Taken from the Conway Daily Sun
By Tom Eastman
PINKHAM NOTCH — An ER doctor and a high school teacher were the top solo TuckerMan and TuckerWoman winners in this year’s 14th annual Friends of Tuckerman Ravine Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon, the five-part race held Saturday in exceptionally fine weather in Mount Washington Valley.
The five-part, 36-mile race began at 7 a.m. with an 8.3-mile run from Story Land up and over Glen Ledge Road out onto Route 302 to Attitash’s Thorne Pond.
It was followed by a 5.5-mile kayak down the fast-moving waters of the Saco River to Glen Ledge Campground. That leg was followed by an 18.2-mile cycle up over Glen Ledge Road onto Route 16 to a parking lot just south of the Appalachian Mountain Clubs Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Competitors then hiked or skinned 3 miles up the Tuckerman Trail to the top of the giant slalom race course on Hillman’s Highway just to the left outside of Tuckerman Ravine. Skiers and snowboarders then made their way down the U.S. Forest Service’s Sherburne Ski Trail to the finish in Pinkham Notch.
For solo TuckerMan winner Dr. Josh Flanagan, 34, of Southbridge, Mass., four times was a charm, as he won in his fourth year of competing in the event after finishing third in all three of his previous attempts. His overall time was 4 hours, three minutes and 34 seconds.
He started the race 10 behind schedule.
“I got in at 3 a.m. from a trip to the Caribbean. Then, my driver didn’t show to get me up to leave my car at Pinkham, so I had to drive myself down to the run start at Story Land, and I got there 10 minutes late,” said Flanagan, a 2002 Middlebury graduate and Randonee competitor who said he skinned up the snow-covered Tuckerman Trail versus hiking this year to the bottom of the GS course at the base of Hillman’s.
“Competing in this is fun, because it’s a real mental challenge as much as it is physical. You can’t forget your gear, you’ve got to be in shape …. so its a lot of logistics that go into it along with the physical challenge,” said the Cohasset, Mass., native.
Placing second in the 30-man field in 4:07:29 in the TuckerMan solo class was Jackson cycling enthusiast Steve Piotrow, followed by past TuckerMan winner Ken Lubin of Glen in 4:12:50.
[Flanagan emailed The Conway Daily Sun Monday to say that he wrote to race officials, saying upon comparing the GPS coordinates after the race with race data from 2012, he discovered he had mistakenly missed the 0.5-mile Jackson Village loop on Route 16-A through the Jackson Covered Bridge, when he cycled north on Route 16.
Friends of Tuckerman Ravine executive director Peter Nelson of Nashua told The Sun Monday that although Flanagan's action technically disqualified him, race officials conferred with both Piotrow and Lubin, and both agreed that Flanagan should retain his title. “It was great sportsmanship on all accounts, from Josh notifying us, to Steve and Ken. All of the racers are very friendly,” said Nelson, adding, “It is called ‘Friends’ of Tuckerman Ravine, after all. So, the results stand.”]
Teacher and World Cup Randonee medal-winning mountaineer skier Nina Silitch, 41, of Dublin, N.H.,won the TuckerWoman class in 4:28:57. Sponsored by Ski Trabs, she is a former college cross-country ski racer and 1994 Dartmouth College graduate.
She put in incredible ski runs — she was tops in the GS on Hillman’s with a time of 26 minutes, 52 seconds for the climb and ski run. On the downhill run on the Sherburne Trail, her time of 8:26.92 put in her in 11th place among the 61 finishers.
Placing second in the TuckerWomen class was Jessica Marion in 4:41:29, while Carrabassett Valley Academy ski coach Shelley Koenig was third in 5:53:41.
Local teams win overall and all-women’s titles
The top team in the 17-team category was All Stove Up, a squad that was captained by Cranmore Mountain Meister racer/bartender and musician Matty Burkett, who did the concluding GS and Sherburne ski legs of the course.
All Stove Up’s overall time was 3:39:06.
Teammates included runner Triston Williams, kayaker Mike Saras, bicyclist Eric Nelson, and hiker Margaret Graciano.
Placing second in the team field was Team Barker in 4:14:06, and the Doctor Danger team was third in 4:18:32.
In other local news, Titoune Meunier Bouchard’s Wild Things team won the all-female three-team class in 4:01:19.
The team is comprised of runner Kelsey Allen, kayaker Liz Stokinger, cyclist Meredith Piotrow (who is married to Steve Piotrow, the No. 2 TuckerMan), hiker Leslie Beckwith and skier Suzie Carrier.
Placng second in 4:33:39 in the all-female class was another local team, Valley Girls, which featured runner Cathleen Livingston, kayaker Amanda Wirling, cyclist Lynn Lyman, hiker Ashley Hyde and skier Carrie McLane (the latter of whom is Burtkett’s wife, granddaughter of Wildcat founder Malcom McLane and late state Sen. Susan McLane, and niece of U.S. Rep. Annie McLane Kuster, D-NH).
The Holy Hellraisers were third in the all-female class in 4:54:15. Team members were runner Erin Sawicki, kayaker Molly Campbell, cyclist Erin Holmes, hiker Karen Morris and skier Emily Paterson.
In the Dynamic Duo category, the Wild Kitty duo of Justin Deary ad Mark Trahan finished first among the 12 teams in 4:10:16, followed by Tug Hill Annie’s Holly Peckham-Wolfe in second in 4:27:49 and Russ Hancock and Charley Morrow in third in 4:38:27.
In the new Adaptive class, Team Beauty and Beast was tops in 5:02:03, followed by Team Karly in 6:24:32. Team Beauty was comprised of runner Mik Oyler, kayaker Matt Geary, cyclist Nichol Ernst and snowboarder Cliff Cabral of Fryeburg Team Karly’s members were runner Kadie Wilson of John Fuller Elementary School, kayaker Brian Boyle, cyclist Jon Erickson, adaptive hiker Karly Erickson and skier Jim Corchan.
An awards party and dinner were held after the race by Wildcat Mountain.
Founded in 2000, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization incorporated to preserve and protect the unique alpine and sub-alpine eastern slopes of Mount Washington, and works in close partnership with the U.S. Forest Service snow rangers to sustain the traditional uses of this distinctive area.
“By all accounts the 2014 Tuckerman Inferno was a smashing success, thanks in large part to the excellent weather, solid snow pack, and the hard work of many volunteers and athletes,” said Jake Risch, president of the organization.
Joining the team of volunteers this year was the Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue of Gorham. They joined the Mountain Rescue Service in the event of high-altitude rescues. Back again to help out on the river was White Mountain Swift Water Rescue Team which handled rescues on the fast-flowing Saco.
Risch also thanked the United States Forest Service, Wildcat Ski Area, Attitash Ski Area, Mountain Rescue Service, New Hampshire State Parks, Mount Washington Observatory, Glen Ledge Campground, Flatbreads Pizza, New Hampshire Army National Guard and New Hampshire State Police.
Snow ranger Frank Carus said four non-race rescue transports were carried out by snow rangers Saturday: one for a broken shoulder, another for a broken lower leg, and two for stranded climbers on Lion Head. An estimated 1,800 people were in the ravine Saturday, according to Carus. Cars were parked all the way back to Dead Man’s Corner alongside Route 16 Saturday.
For information on the latest ski and avalanche conditions in Tuckerman Ravine, visit www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org or call the USFS’s Androscoggin District at 466-2713.