U.S. Ski Team athletes, coaches tackle inaugural Sundance Sufferfest hill climb bike race
U.S. Ski Team members are usually known for their skill at going down icy slopes in freezing temperatures. Last weekend however, the winter athletes, joined by several coaches and trainers, got some summer training while testing their ability to climb up a mountain in the hot summer sun.
The inaugural “Sundance Sufferfest,” masterminded by USSA high performance strength and conditioning coordinator Alex Moore and alpine racer and Sundance local Steven Nyman, gathered 24 alpine racers, freestyle skiers, nordic athletes and several staff member for an eight-mile, up-hill road bike race.
“We’ve been looking for a couple years to get all of the athletes together in an event,” said Moore, who took it upon himself to assign betting odds. “We came up with a handicapped system that gives a freeskiier or a moguls skier a chance to beat the nordic guys, when ordinarily they wouldn’t. It’s really just a way to work on aerobic endurance, which is a big component of our training, particularly in the early summer.”
The course climbed 3,000 vertical feet from the mouth of Provo Canyon’s South Fork to the top of the Alpine Loop road off the flanks of Mt Timpanogous and ended with a beautiful Wasatch Mountain view at about 8,000 feet in elevation.
“I know every inch of this road,” said a Nyman before the race. “I know where to drop by boys, when to go, when to hold back but that doesn’t matter because I am going against the top nordic people in the world so I pretty much have no chance.”
The racers were assigned their start times based on individual physiological markers gathered in a stationary bike test that evaluated lactate accounting for each racer’s relative threshold for their body weight (basically rocket science). Freeskier Meg Olenick started 10 minutes before any other racer while nordic athletes Noah Hoffman and Taylor Fletcher brought up the rear, 36 minutes behind.
Men’s alpine head coach Sasha Rearick took the men’s win after starting 24 minutes ahead of second place finisher, cross country racer Tad Elliot, who finished just 32 seconds behind Rearick and had the best course time at 40 minutes, 32 seconds. Moguls skier Heather McPhie won the women’s race with a total time of one hour and one minute.
“I think I was a little lucky with my head start,” laughed Rearick. “It’s great to have all the sports together training, having the athletic director here to all the athletes, coaches, interns coming out here to Sundance to do an awesome ride in beautiful weather is great fun. Hopefully we get more people next time.”
Both Rearick and McPhie were awarded dinner for two at Sundance-owned Zoom restaurant in Park City.
“I did better than I thought I would, I was just watching my heart rate,” said McPhie, who has participated in 100-mile bike rides the last two springs. “I was actually pretty anxious for this ride, I’ve never pushed for that long, my event is only 30 seconds so it was a really long push for me. The nordic guys passed me like I was standing still and I was hammering.”
The participants were treated to Sundance’s award winning brunch and a well deserved dip in the stream after the race. - Eric Williams
|Finish order||Finish time||Start time||Name||Country||Odds||Elasped time||ET order|
|20||1:28:30||26:00||Ryan Cochran Siegle||USA||4/1||1:02:30||13|