Early season road race in Butte - the annual Frigid Digger races.
In the 3 mile-event, Josh Panasuk (a Bulldog senior) won the race in 17:25. Breaking the 25-year old course record of Jeff Thomas. Old man Ray Hunt was 2nd overall and 1st Master with his 17:46.
50+ runner Suzie Kaluza keeps on going strong with an overall win in the short race.
Eric Blake of Helena scorched the field on a snowy and slippery course in 7-Mile race in 45:49. But, behind Eric is where the really racing took place.
Just 24 seconds separated the top 3 women, with Nicole Hunt starting her return to form (post-pregnancy) with a win in 54:07. Just 8 seconds back was trail ace Michelle Bazanella. And, just another 18 seonds behind Bazz was Nikki Kimball (who used the race as a transition from ski season to run season).
Speaking of Nikki - she sure loves the Ridge above Bridger Bowl ski resort. She's the defending women's champion and course record holder at the Brider Ridge Run. But, the week before the Frigid Digger, she added a new title to her resume - that of Queen of the Ridge. Held on the Ridge above the North Bowl at Bridger, the event sees who can do the most downhill ski laps in a 5-hour period.
This involves 400' of vertical climb to the top fo the Ridge, ski down (with appropriate safety gear of course), hop on a lift, get off, 400' of vertical climb and do it all over again.
Nikki bested all comers with her 27 laps in the event.
Sure, it's not a running event; but, for anyone who has ever hike to the Ridge and skied down knows that 27 laps is a tough, tough day. Once again, Nikki Kimball shows that she's one of the baddest of Bad Asses in all of the Big Sky Country.
Coming up this week is the biggest of the early season races - the annual Snow Joke 1/2 Marathon in Seeley Lake. Good luck to all those make a visit to the home of the Cheetah Herder.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard