SEELEY, Wisconsin (January 16, 2016) – Sub zero temperatures greeted the opening day of the inaugural CXC Marathon Cup series for the 42k Seeley Hills Classic. The intense cold forced race director Dennis Kruse to shorten both the 42k and 22k classic to 38k and 18k.
In the men’s 38k classic, Brian Gregg (Minneapolis, MN), Matt Liebsch (Osseo, MN) and CXC Team Member Nick Power (Duluth, MN), worked together in the front pack throughout the race, until after the halfway point where Gregg and Liebsch pulled away from Power. In the final stretch of the race, Gregg and Liebsch got tangled up behind a participant skiing the 18k. Gregg had the easier access around and was able to out-sprint Liebsch to the finish line by only one second. Power finished just under two and a half minutes behind Gregg.
“A huge thanks to the volunteers and race coordinators who made this race possible despite the cold. The weather made for great classic skiing with perfect kick and fast tracks.
It is always fun to ski with my good friend Matt Liebsch and Nick Power who is also a strong skier and really strong at double pole. It was fun to play around with each other throughout the course each having different surges at different spots on the course and we had a good time.
I wish there would have been a more fair sprint at the end, but it just worked out that there was only one track open at the end and so we were fighting for that track. Matt and I have switched off beating each other at this race in previous year and last year Matt beat me so it is fun to switch it up and ideally it’s nice to take the win.“ Said Brian Gregg.
CXC Team member Chris Pappathopoulos (Sun Prairie, WI) trailed behind in fourth place, along with teammates Andy Brown (St. Paul, MN) who finished seventh overall and Cory Ellertson who finished 23rd.
In the women’s 38k classic, CXC Team member Natalia Naryshkina (St. Petersburg, Russia) was in a league of her own throughout the race, skiing in the lead and continuing to lengthen the gap between the second place skier, Elaine Nelson (Duluth, MN). Despite skiing by herself throughout the race, Naryshkina fought hard until the finish. Naryshkina claimed first place by a convincing 10 minutes ahead of Nelson and Josie Nelson (Minneapolis, MN) who finished third.
“I had a very good day today, but it was very cold. My hands and toes were very cold in the beginning of the race, but somehow warmed up later in the race. The classic track was in excellent shape and I raced most of the course at a consistent pace and went a little bit faster towards the end. My skis worked very well during the whole race, glide and kick was perfect. Huge thanks to Bruce Manske and Toko for taking care of my skis. The whole race was organized on the highest level, big thanks to Dennis Kruse! ” – Shared Natalia after the finish.
CXC MARATHON CUP SCHEDULE
January 16, 2016
January 23, 2016
Noquemanon Ski Marathon / 50K Classic
February 7, 2016
City of Lakes Loppet / Minne Tour or Loppet Challenge
February 13, 2016
Vasaloppet USA / 58K Freestyle
February 20, 2016
American Birkebeiner / 51K Skate
March 5, 2016
Great Bear Chase / 50K Skiathlon