Monday, March 29, 2010

50k Buckwheat Classic

A great weekend of nordic skiing, meeting people, great food, scenic ferry rides, and sore bodies!

We left Juneau on the 7a ferry out of Auke Bay.  No car since they were booked, so we carried our skis, food and camping gear. 
Our seats on the solarium deck of the LeConte

Goodbye Juneau!

 Views along the way ...

With a short stopover in Haines we were in Skagway around 2p.  After arrival, a sandwich at the smoothie shop was in order followed by bib pickup (and race swag; long sleeve shirt, ice scraper, fleece headband, ...) The first night we stayed at Sgt. Preston's Hotel for a good night sleep. 

On Sat. morning we went to the included pancake and sausage breakfast and met some nice folks (Chip and Eric) to drive us over the border to the race and back.  We were met at breakfast by Buckwheat himself and his great stories. After a half hour we felt like we knew everyone there ... and everyone in Skagway by the time we left for Juneau.
Sunny, dry, and cold in Canada at Log Cabin

Sorry no race pics, but that is probably for the better.  It was a beautiful area filled with small frozen lakes and meadows and surrounded by peaks.  The race was just below treeline, about 2500ft.  Not much climbing but filled with long loops around lakes and narrow ski trails through the pines.  No long hills but some steeper short sections.  We were both pretty beat after the race, and are both still sore today!  We couldn't compete with the Canadian national team racers and/or Olympians but what a great event.  It was also a great learning experience for my first time on hard wax this season and second time ever.  Klister is the call of Juneau.  Hillary was close to one of the Canadian team racers for much of the way and plans on beating her next year!

Not many people do the 50k (about a baker's dozen) with the 10k and 25k going on as well, so as we struggled with our last 10k we kept passing by a big snow castle (Aid Station) with smells of hamburgers and cheers from margarita drinking and Tequila shots.  Maybe the 25k will be in order next year so we can get the whole experience.  

After arriving back in Skagway Chip offered us a shower before we set off to camp, which was a nice alternative to a jump in the frigid Skagway River!  We set up camp by the river bridge in a nice secluded spot

Home after the race!

A race dinner followed that included Alaskan beer, seafood chowder in an enormous bread bowl, salad, pasta, prawns, and pie.  Talk about a meal!  Just what we needed, although they were confused why Hillary did not want the seafood chowder.  They thought she was Vegan or something, why would someone not eat seafood?  The awards ceremony followed where awards were given out to all the Yukoners that won the races (there were two Alaskans mixed in somewhere).  We would have loved to stay for the after party, but our bodies were really falling apart at that point.  We had a nice sleep in the tent and got some breakfast at the only other place open in town, The Sweet Tooth Cafe.  Delicious!  We stopped for a second time at The Mountain Shop for their whole store discounts and packed up camp.  Our camp was about a mile and a half from the ferry terminal, but as soon as we stepped on the road with all of our gear a guy in a pick-up pulled up and gave us a ride to the terminal along with a full driving tour of town with the sites pointed out (grocery store and airport).
Leaving Skagway in the wind

 Eldred Rock Lighthouse in Lynn Canal

Epic Fade under the heat lamps in the Solarium

It got dark around 8:15-8:30 and we arrived back in Juneau around 9p.  A great weekend and an event that we will surely do again next year!

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