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Gold Run Classic kicks off Cup series

DEVON O'NEIL
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc
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BRECKENRIDGE – Scott Oberbreckling readily admits he’s not much of a classical Nordic racer. He has entered only two kick-and-glide races in 17 years, after all, with Saturday’s Gold Run Classic being the second.Whatever rust may have lingered on Oberbreckling’s legs and lungs was gone about a half hour later, as the Boulder optometrist used a late move to slip by Michael Brothers and win the citizen’s classical season opener.”I used to do a lot of it way back when,” Oberbreckling, a former all-American skier at Alaska-Anchorage in the early 1980s, said of the classic technique, “but I’ve just been doing all skating lately. I’m trying to get back into it.”Oberbreckling and Brothers basically made it a two-man race in the 10K event by starting fast and putting plenty of distance on the rest of the field. Brothers held the lead until his rival, using a kick wax advantage, darted around him on the homestretch to win by 8 seconds, in a time of 30 minutes flat.

“He dragged me around,” Oberbreckling said. “He’s faster than I am, so I just sucked his wind for a lap then caught him at the end. He’s in better shape than I am right now.””My plan was to do what he did to me,” said Brothers, a Monument resident who was a 2002 Olympic hopeful in biathlon. “I was going to hang behind him the last lap but I had an opening and figured, well, I might as well try to pass him and see if I can hold the lead, but it turned out to be a bad move.”Stephen White of Vail took third in 32:25, followed by Kremmling resident Shawn Scholl (32:53) and Boulder’s Alex Childs (32:59). Pete Swenson of Breckenridge, in seventh (34:23), was the top Summit finisher.In the women’s 10K race, former Middlebury College racer Hannah Taylor won the classic in 40:14, about a minute and a half ahead of Fairplay resident Heide Andersen (41:43). Despite her extensive cross country skiing background, Saturday’s victory was the first time Taylor, a local Nordic coach who also works at Gold Run, had ever won a race, she said.Andersen might have finished closer to her younger competition, but poor glide wax made it nearly impossible to maintain speed throughout the race.

“I was getting passed like I was standing still on the downhills,” she said.Not only was Saturday’s event the beginning to the classical racing season, it also marked the start of this year’s Colorado Cup series, which includes about a dozen events spread around the state.Hank Hermes, a 73-year-old classical specialist who was one of a large number of Summit Masters skiers to compete at Gold Run, said he felt good and is ready for the series to begin.Others weren’t quite yet in midseason form.

“I just felt it in my lungs more than anything,” said Breck’s Scott Yule (11th place, 35:47), who is entering his 28th season of Nordic racing in Summit County. “It was the first time I’ve turned it up that high.”Hannah Hausman topped a small field in Saturday’s 5K race, winning in 22:25. The skiers get another shot at each other today, with the Father Dyer freestyle races at the Breckenridge Nordic Center.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.


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