MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (February , 2016) – The City of Lakes Loppet in conjunction with the Minne Tour was a weekend for the determined endurance warriors, a back-to-back marathon weekend for the CXC Marathon Cup.
Not only did skiers who wanted to be eligible for the Marathon Cup have to do two marathons in one weekend, they also had to compete in the Finn Sisu sprints on Friday night before the marathons, to put them in the running to win the overall Minne Tour. CXC Team athletes Chris Pappathopoulos and Natalia Naryshkina claimed another Marathon Cup victory as well as the City of Lakes Loppet Minne Tour overall title.
“I was thrilled to finish the skate marathon in second place and secure the overall victory. Said Chris Pappathopoulos. I’m pleased that my results are improving each race in the CXC Marathon Cup and look forward to the 58k Freestyle Vasaloppet race in Mora, MN February 13th.”
Finn Sisu Freestyle Sprints
The City of Lakes Loppet Festival kicked off the Minne Tour with the Finn Sisu freestyle sprints. In the men’s competition, Zak Ketterson (LNR) dominated throughout the sprint heats all the way to the finals, where he fought to claim a first place victory. Tamer Mische-Richter (Endurance United/Boulder Nordic Sports) and Kyle Bratrud (CXC) battled for second in the final heat, but it was Mische-Richter who stole second from Bratrud by a lunge.
CXC Team athletes, Andrew Brown just missed the podium finishing fourth, Cory Ellertson was 9th, Nick Power 13th and Chris Pappathopoulos was 25th overall in the sprints.
In the women’s sprints, the CXC Team swept the podium. Natalia Naryshkina also won throughout the heats and claimed the sprint title. Alice Flanders and Abby Drach fought for second but it was Flanders who was able to out-lunge Drach and steal second.
42k Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon
In the men’s classic race, the battle to the finish wasn’t over until the final lunge at the finish line. CXC Team athletes Chris Pappathopoulos and Nick Power were neck-and-neck until the finish, but Pappathopoulos had the final burst of energy to lunge a little further to grab first. CXC Team athlete Kyle Bratrud finished third, to round out a CXC men’s podium sweep.
“The ski racing certainly did not disappoint. Said Chris Pappathopoulos. CXC Team Head Coach, Andy Keller put the Toko wax box to good use and prepared some fast Rossignol skis for the Hoigaards Classic on Saturday. Good thing he did because Nick Power pushed me all the way to the line. With the Minne Tour format, after finishing one race, the focus immediately turns to recovering and preparing for the next day’s race.”
In the women’s race, Natalia Naryshkina had a convincing win finishing nearly six and a half minutes over the second place finisher, Bonnie Weiskopf Albrecht (Stillwater, MN) and Josie Nelson (Medicine Lake, MN). Alice Flanders (CXC) just missed the podium, finishing 4th overall.
“The sprint was the easiest race, I felt really good and the skis were fast. Said Natalia Naryshkina. The 42k classic was good as well but my arms got a little heavy at the end of the race, but I really enjoyed the last 15km of the race where I double poled most of it. It was a beautiful day on Sunday for the freestyle race with lots of sunshine! I was a little tired throughout the race and had to push myself all way to the finish. Huge thanks to event organizers and volunteers for an amazing event in Minneapolis! Everything was super!”
42k Columbia Sportswear Freestyle Marathon
n the men’s freestyle race, Alex Vanias (Traverse City, MI) skied to a convincing first place as he finished almost a minute ahead of Chris Pappathopoulos (CXC) and Mark Johnson (Minneapolis, MN) who finished third. CXC Team athletes Nick Power and Andrew Brown just missed the podium due to confusion on the course, causing them both to go the wrong way adding one kilometer to their race. They finished fourth and fifth respectively. CXC Team athlete Cory Ellertson finished 10th to round out four CXC men in the top 10.
“I woke up Sunday morning feeling a little worse for the wear, but still excited to be starting another marathon in a few hours. Said Chris Pappathopoulos. Once the cannon went off on the Columbia Sportswear Skate Marathon the aches and soreness vanished. It was a blast skiing in a train of CXC Craft suits at the start of the race. The main order of the day was to secure the Minne Tour victory which led to a conservative race strategy.”
In the women’s freestyle race, Alice Flanders dominated the race finishing just over six and a half minutes before teammate Natalia Naryshkina and Kim Rudd (Plymouth, MN). CXC Team athletes, Hilary Patzer finished seventh and Abby Drach was 8th to round out four CXC women in the top 10.
“I am convinced that it takes a certain kind of crazy to be excited to race two marathons in two days. Said Alice Flanders. It was surprisingly fun, yet adequately exhausting. I got to ski almost the entire skate race with Tim Donahue and Tyler Gilbert; I must say it is WAY more fun to ski with people and work to push each other faster than any of us would have gone on our own. I am really excited to play in the snow with my new Columbia Jacket I won and am very grateful to all of the sponsors for helping make the event a reality. I look forward to next year!”
CXC MARATHON CUP SCHEDULE
January 16, 2016
January 23, 2016
February 7, 2016
February 13, 2016
Vasaloppet USA / 58K Freestyle
February 20, 2016
American Birkebeiner / 51K Skate
March 5, 2016
Great Bear Chase / 50K Skiathlon