FORT KENT, Maine — It was all about endurance Wednesday as 75 of the top Nordic skiers from around North America lined up for the USSA Cross Country 50- kilometer and 30-kilometer races at the 10th Mountain Lodge.
Canada’s Ivan Babikov of the Nordic Foothills Ski Club took North American gold in the men’s 50K event with a time of 2 hours, 4.9 seconds. North American silver and US gold went to Team CXC Vertical Limit’s Tad Elliott who finished in 2:00:22.7.
Men’s North American and US bronze was claimed by Lars Flora of the APU Nordic Ski Center in 2:00:35.4.
On the women’s side, it was Alaska’s Kikkan Randall from the APU Nordic Ski Center/US Ski Team coming in first in the 30K to claim North American and US gold with a time of 1:23:52.1. Second and third places went to Rebecca Dussault and Holly Brooks, in 1:23:53.4 and 1:23:54.0, respectively.
Dussault skis for CXC Team Vertical Limit while Brooks is on the APU Nordic Ski Center Team.
“I got to control the race going into the final hill,” Randall said.
Before hitting the hill the racers entered an open field where Randall found herself in front.
“I knew I was going to be stuck out there [in front],” she said. “I didn’t think a lot of people were going to want to take the lead [but] I skied my own rhythm and knew I had a lot left for the finish.”
Randall was fresh off her World Cup performance in Europe and confessed to a bit of jet lag after celebrating the end of the World Cup and flying into Maine earlier this week.
“My body doesn’t really know what to think right now,” she said at the finish.
Fort Kent’s Grace Boutot finished her first 30K race in 1:36:23.2 as the only junior woman participating in the event.
“The longest race I completed before this was 15-kilometers,” she said at the finish line. “I was asking myself why I did this but I was determined to stick it out and finish the race.”
This past weekend Boutot, who trains at the 10th Mountain Lodge, took part in the US and North American Biathlon Championships in Fort Kent, winning junior women’s gold in the pursuit, sprint and mass start.
Stockholm’s Russell Currier, skiing for the MWSC team and the gold medalist from Sunday’s mass start biathlon championship race, completed the 50K race in 2:07:29.9, to claim 16th place.