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Hot & Fast: The 2008 edition of the PPP proves scorching, while two skiers take Europe by storm 

click to enlarge shortly after landing in their invisible jet.
  • shortly after landing in their invisible jet.
shortly after landing in their invisible jet. Pole Pedal Paddle

"It's hot, it's damn hot!" This classic line from O Brother, Where Art Thou must have played over and over again in the minds of many of the PPP racers on Saturday. Scorching temperatures reaching up into the 90s made for one of the hottest PPPs in history. This sentiment was the main topic of conversation among competitors after Saturday's race.

"Even the two skiing legs were hot today," said Colin Mahood, one of the first competitors to begin the journey down from the mountain, competing in the men's elite division. Jenny Ruiter was happy to cross the finish line and proud of finishing her first individual PPP race. "The run was so hot." She added that the kayaking stretch was a relief, as she was able to dip her hands in the water to cool off. Jen and Josh Newton, who competed as a pair in the race, echoed most everyone I talked to. "The sun was just beating off the rocks toward the end of the run. Sorry if I'm a little spacey right now, but it was just so hot out there!" exclaimed Josh. Brad Bond also discussed the difficulty during the run due to the lack of shade on the course. Overall, he was quite pleased to knock around five minutes off his individual time from last year. "I think I would attribute all five minutes to better borrowed gear," joked Brad. Brad and his wife Amy Peterson came up one kayak short. In order to both complete the race as individuals, Bond and Peterson simply shared the one kayak. After crossing the finish line in second place overall in the women's elite division, Peterson couldn't talk to the press as she had to trek back to the kayak exchange to complete her last leg of the day: the kayak transport.

More classic blunders and stories were accumulated over the weekend. "My boat is filling up with water!" I heard one gal frantically shout out to friends cheering her on at the Old Mill footbridge. Bloody knees, elbows, and faces were displayed on many wounded competitors. Peterson, chasing down female elite winner, Sara Max, said they both went down hard on the icy Nordic leg. Sara's leg wound told the story, while Peterson's skin faired better covered in Lycra. Ken Roadman added to his long list of PPP memories walking around the run/kayak exchange with plastic bags covering his feet. Roadman discovered he lacked a pair of shoes after finishing the bike leg, handing off the baton to his son, Brandon, to run.

Others ended up finding perfect partners to compete in the race. Jen Stone, unable to kayak due to an injury, teamed up with Kerie Raymond, who was also injured and unable to run. "We made for a perfect team," remarked Stone with a smile. Nancy Bruce was not going to compete in the race this year, but decided to jump in at the last minute with her 22-year-old son. "We finished around 2:20. I think I'll keep him around," beamed Bruce. Team "Class of 2015" was composed of 5th graders Denali Hart, Emily Hyde, and Zack Giesler. A full year ago, a very ambitious Giesler asked Hart if she would team up with him for her first PPP. Hart obliged to complete the running legs and asked her friend, Emily, to join the team. Giesler alternated every other leg with his two teammates as a trial run to complete the entire race alone next year. When asked if she will compete again next year, Hart exclaimed, "Oh Yeah!" She added, "We celebrated by resting and eating ice cream at Ben and Jerry's."

Great costumes also added flair to the event including the Wonder Twins and Ralph Tadday's costume. Tadday, sporting knickers, a wool cap, and a long-sleeve, button down shirt must have added 10 degrees to the scorching day while competing in the retro division. Another great PPP goes down in history thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors, and MBSEF staff. The event again brought out thousands of competitors, supporters, and onlookers - despite the heat.

The Haute Route.... In A Day

The Haute Route is arguably the world's most famous ski tour. Usually lasting a week or more, the classic tour takes skiers across the Alps from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. Earlier this month, two French ski mountaineers completed the tour in just 21 hours and 11 minutes. Lionel Bounel and Stephane Brosse completed the entire tour without the aid of any ski lifts or auto transport, commonly used by skiers along the route. It was not all roses, however, and the duo had serious doubts along the 60-mile route that climbed over 28,000 feet and descended another 26,000 feet. A third member of the team dropped out along the way due to exhaustion, leaving Bounel and Brosse with questions in their minds. They also encountered some deep snow in places as well as exhausting mid-afternoon heat, but persevered and completed the tour in style. While fast and light marathon tours appeal to a select few, most skiers would rather complete the tour slowly to appreciate the views, cuisine and wine in the many European huts along the way. To each their own!


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