It’s a rebuilding year, but FAST made yet another strong appearance at this month’s Besh Cup 1 and 2 races in Anchorage, led by Logan Hanneman’s double win for J1s, and top 10 overall in the 1K sprint and 16K classic races (Logan photo by Carl Kowalski, others by FAST)
Erich sprinted into the sun in the J2 semi and placed 6th in the final, and skied a solid 4th in the classic race.
Mikko made his Besh Cup debut and was 14th for J2s in the classic.
Joe (top), also making a Besh Cup debut was the youngest and smallest FAST skier, took 7th in the J3 classic.
Tristan (middle) scored two top 10 finishes for J3s.
Kuba (below) controlled the J2 sprint final to the final meters and finished 2nd! And he improved on last year’s classic results and took 6th.
To start this off like a normal blog… What I’m listening too: “Change” by Taylor Swift
So “we” started strong with our blog posting, we constituting as Reese weekly and a random blurb from the rest of us about every three months, but we have started to fall off the rate of 1 blog per week (bpw). I don’t blame we, summers can be really busy.
A quick update on the last couple of months… First off David and I graduated high school (crazy huh?). Rehearsal made the ceremony seem like it was going to be a tedious affair, but everyone was so up beat that it made the 2 hours fly by really quickly. Second, state track just finished up. Track in Fairbanks, and Alaska in general I feel can be a double edged sword. I saw this because you can train about 6-8 weeks of speed when the snow gets off the ground if you’re careful, but you have no room for injuries or even a training slump. A plus is that you’re in good shape from skiing and every week you can watch your times drop drastically which is always encouraging. State rolled around this weekend and I ended up running the 3200 1600 and 4×400. The 3200 was fairly frustrating; I told myself I was going to run no faster than 4:50 my first mile which I ended up doing, but the pack of about 8 guys was still ahead of me. We all sort of went on die pace, the most awesome die being Trevor Dunbar’s who ran a 4:20 and then a 5:00. I managed to catch one guy falling off the tail end to get 7th with a high 9:5x, a couple seconds off my personal record from the previous weekend. The 1600 the next day went a lot better, as I felt really good at 800 in and was able to make a move with 700 to go and hold it to finish 3rd with a 4:28. It was one of those things where I was just able to focus on the race and the time came with it, I think I ended up setting a personal record by 5 or so seconds. I thought it was kinda cool that the two kids to finish in front of me (Aaron Fletcher and Trevor Dunbar) were the only two other freshman to qualify for the 1600 4 years ago. Actually a couple of cool things happened that day; all of Team Fast came out to cheer me on, and I finished my last high school race on the Lathrop track which is the same place I started my first high school race. Thirdly, I finally got my Marwe roller skis mounted and tomorrow is the first day that I hit the roads. Believe it or not I am super excited to roller ski this summer. Fourth and finally, I am starting to look at what races I am going to do this summer. The first idea on the list is a 5k time trial in which a couple of people agreed to help pace for a sub 16. I got pretty close in cross country, but never managed to run under 16 and I think the speed from track will be beneficial to running that time. Probably the next race will be Bill’s (our coach) infamous Ester Dome time trial which is a sold, and I mean solid uphill 5k. I can’t think past much of June, so the Midnight Sun Run 10k is the last race idea on my list right now
So, Birch Hill was bustling as it usually does on the Friday before a race, except even more so…. On the eve of the penultimate Besh Cup, young skiers from all over Alaska poured into Fairbanks, many of them shocked to find the temperatures here ABOVE ZERO!!! That’s right ladies and gentleman, it officially reached 10 degrees today! And for some reason it felt weird….
Ah ha! That’s why! It’s because we haven’t had a normal Besh Cup series here in the ‘Banks for, geeze, who knows how long….. As far back as I can remember, the temperatures are always iffy here on that fateful Friday… Everybody knows that the next day’s races will be postponed, before they even go to bed. And that’s because they are. Well, I shouldn’t say that… Sometimes they are cancelled.
So needless to say, everybody (including myself) was making original, creative, and witty remarks about the weather. You know, stuff like “Oh, just balmy here in Fairbanks isn’t it?” and “Wow, when did the heat wave move in.” Like we haven’t all heard those before… But there was some merit to the small-talk; I shed my warm-up pants for my intervals today, and trained in spandex (three layers, mind you) for the first time in a month maybe? At least…
I’m sure most of the racers are hitting the hay as I write this, nervous and eager to prove themselves in the one last weekend to qualify for JN’s. And doubtless, many of the younger skiers have never actually gotten to do two races here… and the ones who have are wildly contemplating the possibility of it happening again.
With post-race travel arrangements varying from ten hour drives to one hour flights, all of the FAST athletes returned to Fairbanks after a successful weekend of racing in Soldotna, Alaska. It was the second set of Besh Cup races out of a six-race, three-weekend series. The Alaskan equivalent of JOQs, the Besh Cups are the largest, most competitive races in Alaska, and are always a blast. With action ranging from shuffling J6’s to the legendary Master7 Ed Strabel still beating up on the youngins, the races offer a good balance of intense competition and laid back fun.
The weather here in the Last Frontier has been pretty wacky, too cold for Senior Nationals one week and nearly melting all skiable snow the next. With most of the state unable to ski last week due to a lethal combination of little snow/excessive ice, most people, at least those from Fairbanks, were skeptical about the trail conditions in Soldotna, a typically warmer venue. However, upon arrival, fears were laid to rest as the organizers (with the help of a few flurries), had the trials in tip-top shape.
Due to some icy spots and slightly narrow climbs, Saturdays sprint was reduced to simply a 1.7k prologue. In typical fashion, the handful of FAST skiers could be found on top of the results, with Kuba Grezda, Logan Hanneman, and Reese Hanneman each winning their divisions, giving FAST victories in the boys J3, J2, and J1/OJ divisions. Highlights included David Norris’s high speed face-plant-skid, after which he still got second for J1/OJs, and Logan Hanneman winning the J2 boys by nearly ten seconds and finishing third in the overall men’s results.
Sundays race was a distance skate race on some of the fastest snow many had ever skied on. The FAST boys repeated the triple victory, except this time it was David Norris winning the J1/OJs, skiing to second overall behind Anchorage local Mark Iverson of Rossignol. Kuba and Logan each posted victories of 30+ seconds, absolutely smashing the field. Everyone seemed to agree that the lazer-fast snow and swoopy trails contributed to one of the most fun races in a long time.
Full results can be seen on the Cross Country Alaska site.