BELLINGHAM — Racing against Olympians prevented two-time Ski to Sea champions The Bagelry from a three-peat in the 2010 race Sunday, May 30.
Instead Boss Construction took its first Competitive Open division title in what amounted to a coup against powerhouses Barron Heating and The Bagelry.
Boss came out with a win in the 90-mile, seven-leg race from Mt. Baker Ski Area to Bellingham Bay that, for a brief moment, had them behind second-place finishers Barron Heating. Boss completed the race in five hourse, 47 minutes, 55 seconds, beating Barron to the line by five minutes, 18 seconds.
“It was awesome; there were great conditions; we had fast times,” Boss kayaker Eric Moll said. “We couldn’t have had a better team.”
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It was one that included cross-country skier Ivan Babikov, who took fifth place during the 2010 Winter Olympics in the men’s 30-kilometer pursuit, while racing for Team Canada.
For Bagelry kayaker Jeff Hilburn, the Olympic athletes — Team USA cross-country skier Torin Koos represented Barron — made repeating his team’s past two victories difficult.
“The whole race was brought to a new level with the Olympians,” Hilburn said of The Bagelry’s third-place finish in the Competative Open division and fourth-place finish overall in 6:01:49.
Max Taam of Aspen, Colo., maintained the Boss Construction team’s lead and even widened it as he skied the downhill leg.
“I was psyched. The first time out here, and I had no idea what to expect,” said Taam, a member of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Team. “I was psyched to keep the lead.”
Barron’s road biker, Adrian Hegyvary, sped into Riverside Park just after 10:30 a.m. Sunday, about two minutes ahead of Boss Construction’s Sam Johnson.
“It was a little wet up top, a little cold, but the wind wasn’t bad,” Hegyvary said.
The Barron biker said he was slowed a bit in the early going by rough pavement, which bothered the surgically repaired collarbone he broke just three weeks ago, but after that he was able to pedal the kind of race he wanted.
Johnson said he got Hegyvary in his sights and managed to narrow but not close the gap.
“I was hoping I could catch this guy, but I never did,” Johnson said as he and Hegyvary stood astride their bikes side by side near the finish line.
“I had you within a minute at one point,” Johnson told Hegyvary. “But then I lost my focus for about 10 minutes. I realized I wasn’t going as hard as I could.”
Boss canoeists Bill Torongo and Steve Corlew, both of Michigan, retook the lead for good.
The Boss Construction Masters division team placed third overall and came in first in its division, as 50-year-old Philippe Boccai crossed the finish line at 6:00:04.
His teammates Kent Murdoch and Chris Tolonen, the cross-country and downhill skiers respectively, said competition this year was tough, also noting the Olympians.
Tolonen said one competitor making the 1,000-foot climb before the downhill ski descent was literally sprinting up the hill.Beavers Tree Service won the Whatcom County Open division in 6:03:19. Kayaker Brandon Nelson put his arms around anyone he saw in the crowd after his victory.
The 38-year-old Sudden Valley resident said the race was near perfect for him.
“It was exactly as I dreamed it would be,” Nelson said. “It was exactly what I said it would be earlier in the week.”
Nelson said he was about a minute and 10 seconds behind Runningshoes.com kayaker Peter Marcus before overtaking him and crossing the finish line about two minutes ahead.
“I’m starting to come into my own as a racer,” Nelson said, smiling. “I’ve been training all year. … This is the race I wanted to peak with this season.”
Perennial Competitive Women division winners, Boundary Bay Brewery, claimed its eleventh-straight title, earning the 19th overall finish with a time of 6:36:57.
Kayaker Tracy Landboe said the winds made the water choppy. She was out of breath but pleased after ringing the finish line bell.
“I’ve got great teammates,” she said, as supporters hugged her and cheered on more than a decade of wins for the team.