The Peru Nordic Masters maximized their carbon footprint this weekend by driving all over the northeast to race in signature XC events in Craftsbury and Old Forge.
Three Peruvians, Jim Kobak, Bob Maswick and Jim Adams, rambled over to the soft side of Lake Champlain for the Craftsbury Marathon. To the chagrin of FOX44 News, Kobak and Maswick managed to just miss crashing the Grand Isle Ferry on the way over. They stayed in the beautiful hamlet of Morrisville (or was it Morristown?), where they were treated like kings at the internationally famous House of Pizza. The night before the race they met the incredibly informative loppet leprachaun who promised them “…a feed station full of gold at the end of the rainbow… aye laddy, ’tis if ye are doin’ the 50 k… 25 k is for lassie sissies… yer not doin’ the 25 k are ye????….” After lying to the elf that he was doing the 50, Maswick couldn’t sleep all night out of fear of reprisal from the evil sprite.
The morning of the race was clear and cold. Members of the Peru Nordic Masters fueled up on a egg and sausage filled 50 k breakfast before heading out to the tracks of Craftsbury. The tracks at Craftsbury were spectacular and about as perfect as you can imagine. Kobak, in a state of delerium over the quality of the tracks, punched himself in the head and lost his prized cheap sunglasses. Thirty seconds later, his left pole basket fell victim to the grabby slush of lake Hosmer and he skied the remaining 46 km without a basket on his left pole. As a result, acute right elbow tendinitis set in around the mid-way point and crippling right foot cramps slowed the pace over the last three km. Kobak finished in 3:27, good enough for 62nd place and 6th in the M2 category. Adams had a somewhat uneventful race, finishing in just over 5 hours… He is still being questioned by authorities about his whereabouts during the Ferry crash.
Bob Maswick paced Kobak for much of the race, and finished the 25 km course under 1:45. Maz took home the silver medal in the M5 category with that strong showing: He sent this candid description of the weekend along to Windbriefs:
KOBAK GOES HOG WILD! A Craftsbury Tale
Peru Nordic stormed into Vermont on Friday, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Harvey O’Sorrow and the (wide)Load of Destruction motored past thousands of cheering Peruvian schoolchildren as the journey began. Unfortunately, the first mishap occurred at the Kobaken Openair Stadium with Maswick smashing his roofbox into Kobak’s smaller than normal garage door.
The two Nordic Idols narrowly escaped serious injury when the Lake Champlain Ferry smashed into the pilings shortly after their voyage over the ice covered waters. Rumors that the Peru Nordic squad were being sought as material witnesses to the chaotic scene have turned out to be false. Rumors that the tattooed ticket booth lady took a shine to O’Sorrow have turned out to be true. Rumors that Mike White was airborne under the yellow snowboard kite could not be verified.
What followed was two hours of bumper-car driving, with Harve doing an admirable job of avoiding the hundreds of NJ, CT, and MA SUV’s racing to get to Stowe. What no one planned on was a late entrant into the fray – the “Race Across Vermont” snowmobile crowd. As a result, what should have been an enjoyable jaunt across the idyllic Vermont countryside turned into an agonizingly long journey. The longer we drove, the hungrier we got. Kobak, perhaps because he was traveling free of the vegetarian Amy, perhaps because he was getting his race face on, underwent a strange transformation.
Just short of Morristown (Morrisville?), Harve suddenly declared “No pig is safe this weekend!” and set a course for Hub’s House of Pork and Pizza. In retrospect, it was the perfect pre-race dinner – double sausage and bacon pizza washed down with several Vermont microbrews. Staying at the Sunset Motor Lodge was like being in a polite version of Old Forge – snowmobiles everywhere, but being towed by Hummer’s.
Driving uphill through a blinding snowstorm, watching the temperatures drop, Peru Nordic made it to race packet pick up, finding a really good parking spot on the race course finish loop. Once inside, we were greeted by the Zak Cup Elf who quickly dismissed Maswick as a fag when he found out he wasn’t doing the 50K.
Race day dawned cold and bright, seeing the squad at the Stonegrind Restaurant where Kobak ordered the Sausage Lover’s Breakfast Burrito. Race warm-up was colder and brighter where race officials (and some racers!) were attired in full Carhartt armor. In an interesting twist, Craftsbury racers are held in a corral for 15 minutes where they are flash frozen by howling winds and blowing snow. Kris and Justin Freeman showed up and the start bell rang out. 10 perfectly groomed lanes became 5 then they became 3 and then they became a 4 foot wide path across a road, where an army of high school kids shoveled snow and stopped traffic.
O’Sorrow successfully negotiated all this but his trouble began on the lake, when the almost solid slush sucked the basket right off his pole while the harder ice stripped the wax off everyone’s skis. The race climbed off the lake to the “Hub”, where racers got there 1st feed. It was here that Kobak decided to punch himself in the face. 2 slots behind him, Maswick saw him standing off the trail, yelling “Watch out everyone, those are my best $ 4 pair of Thruway Rest Stop sunglasses!”
Totally off his game, Kobak took advantage of perfect snow and impeccable grooming over the next 20K to settle down and get back to the business of racing. Meanwhile Maswick got busy reeling in racers, skiing smart and surprising even himself gapping folks on the downhill’s. One final grueling DP / DP kick section saw him bridge up to the pack only to blow on the zig-zag hill at 21 K. The final 4 K – uphill and into the same howling wind that began the race was a death march up to the start corral, crossing the road at the 24.5K mark. Passing by Kobak as he was heading out for his 2nd lap, Maswick soldiered on to the finish for a 2nd place in the M5 25K category in 1:42:11. At 30K, Kobak was greeted by an announcement that Kris Freeman had just won the 50K event. Using this news to drive him, Kobak came in 6th in the M2’s at 3:27:31.
How do you celebrate an effort such as this? More pork. 45 minutes later, Peru Nordic was again in Morrisville (Morristown?), at Hub’s House of Pork and Pizza for a Double Bacon Sausage Burger with a side of Vermont microbrew. Slipping into NYS as darkness fell, the squad planned its assault on the Lake Placid Loppet, with a side trip to Old Forge for cheap points.
Kobak, indeed, followed the Craftsbury assault with a trip to Old Forge. A small contingent of Peru Nordies tangled with the JO crowd for some good NYSSRA points. Mike Wynn led the charge, finishing 2nd overall in the open/master division. Chris Rose, with skis inspired by Solda HP05, cruised the course to easily wind up 4th. Kobak, reeling from the previous day’s race/drive managed a fairly respectable 7th place. Now, with a week to recover and precover, the Peru Nordic Masters look forward to their signature event… the Lake Placid Loppet!