Stampede Race Report, 2022
Seriously, people, does Race Director Jeff Hashimoto know how to throw a race-day party or what! Maybe it was the bright bluebird day after this crazy winter of snow/rain/cold/ice, or maybe it was just so much fun to put a number on again, but the energy was high and the racers were stoked. The excitement started when you entered the parking lot, with the big red "Race Today" sign setting the mood. Friendly parking volunteers squeezed an amazing number of cars into the parking lot! Then you crossed the overpass and the first tent you saw had more friendly volunteers, handing out bibs and draw prizes. Then you were enveloped in the energetic, upbeat music and the crowds of people swarming back and forth, getting ready for their race, and over it all, Jeff's happy voice, herding the cats, marshalling the troops.
There were 268 racers (a new KSC record!) spread over five different races, five different courses -- so fun for everyone, even the littlest tykes, to get to check out the variety in the trails. There were 13 kids in the 0.5k (U10), 29 kids in the 1k (U12), 73 (wow!) kids in the 2k (U14), 69 people of all ages in the 5k (including 49 U20), and 84 in the 15k, plus of course the adorable lollipop race. And somehow Jeff was everywhere, starting one race, darting over to the finish to call in the winners, heading back to the start line to start another race. The energy was high; the fun factor even higher. It was awesome to see all those kids with a number on -- this is the future of our sport, right here, having a great time. And man, those kids are fast -- as someone who was out on the course a long time and getting passed by multiple racers (and making friends with the funny ski patrol guys on each of my laps), I can report the kids are GOOD, and fearless, and skilled, and clearly having a blast out there.
The timing crew had their work cut out for them, with so many racers and multiple distances coming in in a constant stream, and did their usual masterful job keeping everything straight and getting the results out. A little wrinkle in the Webscorer timing caused a delay in getting out some results, but all is well now.
Thanks, everyone, for coming out, either as racers or much-appreciated volunteers, to make the day a huge success!
Coda: then this happened, what Jeff called "the most consequential thing we did all day." After almost everyone had left, Jeff and Carey and Holly and Jim were hanging out in the stadium area, getting ready to pack up and leave, when someone came down from Amabilis and reported a woman having heart problems. The crew jumped into action: both Holly and Jim are former ski patrol and Jim is a paramedic/physician's assistant, so they knew just what to do. Carey stayed below to communicate with Kittitas County rescue, which was on its way, while the other three fired up the snowmobile, loaded up the sled with the AED and other equipment, and headed up to find the woman. She was conscious, so the AED was not needed, but not able to ski herself back down. So they tucked her into the sled, then Holly drove the snowmobile back down, with the husband riding behind her, and Jim rode in the sled with the woman to keep an eye on her, and Jeff skied down with them. By the time they got to the bottom, rescue had arrived and the woman was taken to a hospital. Later reports are that she is fine. But wow, hurray for our team -- way to save the day! A good good day all around.