Keeping the silent sports community informed and self propelled.
Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon to go on; Four Midwesterners named to U.S. Ski Team and head to Junior Worlds
The Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon, in its 31st year, will take place this Saturday in Bemidji, Minnesota, although low snow has required shortening race distances and containing the courses within the Buena Vista Ski area, the Bemidji Pioneer reports. The event will feature three 24K races and one 36K freestyle race rather than the usual 25K and 50K distances.
Lack of snow resulted in the cancelation of the Mora Vasalopet last weekend, leading the Pioneer to claim that the Minnesota Finlandia will be "the first race in the state to take place on natural snow."
Able-bodied athletes have something to learn from participants in the Special Olympics Winter Games, held in Traverse City, Mich., last weekend.
As Kimberly Purdy, spokeswoman for Special Olympics Michigan, told the Leader and Kalaskian, “Our athletes have faced adversity all of their lives. The weather doesn’t get them down. They just adjust to it, and we adjust with them."
Next weekend, Hudson, Wis. attorney Mark Gherty will ski his 24th American Birkebeiner and his fourth for Team Fox, a charitable organization that raises money for research into Parkinson's disease, which afflicts Gherty's sister.
“She’s always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. She’s the one I call after the race and let her know how it went,” Gherty, 59, told the Pierce County Herald. “As long as I can keep skiing, I’ll ski for (her)."
As expected, Lakeville North High School's Ben Saxton defended his title at the Minnesota Nordic skiing championship on Thursday. The real surprise was Jake Richards, a Detroit Lakes senior, finishing second. Richards came in 37th a year ago.
“It was just crazy,” Richards told InForum of Fargo-Moorhead. “No one had an idea on who would finish second and I had a really good day. I was super happy with how it went and everything fell into play perfectly.”
Cedar Falls, Iowa, bike shop owners say their spike in sales in recent years give credence to a recent University of Northern Iowa study showing bicycling has a $364.8 million economic impact on the state annually.
The study said bike shops, like those in Cedar Falls, have sold about 18,300 bikes, according to the Cedar Falls Patch.
Dale Ernst, 48, of Sandusky, Mich., helped a 75-year-old blind woman ski to an age-group win in a 12K race at the North American Masters Cross Country Ski Championships in Traverse City, Mich., according to the Times Herald.
Ernst himself competed Saturday in a race that was delayed an hour due to more three inches of new snow.
The ultimate "ski shack" stands just a mile from the Birkie Trail, down which owner Bill Gorham will race the American Birkebeiner for his 16th time next weekend. His wife, Marilyn, a recreational skier, will cheer him on.
He and his wife had their 3,000-square-foot dream cabin built after buying 10 wooded acres in 2000 near the Co. Hwy. OO trailhead, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports in this piece appearing in the newspaper's Home & Garden section.
CNN has tried to reinvent the (ahem) wheel by coming up with its own list of most bike-friendly U.S. cities. Check out the list on its website.
Not surprisingly -- maybe because the League of American Bicyclists (which the authors consulted) uses objective standards to determine the same annually -- CNN's list of eight (why only eight?) bike-friendly cities is topped by Portland, Minneapolis and Boulder. (In 2010, Bicycling magazine ranked Minneapolis at the very top of a list of 50, and above Portland. CNN appears to have reversed that outcome.)
Mountain bikers in Wausau, Wis., have only just formed their own club. But if they are to build singletrack trails at Rib Mountain State Park, as their organizers wish to do, they may want to marshal forces with a mountain bike club in Stevens Point and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, which announced Tuesday it will soon assume advocacy for mountain biking statewide.
The Central Wisconsin Offroad Cycling Coalition, as the Wausau-area club is calling itself (see its Facebook page here), wants to help maintain existing trails, including those at the Nine Mile County Recreation Area, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.
"Off The Couch" blog scribe Tom Held did double duty leading up to and through the weekend of the American Birkebeiner. I caught up with him in Hayward and Cable, but it wasn't easy.
By the time he made it to the Moccasin Bar Saturday afternoon, he'd skied the 54K classic race in 3:31:51 (an hour faster than me, as usual), finishing at 11:30 a.m., in time to attend a noon press conference and then file this story for the blog and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports section.
Two silver streaked upper Midwesterners demonstrate how to stay extraordinarily active at their ages.
George Hovland, 85, of Duluth, Minn., may have skied his 33rd American Birkebeiner last Saturday a bit too close to the edge, however. The owner of the Snowflake Nordic Center was reportedly experiencing atrial fibrillation for much of the eight hours and 25 minutes it took him to complete the 54K classic course.
The return of Hales Corners, Wis., native Richard Dodd as a marathon runner, after years of alcoholism, is the subject of a hopeful column by Doug Moe in today's Capital Times.
A 2:19 marathoner -- as was his twin brother, Pete -- in the 1980s, Richard Dodd is running again. And running well. At Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon last October, Dodd won the 50-59 age group in 3:03:49, earning him a return to the Boston Marathon this April.