it was fun racing with those guys.

And a big thanks to Tony's Demons.

Full results can be viewed here.

Here are a few pictures taken by Brother Aaron:

XC Leg Start

BJ Christenson at the Run Leg Start about to run 8 miles
in 37:25!

L to R: BJ Christenson (Runner), A. McEwan (Kayaker)
T. Robinson (Canoe), Me (Alpine Ski),
T. Fletcher (XC Ski), I. English (Canoe)
A. McEwan finishing -- he brought our team from 6th place
to 4th place during his leg

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