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Event Archive 2013 - 2014

2013-2014

 

When Things Don't Work Out As You Planned

March 29, 2014

By Dhyan Nirmegh

This is the last article about ski racing this year that I am going to write. The season is now over and I pushed the racing season to the limit.


The Sugarloaf Marathon turned out to be the last race of the year. There was not any really particular reason to do it as the team races were a done deal. I felt I needed to finish off the season with the last big New England race. I had skied a lot this year. It was still cold; still winter and why not get up to Carabassett Valley?

The day I left for Maine with Mike Kavanaugh I had one more thing to do in the morning. When I started the season I wanted to ski over a 1000ks as I had done the three years before. I was determined to get to the 1000k mark with members of my team during the race. I drove to Sleepy Hollow and skied 8ks to get my total to 998ks. When we all were to line up for the race I would share my 1000k goal with the team.

That done, I met Mike and we headed to Maine. I was excited but soon found I had to fight for air all the way there. My lungs have always been my weak point all through my life. It was hard for me to even talk to Mike. We arrived in Kingfield after a six hour trip and settled in at The Village Farm Inn. There I spent a long night trying to get air. I was wiped out in the morning and only succeeded in getting a few winks of sleep! The upcoming race didn’t look so good! I thought I ought to do 25 and I questioned if I could do fifty k’s. The lodge was full of skiers from all over New England. And I scrambled around to get ready. I’d go 50 I told myself. I didn’t get to tell the team about the 1000k mark at the start, but shared the info after the race.

Damian and helped me wax my skis and yes they seemed as fast as any ski out there. That gave my old lungs some confidence.

I was late lining up and I managed to get four rows back. The first lap was fast paced and I had trouble getting a rhythm and I felt short on air most of the time.

Then slowly I warmed up. I loved the course – four 10k loops. I settled in and floated across the snow, gradually passing people as if I were in a 10k race. The first loop was o.k. I was now alone. I thought that would be how I would ski alone. But two km's into the second lap, Anja Jokela, former CVU and UVM skier, passed me. I had a choice, ski my race or become involved in her race. She was strong but I decided to see if I could keep pace with her. She pulled me on the uphills and I tucked by her on the downhills, talking and telling her where I was picking up speed.

We came into the stadium the second time together and we traded off throughout the third lap. On the fourth lap, she started out hard and I had all I could do to follow her. In fact, she had gotten out ahead by 20 yards which was a gap that she maintained until we hit the downhills where I passed her again. Then coming around a corner I saw a Northwest uniform. It looked like Mike.

Anja and I bore down, and passed him. He hung with me, but it was snowing and that slowed his skis down. Now it was a race to the finish line. Anja was now behind. My legs were tightening and I relied more and more on my arms, pulling me up the hill to the bridge and a 200 meter ski to the finish. The snow came down heavier. I concentrated on the bridge and could only hear Anja’s skis and poles behind me. We headed to the line, crossed it with Anja just behind. I watched as Mike appeared and skied around the stadium.

Anja came over to me and we clasped hands. “That was the best race I’ve ever been in! I learned a ton!”

I did too. It’s always good when a race happens like that. I didn’t know if I could keep up.

She laughed. “I was skiing my best but I didn’t know I could keep up. Thanks so much.”

She had pushed me to my limit and I had pushed her to her limit. You never know when your best race will show up.

Sugarloaf Marathon

March 29, 2014

Results: https://www.nensa.net/results/index.php?io_view=events&top_event_id=1716&season=


Many New England skiers finished out the official race calendar Saturday at the Sugarloaf Marathon.  The race was promised to be excellent with a fun course.  These promises were fulfilled with tons of fresh snow and a challenging loop with fast down hills, switchbacks and a variety of climbs.  It was a relatively small field, but you would not know it from the enthusiasm of the hosting squad.  The Colby ski team provided a very energetic atmosphere in the stadium and on course at the feed stations.

Skiers arrived once again to conditions more fitting for a January race.  Temps in the teens, and a lot of fresh packed powder.  The trail was nicely packed with firm, yet forgiving snow.  The course was the same 12.5km loop as the last few years that is so diverse that each lap you cannot really tell where you are on the lap.  It seems you discover something new each time around.  If you are wondering about the fast times it was because the loop was a little short and the race was closer to 40km. 


Marathoners started at 9:15 and Half Marathoners went off at 9:30.  NWVE was well represented in both fields with skiers from J4 through M7 participating.  The snow was similar to Rangeley and the Spring Fling, where it was fast for being cold packed powder.  Grooming has really improved making a huge difference in these long races.  The 15 minute gap between races was also a welcome improvement as it gave the half distance racers a chance to be on course and thinned out before the full distance racers caught them.  Last year some made it through the lap before the start of the Half Marathon and some did not.  Some were just on the tail end of the second field and had to ski through all the congestion. 


Representing the Club in the full distance were Eric Tremble, Damian Bolduc, Dhyan Nirmegh and Mike Kavanaugh.  The four would self seed their spots at the start, but remarkably end up fairly close together for the first couple of kilometers.  This was nice as Nirmegh’s odometer on the season was about to turn 1000km! He planned it so that we would all be together as he reached his goal for the year. 


