Sunday, February 14, 2021

Westonloppet 2021

The winter 2020-2021 season has been a tough one for ski racing with many events cancelled or moved to virtual formats. Despite the challenges of masking and physical distancing, excellent snow coverage, creative CSU race organizers, and the grooming team at the Weston Ski Track have created opportunities for local skier to test themselves this winter. On Friday, February 12th, CSU hosted the Westonloppet, a timed test of endurance pitting skiers against the clock, each other, and very slow snow. 


The rules of the Westonloppet are simple- ski as far as possible in one or two hours. For the 2021 edition of the race, skiers were set off at 15 second intervals and drafting was prohibited, creating a true individual effort. Starting under the lights at 6:45pm, racers were greeted by cold conditions and a mix of natural and man made snow on a rolling 2.8 kilometer loop. With several snow guns blowing Charles River sandpaper onto the course, conditions were very soft and slow at times, adding to the unique challenge of the evening. 

A gos track of the 2.8k race loop at Weston Ski Track.

Sixteen skiers competed in the one-hour race, perhaps the sensible choice considering the slow conditions! Chris Stock continued the excellent form he has shown on Tuesday nights, racking up six laps for a total of 17k at an average pace of 3:22.8 min/kilometer. Chris was followed by Jim Stock completing 14.2k at 3:44.1 min/k pace, with Rose Teszler taking top woman and third overall by completing 14.2k at 4:05 min/k. 

Twenty-one skiers tackled the full two-hour race with Cameron Cogburn emerging as the clear winner, completing 13 laps for 35.6 kilometers at an average pace of 3:28.9 min/k. Watching from the side of the course it was impressive to see Cameron maintain his strong V2 throughout the entire race- very nicely done! Runner-up to Cameron was Pat Giersch who also topped 30k, completing 11 laps for 31.2k at an average pace of 3:55.4 min/k. Rounding out the podium in the two-hour race was Jay Fiske, finishing 10 laps at 4:05.2 pace. Taking first for the women in the two-hour race was Kate Weiler who recorded 21.7 kilometers at 5:22.7 min/k pace.

Along with the one and two hour races, three skiers, Marvin Wang, Martin Kronbuegel, and John Sakalowsky attempted the monumental challenge of the "Twelve Hours of Weston." John and Marvin completed the challenge, logging an outstanding 140 kilometers, or over 87 miles!! Truly an incredible feat of endurance, persistence, and perhaps a little bit of insanity. Well done to John and Marvin!

Special thanks and recognition needs to go to Wes DeNering for organizing, seeding, and setting up the 2021 Westonloppet along with the weekly CSU Tuesday night races. His dedication to creating opportunities for others has helped make the best of a challenging winter. Thanks as well to Jamie Doucett for volunteering and taking photos. You can find his album from the evening here. Thanks as well to all the competitors who turned out and made the 2021 Westonloppet a success.