March 28, 2017 (Fairbanks, Alaska) – Jessie Diggins (Stratton) and Scott Patterson (APU) took no prisoners on their way to respective victories at the 15km and 22.5km Skiathlon events held on Monday, March 27 at the Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska as the 2017 USSA SuperTour Finals and Distance National Championships got underway.
Diggins (Stratton) trounced the women’s field with a whopping 1:54 gap over Kikkan Randall (APU) who finished her season strong in second-place followed by Caitlin Patterson (Craftsbury GRP) in third.
Scott (APU) her brother ruled the men’s field with a decisive 24.3-second margin over Patty Caldwell (Stratton) in second with Tad Elliott (Vail) in third.
We caught up with Patterson post-race and here’s what he told us.
“The race unfolded somewhat as expected. I ended up leading most of the classic leg as I felt that none of the others really wanted to be up there. It was too easy just to stay in the front and let everyone else deal with what was happening behind. I felt pretty relaxed, but wasn’t finding that I could really split up the pack with my classic skiing. It was a little too hard to work from the front. So I kept things relaxed as I knew that I could hammer the skate. Going into the transition we had 10 people which was a good size for halfway through.
“The 50k is my next big individual target, but I also am shooting to pick up as many supertour points as possible in the sprint and of course help my APU team to another relay victory.
“Conditions in Fairbanks are excellent. After so much of the year racing in crazy conditions with warmth, wind, blizzard, no snow, or a multitude of other options, Fairbanks is finally providing nice consistent midwinter conditions to cap off the season.
“This has been a bit of a breakout in terms of World Cup points, but also disappointing in other ways. I got sick right before nationals and missed out on opportunities to win those races and qualify for world champs. Making world champs was one of my big goals for the season. Luckily there have been plenty of good moments since then. Every season needs its ups and downs,” he concluded.
We wondered about her take on her first season as a “Mom” and here’s what she had to say,”It’s been challenging but fun to balance parenthood and racing. Having Breck with me all the time has been so wonderful. I do find my time is no longer as flexible and my day is more full with busy work. The best part however is that no matter what the result I come home to a smiling little boy that just lights up my heart every time. And I have a great support team helping me,” shared Randall.