Fairbanks Master Swimmers ski virtual 50 km in snowstorm

Used to jumping into lukewarm water at 6 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Joanna Fox, Norma Haubenstock, and Susan Sugai teamed up on Saturday to collectively ski a virtual 50 km. Joanna, who routinely swims 30 km most months, hadn’t skate skied recently, so was hesitant but yielded to peer pressure.

After skiing the relay, ramp, and east ramp, and up to the top of the tower loop, the team’s attitude had improved significantly.

Happy Teammates on the Tower_sm

and we had no problem social distancing with Joanna always pushing the pace.

Skiing with social distancing

Joanna hung with us for 10 km but was unconvinced that she could ski the White Bear.  So, Norma and I, the two distance swimmers, headed off and skied White Bear and Moilanen Meadows. Susan had to also ski the warm-up loop to dark alley to compensate for the stadium loop Joanna and Norma had done before the Sonot blogger had arrived.

Here’s my Polar heart rate monitor documentation of my 20 km contribution to our team effort that took 3:15:47. I intend to individually ski a virtual 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot on the installment plan before Bad Bob ends the event.

Virtual Sonot 20 km route

If three swimmers can ski the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot, you can, too. I challenge Coach Kristina to borrow some skis from her uncle and do her own virtual Sonot Kkaazoot on the trails named for her Grandpa (https://www.nscfairbanks.org/trails/jim-whisenhant-trails/ ).

 

Donna DiFolco & Bakers ski virtual 50 km

From Sonot Kkaazoot Race Director, Bad Bob Baker:

Amaing trio

Donna DiFolco, Sharon and Bad Bob Baker, all skied together for a full 50 kilometers in a driving snowstorm skiing in the skate technique.  Beginning at 10:15 am, the threesome slogged along at an average pace of 5:53 minute / km, and completing the Virtual 50 km in  4:54:24.   This time includes all breaks, visiting and stops just to stretch.
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Bob burned 3902 calories according to his garmin, so he’s ready to replenish. The ski went well till around 35 km, when Bad BOB began lagging behind and hoping he could convince the others to stop at 40 km….BUT..Sharon would have no part of that, she was skiing with energy beyond anything the energizer bunny could ever produce.
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Donna was on the fence, 40 would have been ok with her, but 50 would just take a little longer, so she was in…Poor Bad BOB..had to dig deep and somehow kept the two ladies in sight, with the help of a couple of their breaks.
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FINALLY…4:54:24 later, we all finished.  I should let it be known, that Sharon’s gps told her she had to go another mile…so she continues without Donna and I for another mile to satisfy her garmin.  Donna and I agreed that Bad BOB’s garmin was good enough.  We all actually enjoyed the day, seeing many skiers and friends along the way.  The fresh white snow was beautiful and quiet.   NOW…we need to get the 40 km in the books to complete the triple feat…..
Bad BOB

Skiing the 20 km Sonot Course

Starting at 10 a.m. ADT this morning, several SCUM practiced both social distancing and skating the 20 km Sonot course. It was mostly sunny and 15 deg F when we started and 28 deg when we finished.

Besides social distancing, SCUM practice foot and mouth sanitizing. We were able to use resources found under the Cushman Street pedestrian bridge at the Sonot start. There are many secrets to skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot–and taking advantage of found feeds can be important in non-pandemic years.

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Dual purpose foot and mouth sanitizer

Although we are 50 km Sonot skiers, we skied the 20 km turnaround today in case we suddenly feel our age during the virtual Sonot.

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Practicing social distancing on the Sonot Kkaazoot 20 km turnaround.  Photo by Bill Husby.

We all agreed that Bad Bob had done an awesome job of grooming. We only saw one other skier (a young FXC skier who had come down to the river from Birch Hill) but the sunshine and trails were wonderful.

Here’s a view of the Chena River trail from the Cushman Street bridge with a fat biker heading upstream.

Chena River trail from Cushman St bridge sm

Enjoy the skiing before break-up starts on the Chena River. Remember that Mother Nature holds all the cards. Ski with care and with a buddy.

 

Chena River trail groomed on 3/16/20

Bad Bob Baker spent the better part of today grooming the Sonot Kkaazoot trail from the start and finish area near the Cushman Street bridge to the Fort Wainwright alpine hill. He also groomed the 20 km turnaround loop and the ditch between the Chena River and Fort Wainwright.

It is springtime so stay alert on the river and ski with a buddy who is 6 feet away from you. Conditions can and will change swiftly. Make sure you have your government identification if you are skiing these trails.

