Iced up at Bachelor.Some people just don't learn. Which is why it looked like a reunion of Masochists Anonymous when I showed up at the start line for the 2009 USAT Winter Triathlon National Championship last Sunday at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. Most of the faces were familiar from last year's event, also held at Mt. Bachelor, with competitors flying in from places like Colorado and Alaska to vie for berths for the World Championships in Gaishorn, Austria coming up in February. One new face in the crowd was Ned Overend, the first ever world mountain biking champion, which was pretty cool.
Conditions were much better this year for the run/bike/ski event, with a bike course that was firmer and more rideable. Brian Smith from Gunnison, Colo. finally dethroned perennial champion Mike Kloser from Vail. Local professional bike racer Carl Decker, who had been sighted actually running in a velour warm-up suit earlier in the week, took third place. In the women's race, Olympic Nordic ski racer Rebecca Dussault, also from Gunnison, won handily. Sarah Max was the top Bend finisher in fifth place. I got passed by Kloser's 15-year-old son Christian during the bike leg. Nice genes.
Kudos to race director Bill Warburton who had a busy weekend, running the Patagonia Pursuit on Saturday as well. "The unusually warm, clear weather provided a perfect day for an excellent race and there's talk of bringing the World Championships to Bend for 2010," he said.
LEARN TO SKI DAY
Whether you are a "summer" triathlete aspiring to next year's Winter Tri or simply a transplanted Floridian, consider attending "Learn To Ski Day" to add Nordic skiing to your repertoire. The event is being conducted by the Tumalo Langlauf Club at Meissner Sno-Park on Sunday, January 18 from 2-4pm. There will be free classic and skate skiing lessons for all abilities.
Free rentals are available ahead of time at Sunnyside Sports, Bend Bike N Sport, Mountain Supply and Pine Mountain Sports. Supplies are limited, so you need to reserve skis ahead of time and pick up equipment on the day of the event. Several vendors will also have free demo skate gear available on a first-come-first-served basis at the event. For more information, contact David Smullin at 383-3402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIDAY NIGHTS AT HOODOO
After a 12-year absence, recreational ski racing has returned to the Central Oregon slopes. On January 9th, a six-race Friday night series got underway under the lights at Hoodoo Ski Area. Many skiers (and boarders) have been asking for a community level race series to start again, and thanks to the efforts of the Bend Ski Club and Hoodoo, the wait is over. Over 50 racers of all ages took part in a NASTAR format dual slalom event pairing racers against one another and the clock. The series runs January 9, 16, and 23 and February 6, 13, and 20. For more information, contact Jeff Perin at 419-3495.
Hey, don't forget to use your voucher for a $25 lift ticket by Friday, January 16th. Since the mountain was closed or running on a limited basis due to the wind and ice storm much of last week, it would be nice if Mt. Bachelor extended the period the passes are valid. Just throwing that out there!
TOUR DOWN UNDER
If skiing is not your thing, you can stay at home in front of that new 52-inch 1080p 120Hz widescreen digital LCD high-def TV you got for Christmas and watch Lance Armstrong's much-anticipated comeback to the pro peloton in the Tour Down Under. Armstrong, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia on Sunday, will compete in the Down Under Classic on January 18 and the Tour January 20-25. You can catch the action on Versus, starting at 4pm ET on January 18. Armstrong has been training in Hawaii to acclimate for the heat, but the unique thing I recall about cycling in Australia is dodging kangaroo and wallaby roadkill.