Special to the EagleHerald
Tom Schroepfer after the Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede in Grandby, Colorado.
Special to the EagleHerald

Tom Schroepfer after the Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede in Grandby, Colorado.

MARINETTE — From January to March this year, Marinette natives Dr. Tom Schroepfer and his wife, Connie, were in Colorado babysitting their granddaughter Madison.

While in Colorado, Tom, an avid outdoorsman and athlete, decided to take advantage of the cold weather and get back into cross-country ski racing after a seven-year layoff due to being in warm weather locations. He competed in four races at four different race venues, starting with the Stagecoach Classic 15-kilometer race from Devil’s Thumb Ranch to Winter Park in Grand County, Colo. He placed third in the 70 and older age class and 38th overall in the January race, finishing in 1 hour, 36 minutes and 6 seconds.

His next race came in February when he took 12th overall and second in the 70 and older age class in the Frisco Gold Rush 7.5K classic held in Frisco, Colo., where he finished in 39:48.

The final two races came on back-to-back days (March 8-9) and were his best finishes.

On Saturday, he took first in the 70 and older age class at the Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede 10K freestyle in Granby, Colo., and 38th overall (1:30:07). In Sunday’s race at the SMR Stampede 10K classic, he again placed first in his age class and took 14th overall (1:03:19).

Schroepfer started cross-country racing in the 1980’s and has been to six American Birkebeiner and 10 Noquemanon Ski Marathons in Marquette, Mich. He stated there is nothing in the U.P. or Wisconsin that compares to the steep and long hill climbs of the race courses in Colorado.

Another factor that added difficulty was racing at such high elevations. At 8,000-10,000 feet, there is much less oxygen, making it harder to breathe at that height.

He said the 10K race at Grandy was the most difficult and exhausting race of any kind he has done in his life, but said this winter’s activities have kept him in good condition for the upcoming summer triathlons he has on the schedule.