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Star Tribune

Golden Valley man is the No. 2 lumberjack in the world

Cassidy Scheer of Golden Valley, featured online and in the Star Tribune's Outdoors Weekend section Nov. 1, is a titan of U.S. lumberjacks. Now, he’s second-best in the world. He competed in the Stihl Timbersports world championships (shown above) Nov. 1-2 in Prague, narrowly edged by Brayden Meyer of Australia. 

Over e-mail, Scheer talked about the contests (six sawing and chopping “disciplines”) within the contest. Scheer finished top three in five of them. Below are edited excerpts from the conversation:

How do you feel about your finish?

“I feel pretty good. Obviously I wanted to win; however, that was going to be pretty tough with the awesome day Brayden had. Overall, I performed very well in five of the six events, getting second or third in them. The stock saw was the only let-down with a ninth. In the end, I was in it, and forced Brayden to make a clean hot saw cut in order to win. His hot saw died several times and he had to scramble to get three complete disks in before the one-minute time limit. If he hadn’t made the cut, I would have won the overall title.”

Any surprises for you in the events?

“Not really. I expected to be top three or four in every event except the stock saw, which has always been a tough event for me. The only real surprise on the day was beating Shane Jordan of New Zealand in the underhand and standing chops. He is one of the best ground choppers in the world. I think he might have drawn harder blocks, or just had an off-day. The only other surprise was just how on-point Brayden was. I didn’t expect him to win the stock saw or be top two in the single buck. He had a really good day, but I was still able to make him earn the win with his hot saw cut.”

Is Meyer a longtime rival? (You mentioned Aussie prowess in the sport.)

“Brayden is one of the young up-and-coming Australian timbersports competitors. This is his second Australian title and first world title. He is only 24. He’ll likely win more world titles, but it is a lot of work. The Australian series is like the U.S. series in that the field is incredibly deep. There is consensus among U.S. and Australian series that winning the domestic title is even harder than winning the world title.”

Has an American ever done as well at the worlds?

“Matt Bush of the United States won the very first world championship in 2005. Since then Matt Cogar has finished second twice, so I’m now one of three with a finish this high.”

(Link to the live stream is here)

No barrier too big: Minneapolis ultrarunner sets women's mark for Superior trail

In general, trail and ultrarunners are in the sport to push boundaries.

Alex Elizabeth of Minneapolis has set some.

Elizabeth, 33, put down the fastest known time, or “FKT,” by a woman on the North Shore’s Superior Hiking Trail. She finished Sunday at the route’s southern point near Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton, Minn., covering the route in six days, 12 hours and 32 minutes — the speediest time, with support, by a woman on the 310-mile path. Austin Nastrom of La Crosse, Wis., set the overall supported mark Sept. 3, in six days, eight hours and 37 minutes.

FastestKnownTime.com, the unofficial governing body of the endurance mark, validated Elizabeth’s run on its website.

Elizabeth had a stable group of four crewing for her, including her partner Jared VanderHook and good friend Tim Lupfer, at all times along the journey. Some helped on the front end and would overlap with others who arrived in the waning days to help her persevere. Elizabeth started the attempt at the Canadian border in brutal conditions about 6 a.m. Oct. 21. She dealt with rain and mud, downed trees and cold on arguably some of the most-grueling parts of the path.

“I didn’t realize the extent of that storm, the damage it had done,” she said.

She overcame other barriers, too: the memory of a failed FKT attempt on the same path in May owing to a severe left ankle injury. But after a promising recovery and a return to running, she circled late October on her calendar for another FKT attempt. And there was this: Duluth closed trail sections coursing through the city because of wet conditions while Elizabeth was on-trail. She and her crew scrambled to come up with a reroute Oct. 25 that paralleled the closed sections, and covered the many paved sections, in her final push to the end.

“The Duluth sections ending up looking probably the best and were the driest of the whole trail,” she said, “but I didn’t want to challenge (the closure) and just wanted to respect what went into that.”

Elizabeth said she found herself embracing the joy of adventure and adapting to what the trek threw in her way. The FKT became almost secondary.

“We just had to do something at that point that we felt good about. We were having a good time and just wanted to finish together,” said Elizabeth, a public health department analyst for Washington County.

Elizabeth said she was glad the FKT-keepers acknowledged her record after her and her group’s work “to make it as legit as we could make it.” Equally gratifying was the trail running community’s excitement around her record.

“That was a big driver for me, too, getting a female time up there,” Elizabeth said, “so hopefully more people go out and go after it.”