Timing is everything! In the third SRC Race this season, Spaceman Winch ran the two NASTAR courses in a total time of 57.04 seconds, a feather ahead of Rick Duckworth, whose total was 57.06 seconds. Rick had the faster time on the Yellow course, but the Spaceman flew down the Blue course faster, and by a greater margin. Spaceman earned a Gold medal, and Rick earned Platinum. Why the difference?
NASTAR uses experienced racers as Pacesetters to make race results comparable across the nation despite differences in courses and snow conditions. Pacesetters race against US Ski Team members multiple times to develop a personal handicap factor by comparing their average times with US Ski Team member’s times. Each NASTAR race has a “par” time, nominally what the fastest member of the US Ski Team would be expected to achieve, based on the Pacesetter’s time and personal handicap factor. Pacesetter Chad Koenig ran Sugarbush’s courses on January 18 in 58.10 seconds total, setting individual course par times of 24.63 and 24.18 seconds.
NASTAR medals are awarded based on the individual racer’s performance on each course, adjusted by their handicap and the par time. On a given day, a racer may earn Platinum on the Yellow course, and Bronze on Blue. NASTAR awards one physical medal per year of the highest rank earned by each racer.
Spaceman and Rick both beat Chad’s time and were the only ones to do so. Spaceman earned Gold on the Blue course, and Rick earned his Platinum on the Yellow.
My (Michael McGuirk) average time the last two seasons has been about 49 seconds for one run, so the US Ski Team members are going about twice as fast. I don’t see how they do it.
The January 18th race saw increased participation: 13 women and 33 men. Danielle Hampton continued her dominance, beating Elizabeth Walker by 1.1 seconds. Lauri Landau finished third almost 5 seconds later. Cheryl Brayman finished only 0.1 second behind Laurie, while there was another 5 second gap before Cindy Carr finished in fifth place. Janyce Goba, Nancy Coombs, Caryl Hurwitz, Mary Carol White, and Barbara Brady rounded out the top ten, with Barbara Brady just edging Louise Messner out of tenth.
After the stars Winch and Duckworth, the men had a seven second gap to Peter Wicklund’s third place finish. Joseph Seymour, David Ellison, Al Hobart, Jula Fender, James Cutchins, Ray Bollerud, Gunnar Sievert, and Alvan Carr all finished in the next seven seconds, which gives a sense of how big the gap is between the top two and the rest of the field.
The post-race gathering at the Smokehouse also saw increased participation. The race video was shown in a loop, and the ribs and chicken provided were excellent and abundant. Several members remarked that they had not eaten at the Smokehouse in a long time, but intended to return soon. The mood was appropriately muted, as many members privately shared memories of the late John King.
An Advanced Race Clinic is being offered Jan 31 on Sugarbush’s Spring Fling trail. The next race is Feb 1, followed by the post-race at Hyde Away. The annual Dinner Dance, always a highlight of the season, will be Feb 6 at American Flatbread.