“I managed to keep upright just long enough”
Jason Stubbe held off a last dash from Pat O’Neill down Washington Gulch to win the 2008 Super Tour on Saturday, March 8.
The event is put on by the Crested Butte Nordic Center and is the brainchild of Nordic Center director Keith Bauer.
Sixty-seven skiers showed up for the second annual event under cloudy skies and spitting snow—prime race conditions.
“It was kind of an ugly day, but a good day to do that race,” says Stubbe.
Stubbe, O’Neill, Travis Scheefer and the Nuttelman brothers made up the bulk of the lead pack heading toward the Town of Gothic. Once there, Stubbe made a move to gain a slight gap on a small hill leaving the Gothic townsite and headed for the first transition at the start of the Trail 403.
The race followed a track 2,000 vertical feet up to an area known as “top of the world” above the Elkton townsite at an elevation of 11,420 feet.
Stubbe maintained his slim lead on the climb, avoiding temptation along the way as much as he could.
“Dave and Missy Ochs had been out before the race and they had booze, chocolate and GU packets spread out along the trail,” says Stubbe.
On the descent, Stubbe and several others opted to keep their skins on until they reached Elkton, battling “variable” conditions while following a snowmobile track set by Bauer.
Stubbe hung it all out on the descent to maintain his lead on O’Neill when the trail turned onto Washington Gulch Road.
“I probably crashed six or eight times on the downhill,” admits Stubbe. “I’ve never been in the front of a ski race before so I didn’t know how to react. With guys like O’Neill, Travis Scheefer and the Nuttelman brothers behind me, I was running scared.”
Stubbe could feel O’Neill’s fury all the way down Washington Gulch Road, adapting his technique to the road conditions.
“It was gorilla track,” says Stubbe of the road. “It wasn’t two-track and it wasn’t skating. Pat O’Neill was hot on my trail. I just kept feeling the heat. I managed to keep upright just long enough.”
Stubbe finished the race in a time of two hours and seven minutes. O’Neill came in 39 seconds later and Travis Scheefer finished in third place with a time of two hours, 11 minutes and 59 seconds.
Carol Quinn took first place among the women, 16th overall, with a time of 2:47:59. Emma Catmur finished in second place, 20th overall, in a time of 2:54:13 and Larissa Sigurdsen came in third place, 27th overall, with a time of 3:05:10.
“Keith Bauer did a fantastic job putting it together,” says Stubbe. “There was some good energy out there.”