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Groomed ramp to the virtual Sonot Kkaazoot start and finish area

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Bad Bob grooming the Chena River wide enough for social distancing

Bad Bob plans to groom again on Wednesday morning when he will set a classical track. Enjoy the spring skiing. It is good for your physical and mental well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten weeks until the 33rd Sonot Kkaazoot

There is now a flicker of daylight at 5:00 p.m. and although the temperatures are still rather chilly, Spring is quickly approaching. Preparation for the 33rd annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot is well underway. With the frigid temperatures that arrived around Winter Solstice and have hung around most of January 2020, ice conditions on the Chena River look more favorable for the Sonot Kkaazoot than they have in many years. Thus, Bad Bob Baker will be looking for a full complement of volunteers to staff the Fort Wainwright road crossings and timing hut on the Chena River on race day. If you don’t plan on skiing the Sonot Kkaazoot, please consider volunteering for this annual spring event. Just drop an email to: contact@sonotkkaazoot.org with your preference in terms of time and task, and we’ll put you on volunteers list.

https://sonotkkaazoot.org/volunteers/

Just because the temperatures are frigid, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be training if you dress appropriately. There’s even time for selfies and fist pumps as the sun rises earlier every day.

Fist pump sm

If you need a little guidance, consider signing up for Kristen Rozell’s Sonot Training Course: https://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/event-3605979 . She’ll provide weekly workouts on Tuesday evenings that will familiarize you with the trails that you’ll ski during the Sonot Kkaazoot as well as provide you with specific training and pacing techniques that will make the Sonot Kkaazoot more enjoyable.

Cold weather is tough on groomers and grooming equipment so donations to the grooming fund are desperately needed to insure that trails are maintained throughout the long ski season. Here’s the URL to donate today:

http://nordicskicluboffairbanks.wildapricot.org/Donate 

Supporting ski trails is definitely less expensive than hypertension and pre-diabetes medications. Exercise is a lot easier outdoors and with friends.

So why not sign up for the 33rd Sonot Kkaazoot now so that you’ve made the commitment to get out and train regardless of the weather? Just click on the “Register” tab at the top of this website.

Brush cutting on far end of White Bear

Today on a beautiful autumn day at Birch Hill Recreation Area, we cut brush and overhanging branches back on both sides of the trail beyond Coronary Bypass (7 km cutoff), and cleaned up afterwards. The brush cutting party was organized by groomer Bill Husby (shown below in photo by Dan Johnson):

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assisted by Dan Johnson, Dave Prusak, Dermot Cole (shown in another photo by Dan Johnson, working hard or hardly working):

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Bernardo Hernandez, Owen Hanley, Pat Reinhard, Carl Hemming, and Susan Sugai. Once the White Bear trail is mowed, this 3 km section will ready for snow.

Surprisingly, one of the brushcutters who worked for the entire 4+ hours, is a younger SCUM, who had to return to his regular work today after his Birch Hill mini-vacation. Not to be outdone by the pup, two of the brush cutters/tossers will be in the M9 and M10 age classes in the 33rd annual Sonot Kkaazoot.

There are areas that still need brushing on White Bear from about the 4.5 km cutoff to the 7.0 km cutoff where were started today. Bill Husby also mentioned that the bottom of the Black Hole is another trail needing brushing before winter.

Jackson Jury reaches verdict

Although Bad Bob Baker, Sonot Kkaazoot race director, told stories in the Birch Hill stadium for almost 4 continuous hours Saturday, he missed one intriguing story involving Jerome Jackson, SCUM overachiever.

Jerome, a former Junior Nordic coach and volunteer coach for the West Valley XC team for decades, had skied the long Sonot Kkaazoot 12 times before this year. Jerome was well-tapered before the 32nd Annual Sonot Kkaazoot. During early bib pick-up at the Doyon, Ltd. building, he rested on a couch, while Sarah Jackson waited in the line to retrieve her dad’s race bib.

On race day, Jerome situated himself near the back of the 30 km field, and got through the tangle of bodies and ski equipment at the bottom of the first sweeping turn of the North 40 trail unscathed. The trails were wicked fast so Jerome didn’t have to over extend himself. After completing all the Black Loops, Jerome claims that he was distracted by seeing Tom Helmers on a snowmachine so instead of turning right and heading down the Blue Loop, he skied over orange lines painted on the snow and through orange cones and/or V-board to ski out the relay to the Outhouse Loop. Somewhere along the Outhouse or Sunnyside Trails, Jerome realized his error, and confessed his crime when his SCUM mother saw him leaving the Outhouse Loop en route to skiing the missed Blue Loop.

The Jackson Jury reenacted the crime on Sunday to determine what Jerome’s time might had been had he followed Bad Bob’s course markings.

Dermot Cole, whose Sonot finish time was the closest to Jerome’s was selected to ski the extra distance that Jerome would have traveled by skiing Outhouse before the Blue Loop. We had skied the Black loops Sunday so the time and distance on his legs were similar to those Jerome would have had on Saturday.

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Jackson reenactment by Dermot Cole on 3-24-19 (photo by Bill Husby)

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The official race clock

Then the jury deliberated after studying the new evidence acquired:

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Photo of Jackson Jury deliberating –notice that jury included Dr. Eric Buetow, an official timer from Saturday, (Photo by Margaret Brophy)

The jury verdict: Jerome Jackson was guilty of assaulting the official Sonot Kkaazoot race course (or alternatively, was guilty of being the highest achieving SCUM in the 32nd Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot), and thus, deserving of “big wood” recognition from Bad Bob.