Eric was on the tail end of a very tight pack, filled mostly with college racers, Damian, Mike and Nirmegh were in contact, but skiing where there was a little more space.  The field stayed together for about 5km due to regrouping at steep climbs where it would bottle neck a little.  Eventually larger gaps opened in the accordion affect.  Eric stayed in the field, but was on the wrong end of a split toward the end of the first lap on a steep climb.  An earlier crash and a broken pole by other skiers contributed to this, but Eric had good company with VTXC’s Jake Hollenbach.  Damian kept the field in sight skiing with Ben Taska.  Damian and Ben missed the draft on a long downhill and could not make up the ground.  The hope was that skiers would fatigue and splinter off front packs.  Nirmegh and Mike settled into a nice train of skiers for a while but eventually with the snow and numbers being what they were that too would splinter apart. 


As the 50km racers had sized each other up, the 25km race got underway.  Scott Magnan, Liz Hollenbach, Jessica and Camille Bolduc, and Cipperly Good all set out to compete in the half marathon.   They were joined by BFA skiers Sam Boudreau, Leslie Roberts, Elizabeth Yandow.  This field dissolved more quickly with a wider range of abilities. 

Scott did as he expected.  He had a good start and ended up skiing with UVM skier Lukas Adamowics, Liz and the rest of the top women.  They were in a nice rotation for most of the first lap but eventually their pack began to spread out and skiers would end up pairing off for the remainder of the race.  Lukas drove the pace over the last 5km of the race and managed to put a little distance on Scott.  Liz and Jessica found themselves in similar yet separate races. They were both trading places with their nearest competition. Skis were differently matched, so while one had the advantage they would pull away. Liz prevailed in the final kilometers over Bates skier Tara Humphries.   Jessica went back and forth with Suzanne Reid eventually becoming determined not to be passed by her at the finish.  She pushed hard over the final hill and held her position to the finish.


Sam Boudreau used confidence gained at the Mount Washington Cup to test his endurance abilities in his longest ski race ever.  He found good company skiing with Peter Brockett for much of the race and managed to keep out of sight of teammate Leslie Roberts.  Leslie followed through on an ambitious goal of competing in this race set long ago.  She was one of the earliest registrants and was looking forward to finishing up her senior season with something big.  She raced well despite spending much of the time alone.  She was able to hold off experienced marathoner Scott Gould at the finish.


Camille started out skiing with interesting mix of BKL, J1 and M6 racers.  She decided to gauge her pace off the more mature M6 racers for the first lap, then sensing the pace was slowing, she set out to reel in anyone she could catch the second lap outkicking MWSC’s Ryan Washington at the finish.  Cipperly had an interesting race as she got into a groove while other racers came back to her.  Suffering from a cold she paced herself well at the start and skied a race where people who started too fast came back to her.  Elizabeth Yandow was among those who misgauged their pace at the start.  It is easy to do as the loop was deceivingly technical and started with a significant climbing effort.   Cipperly ran out of course before she could catch Elizabeth.


While the 25km wrapped up the 50km racers continued on.  On the last lap, a light snow became heavy adding a new dynamic to the race.  Some skis got faster while others slowed down.  At this point in the race it is hard to be sure if it was the wax or the racer, but it seemed that people had a consensus of what was running faster and what was running slower.  Jake and Eric continued to work together all the way to the finish.  Damian was completely alone racing to hold off the CSU Boys Andy Milne and Frank Feist and seeing how fast he could go by lapped skiers.  Mike was in a similar situation but the new snow really slowed his skis down allowing Nirmegh and Anja Jokela to catch and overtake him.  Nirmegh and Anja found themselves in that interesting place where you are encouraging the other to keep up the good work while secretly trying to get the upper hand and drop them.  At the last feed, Anja ramped it up and dropped Nirmegh, but as the snow accumulated his Swix Marathon kicked in and he made up all the ground passing her on a long downhill.  The race was on to the finish and at the line only a few seconds separated them, Nirmegh, getting there first.  Watching them finish was exciting and by the way they compared notes at the finish you could tell they had one of those races you will never forget. 


It is these that the club lives for.  A true race where you gain a deep admiration and mutual respect for the effort shared in an epic race.  NWVE has had a few reputations over the years, but it is this one that is emerging to be the one we are known for.  Burying the needle in these races within a race that make us all stronger, achieving a new potential thought to be out of reach.  It is something that is exhausting and done for no particular reason but what a feeling after it is all over!  People like that and whatever the motivation that gets it started, it is the friendship at the end that prevails and lasts for races to come.


So, what a race to end the season on.  Many of us had that moment of “I cannot believe what happened” at Sugarloaf this year.  It was just that type of day.  NWVE had another excellent season.  At the awards Eric, Mike and Damian were among the 17 recipients of the Marathon Challenger award.  NWVE took a few age group awards and then cleaned up in the raffle.  Leslie won a new pair of shoes, and Cipperly was called for the Grand Prize!  A Swix Wax Box!  The report could end here, but this is NWVE and as much as we are about skiing racing, we are also about recovery food and drink.  In this case, several of us “Pre-Covered” with a beer and burger at SaAlt Pub in Gorham Friday night.  It is now mandatory to stop if you are in Gorham during their hours.  The perfectly seasoned burger is that good!  You will not be disappointed and the rest of the menu looked very interesting too!  


