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Myrda, Sauvala win "quick sand" Limestone Loppet

Tue, Nov  11, 2008 - By Bob Richards

DUPAGE COUNTY, IL -- Jan Myrda of Palos Heights, Ill., and Kielo Sauvala of Glenview, Ill., survived soft conditions on Saturday to win Northern Illinois Nordic's 8K Limestone Loppet freestyle time trial at the DuPage County Forest Preserve District's McKee Marsh Trails. Myrda won in 25:40, while Sauvala was timed in 41:24. Mark Wold of Glenview won the 4K CAT-Ski race in 24:45.

Despite heavy rain on Thursday, most of the course remained in good shape through Friday afternoon, but rain and snow showers overnight on Friday caused a lot of deterioration on open areas by race time. It was bad enough on a couple of stretches that Michael Meissner of Hinsdale coined the name "Quick Sand" Loppet for this year's edition. All times were much slower than last year. In some cases, skiers were 10 or more minutes slower than 2007 on the same exact course.

Male winner Jan Myrda  Female winner Kielo Sauvala
Male winner Jan Myrda  Female winner Kielo Sauvala

Myrda is a former member of the Polish junior national team and has been one of the strongest skiers in Illinois over the past 10 years. Sauvala, a native of Helsinki, Finland, also is usually on top or near the top of the local leaderboard.

There were 31 time-trial finishers, down from 39 a year ago because of the poor conditions. Second-place male was Polish native Stanislaw Strama in 27:56, and third-place male was Eric Hughes of Chicago in 30:44. Terry Gatchell of Evanston, Ill., was women's runner-up in 43:49, and Katarzyna Popieluch of Hickory Hills, Ill., was third in 46:46. Popieluch, in her first local race, was on the Polish Olympic team in 1992.

Full results are available at:

Photos by John Wrycza are at: