Nordic test is spring-loaded |

Nordic test is spring-loaded

Steve Yingling

The road to Kirkwood took a little longer and was a bit windier than usual Saturday, but it sure was more breathtaking.

Instead of State Route 89, more than 250 people made the annual 13-mile climb and glide from Echo Summit to Kirkwood Cross Country Center on skis and snowshoes.

“The terrain is a little more dramatic when you get a little south of the Sierra,” said women’s winner Cherie Kopytko. “The downhill sections were a little more difficult and making the transitions from mountaineering to skiing to skating made it very interesting.”

But the challenging day paid off for the Truckee woman as she won a Nordic event for the first time.

“I’ve been plucking away at it for almost 10 years now, becoming one of the top 10 ladies in the area, but to finally win one is thrilling,” she said.

Kopytko avoided the strong afternoon winds that slowed the late finishers, completing the course in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

However, Kopytko’s road to victory didn’t go off without a few glitches.

“I lost my skin and fell at least two or three times,” she said. “The conditions were real springlike, and I caught a tip on a downhill, but it was good to recover.”

Truckee also produced the men’s winner. Jeff Schloss won a tight four-man race with a time of 1:46:10.

Only 1:35 separated the top four men. Joe Pace of Homewood finished a minute off the winning pace at 147:10 and was closely followed by Ricky Reynolds (147:13) and Paul Cushing (1:47:45).

Douglas Read, who captured the men’s 50-59 class, finished fifth overall. Other men’s age-group winners included Lindsay Crawford, 60 and over, 2:15:53; J.C. Legras, 30 to 39, 1:52:17; Schloss, 40 to 49, 1:46:10; Tomas Bartl, 20 to 29, 1:52:47; and Phillip Violet, 19 and under, 1:54:45. Women’s division winners were Sarah Violet, 19 and under, 2:27:21; Kristen Arnold, 20 to 29, 3:45:42; Kopytko, 30 to 39, 2:02:43; Cheryl Chipman, 40 to 49, 2:14:14; Louise Wholey, 50 to 59, 2:55:52; and Marilyn Gerhard, 5:00:20.

Patty Jo Struve and David Smith claimed the women’s and men’s snowshoe titles, respectively. Struve conquered the 13 miles in 3:56:41, while Smith made it in 3:52:48.

For complete results, see 2B.

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