ilg; 2011 Flag 15k classic podium

Men’s Overall Podium;  15k Classic 2011 AZ Cup.  From L-R;  Bob Barry (bronze),  Scott Oberbreckling (gold),  steve ilg (silver). photo; Louella Holter


Sunday, March 6, 2001

{more photos follow story}

With track conditions in the fast and furious category (truth be told: insanely icy),  the 15k Classic skiers launched into a pandemonium of double-poling to start this final FNC race of the 2010/2011 season.   The front line included Scott “The Terminator” Oberbreckling – formerly of Boulder, Colorado now living in Flagstaff.  Scott has torn the legs off of every racer here this season including Karl Granoth of the US National Military Biathlon Team and current AZ State Champion.  Next to Scott was 2x AZ State Champion, Steve Ilg a former Flagstaff resident who has had another stellar winter season now racing from his native Durango, Colorado home.  Ilg put up the 600 miles worth of carbon footprinting in order to support his former haunt: the Flagstaff Nordic Center.  Perennial classic hardman, Bob Barry and several others  joined the fray as the nordic peleton vaulted toward the initial and humbling 2.5k ascent of Abineau.

“I knew from scanning the Race Results that Scott had beat Karl in the Freestyle,” said ilg, “so I knew it would be a National Class sufferfest.” Oberbreckling took the initial pull and by the first gut-check time a third of the way up the ascent of Abineau, only Ilg was able to follow Oberbreckling’s heart-abusive pace.   Ilg summarized what most of the racers experienced:  “I had absolutely no kick whatsoever, I shoulda just used my skate skis…I only diagonal strode for about 50 meters!” Ilg used his trademark ‘strongman uphill double poling’ to take the lead from Oberbreckling and hold it all the way up Abineau with Oberbreckling – a NCAA Champion and a top 30 Finisher in the Birkebeiner – right in Ilg’s draft.  Behind these two,  Bob Barry had a decisive position on third but was isolated on the long climb.

“My tactic,” said Ilg, “was to hold Scott off on Abineau, and maybe put time into him on the high speed, technical descent of Wild Bill Hill…” That tactic unglued along with his klister however,  as ilg – who is rarely passed on downhills, being consistently the fastest downhill skier at the treacherous Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon.   “The dude has a sick skill set, let me tell you!” gasped Ilg after the race, referring to his and Oberbreckling’s argy-pargy on the Wild Bill descent,  “I don’t often get passed on high speed downhills, but Scott passed me about 300 meters from the bottom of the descent and that was that.”

Using superior kick,  Oberbreckling  extended his lead to 30 seconds in front of Ilg by the time the two had reached the top of the ferociously steep Reese hillclimb to begin the long upward traverse of Upper Abineau before the descent of Raspberry.  With the track conditions as they were,  ice skates would have proved fruitful and the descent down Raspberry and was performed, “at least Mach 5,” according to Ilg,  “I have no idea how Scott stayed in the (classic) tracks down that thing…i must have been going close to 40+ mph and i did not see any of his tracks using the skate track to scrub speed…I was awed by Scott’s descending ability.”

Finishing the 15k in 49 minutes with Ilg just a minute behind,  this race proved to be a scintillating return to what’s best about Classic nordic ski racing;  tough to wax for,  tough climbs,  daring descents, and a great field of top notch racers determined to do their best.   We can’t wait for next year!

last packing

Saturday morning;  i couldn’t believe i was packing my bags for my final ski reason of the season…man, it’s amazing how fast a winter racing season goes by!

road construction

They say there are only two seasons in the Four Corners:  Winter and…Road Construction!   Widening Highway 160 southwest of Cortez, Colorado near the Four Corners National Monument.   The upside to waiting…is the potency of the land…

la sals

30 miles to the north is Blue Mountain near Monticello, Utah hovering like a mirage over the high desert near Ute Mountain.


Another seemingly haunted mirage vibrating 30 miles to my left (south); Shiprock, New Mexico.   When my Durango High School Cross Country came here for meets,  some of the Shiprock racers wore warpaint and no shoes.   Scared the poop outta my skinny butt..


Crack out your Tony Hillerman books!  These are the Chusuka Mountains above Tec Nos Pos, Arizona…

roadside az

Nearing Monument Valley by Kayenta, Arizona;  typical scene including trash in the ditch,  trashed out homes, and jaw-dropping red sandstone spires…

sacred peak

… after 4 hours of driving;  my heart and eyes rivet upon Doko Oosliid – The Sacred Peak of the West lofting herself above the ethers near Flagstaff, still 70 miles away…i was surprised at how emotional i became as an hour later i began to drive through Kinlani…the Birth H(om)e of my daughter seems to have driven a deep heart reverberation within me…then, again, i had been chanting Mantra for the previous 4 hours…that’ll open ya’ up…

head bowed,

triceps still pumped ilg

7 Responses to “RACE REPORT: ilg Misses The Wax, But Not The Podium in Flagstaff”

  1. Leslie Hutchinson says:

    Heard through the grapevine that the Ilg train rumbled through Kinlani!! this past weekend. Hope that you will be able to have a layover day next time through. LH and KK

  2. coach says:

    Yogini LH!


    head bowed,
    the ilg train

  3. eyt :() says:

    luvin the chi hit from the pictures. nice one for the Silver :()))

  4. eyt :() says:

    No – that was supposed to be a :) LOL!!

  5. coach says:

    Most Precious EYT,
    thanks! i tell you, my triceps and abs are FEELING it today! no way i coulda pulled off that stunt without HP PROP™ workouts each week!

  6. Sandra Lee says:

    great report, nice pics! i grew up near pic 5- actually right underneath it! but i roamed that mtn every since i was lil one.

  7. coach says:

    Most Precious Yogini Sandra!
    ilg felt you as i drove past those Sacred Mountains….you must take me sometime!
    we need to talk about a Diné Dreamspeak i wish to share…

    head bowed,
    your feeble teacher

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