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Lost Leaders at the White Pine Stampede


Mon, Feb  9, 2009 - By Mike Muha

The Lost Leaders "40 Km minus 12 Km" Alternative race

Alas, the "Lost Leaders" were the big news at the White Pine Stampede this year. The thirty to forty lead skiers in the 40 Km race were misdirected at the 10 Km split off when course volunteers thought the 10 Km skiers were racing first. The signs leading the the turnoff indicated the correct direction, but the volunteers insisted the correct route was to the right rather than the left, and had actually cabled off the correct route.

Although many in the lead pack of 15 knew the correct path, the volunteers were insistent, and the pack headed off in the wrong direction. "Hmmm, must have been a last minute rerouting of the trail". The lead pack was never informed by any volunteer that they were off course and inadvertenly lopped 19Km off the course. The winner of this "alternative" 21 Km race was Todd Vigland in 56:22, followed by Jim Harrington in 56:24 and Ryan Halstead in 56:25. Says Jim Harrington, "If I would have known, I would have turned around and skied the correct course."

Following packs did get notified a kilometer or two later when another race official confirmed that, indeed the racers were off course. These skiers - men and women - turned around and headed back on the correct path, surprising many slower skiers who never expected to see faster racers passing through their midst. This of course added many minutes to those skiers' times.

Lead pack at White Pine Stampede xc ski racer

Lead pack at White Pine Stampede 40 Km freestyle - before the wrong turn
(photo by Kelly Mikolajczyk)


The 40 Km Race

The winner of the remaining 40 Km freestyle racers was Robert Prust in 2:28:55. Rick Neier was second in 2:31:15, with Ken Dawson close behind in 2:31:24.

In the women's 40 Km freestyle, Leslie Taylor from Madison Wisconsin picked up first in 2:32:58. Second was Judy Vajda in 2:37:02. Strait Strider Tracy Hardin finished third in 2:39:42.

In the classic division (no classic skiers were misdirected), Team NordicSkiRacer's Mike Muha (that would be me!) won the 40 Km in 2:42:19. Randy Smith was second in 2:47:33. Third was Nolan Daniel in 3:07:03.

The top women in the 40 Km classic was Grand Rapids Nordic's Amy Todd in 3:12:37. Carole Mueller-Brumbaugh was second in 3:50: 58, with Lynette Carani third in 3:58:03.

Lead pack at White Pine Stampede xc ski racer

Lead classic skiers in the 40 Km classic: Randy Smith (60) and Mike Muha (65)
(photo by Kelly Mikolajczyk)


The 20 Km Race

Tim Jenema and Susan Vigland were the top man and women freestylers in the 20 Km race. Jenema finished in 1:02:37 with Dave Durbin second in 1:02:58 and David Thelen third in 1:03:28.

Vigland finished in 1:05:49 (good for 12 overall - men and women). The second fastest women was Catarina Gulledge in 1:15:47. Third was Karen Dawson in 1:17:53.

In the classic race, Gerard Grabowski, (1:16:10), Steve Steffke (1:30:06) and Douglas Ball (1:30:11) were at the top of the podium.

For the women, Marnie Sutter (1:39:20, Caroline Urbain (1:46:41), and Susan Sharp (1:49:07) were the top three finishers.

Lead pack at White Pine Stampede xc ski racer

Skiers fueling up on Hammer Nutrition HEED at a White Pine Stampede aid station. 100 Gallons of HEED were used at the race.
(photo by Kelly Mikolajczyk)


The 10 Km Race

Ross Williams smoked the 10 Km course in 28:30, followed by Breg Brwon and Alex Lance in 28:51 and 28:53. All are junior racers.

The top females were also the junior racer: Shaina Bosma finished first in 30:08 (7th overall among males and females).  Kaitlyn Patterson was second in 30:50, with Marie Frick third a second back. By the way Bosma skied classic; Patterson and Frick did freestyle.

Robert Travis was the fastest classic male, finishing in 36:40, followed by John Kostrzewa in 51:39 and Linda McInally in 55:39.

Fastest women classic skiers were Shaina Bosma (mentioned above), Amy Andriese in 38:22, and Laura Jolly in 52 minutes flat.


After weeks of cold weather, temperatures rose into the high 30's for the White Pine Stampede. Threatened precipitation held off and the snow had not transformed through a thaw-freeze cycle yet. early skiers found slightly soft conditions, which firmed up as the skiers packed down the trail. Things got a little slower, especially at lower elevations as the warmth penetrated the snow.

Full results: