Sure the weather was uncertain, but it wasn’t enough to stop the 44 skiers, bikers and runners crossing the Homer Epic 100 starting line Saturday morning.
The weather did open up some options, however.
“Unique to this year because of the conditions was a 100K event and a 50K,” said Jan Spurkland, race director and president of the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, sponsor of the event.
The race began Saturday morning at McNeil Canyon and looped around a 50K course, with checkpoints along the way.
“We gave the option after one loop to say that was enough,” said Spurkland. “The vast majority did the 50K option and I don’t blame them. Because of all the snow, it was pretty soft out there. The
skiers found it challenging but the bikers found it really difficult. I’m sure there were some tired bodies.”
Only 13 chose to make the second loop and complete all 100 kilometers.
Dramatically different from 2013’s clear skies and packed trail, this year’s race had “a little bit of everything. Saturday morning was so beautiful. It was clear. There was a great sunrise right when the racers were starting, but then by afternoon it was full-on blizzard. Then it cleared up, squalled, and cleared up again. It was a grab bag for sure,” said Spurkland.
The conditions worked in the skiers favor.
“The first two finishers were skiers. It’s the first time skiers have been faster in this type of event,” said Spurkland.
Tim Bernston, first-place bike finisher in the 100K, compared Saturday’s race to other challenging events he’s been in.
“He said it was the hardest nine hours of biking he’d done all year, and he was second in a bike race at McGrath last month,” said Kathy Sarns Irwin, KNSC’s volunteer event and media coordinator.
Taking top honors were:
Mike Kramer, men’s 100K ski,
finishing in 9:08;
Tim Bernston, men’s 100K bike, finishing in 9:19;
Laron Thomas, men’s 100K runner, finishing in 16:28;
Tamra Kornfield, women’s 100K ski, finishing in 17:33;
Teri Buck, women’s 100K bike,
finishing in 18:08.
In addition to Homer racers, there were participants from the Anchorage area, Fairbanks, Soldotna and even the Lower 48.
“There was a father-son pair
and the dad was from Delaware and came up to visit his son and he said, ‘Hey, want to do a bike ride with me?’” said Spurkland of the invitation Curtis Lee Fincher of Homer offered to his visiting father, Curtis Fincher. “The dad had never been in Alaska in the winter and had never ridden a fat bike, but he finished the 50K safely.”
The finish line is a welcome sight in any event, but even more so for one of Saturday’s racers. Upon completing the 50K, Homer entrant Kali Analia Guerrini chose that as the spot to wed Scott Glosser.
“It was such a cool little wedding,” said Spurkland.
Trail grooming by the Snomads, a local snowmachine club, provided help preparing for the race.
“They’re really supportive of us and, because of them, we can do it out there because they use those trails all winter,” said Sarns Irwin.
In spite of the weather and the shorter race option, Sarns Irwin said this year’s Homer Epic 100 was a successful event.
“Everybody had a good experience. Tough, but good experience,” she said.
The Epic 100 serves as a fundraiser for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club. The total raised this year had not been tallied as of Monday, but the race is viewed as an event with great potential for the club and the area.
“What’s cool is that with the rise of endurance races and having Homer as a destination, I think it could turn into something really awesome,” said Sarns Irwin.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homer Epic 100K and 50K
Mike Kramer, male, ski, 9:08
Max Kaufman, male, ski, 9:11;
Tim Bernston, male, bike, 9:19;
Eric Flanders, male, ski, 9:23;
Nicolas Baudin, male, bike, 10:03
Stewart Osgood, male, mike, 10:04
Justin Libby, male, bike, 12:03;
Laron Thomas, male, run, 16:28;
John Zebutis, male, bike, 16:50;
Ryan Hickel, male, ski, 17:32;
Tamra Kornfield, female, ski, 17:33;
Teri Buck, female, bike, 18:08;
John Buck, male, bike, 18:09;
Heidi Herzog, female, ski, 4:33;
Brian Waite, male, bike, 5:44;
Danielle Dalton, female, bike, 5:51;
Ben Ball, male, bike, 5:53;
Aaron Wells, male, bike, 5:53;
Annie Ridgely, female, bike, 6:09;
Patrick Shiflea, male, bike, 6:33;
Bob Gengler, male, bike, 6:34;
Mark Stewart, male, bike, 6:40;
Brian Marang, male, ski, 6:56;
David Hart, male, bike, 6:59;
Carolyn Kirchner, female, bike, 7:04;
Martin Renner, male, bike, 7:06;
Marc Romano, male, bike, 7:15;
Elysia Retzlaff, female, bike, 7:19;
Tim Thomas, male, bike, 7:25;
Christina Bennett, female, bike, 7:41;
Ed Bennett, male, bike, 7:41;
Liz Ellis, female, bike, 8:03;
Tyndall Ellis, male, bike, 8:03;
Curtis Lee Fincher, male, bike, 8:54;
Lucas O’Laughlin, male, bike, 9:53;
Jesse Kirby, male, bike, 9:54;
Jennifer Glenn, female, bike, 9:55;
Adam Muhr, male, run, 9:57;
James Glenn, male, bike, 10:00;
Laura Pillifant, female, bike, 10:01;
Kali Analia Guerrini, female, bike, 10:09;
Curtis Fincher, male, bike, 10:13;
Martin Hansen, male, ski, 12:22;
Joe Martin, male, bike, did not finish.