A warm weekend in Rhinelander, Wisconsin wrapped up the last racing block for the CCSA before the Championship races. Races got switched to the Classic Mass Start on Saturday and Skate Individual Start on Sunday to make classic waxing easier, as Sunday had incredibly warm temperatures. This weekend, was a standardized glide wax weekend for the CCSA, so on Sunday, teams only had to worry about kick wax in the unpredictable temperatures.
The women thinned out right away in their 15k race, with four women, Hilde Eide and Malin Borjesjo of NMU and Sarah Goble and Amanda Kautzer of Tech in a lead pack at the end of the first lap. Eide dropped off of the lead pack just after 10k, and Borjesjo took the lead in the last 2k to grab her 2nd college win of the season. “this weekend was a little bit of revenge for me” Bojesjo commented, “I have felt good on race weekends before, but everything has not worked at the same time. This weekend, it did”.
The temperatures were expected to warm up for the men’s race, but temperatures rose a little more than expected when the sun made an appearance about 20 minutes before the men’s start. Some teams made a quick change of kick wax before the races, opting for zero skis- which seemed to be the best case in the rapidly warming afternoon, as the top three men were on zeros. Zak Ketterson, Kjetil Baanerud, Mathias Rolid (NMU) and Emil Book Bratbak broke away on the first lap, with Reid Goble and Patrick Acton chasing them down. “The classic race went out at a good pace but I unfortunately lost contact with the lead on the A climb and then fought the rest of the first lap to get on the back of Reid,” Acton said, “We skied laps 2 and 3 together, switching off leading on the terrain we were respectively stronger on. Going into the last lap, I felt good and knew that [Daniel] Streinz [NMU} was within striking distance of us so I focused on pushing through the early parts of that lap and then carried it through the A climb and the final kick to the finish”. Ketterson broke away from Baanerud and Rolid on the final A climb, and Rolid just out sprint Baanerud on the final climb of the race, nabbing the college win. “I came into this weekend in Rhinelander feeling pretty good,” Rolid wrote after the races, “It was nice to have my roommate Zak on the start line for the classic race, and together with Kjetil we decided to make this 20k as hard as possible to prepare for NCAAs. It was brutal but it ended up being a good race for me”. Emil Book Bratbak had another strong performance to finish 3rd for the CCSA, Patrick Acton was 4th, Daniel Streinz had one of his strongest races of the season to finish 5th, and Reid Goble was 6th.
Although it was warmer temperatures on Sunday, the course firmed up enough during the night, for the skate races to be fast. Once again, the CCSA had standardized glide wax, but many athletes were feeling Saturday’s battle. The women’s race again was first and was very close all throughout the 2 laps. Malin Borjesjo skied away from the field, finishing over 20 seconds in front of Henriette Semb (MTU), and Hilde Eide took 3rd. “I enjoyed the courses in Rhinelander” Bojesjo expressed, “They were tough but it allowed you to ski big and relax, which fits me. I changed my past week of training, to trade a speed session for my normal mid-week intervals so I could work on my weaknesses, and it helped me give me energy”. Semb, who is ranked 4th in the CCSA points list after this weekend, was pleased with her weekend. “It was a fun and technical course with a lot of transitions so I tried and work well over the tops of the hills. I also paced the race well and pushed it all to the finish line.”
The course did not change much for the men’s race, and Mathias Rolid took the charge. I could really feel the classic race from the day before when I was warming up. I felt really flat, so I knew it was all about finding that pace I could hold for 10k. It was a challenging course with no rest, so my focus was on a steady pace off the line, for even splits on all four laps. I was always riding the edge of how much lactic acid I could handle, and my coaches didn’t really tell me how I was doing so I was fighting for every second!” Emil Book Bratbak grabbed his second podium of the season after being caught by Rolid and drafting off of him for the majority of the race, and Kjetil Baanerud took third. Patrick Acton nabbed his second 4th place finish of the weekend, putting him in 4th in the overall CCSA Point rankings. “Quite pleased with 2 fourth-place finishes on a weekend, especially when 1-3 were Norwegian men who were really strong at this point in the season. Looking forward to being back in Houghton in a couple of weeks!”
Team results are still close, as the Michigan Tech women have gone back and forth in team points with Northern Michigan the last couple of weekends, and the Michigan Tech men and Saint Scholastica men have been back and forth. Teams get a week break before the Conference Championship, back in Houghton, Michigan.