OTM Correspondent Jon Jonckers reports on Langlauf:
The never-ending shoveling last month insured that there would be more than enough snow for the Langlauf Race this year, however the rain in recent days didn’t insure the snow would be very enjoyable. Eric Barrett and I met in a parking lot to carpool up the mountain to the Spokane nordic trails, and we both cringed at the weather. We each asked the other one what he was wearing for the race, as if a rainshell or softshell decision might determine anything.
The conditions in the parking lot around 9:00 AM, two hours before the race, were cold and foggy but not too windy. Thankfully, these were fairly fast snow-conditions. We did a portion of the course to test skis and warm up. Eric generously loaned me his older racing skis and so I gave them a short test run. They were the fastest track skis I’ve ever used.
All in all, the day did prove to be among the fastest in Langlauf history. Since Snoqualmie Pass was closed earlier, there’s no telling if any west side cross country skiers could have contributed to some even faster times, but the 2008 winning time crushed last years rainy, winning times by a long shot. The first place finisher, Erik Bjornsen from Winthrop, blew over the 10k course in 27:22 – the fastest time in the past four years. Perhaps even more impressive, six people finished under 31 minutes.
This also marked the Pearl anniversary (30th year) for the Langlauf, and in an effort to show some pearl spirit – plastic pearl necklaces were given to all 259 finishers.
Following the race, inside the Selkirk Lodge, I have to say the soup was fantastic and the coffee was excellent. Sure hope all of these elements can come together again next year.