With a lack of skiable snow at Hanson Hills Recreation Area, the Cote Dame Marie Loppet was relocated to Forbush Corner, a few miles to the north today, where an abundance of snow allowed the race to happen. Only Michigan Cup senior and junior races ran; the planned citizen races were canceled.
The senior women skied 13.5km, the senior men a bit longer at 19.5km, and the juniors raced 6 or so km.
Some of the favorites were missing today, attending the World Masters Championships in Minnesota. But the racing was fierce, with Alex Vanias (Hanson Hills / Cross Country Ski Shop) holding off Sam Holmes (Vasa Ski Club) to finish first for the senior men. Vanais skied in the finish in 49:38; Holmes in 49:45. Team NordicSkiRacer's Jay Woodbeck was third in 51:35.
The Cross Country Ski Headquarters' Cheryl Darnton as the top senior women in 42:46. Two Hanson Hills / Cross County Ski Shop skiers, Daniela Gebhart (nice to see you racing again, Daniela!) and Brenda Carlson-Brown taking second and third in 43:32 and 44:13.
There was some confusion about whether the Junior Race was cancelled: the official Cote Dame Marie web site said the race was officially cancelled, and this site received an updated that did not mention the junior race, but word got out (thanks Coach John Kostrzewa!) that the race really was going to run.
The top two junior boys sprinted for the finish, with Martin Chown winning in 17:12, and Ryan Miller just a second behind. Elliot Smith was third in 18:18. All race for Traverse City Central West High School.
The girls race was a little less close. Kelly Kelttner (St. Francis High School) won in 18:33, with Gwen Urbain (Vasa Ski Club) and Tess Crowley (Traverse City Central West High School) in third in 20:49 and 22:01 respectively. To be noted, Crowley just beat out Audrey Braund, who was a mere two seconds behind.
Awesome job by Forbush Corner, volunteering to hold the race and get everything organized!