Nordic skiers Kaitlyn Patterson and Ryan Harris represented Athletic Mentors well at the Forbrush Corner 17k Freestyle on February 15. With temperatures above zero, sunny skies and minimal wind, the participants received a great day for competition success. The Forbrush Corner track is filled with hills, creating a tough, always climbing or descending course. Kaitlyn dominated the race with a first place finish while Harris had an intense battle that landed him third place.
The men’s start was a little rough out of the gate given a few crashes before the first turn and during the wide climb. Skiers were ultra aggressive in getting to the front. Ryan Harris, alongside two other racers, broke away from the pack and had a clear lead, already minutes ahead of any other competitors. At the finish, Ryan was just barely beat by the two competitors; only two seconds separated first thru third place. He finished third with a time of 50:12.
The women’s top three was fairly tight as well, given the 40-second separation of the three places. Kaitlyn led the pack and performed at a fast pace, finishing first for the women and only ten minutes behind the men’s winner with a time of 60:10.
Kaitlyn credits part of her fast performance to the new, RCS Carbonlite hole skis she invested in during the middle of the season. Her new skis are ultra-light, responsive and overall give a faster feel.
“As much as I wanted to think that a strong engine can overcome sub-par equipment, I finally admitted that skis matter a lot in Nordic skiing,” she said. “Even with a warm base structure on cold races, they made a huge difference.”
Kaitlyn felt that she finally put everything together ‚Äî the powerhouse she’s been creating in training felt good and coupled with her new skis, she raced very well.
Although 5 degree weather doesn’t seem warm, competitors were relieved that the conditions were far less brutal than the VASA race the previous weekend, where the temperatures reached several degrees below zero. It was enjoyed enough that according to Kaitlyn, the sun gave ample warmth for post-race food and drinks on the patio.
“Overall, another great day of racing in Northern Michigan,” Kaitlyn said.