By Mike Davis, Team OAM Now Nordic Skier
Team OAM Now had a full attendance last weekend at the White Pine Stampede, with the exception of Jon Morgan, who is still out from a fall he had at the Noquemanon. The White Pine Stampede is a point-to-point race starting at the Mancelona High School and finishing at the Summit Center of Shanty Creek Resorts. Each Team OAM Now member competed in the 50k skate race this week, with two members finishing in the top three overall and Kaitlyn Patterson winning the women’s race.
The White Pine course was well groomed, although some fresh snow fall from the evening before left some powder over the trail. Many of the racers used different waxing combinations, some of which worked very well. Between the fresh snow and warmer than expected temperatures, it was a difficult race to figure out.
The White Pine was my first 50k skate race, so I took a fairly conservative approach. Skate skiing is my weaker of the two skiing disciplines as I have more opportunities to train classic. My main goal for this race was to come in to the finish with something left. I did not want to get to the 25k marker and have no legs left for the hills in the second half.
The start took off a little slower than normal, so I was farther up in the pack than I had planned to be. I got nearly to the 10k marker and felt like I was going harder than I wanted. After that, I paced the rest of the race much better and came to the finish with some energy left in the tank. I was able to finish 18th overall with a time of 2:35:01.
Dan Yankus was able to finish 2nd overall in 2:12:37. Alex Vanias finished 3rd overall just 6 seconds behind Dan. Kaitlyn Patterson was the first woman skier and 7th overall. Her time was 2:26:55. Rebecca Davis was able to finish 31st overall, which made her the 5th woman, although she broke about 10 inches of her pole with 22k left in the race. Her time was 2:45:26.
Also OAM’s own Julian Kuz finished 16th overall.