Damian

Spring Fling

March 22, 2014

By Dhyan Nirmegh

Eli Enman and I arrived at Craftsbury for the annual 30km Spring Fling.  Getting out of the car and meeting the brisk air, Mike Kavanaugh greeted me, “So Nirmegh you trying to win the Pole-itzer Prize.”  I stretched my arms over my head and smiled.  “Oh, are you referring to the Mt. Washington article I wrote?”  Damian stood beside him with a half smile on his face, saying nothing.


“Well,” I said, “I didn’t know there was such an award, but yeah, I’ll have to look into it.  In fact the day is shaping up for another story!”  Eli smiled and nodded.


Right then, the only thing I could think of was getting registered and prepared for the race. It is not always an easy thing to do.   I thanked them for their encouragement and ran off.


Now that the race is over and I’m sitting here beside my wood stove in my dad’s recliner, I’m thinking, “Yes there is quite a bit to write about and maybe the Pole-itzer prize would look good sitting on top of the wood box.”


Eli and I met at the Audubon Sugarhouse Parking Lot.  I had my truck and he had his little imported economy car.  The “Tin Can” he calls it.  While I got my gear stuffed into it, Eli got his hand pump out and started furiously pumping up both front tires.  “The tires all have slow leaks and there is no clearance,” he said.


“You know Eli, it reminds me of a story about Dave Hosmer that Bob Gray told me.  I don’t know if it is true, but when they were traveling around in planes between competitions, Dave was reported to carry a sledgehammer with him.  When he couldn’t train he could always find a few spent tires, pile them up and beat on them with the sledgehammer until he was exhausted.   ‘Satisfied that he got a good workout.’” 


Eli laughed, “Really?”

“That’s what Bob said.”


When we reached Morrisville, I asked Eli to stop at the store.  I needed a Powerbar and a coffee for the race.  I went in the store but Eli didn’t.  I came back out and he had the pump out, pumping the back tires.  I was cold so I got in the car and sipped coffee thinking he would never finish.  He finally got in the car.


“Another warm up?”  I asked

“Yeah,” he laughed, “I hope it doesn’t wear me out.”


When we did get to Craftsbury, Eli opened the door to find his fender that covers his wheel was hanging, encrusted in salt and slush.  We left it hanging to deal with after the race.


I registered and went into the workout room in the old building to change.  I asked a strong, young woman if it was okay for me to change.  She said it was fine.  She went through her workout as I got ready.  As I was about to leave she said, “Good luck in your race!” 


“Thank you.  Are you a member of the Green Team Rowers?  I have seen you here before.” I asked.  Before I knew it, she was telling me all the details of how she got there, almost a life history.  I listened then realized I had a race to run.  I excused myself and bolted out the door.  Everyone was lined up, I grabbed my skis and, tore off my jacket and fumbled with my poles.  No warm up, the gun went off and the race began.


I couldn't believe it.  Someone told me they had started the race five minutes early.  Lucky I had gone out the door when I did.


Usually I run most all races cold, but I didn’t exactly feel warm at all, so at the last minute I had put on long underwear.  I’m glad I did.  The temp was down around 10F, and the wind was nasty in some of the fields.  But the sun shone bright upon the snow and the sky was blue. 

I pretty much was dusted by rival Peter Harris, but I skied the whole race with Keith Woodward and Daniel Labrie from Orford, Quebec.  I don’t know how many times we changed places but we had our little train going and changes happened in a neat rotation so each one of us pulled the others along.  Sometimes I’d fall behind but would scramble to keep the draft and made sure I wouldn’t lose them.  At other times I’d lead and attempted to shake them, but I it wasn’t worth it.  I let up and went with the flow.


Penny Rand was out on the course watching her daughter race and she was a constant cheerleader that would show up.  On the second lap I was looking for her.  When she started cheering I threw it into overdrive.


About five kilometers from the finish at the feed station Keith pulled up looking for a fig newton.  The Daniel shot through.  I grabbed some Heed.  Somehow I sensed that maybe this is where Keith had to be dropped. I made an extra effort to distance him and tried to catch the Daniel.  Across the back field we went fighting the wind and drifting snow.  Once we were hitting the woods and downhills again I had pulled close.  Finally he pulled up  to let me by, as was his habit the whole race, he told me I was "unbelievable and doing a good job!" 


"Thanks" I said and I led the way.  I looked back and could not see Keith.  Now it was me and the Canadian.


I was surprised that on the hills that came up I was able to ski over them with even strokes.  I thought about carrying water all winter from my neighbors because of frozen pipes.  I was not going to lose my advantage.  When I saw the Center up ahead I reached down and pulled up the hill as fast as my legs could carry me, and as I had all winter, wouldn't let the buckets of water touch the snow until I was home.


