Locals Lynch, Beardsley sweep FIS races
BRECKENRIDGE – The best part about being a Breckenridge ski racer on the FIS circuit is that after all the trying travels that never seem to end, after all the ups and the downs that inevitably color a winter of running gates, you get to come home and finish the season on your home hill.For many of the local ladies at Wednesday’s Quantum Sports Club-hosted Rocky Mountain Trophy Series super G races, simply being on a familiar course was enough. For Chelsea Lynch and Katie Beardsley, however, the experience included a triumphant feeling that only comes when you win. Lynch won the first of two super G’s held on Breck’s noted Peak 10 course, and Quantum’s Beardsley made it a local sweep in the afternoon by narrowly edging Lynch, who took second.The FIS Trophy Series has been a spring tradition at Breckenridge in recent years, with Lynch, in particular, taking full advantage. The 22-year-old began racing on Cimarron, a World Cup track which hosted the majority of Wednesday’s course, when she was 10. She learned every inch of the venue during her time training with and competing for Quantum, and she has rarely finished off the podium in a speed event held here, including a super G victory last year.
Even now, as a racer for the University of Vermont, Lynch still enjoys the same advantage she always has: Her dad grooms the Peak 10 course the night before the race. Every little bit of comfort helped Wednesday, including her unorthodox pre-race preparation when inclement weather postponed the morning start for two hours.”It was pretty gnarly but I went on two pow-pow runs and had a blast with that this morning,” said Lynch, who took 16th in super G at U.S. Nationals last week in Alaska, the first time all year she’d been on her speed skis. “I saw everyone else trying to (dial in their) super G, and I was like, forget that, I’m going to go see if I can get some face shots – and I did.”Lynch won the morning race by a scant .11 seconds over Lauren Brien, while the 24-year-old Beardsley – who took fifth in the morning race – edged Lynch by .36 in the afternoon affair. Brien finished third in that race, .54 back of Beardsley.The course lasted more than a minute and a half each time, relatively long for a super G race even at this level. To a racer the athletes called the track “slow”; however, as Lynch pointed out, “you have to expect that with a foot and a half of new snow.” With regard to the gnarly morning conditions that had some of the visiting racers seeking shelter, Lynch delivered some local perspective: “It’s just a regular Breckenridge winter day in April.”
Another standard occurrence was the presence of an accomplished World Cup racer who took part to help out the younger athletes by, as they say, giving away her points. In this case it was Jonna Mendes, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team who retired after last season. The 28-year-old finished 11th in the afternoon race and 37th in the morning, but with literally zero prior racing experience this season, she didn’t expect to do well. She was simply there to give back what was once given to her.”The most important thing about having people help with the points is everyone knows skiing is a really expensive sport,” said Mendes, 28, who grinned when she called her first run “totally slow.” “And to lower some of these athletes’ points will make the difference between them getting free ski passes for an entire year, or not. It’ll make the difference between them making the national team or not. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars for some of these kids.”It’s something that’s gone on forever, something I took advantage of when I was younger, and now these girls get to take advantage of it.”
Mendes’ presence made a big impression on the younger athletes, including a number of up-and-coming locals.”It’s good when we race against the older girls because they push us a lot more,” said Team Summit’s Joey Chevalier, who took 16th in the afternoon race and 22nd in the morning. “When we see how far off we are from them” … “you wonder why, and you want to figure it out and you want to do what they do,” said Kristina Krone, finishing her club mate’s thought.Among other local results, Katie Hartman took 16th and 19th; Margie Thorp took 23rd in the morning; Krone skied to 26th in the afternoon; Jessa Bardin finished 28th and 29th; Memry Anderson took 35th in the morning; Emily Naes was 39th in the afternoon; Chelsey Fretz skied to 41st in the morning; Meigan Canfield took 49th in the afternoon; Laurel Broten claimed 50th in the morning; and Bethany Porter finished 53rd in the afternoon.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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