Just finishing the Sonot Kkaazoot is a win for some

Peter Leonard and Kate Fitzgerald are amazing skiers and their 50 km Sonot Kkaazoot victories Saturday were well-deserved. To many of us, just finishing the annual Sonot Kkaazoot is an accomplishment because of our increasing age and health-related challenges.

Among the SCUM organizers of the Sonot Kkaazoot, there were little internal achievements. This year, Byron Broda (who skis with two total knee replacements) beat Bad Bob Baker (whose heart stopped in June 2016 after winning his heat at the Jim Loftus Mile) to the 50 km finish line. Bruce Jamieson, who skied while undergoing chemotherapy had an endurance challenge shorter than that of  Chris Puchner (who is still recovering from a bout of pneumonia). Bruce and Chris both skied at World Masters in Switzerland as did Baker and Owen Hanley, all SCUM volunteers for Saturday’s Sonot Kkaazoot.

Ken Coe, the trail sweep at Birch Hill, followed me from the top of the Sonot Connector and I could hear him behind me as I departed the stadium for the last time, However, I surprised Bob Baker, the Chena River sweep, because I was no longer the red lantern. That was because the wind had picked up a little and Dermot Cole’s layers of clothing became an effective sail holding him back.  Thus, with my left leg cramping, I was able to pass him several km from the finish.

Final 50 km Sonot finisher

Photo by Susie Frei

As the final two 50 km finishers, we got the best bargain on our entry fees (most time per dollar spent). We’ll be back next year. I hope that you will be, too.

 

Thanks to volunteers from 2014 Sonot Kkazoot red lantern

2014 Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km CL finisher

2014 Sonot Kkaazoot 50 km CL finisher--photo by Bad Bob Baker

Thank you to all the volunteers at the Sonot Kkaazoot race. I have never enjoyed pain as much as enduring the Black Hole. The teenagers at the stadium had zest and encouraged me to turn right at the 40k-50k intersection. I feared the reality of the BLACKHOLE, already spent on my 190 cm skis with scales. Repeating over and over on the climbs, the letters: sonot,kk,aa, zoot. More loops with climbs between 30k -35K. Thankfully I did not know my first 50K was the hardest in our country.The volunteers and Bob Baker all standing alone at their stations with beautiful energy as I came slugging by. I promise to buy faster skis for my caboose role next year. Hooray! Thank, Thank You, Thank you for an inspiring event to celebrate another Alaskan winter. Thank you girls by the stadium, and mom with cookies.
Sincerely,
Barb Baysinger