Eli had won the race in a sprint out against Marc Gilbertson.  The NWVE team members were once again happy with their races. It’s hard to know what went on with each individual as I wasn’t near them.  But they each had their story.


Eli worked on the fender and managed to fix it. We talked and laughed all the way home, slowly thawing out.


Now, sitting here in front of the Hearthstone I woodstove, I am once again dreaming about the Pole-itzer Prize sitting upon the wood box.

The Not So Spring Fling

March 22, 2014

Results


Spring Fling season is a time to enjoy some slushy skiing in a tee shirt as winter winds down and the Ides of March finish off what snow Nordic centers are clinging too.  Do a ski race, drink a beer, have a Bar-B-Q…   Not this year.  This season continues to thumb its nose at anything normal and so for the first time in memory the spring fling was held in with a dumping of fresh snow with temps in the low teens. 


That is not to say that things were completely unusual. Saturday was a more typical day of March skiing and it helped in making things set up well for the race Sunday.  Skiers arrived to a blustery scene more appropriate for mid-January than mid-March.  The cold over night temps created a nice glaze on the snow surface, but overnight snow showers had covered it with a good three inches of cold powder.  The grooming crew set out and made things as fast as possible leaving plenty of time for the trails to set.  The result was a fast skiable track with some minimal wind-blown powder on top.


The course brought skiers out to Murphy’s Field in a roundabout way, utilizing the Round-a-lot and Round-a-bit trails.  Skiers made an appearance in the upper field before heading to Murphy’s via the trail next to the touring center.  Speaking of the touring center, the new buildings have the windows in and are looking very nice.  We should be in for a surprise next year for the Opener.  (Speculation about what will happen to the yurt is ongoing.)  After a loop around Murphy’s, skiers took Duck Pond to a thrill down Elinor’s Hill then making the hard left onto Bailey Hazen.  This section of the course was a little choppy due to sticky snow at the time of grooming.  After Bailey Hazen, skiers raced Ruthie’s for the last 8km of the loop.  At the top of Ruthie’s was a little extension around a large field that allowed skiers to see each other on the course, gauging their position.  The snow was fast, skies sunny, temps cold and quite windy in the open fields. 


The race started abruptly.  While most were counting on the 11:15 start, the organizers wanted us to get going a little sooner, so by 11:10 racers were off.  Self seeding was not perfect for this start, but people got on course without too much commotion.  The trail system has been widened making for easy passes.  As with last week, the top three quickly broke away.  VTXC’s Eli Enman, Mark Gilberston and UVM’s Chris Mallory dropped the field quickly setting a pace too much to contend with.  Around 5k into the race Mark attacked and Chris could not counter.  Mark and Eli would ski it out together with Eli claiming the overall.  Chris held his position taking 3rd.  At the start, Mansfield’s Jim Fredericks led the rest of the field.  This lasted for about a kilometer and the field quickly fractured into small groups as antsy skiers made their way by Jim.  Some of these groups would stay together, others would not.  By 3km, Damian had worked through the field and moved into 4th place.  Mike Kavanaugh was matching Damian as he bridged through the splintered field.  Once in 4th,Damian committed to going it alone for the remainder of the race.  Mike stayed with two athletes until they pulled off to finish at the 15km mark.  Greg Shea (unattached), and Matthew Lawlor (Craftsbury Junior) would sprint to the finish respectively in the 15km.   Mike then skied the second lap alone.  A nice pack had formed a little further back with Craftsbury’s Peter Harris and Keith Woodward as well as Dyhan Nirmegh.  These M7’s were cordial to a point, but eventually Peter was able to shake Nirmegh and Keith.  Nirmegh had some freestyle business from the Derby to take care of and was very happy to beat Keith to the finish.  IMGCOB’s Jonathan Miller was in the midst of this battle and had to be wondering where these guys get it from.  Jonathan Rodd proved it is never too late to suit up for the club!  After years of being on the fence, Jonathan made the leap into NWVE threads.  He pulled a group along that included Leigh Mallory.  Jonathan drove a hard pace and kept the group moving, perhaps a little faster than they wanted too.  That was what the day was about.  It was good to push the limit on familiar terrain in great conditions.  Not too much was at stake and a fine group would pick you up if you faltered, so why not test the limits?  The skiing does not get any better and this is the time to really go for it. Brendan Barden was feeling fairly good about his race at Mt. Washington and wanted to stick to Leigh.  Brendan missed the Jon Rodd train and could not make up any ground.  He was considering adding another layer of clothing.  The inviting ambience of the race was deceiving and it was easy to under-dress. Brendan was in the thick of racing at the lap and could not afford the time to change.  He pressed on and the issue resolved itself.  He liked the course using his experience on the first lap to push harder on the second.  Lary Martell had a mishap early in the race but continued on.  A cut over the eye made for quite a site, but Lary is not the type to throw in the towel over a scratch.  This is the man who raced the Mt. Hor Hop with freshly cracked ribs from a car accident the day before.  Lary continues his journey up the results page as he returns to the sport.   Dorrie Martell had a good race.  She was not quite able to overtake Ford Sayre’s Cheryl Carlson for the Open Race Win in the 30k.  Being relatively new to ski racing, Dorrie continues to impress, skiing among racers with much more experience.  Hannah Barden rounded out the Women’s Overall Podium with her effort! Like Dorrie, Hannah was a little worried about how hard to go in the race, having not skated this distance in some time.  She was happy with her performance and how the race went and was one of the most eager athletes to get on the podium at the awards ceremony. 


