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Dr. Mike and the 2013 North American VASA

Needs more drool.

Needs more drool.

SSSMST’s Mike Schaeffer headed to some state up north for the 2013 edition of the North American VASA. For those wondering (including yours truly), the VASA isnamed after King Gustav Vasa, a monarch in Sweden several centuries ago and the Vasa Pathway (in said state up north) is also host to three of the Midwest’s most popular ski events!

From Mike: Hi everyone – My beard-cicles we’re nearly as impressive as Aaron’s from last year (but then, I didn’t spend as much time on the course as he did!…) I wish I could speak for Ed, Tony, John, Suneel and Greg, but all seemed to have an excellent time!! We all decided that we should try to get the kids up there next year.. Timber Ridge has nice cabins for rent, right on the race course… (say, isn’t where they filmed the Shining?)

Michigan’s State up north’s largest XC ski race was excellent again this year! Traverse City and Timber Ridge Resort make a beautiful venue, and the Vasa is “top notch” organization. I did the 27K (half marathon) on Saturday followed by 16K Classical style race on Sunday.

I started out cautiously as it was very cold, and the snow was quite slow. Also, without any real races under my belt this year, I was worried about going too hard on this fairly challenging course. I felt really good early-on, but I quelled an urge to go out with the lead group of three, and settled into the 2nd group….

I quickly figured out that I had the fastest-gliding skis in my group, and with a slightly downhill finish, I knew my chance to win a finishing sprint was very good. One of the fastest “veteran” skiers and former overall winner (Cliff Onthank) was in my group, and he succeeded in dropping everyone in the hilly middle section – except me. This made me REALLY suck wind for about 20 minutes, but once we had a nice gap we eased up and traded “pulls” to the finish. So, I had a relatively comfortable race (if you consider reaching your max heart rate multiple times at 0 deg temp “comfortable!!”). I won the sprint for 4th OA, so I improved 3 places from last year and scored another 1st in my AG! Definitely my best “MichiganState up north Cup” race ever.

The 16K classical-style race was not so great, but it was still a beautiful course and excellent snow. I was pretty tired from the day before, and I made some minor waxing mistakes (another learning experience!). I was hoping for a top-ten, but still managed my best-ever classical-style finish (15th OA / 3rd AG), and improved my course PR by almost a minute!

Most importantly, we had a nice group 6 Ohio (yea!) skiers, and much fun was enjoyed at the awards, dinner, and traveling! We managed to snag 7 age-group awards in our 9 combined races! Not too shabby for a rag-tag group of guys from a “tropical” climate! Next year we’ll be pushing to get an even larger group together, and hopefully bring our families. The venue is really kid-friendly and the snow is very reliable!

Ohio's 2013 VASA Award Winners!

Ohio’s 2013 VASA Award Winners!


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