PATCH SPRINT 2001 PATCH SPRINT GETS BIGGER AND BETTER
Fiegl, Bisaillon, Weather all Winners: It was supposed to rain. That’s what all the forecasts had said. Rain. Low pressure systems surrounded the Midwest and threatened to make a move east, right into the path of the Adirondacks. However, the Long Pond region somehow knew that May 26 was not a day for rain, and the mountains proved the forecasters wrong. The rain held off, and the weather remained cool, dry, perfect.
He was supposed to have come in second. That’s what all the prognosticators had predicted. Second. Jim Kobak of Peru had already won last year, and threatened to keep the title. Jason Fiegl somehow knew that May 26 was not a day for second place, and he proved the prognosticators wrong. He held off Kobak, and his race remained cool, steady, perfect.
Yes, Jason Fiegl of the United States is the 2001 Patch Sprint champion, taking home the coveted silver plate the “Janny”, named after legendary founder of the Poko Patch Jan Burrows of England. “I couldn’t be happier” said an elated Fiegl after the race, “I ran my race and brought the Janny home to Willsboro, where it rightfully belongs.” Indeed, Fiegl took the plate with an exclamation point, securing three of four of the fastest splits of the day, and besting the next finishers by 6 minutes with a final time of 2:30.14.
One area where prognosticators were accurate in their predictions was in the outcome of the women’s race. Judy Bisaillon took the women’s cup for Canada in a world-record setting time of 3:19.03, beating last year’s world-record of 3:51.49 set by Aussie Erin Hammond. A clearly jubilant Bisaillon said “I’ve wanted to take this cup back to Canada since last year, since the Stanley Cup never makes it back here any more.”
Treaty and Last Year’s Champions Broken Second place in the deep men’s field was a tie between two Iroquois warriors: Matt Elliott of the brave Tuscarora and Jason Metakis of the mighty Mohawk. After forming an alliance a la “capture the chief’s bonnet” with fellow Cayuga warrior Marc Metakis, Matt and Jason left the third tribe member behind early in the race. When asked where the Cayuga was, Jason quickly chanted “the treaty has been broken.” With that, the two warriors forged ahead to better their last year’s performance by 38 minutes, securing two bear greases and a flint along the way (believed to have been hidden in 1931). Marc Metakis finished the course in 3:33.48 and said “I’m not real bitter.”
Last year’s champion Jim Kobak finished fourth after being passed by the two tribal members on Pok-O-Moonshine in the final half-mile of the race, a bizarre and ironic re-creation of last year’s event which pitted Kobak vs. Greg Henderson. Two-time race champion Henderson dropped to 10th position this year while wearing bib #2. After the race, Henderson quipped “I kind of felt like #2 most of the race.” Kobak, meanwhile, suffered cramps on the Poko ascent and said he felt “a little like that bat after Ozzie Ozbourne was finished with it.” Adding insult to injury, Kobak sat in disbelief later that evening as the Colorado Avalanche trounced the New Jersey Devils 5-0 in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Fifth place went to race veteran Tim Singer. Once again, the forty-two year old two-time world champion turned his back on the Masters division to compete with the spring chickens.
Relays, Swimmers, Walkers, and Wanderers The relay division saw a new world-record, and new twists on an old theme. The team of Johnson, Bradley, Daley-Kobak, and Galloway took the division in a time of 3:21.27, beating last year’s mark by 23 minutes. While the second relay team of Tanner, Chris, Taylor, Shackatano, and Oliver did not finish due to missing a race leg on Sugarloaf, special mention goes to Amber Taylor who set a precedent by swimming the Rattlesnake-Sugarloaf leg.
Phil Corell and Drew Canning implemented the first-ever “walking” division and came home in a time of 4:40, making Corell, at 55, the oldest ever finisher. First time participant Mark Henderson finished the course in just over 3 hours, while Mike Horwich, and the mysterious “Q” each posted impressive splits up to Sugarloaf, before being victimized by the late race challenges that befall first time participants, most notably the bushwhack off Sugarloaf. Tom Reinckens, the only racer to have part of the course on his own property, finished 13th, dropping several places after getting lost midway through the race.
“Who’s In Charge Here?” The Race Director controversy took a strange twist when it was revealed the day before the race that newly elected director Erik Zimmerman had an ailment that prohibited him from fulfilling his duties on top of Pok-O-Moonshine. This is the second consecutive year that the official race director has not made it to the top of the mountain. Patch Sprint 2000 race director Jay Corell, making another tardy appearance himself, snapped “I’m not saying these guys are asking too much of us, but…” The Board of Directors is looking into allegations that Zimmerman purposely hid his ailment from voters, and impeachment proceedings may be underway shortly.
A Day of Recognition and Appreciation A record field of starters and finishers took part. Co-race coordinator Tim Singer stated “this event is definitely moving in the right direction.” A special mention goes out to the many volunteers, especially Sandy Solomon for both her pre-race and race day work; Jack Swan for furnishing the camp facilities; and Carol and Peter Henderson for hosting the post-race party. Once again all participants and volunteers received T-shirts and prizes. Thank you also to everyone who helped make this event possible: Zim, Kelly, Erin, Meghan, Lee, Mike, Alberto, Jen, Angelle, Shai, Kate, Augusta, Carrie, Chad, Becky, Kim, Glenn, Jim, Lesley, Peter, Kevin, Chris, Ron, Sophie, Heather, Hillary, and Zoe.
Co-race coordinator Greg Henderson was especially pleased that the event was again able to generate over $200 in donations to the Adirondack Scholarship Foundation, “with more possibly on the way with the sale of Jim Kobak’s expertly designed T-shirts.” The Board of Directors looks forward to another successful Sprint next year, and will have meetings throughout the fall to insure a quality event. All input is welcome. In January, look for information on Patch Sprint 2002: the greatest thing in the North Country since Michigans.