A very strange phenomenon happened at this race.  Many of us have raced with a certain someone for many years and he is almost always at every race. Always there to give you a laugh and make you feel good about being part of the sport. This racer’s presence sticks with you.  So much so that he needn’t attend the race and yet people ask how he did and others state that “he had a good race” and “passed him at the top of Ruthie’s” and he “looked strong coming across the finish.”  More than one confirmed his attendance in the race, yet there was some confusion, because for every person that interacted with him during the race, another swore he was not really there.  Could this be some sort of crossroads of Metaphysical Solipsism?  Was it some hypothermia induced delusion?  Has this person become so engrained in the skiing community that his presence is permanently etched into our memories regardless of his proximity to the event?  Yes.  Many people skied with Perry Bland at the 2014 Spring Fling yet many of us did not experience this interaction.  The split remained even as more people were polled and evidence on both sides was compelling.  It was clear that the results page would have the final say if Perry raced the 2014 Craftsbury Spring Fling.  And for that we would have to wait.  Turns out Perry did not make the results page and therefore was not at the race this year.  Yet to many, it seemed like he was. Perry, please feel free to clarify, as it was quite a dilemma.


All and all, it was a great race, Perry or not.  Winter is not the least bit yielding to spring and so we should ski.    Sugarloaf is the last race on the Calendar, but surely there will be events added.  These conditions are too much to pass up!  You do not have to race, but just ski!


Damian

Mt Washington Cup 2014

March 9, 2014

Results


Spring Fling season is a time to enjoy some slushy skiing in a tee shirt as winter winds down and the Ides of March finish off what snow Nordic centers are clinging too.  Do a ski race, drink a beer, have a Bar-B-Q…   Not this year.  This season continues to thumb its nose at anything normal and so for the first time in memory the spring fling was held in with a dumping of fresh snow with temps in the low teens. 


That is not to say that things were completely unusual. Saturday was a more typical day of March skiing and it helped in making things set up well for the race Sunday.  Skiers arrived to a blustery scene more appropriate for mid-January than mid-March.  The cold over night temps created a nice glaze on the snow surface, but overnight snow showers had covered it with a good three inches of cold powder.  The grooming crew set out and made things as fast as possible leaving plenty of time for the trails to set.  The result was a fast skiable track with some minimal wind-blown powder on top.


The course brought skiers out to Murphy’s Field in a roundabout way, utilizing the Round-a-lot and Round-a-bit trails.  Skiers made an appearance in the upper field before heading to Murphy’s via the trail next to the touring center.  Speaking of the touring center, the new buildings have the windows in and are looking very nice.  We should be in for a surprise next year for the Opener.  (Speculation about what will happen to the yurt is ongoing.)  After a loop around Murphy’s, skiers took Duck Pond to a thrill down Elinor’s Hill then making the hard left onto Bailey Hazen.  This section of the course was a little choppy due to sticky snow at the time of grooming.  After Bailey Hazen, skiers raced Ruthie’s for the last 8km of the loop.  At the top of Ruthie’s was a little extension around a large field that allowed skiers to see each other on the course, gauging their position.  The snow was fast, skies sunny, temps cold and quite windy in the open fields. 


