Teton Ridge Classic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sebastian White   
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 10:11

Sam Kriag at Teton Classic RaceSaturday January 12th was the 10th annual Teton Ridge Classic.  This event takes place on the private Teton Ridge Ranch which is just above the town of Tetonia, Idaho.  The terrain for classic skiing is some of the best in the Western US. The race course is on rolling terrain through meadows, Lodgepole and Aspen forests, with views of the valley floor and the Grand Tetons.  The organizers expanded the race course this year to get a full 30K. In 2012, we did 2 laps, this year we did 2.5.  The temp was COLD, hovering near 0F at race start.  GAS / Intrinsik Nordic racers Sam Kreig, Seb White, Tom Owen, Megan Lawson, Rob Knapp and Brian and Amy Frykman were there to compete.

Amy Frykman had a fantastic race and finished overall 4th.  Her comments were:

“Women’s field was smaller than last year – by about half.  It was COLD. The cold and icy driving conditions may explain why turnout was down. Perhaps because of the cold, the race took FAR longer than I’d budgeted for. My time last year was around 1:39, and the course was advertised as a 27 or 28K (can’t remember). This year, it was 2:28:30 – 50 minutes longer. I had imagined it would be 25 minutes or so longer. Boy was I wrong.  Brutal! The long race makes it tough to keep your energy stores topped off. It’s hard to consume enough calories via the Dixie-cups of Heed energy drink offered up by volunteers at the feed stations, especially considering it’s easy to dump a third or so out while trying to grab a cup and drink it with bulky gloves and ski poles attached to your hands! I had a good start and after the first lap was stuck about 30 seconds behind a group that had at least one woman in it. All of the places I recalled kick-double-poling last year were diagonal only – again more evidence of the cold, slow conditions.

Megan Lawson and Amy Frykman at Teton Classic Race

About half way through the 2nd lap, I got passed by Gro Lunde (Bozeman) after one of the fast descents. I caught her on the next climb; she passed me on the next big descent. Needless to say she’s fearless and skilled at descents. We traded leads a couple more times, with me passing her on a climb, and she passing me on a descent. She zoomed past me on the last big descent and got a good 10 second lead on me. I pushed pretty hard during the next climb and passed her just before the final feed zone, about 3K from the finish. She quipped, “I sure hope there’s a long downhill coming up,” and we both laughed in acknowledgment. The final climb out to the finish descent was brutal. Steep, poorly-groomed, no classic track for most of it and lots of downed bits of pine needles and branches. Slow, clumsy and exhausting. And at that point my muscles were so stiff and tired – a combination of the long effort and brutal cold. Since the final lap was different than the first two, we hadn’t done this climb before, and as it winded its way up, up, up through the trees, it seemed as though it never would end. Finally, a turn to the right, and the descent in sight. I took the descent as fast as I could stomach, imagining Gro on my heels the whole time. One final short—though seemingly eternal—climb to the finish, and then done. I ended up finishing 4th with a time of 2:28:30, behind Robin McGee (in 3rd at 2:27:45), Muffy Ritz (in 2nd at 2:27) and Elizabeth Youngman, who schooled the rest of us with a 2:15:43 finish.”

Brian raced superbly and finished 5th overall for his best overall performance in a regional nordic event to date.  Here are his comments:  “The men’s 30K race was very tactical. Because it was so cold and slow, no one wanted to be in front, so there were lots of accelerations and slow-downs as people jostled out of the first position. After the start, Sam and I were part of a lead group of nine, including 3 former Olympians – good company! We stayed together for most of the first lap.  At the top of the final climb, at the end of the first lap, I put in an acceleration and the lead group busted up. Eventually, a handful of riders caught back on. Unfortunately, the attack effort took its toll and I ended up dropping off of the back. Sam and I were together then, and dueled it out step for step on the big climb on lap 2, but then Sam dropped me toward the top of the climb. The last lap was short, but brutal.

Sam Krieg at Teton Classic Race

The final climb was so hard and steep, at one point I stopped in the trail to rest. I later learned that Sam had done the same thing. We were both in no-man’s land – meaning not another racer in sight. I ended up 5th with a time of 2:06:42, and Sam was 4th with 2:04:15.  Montana racer Landon Beckner was poised to win the race, but he and another racer got off course, turning too early in the final lap. “

In the end, Seb finished 25th after a tight duel with his racing group to the finish line.  Tom Owen raced exceptionally to finish 34th. Tom had just completed (the day before the race) a near 140mile, 3-day skate ski tour of Yellowstone National Park to celebrate his birthday.  We were all amazed at Tom’s endurance and speed in this year’s TRC after his long tour.  But, no real surprises there from the multiple Equinox 24hr ski champion.

Brian Frykman podium at Teton Classic Race

Race results:

Next up in 2 weeks is Sacagawea classic 30km @ Bohart Ranch or the OSCR 50km marathon in Seeley Lake.  Will this year be Big Fryk’s debut on the OSCR course?  Stay tuned…