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Crested Butte Nordic Team opens race season in Breckenridge

Woody Martineau on a quest

by Than Acuff

The Crested Butte Nordic Team (CBNT) got their first test among their peers as they headed to the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge for the first Junior National Qualifier races of the season on Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18.

The team opened their training over a month ago, including their annual trip to West Yellowstone for the Thanksgiving Camp. And since the snow started falling, coach Molly Susla and her athletes have been hitting it hard in preparation for the upcoming season. Susla and her assistant coaches have been working their skiers through everything, mindful of technique whilst getting in intervals, the requisite long-distance workouts as well as strength workouts at Western State Colorado University (WSCU) and CORE Fitness in Crested Butte.

“The training has been going really well, it’s been fantastic skiing since Thanksgiving,” says Susla. “We’ve been able to do training six days a week.”

All the work then came to a head in Breckenridge as four CBNT athletes made the trip to Breckenridge, joined by former CBNT athlete Aiden Truettner, who is now racing for Michigan Tech.

The weekend opened with individual start skate races across all age groups and U18 racer Woody Martineau squared off against all the skiers from his age group in the Rocky Mountain Nordic Division as well as several collegiate racers from programs such as Denver University, University of Colorado and WSCU.

Martineau had 10 kilometers to make his mark on the weekend and he made the most of it. While coaches yelled splits, Martineau pushed hard through the two-lap course reaching second place by the second lap among his U18 peers and placing eighth overall.

“We were out there just shouting these statistics at Woody and he’s got enough drive that he could do it and he did,” says Susla. “It was really exciting.”

Truettner posted a top-10 result among the U20 collegiate racers, finishing the race in eighth place.

Seve Petersen has a tough season ahead of him. Petersen jumped into the U16 age group this year after a successful run the past two years at U14.

“It’s typically one of the hardest age groups to jump up to,” says Susla.

Petersen worked hard to stay on pace for his first race of the season and managed to push hard enough to place 15th in his five-kilometer race.

Oliver White opened the season with a 14th place finish and Finn Veit had the top result of the team when he won the U10 age group on Saturday.

The team then lined up Sunday morning for the classic races and was met with somewhat optimal conditions for racing.

“Sunday was pretty cold and sunny, high of 6 degrees, which made for easy kick waxing for the classic race,” says Susla.

Martineau and Truettner duked it out with the vast field of U20 and U18 racers in the 10-kilometer classic mass-start race. Martineau posted another top-10 finish, closing the weekend with a seventh place among his age group, 17th overall, while Truettner was right behind him in 18th place.

Petersen continued his effort in the U16 age group to remain in the top 20, placing 18th in his five-kilometer classic race. Susla feels he will continue to climb the ranks as the season continues.

“I thought he raced well and he does tend to get better throughout the year,” says Susla.

Following his race on Saturday, White lined up Sunday determined to make some strides and punched his way into the top 10 with a ninth-place finish.

“He reassessed his goals and went for it,” says Susla. “This year something is clicking and he’s skiing really well.”

Meanwhile Veit stepped onto the podium once again, placing second on Sunday.

With the Nordic skiing so good and the holidays upon us, Susla and her coaches will have the competitive and devo teams continue training the next three weeks, taking advantage of the conditions and the span of free time. They return to racing action the third week in January when they head to Aspen.

Martineau, on the other hand, has an entirely different plan during the next three weeks.

“We have him on an intense plan,” says Susla. “His goals are to qualify for either the Junior Worlds or the Nations Cup.”

Martineau is headed to Soldier Hollow for Senior Nationals January 7-11 and therefore will be on an entirely different plan the next three weeks.

“He’s going to train super hard for two weeks and then taper really hard,” explains Susla.

Senior Nationals will be a showcase of some of the top Nordic ski racers in the nation and Susla feels it will be a great experience for Martineau—he may make some waves in his age group.

“Within his age group, he’s got a good shot,” says Susla. “It’s going to be hard but it will be wicked good competition for him.”

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