The race started abruptly.  While most were counting on the 11:15 start, the organizers wanted us to get going a little sooner, so by 11:10 racers were off.  Self seeding was not perfect for this start, but people got on course without too much commotion.  The trail system has been widened making for easy passes.  As with last week, the top three quickly broke away.  VTXC’s Eli Enman, Mark Gilberston and UVM’s Chris Mallory dropped the field quickly setting a pace too much to contend with.  Around 5k into the race Mark attacked and Chris could not counter.  Mark and Eli would ski it out together with Eli claiming the overall.  Chris held his position taking 3rd.  At the start, Mansfield’s Jim Fredericks led the rest of the field.  This lasted for about a kilometer and the field quickly fractured into small groups as antsy skiers made their way by Jim.  Some of these groups would stay together, others would not.  By 3km, Damian had worked through the field and moved into 4th place.  Mike Kavanaugh was matching Damian as he bridged through the splintered field.  Once in 4th,Damian committed to going it alone for the remainder of the race.  Mike stayed with two athletes until they pulled off to finish at the 15km mark.  Greg Shea (unattached), and Matthew Lawlor (Craftsbury Junior) would sprint to the finish respectively in the 15km.   Mike then skied the second lap alone.  A nice pack had formed a little further back with Craftsbury’s Peter Harris and Keith Woodward as well as Dyhan Nirmegh.  These M7’s were cordial to a point, but eventually Peter was able to shake Nirmegh and Keith.  Nirmegh had some freestyle business from the Derby to take care of and was very happy to beat Keith to the finish.  IMGCOB’s Jonathan Miller was in the midst of this battle and had to be wondering where these guys get it from.  Jonathan Rodd proved it is never too late to suit up for the club!  After years of being on the fence, Jonathan made the leap into NWVE threads.  He pulled a group along that included Leigh Mallory.  Jonathan drove a hard pace and kept the group moving, perhaps a little faster than they wanted too.  That was what the day was about.  It was good to push the limit on familiar terrain in great conditions.  Not too much was at stake and a fine group would pick you up if you faltered, so why not test the limits?  The skiing does not get any better and this is the time to really go for it. Brendan Barden was feeling fairly good about his race at Mt. Washington and wanted to stick to Leigh.  Brendan missed the Jon Rodd train and could not make up any ground.  He was considering adding another layer of clothing.  The inviting ambience of the race was deceiving and it was easy to under-dress. Brendan was in the thick of racing at the lap and could not afford the time to change.  He pressed on and the issue resolved itself.  He liked the course using his experience on the first lap to push harder on the second.  Lary Martell had a mishap early in the race but continued on.  A cut over the eye made for quite a site, but Lary is not the type to throw in the towel over a scratch.  This is the man who raced the Mt. Hor Hop with freshly cracked ribs from a car accident the day before.  Lary continues his journey up the results page as he returns to the sport.   Dorrie Martell had a good race.  She was not quite able to overtake Ford Sayre’s Cheryl Carlson for the Open Race Win in the 30k.  Being relatively new to ski racing, Dorrie continues to impress, skiing among racers with much more experience.  Hannah Barden rounded out the Women’s Overall Podium with her effort! Like Dorrie, Hannah was a little worried about how hard to go in the race, having not skated this distance in some time.  She was happy with her performance and how the race went and was one of the most eager athletes to get on the podium at the awards ceremony. 


A very strange phenomenon happened at this race.  Many of us have raced with a certain someone for many years and he is almost always at every race. Always there to give you a laugh and make you feel good about being part of the sport. This racer’s presence sticks with you.  So much so that he needn’t attend the race and yet people ask how he did and others state that “he had a good race” and “passed him at the top of Ruthie’s” and he “looked strong coming across the finish.”  More than one confirmed his attendance in the race, yet there was some confusion, because for every person that interacted with him during the race, another swore he was not really there.  Could this be some sort of crossroads of Metaphysical Solipsism?  Was it some hypothermia induced delusion?  Has this person become so engrained in the skiing community that his presence is permanently etched into our memories regardless of his proximity to the event?  Yes.  Many people skied with Perry Bland at the 2014 Spring Fling yet many of us did not experience this interaction.  The split remained even as more people were polled and evidence on both sides was compelling.  It was clear that the results page would have the final say if Perry raced the 2014 Craftsbury Spring Fling.  And for that we would have to wait.  Turns out Perry did not make the results page and therefore was not at the race this year.  Yet to many, it seemed like he was. Perry, please feel free to clarify, as it was quite a dilemma.


All and all, it was a great race, Perry or not.  Winter is not the least bit yielding to spring and so we should ski.    Sugarloaf is the last race on the Calendar, but surely there will be events added.  These conditions are too much to pass up!  You do not have to race, but just ski!


Damian

Bretton Woods Marathon 2014

March 8, 2014

Full Marathon Results

Half Marathon Results


For many the ski season has been building up to the Bretton Woods weekend.  While the rocky start to winter forced the cancellation of the Geshcmossel, it was only a distant memory.  We had some great conditions through February and they are carrying over into March, and it looks hopeful for a week full of snow!  NWVE had excellent representation at the events this weekend, with some doing both!


We got off to an early start on Saturday.  The Bretton Woods Marathon has become one of guessing what wax is going to work for the race.  The last couple of years, racers have been challenged by the rapid temperature swings that happen on a daily basis in March.  This year’s was no different, but was a little easier than last, or perhaps some have just come to accept that one of this race’s challenges is that your wax is not going to work 100%.  Organizers have allowed ski changing which has made some happy, where others embrace the extra challenge of finding what will work the greatest percentage of the race. 


Upon arrival the temps were in the low teens and there was good cloud cover.  The Swix rep had been observing the conditions for days leading up to the event and was optimistic that the clouds would stick in the Mt. Washington Basin.  He hocked Swix VR45 which was working well and said he would have everything else out for a re-wax if needed on the second lap.  This recommendation was fine, but on the cold end of the range.  Certainly VR45 was a good option, but it was going to warm regardless, so NWVE approached waxing by going the warmest we could get away with.  ToKo Red was kicking well with little speed penalty so most layered it on.


The course was the challenging loop around the perimeter of the resort trails, with a new mile long starting loop.  This loop was a welcome change as it allowed skiers to gradually funnel into place before hitting the real double track.  The snow was packed powder and the temperature was rising.  On the way to the start the ToKo Red was a little grabby, but that would soon change.   As we lined up and listened to race start instructions and sponsor recognition, the clouds burned off and the sun came out.  A strong warm sun.

