• Skiers, bikers and runners hit the trails for Homer’s Epic 100
By Sean Pearson
A lot can happen in 62 miles.
Curtis Fincher came all the way from Delaware to bike the Homer Epic 100 race with his son, Curtis Lee. Dad had never been to Alaska in the winter and had never ridden a fatbike.
Kali Guerrini got married at the finish line after completing her 50k-trek. And Bay Club spin-class instructor Annie Ridgley finished third in the 50k, having only ridden a fatbike once last summer. And she just had a baby in November.
Apparently, ultra-marathoners are just a different kind of over-achieving breed.
“So, you have to be a little nuts to do these Alaska winter races,” said volunteer and media coordinator Kathy Sarns-Irwin. “But hey, it’s fun and healthy, and I was impressed by the caliber of athletes who showed up to race.”
Sarns-Irwin, who stepped up after race director Jan Spurkland had to leave town, said this was the third year for the race, which acts as a fundraiser for Kachemak Nordic Ski Club.
“It’s completely put on by volunteers, and everyone did an amazing job.” Sarns-Irwin said. “We got help from the Snomads, and six KNSC volunteer trail groomers — even starting at 2 a.m. on race day — to pack down the wind drifts.”
An ongoing winter of crazy weather left trails in questionable condition. The routes went from frozen mud and shallow snow days before the race, to several feet of new snow that made for a fairly soft trail.
“It’s Alaska, it’s winter and getting a nice, hard-packed trail is the luck of the draw,” Sarns-Irwin said. “So we did the best we could with what Mother Nature handed us.”
She added that the fact that two skiers beat the first cyclist in the 50k shows just how soft the trail was.
In case you are doing the math, 100k is approximately 62 miles, and Sarns-Irwin said each lap had “about 2,800 feet of elevation gain.”
Thirteen of the 44 entrants completed the 100k.
Skier Mike Kramer finished the 100k competition in the fastest time, hitting the finish line in nine hours and eight minutes. Max Kaufman, also on skis, finished just three minutes later.
“Tim Berntson, winner of the 100k bike division, said it was the hardest nine hours of biking he’d done all year,” Sarns-Irwin explained. “And he was second in a bike race to McGrath last month.”
Tamra Kornfield finished the 100k on skis in 17:33 to finish first among women. Biker Teri Buck finished in 18:08.
In the 50k competition, skier Heidi Herzog finished in 4:22; one hour and 22 minutes before male biker Brian Waite hit the finish line. Biker Danielle Dalton finished second among women, crossing the 50k finish line in 5:51. Annie Ridgely, also biking, was third with a time of 6:09.
Following top 50k male biker Brian Waite, Ben Ball and Aaron Wells tied for second place with a biking finish time of 5:53. Patrick Shiflea was third in 6:33.
Laron Thomas was the only athlete to tough it all out on foot, finishing 100k in 16:28. Adam Muhr ran 50k in 9:57.
1. Mike Kramer, 9 hours, 8 minutes (ski); 2. Max Kaufman, 9:11 (ski); 3. Tim Berntson, 9:19 (bike); 4. Eric Flanders, 9:23 (ski); 5. Nicolas Baudin, 10:03 (bike); 6. Stewart Osgood, 10:04 (bike); 7. Justin Libby, 12:03 (bike); 8. Laron Thomas, 16:28 (run); 9. John Zebutis, 16:50 (bike); 10. Ryan Hickel, 17:32 (ski); 11. John Buck, 18:09 (bike).
1. Tamra Kornfield, 17:33 (ski); 2. Teri Buck, 18:08 (bike).
1. Brian Waite, 5:44 (bike); 2. Ben Ball and Aaron Wells (tie) 5:53 (bike); 3. Patrick Shiflea, (bike) 6:33; 4. Bob Gengler, 6:34 (bike); 5. Mark Stewart, 6:40 (bike); 6. Brian Marang, 6:56 (ski); 7. David Hart, 6:59 (bike); 8. Martin Renner, 7:06 (bike); 9. Marc Romano, 7:15 (bike); 10. Tim Thomas, 7:25 (bike); 11. Ed Bennett, 7:41 (bike); 12. Tyndall Ellis, 8:03 (bike); 13. Curtis Lee Fincher, 8:54 (bike); 14. Lucas O’Laughlin, 9:53 (bike); 15. Jesse Kirby, 9:54 (bike); 16. Adam Muhr, 9:57 (run); 17. James Glenn, 10:00 (bike); 18. Curtis Fincher, 10:13 (bike); 19. Martin Hansen, 12:22 (ski).
1. Heidi Herzog, 4:22 (ski); 2. Danielle Dalton, 5:51 (bike); 3. Annie Ridgely, 6:09 (bike); 4. Carolyn Kirchner, 7:04 (bike); 5. Elysia Retzlaff, 7:19 (bike); 6. Christina Bennett, 7:41 (bike); 7. Liz Ellis, 8:03 (bike); 8. Jennifer Glenn, 9:55 (bike); 9. Laura Pillifant, 10:01 (bike); 10. Kali Analia Guerrini, 10:09 (bike).
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