The volunteers of Glenville Hills Nordic (GHN) Club put on a heck of an inaugural ESGQ Freestyle race January 30 at a new trail network on Ridge Road in the town of Glenville, Schenectady County. Trail cutting and development on the 78 acres of lands owned by Don Rodbell have been underway since 2001.
The rest of the formula goes like this: new trail venue + new club + new organization of workers = new race event. The ingredients made it easy for NYSSRA Nordic to award the 2011 Bill Thayer Memorial Race grant to GHN.
Competitors often go to memorial running, cycling or skiing races but they know nothing about the individual memorialized at the event. So, at the beginning of the awards presentations, I spoke about my recollections of Bill Thayer. He was a cross country ski legend and NYSSRA charter member with a big heart for ski event development. Bill died suddenly in spring 1993 on a camping trip with his wife Heartha. As an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist he was active with the town of Hastings, Oswego County, environmental council and NYS Trails Council. Bill supported the concept of multiple use trails where practical in the state. This involved organized ski racing events in the Tug Hill area including the Winona State Forest.
Bill Thayer dedicated his life to the grass-roots growth of new ski trail areas and organized club events. NYSSRA Nordic honors Bill Thayer each season with a grant to reimburse a local club for the initial costs of hosting a competitive event. He would have been pleased with the work accomplished by the GHN club. Thus, NYSSRA Nordic designated the Glenville Hills Nordic ESGQ event as the Bill Thayer Memorial Race.
The field of 60 racers included Bill Kochers, juniors, open and masters. Unique medals, handmade by Will Seyse and Chinasa Seyse from sustainably grown birchwood, were presented to the overall winners in the girls, women’s, boys and men’s divisions.