We took off and most were well.  There was a broken pole and a broken binding, but no real pile-ups or falls.  The starting loop worked and must have been quite a site for those watching from the Hotel veranda.  The skiers sorted themselves out on the mile long loop around the golf course before heading off into the woods.  Now all the pre-race waxing was really predicting the future.  While it should not have been a surprise, people may have been too optimistic for something that did not happen.  Different wax strategies panned out quickly. 


One of the earliest victims was Andy Milne of CSU.  His skis were slow with no kick.  Once he tired of double poling he quickly fell back in the field.  Stephen Wright was another who guessed not the best, though not completely off.  Damian Bolduc had great kick, but picked the wrong skis for the day.  Mike Kavanaugh was going along fine.  Eric Tremble and Pavel Dvorak had two pairs of skis ready to go.  Brendan Barden and Dorrie Martell ended up skiing a lot together.  Camille Bolduc, Joanie Kavanaugh and Lida Dvorak were happy with their decisions.  Camille and Joanie were on the club recommendation while Lida took all the guessing out of the equation on a pair of waxless skis. 


The sun warmed things up quickly and the snow transformed almost instantly. The course soon became one of sun and shade.  Kick and no kick.  Most had no complaints about the first 10km of the race.  Things stayed quite solid and most anything would get grip.  Once we got up into the higher terrain things changed for two reasons.  There was a temperature inversion so things were generally warmer and there was more open trail leading to much more sun exposure.  Skiers struggled with these conditions as the snow slowed and kick was not to be had easily.  Some did well as they simply adapted to the change while others used a lot of energy trying to power through it.  Things ebbed and flowed until it was time to begin lap two.  This is where some had set up for the second half of the race.  Those that upgraded to Zeros were happy with their decision while those that changed to warmer wax or klister skis had marginal improvement.  Those that stuck with what they started with saved time by not changing skis.  Many re-waxed, but many others were stubborn, or just stayed with what they committed to at the start.   The Swix table was busy.  Once again the shaded areas were great skiing, but people were not prepared for how much the sun changed the conditions, especially as the fatigued racers hit the sunny sections on the second lap.  The skis really slowed down as structure was probably overlooked or not considered an issue.  


Eric Tremble made the switch to Zeros which he was very happy about.  His second lap he set out reeling in skiers eventually making his way up to VTXC's Ryan Kerrigan and overtaking him easily in the final kilometers.  The overall race winners were collegiate powerhouses who probably had no problem double poling everything.  However there was much evidence and many complaints that skating was taking place.  Damian's feelings on ski switching are well known and he was prepared to vocalize them to those that did. Fortunately, he was alone with no one within a minute ahead or behind him.  He also did not bother to re-wax.  He two would over take a few skiers on the second lap including VTXC's Russ Scatchard and closing on UVM's Lukas Adamowicz. Onion River Nordic's Dan Voisin benefitted from a switch to Zeros as he started the second lap with Mike Kavanaugh, he worked his way up 7 minutes.  Part of that time was Mike re-waxing, but most was the ski advantage.  Stephen Wright toughed it out on what he had.  After hearing other reports after the race he was happy he did not go to his klister covered skis.  Mike’s re-wax did help, putting some warmer stuff on over the ToKo Red allowed him to close on Stephen.  Having just pushed through the last 10km with no kick it is tough not to pass up a chance to re-wax.  


After helping Dorrie in the last few kilometers of her race, Brendan freshened up his wax too.  Brendan was happy to be skiing, and felt better than at Rangeley.  What he did in the middle of the race is what being on a team is all about.   Dorrie, recognizing the uniform, asked for some pacing help in the final km's of her race.  He obliged and helped her have a better day by providing a draft and motivation as she finished the half marathon.  Just because you are not having your best day does not mean you cannot help another have one. Barden re-waxed and pressed on while Dorrie took a top ten for women, skiing away from a pack of three female challengers, including Portland Nordic's Laura Frank.  Portland has assembled quite a team and will be one to watch as they grow.  Joanie Kavanaugh skied well for the first half of the loop but struggled with kick as did everyone else the second half.  She pondered how much skating was allowed with all the skate tracks on the course.  Plus there was a significant amount of skating going on around her.  

Camille Bolduc set out to finish her longest ski ever.  She kept a cool head while her friend (Quincy) went in a mission to be the first junior skier.  Both would have success.  Quincy Massey-Bierman (Mansfield/Craftsbury) matched EMBK/CSU's Christopher Feist stride for stride the whole race and out kicked him in the final sprint.  The race was almost two km longer than last year and both were almost 12 mins faster.  However, there was one youth skier up on them, racing as a bandit with a borrowed bib who broke well into the top twenty. At the awards ceremony Quincy, Camille and Sylvie Pingeon (EMBK) took the top 3 in the U12 division respectively and were the highlight of the awards receiving the loudest applause while being awarded their Hot Chocolate Mugs!


