It was a little on the cold side as we drove into Hanson Hills - around 4F, but by race time, the temps are risen to 14F. Clouds but no wind...it didn't feel that cold! (Or maybe I've finally acclimated to the cold and figured out how to dress properly).
The Hanson Hills Classic 14km was impeccably double-tracked, except for the section that went through the Wilderness Trail. About 1 kilometer or so into the race, this single tracked section did prove to be a bit congested, but skiers were very good about giving way (the slower skiers) and being careful passing (the faster skiers). I do have one apology to make. I warned "Passing on your left" to one male skier (I did not get his number or see who he was) and he dutifully moved off the track quickly and efficiently...but to his left! A collision ensued, he went down, I stayed up, and I kept on going. Sorry - I hope the rest of your race was less eventful!
Given how cold it was (and remember, snow temperature lags air temperature), the tracks were pretty fast, especially that last downhill on the M-93 hills where my Garmin clocked me hitting 29.8 mph!
The Hanson Hills Classic is one of the few Michigan Cup races that is truly interval start: one skier every 15 seconds. You have to focus on pushing the whole way, because you have no idea how anyone else is doing.
Kyle Hanson (Team NordicSkiRacer) kept that focus and had the winning overall time of 44:40. This was his second win of the weekend, as he won the Forbush Freestyle the day before.
Lars Hallstrom (University of Michigan Ski Club) is having a great season and finished second overall, 53 seconds back in 45:33. Spencer Eusden of Far West Nordic was third in 46:26.
Emily Blackmer, like Kyle Hanson, also took first in both races this weekend. Her classic time was 54:15. Rebecca Davis (Hanson Hills / Cross Country Ski Shop) took second in 57:16, with Elizabeth Callision (University of Michigan Ski Club) third in 59:15.
There was mass confusion over the results! The initial results were incorrectly sorted at the awards, then posted on Facebook. A corrected version of the awards came out...and also had errors! As of 4:30pm today, the FINAL CORRECTED results are below!
Justin Andre (race director) apologies and says, "If I owe you a medal, please email me at Director@HansonHills.org!
Awesome race and awesome conditions. Thanks Hanson Hills!