The home team had a strong day in the women’s field, while the men’s race showed more geographic diversity, in a pair of 10-kilometer interval-start classic races that kicked off SuperTour Finals in Craftsbury on Wednesday.
Margie Freed, of Craftsbury Green Racing Project, started in the middle of the seeded women’s field in bib no. 30. She posted the day’s fastest intermediate split through the first of two 5km laps. She also logged the day’s fastest lap-two time. If you do both those things, you tend to win the race, and Freed did, finishing in 30:04.9. It was her first career SuperTour victory.
Hanna Abrahamsson (Colorado) started two minutes later in bib no. 34, but was closer to Freed than that all day. Abrahamsson came through her first lap just 1.9 seconds back of Freed. Her second-lap time was all of 2.1 seconds slower. Freed ultimately took the win, by 4.0 seconds. Craftsbury teammate Alex Lawson was third, 28.9 seconds back.
There were three additional clubs represented within the six-deep SuperTour podium: Mariah Bredal of BSF was fourth (+34.1); Alayna Sonnesyn of SMS was fifth (+45.9); and Sydney Palmer-Leger of Utah (also the USST) was sixth (+47.9).
In the men’s race, John Steel Hagenbuch (USST/Dartmouth) used a strong second lap to take the win. The day’s second starter, bib no. 102 in a field of 58, Hagenbuch initially headed out on course without the benefit of splits from earlier starters. He came through the lap in 13:29.0, which at the time was the day’s fastest split, but was soon bested by Andreas Kirkeng of Denver by four seconds. But Hagenbuch skied his second lap in 13:58.7, while Kirkeng slowed to 14:11.6, giving Hagenbuch the victory.
“great day, great skis,” wrote a deeply chill Hagenbuch on his public Strava account. “good fight with Andreas. just imagining Rémi [Drolet of Harvard] in front of me last 2 km. classic skiing not so bad. nice vibes.”
Hagenbuch’s winning time was 27:27.7. Kirkeng was 8.9 seconds back for second. David Norris (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club), who is seeing results from a new quasi-retired training program of largely doing what he wants and not logging his hours, was third, 22.4 seconds back.
There were six distinct programs represented within the top six of the men’s race, with Zanden McMullen of APU in fourth (+28.3), Braden Becker of Craftsbury in fifth (+58.1), and Peter Wolter of Sun Valley in sixth (+1:09).
Wednesday’s race was the first of four races that make up 2022/2023 SuperTour Finals over a five-day period. Precisely speaking, Wednesday was the year’s final SuperTour competition. The skate sprint, on Friday; the mixed-gender 4 x 5km skate club relay, on Saturday; and the 44km mass start classic, on Sunday, are all national championship races. Find full details, including start times, results links, and (maybe) streaming info, in the final weekend viewing guide.
— Gavin Kentch