Grand Lake Classic Race makes big comeback after being on years-long hiatus
A gentle snow fell over the Grand Lake Nordic Center on Sunday morning as racers began arriving for the comeback of the Grand Lake Classic Race. This race was once a popular event in the race circuit, but was discontinued for a few years.
But now it’s back and better than ever.
This year’s race boasted approximately 50 people of all ages. Races included a beginner, or children’s, 1.5-kilometer or three-kilometer and an intermediate or advanced eight-kilometer or 16-kilometer loop. The Grand Lake Nordic Center is focused on family friendly events, and this Classic-style race did not disappoint.
A number of children came out to race, ranging from ages six to some of the local high school students.
Also taking second place in the three-kilometer was Joy Rondeau, a local woman currently training for the Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, in March.
The trails at the Grand Lake Nordic Center cover a wide variety of terrain and difficulty levels, winding through forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, loops that traverse around ponds and wetlands, and other trails that meaner along the Colorado River.
The race course followed a fun course, designed by local skier Shawn Scholl and several other volunteers, including volunteers from the Grand Nordic Club and the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Racers could either follow an eight-kilometer loop, which included some Black Diamond hills, or loop around again for a 16-kilometer.
Following the race, the party moved indoors into the ski lodge and Sly Fox Restaurant for a lunch, which was included in the entry fee, of a baked potato bar with all the fixings and a bowl of red or green chili. The food for lunch was donated by the Grand Lake Nordic Center and Sly Fox Restaurant. Other sponsors included a keg donated by Coors Light, beef jerky by Sweetwood Smokehouse, Clif Bars from Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, dessert from Drowsy Water Ranch and Big Shooter Coffee, and energy drinks from Mountain Ops.
An awards ceremony followed the lunch, as everyone piled in the cozy lodge, complete with a wood fire in the fireplace, watching a light snow continue to fall outside. The following individuals were awarded places in the race. The men’s eight-kilometer winners were Jeff Stahl in first, Gary Lacy, second, Will Kuhns, third. The women’s eight-kilometer: Maggie Barker, first, Katlyn Cimino, second, Valerie Eipper, third. The men’s 16-kilometer: Tyler Scholl, first, Dan Weinberger, second, Eric Meyer, third. The women’s 16-kilometer: Maria Wik, first, Lillian Miller, second, Kira Peterson, third.
Many racers and spectators were locals, however we were pleased to see a number of folks who travelled from the front range to attend this event. We hope to continue this event into the future as a place for families to come for a fun and intimate time and escape the pressure of the more serious and competitive race series. Thanks to everyone involved for making this a super fun and successful event.
Plan ahead for next year, and we hope to offer this event again towards the end of January.
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