Wickenhauser climbs to top of cosmic randonnee race series

A-Basin win secures overall title

Local resident Bryan Wickenhauser battled adverse weather, horrid snow conditions and fellow local racer Brian Smith to win the final race of the COSMIC randonnee racing series at Arapahoe Basin on Saturday, April 26.



In addition, Wickenhauser set a new course record and secured the overall 2008 COSMIC racing series title.
Wickenhauser was part of a stout local contingent at the event as Smith took second place, Jon Brown finished in fourth and Jake Jones took fifth place at the race.
Jari Kirkland carried the local women’s torch to take second place behind randonnee racing ski-bot Monique Merrill.
Weather conditions the morning of the race had competitors questioning whether to even show up as temperatures were in the high teens with winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour.
“We had a tough time getting mentally prepared to even get out the door,” admits Wickenhauser.
Smith set the pace on the opening climb, charging off the start line with Wickenhauser pushing to hold Smith to within striking distance.
“Brian went out like a rocket,” says Wickenhauser.
Wickenhauser eliminated Smith’s lead on the first descent but Smith retook the lead on the next climb as Wickenhauser opted to hold some fuel in his tank and pace his way up the second climb.
“I definitely didn’t go as hard on the second climb,” says Wickenhauser.
The two racers dropped into an area known as Montezuma Basin for the second descent of the race with Smith in the lead.
But Wickenhauser’s experience on the lightweight racing gear proved the difference as the two skiers battled through nasty conditions.
“It was full of frozen chicken heads and old crusty avalanche debris,” says Wickenhauser. “It was ridiculous.”
The two skiers hit the transition to the next climb even. When they reached the top of the climb to head out on a technical ridge in a windstorm, Smith was in the lead. Smith removed his skis to run the ridge but Wickenhauser kept his on to reach the next descent through a tight couloir in the lead once again.
Wickenhauser’s familiarity with the course proved the difference as he managed to hold Smith off on the final boot pack climb and final descent and finish nine seconds ahead of Smith.
“He was there the whole time,” says Wickenhauser.
Wickenhauser took home $500 for the win and is joined by Brown and Ethan Passant on the overall series podium with Brown taking second place and Passant, who missed a couple races, taking third place.
“I was totally stoked,” says Wickenhasuer of the payday. “I bought gas on the way home. It was the least I could do.”


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