Skiers dined and regained their composure in the Grand Ballroom of the Mt. Washington Hotel.  Stories were traded and participants tried to make sense of what had happened in the race.  Wax and conditions were popular subjects as they were the two biggest influences of the day.  Bow Nordic's Christopher Naimie summarized it well, exclaiming his ToKo Red was perfect!  Thinking about it, it was true.  Nothing had it all, but if you were to make one choice, ToKo Red was perfect.


Damian

Rangeley Lakes Loppet 2014

March 1, 2014

Results

A small contingent of NWVE members made their way to the 17th Annual Rangeley Loppet.  Some journeys were longer than others, with one involving flights, a rental car, and soaking wet boots.  The talk of the weekend was the cold, and a new course.  After a few years of the consistent 25km loop, the course had to be changed due to some logging activity on the outer perimeter of the trail system.  It was a good move anyways, as it kept racers closer to the center with the temps so low.


Most of the NWVE members stayed at the Country Club Inn and were treated to its brand of hospitality.  It seems like an oasis from how things have become. Its emphasis on warmth and welcome was just the thing as the overnight low was predicted to hit minus 25. 


As morning arrived, word came out the race would be delayed 30 minutes to give the sun a chance to warm things up.  Unfortunately as the mercury rose so did the wind.  The overall feeling was that it was getting colder.  A few people warmed up and set spare poles out.  The rest stayed sheltered until 15 minutes before the race.  With 5 minutes to go, the stadium was still fairly empty, but there was a rush to get in. At the line, people were eager to get moving.  The big question was if you were going to attack the course from the start. Only one racer indicated yes, VTXC's Jake Hollenbach was fired up and ready.


The new loop removed some of the fun switchbacks and long flat sections of the usual course,  the feel was more rolling and the climbs you dread were done thrice instead if twice.  The track was a solid mix of fresh and frozen granular with patches of wind blown snow here and there.  Due to the extreme lows, it was feared that the snow would be slow.  The consensus was that it was about the fastest slow snow you could have.  There was much resistance in the snow, but good form and concentration on glide could overcome it.  Conditions heavily favored the patient racer who recognized that each stride was work that needed to be spread over 50km. 


It was by no means a slog, and there was plenty of fast fun racing, but there was no place to recover from a mistake early in the race.  The race started clean; most got on course without much incident.  Those that were warmed up took off while the majority of the field seemed happy to ease into things.  There was one bottleneck at the first bridge where a couple poles were broken, but after that there was wide open skiing.  The field settled into packs and all the races unfolded.  


Unlike last year where the field stayed together until 12km, this year’s race broke into smaller packs right away.  The leaders were out of site within the first 2km, then a chase group, and then the field.  Jake chugged along in the elite pack with racers like Sam Evans Brown and Alec McGovern (Bowdoin).  Damian was in the chase group with an even mix of college racers and masters including CSU’s duo Frank Feist and Andy Milne.  Mike Kavanaugh was at the front of the main field skiing with Jonathan Miller of the Intramural Gentleman’s Club of Burlington or (INGCOB) or as one announcer put it “The Intramural Club of Blah, Blah, Blah…”  Perry Bland raced out to a good start as well as Brendan Barden and Joanie Kavanaugh who raced the 25km option.  Other locals were among this group including Jonathan Rodd and Andy Bishop (Mansfield).  Jonathan and Andy fulfilled mentoring duties to their children racing the 25km before breaking loose on their own after the 25km turn-off.  The course and conditions made for very tactical racing.  By the mid point in the race the large groups had all broken into small groups of 2-3 skiers or less.  Jake was away with the elite three, Damian had bridged up to a Jonah Belk (Colby), Mike was picking off people from the chase group who could not maintain the pace, and Perry was focused on good form as he skied with those around him.  Brendan waged a battle with CSU’s Rob Simms.  Joanie skied in with the Rodd’s and Heidi Walls of Portland Nordic. 



For those in the 50km, the dawn of the 3rd lap was tough.  The field had been blown apart, literally by the wind and most everyone faced the last third of the race solo.  The speed of the glaze groomed into the trail was gone and the tired skiers faced the hardest challenge of the day, surviving to the finish.  Jake remained with the top 3 and placed 3rd overall for the day.  Damian had reserved just the right amount of energy for the last lap and picked off a lot of carnage from the lead pack in the final kilometers of the race, skiing his way to a PR of 14th.  Mike Kavanaugh really noted how much slower the snow got, but powered through on his own getting one of his top results as well. After separating from his son at the 18km mark, Jonathan Rodd picked it up and went screaming by much of the field on a mission at his race pace. Perry really needed a good race here after his last Rangeley experience.  He overcame the intimidation of the 50km skate staying focused on form and turned out an impressive result winning his age group!  Brendan finished about where he expected, but did not have much fun at all despite his heroic efforts to get to the race.  He flew into Portland from State College, PA, rented a car and drove to Rangeley the night before.  His skis were squirrely for some reason and he struggled with balance the whole time.  He had to wait the whole 50km for the only satisfaction he experience in the race that came when he squeaked by Rob Simms at the line.  Special thanks to Helen Hollenbach for staying out in the cold and cheering us all in!


On the whole it was a very successful race.  The conditions and distance made participants much stronger competitors physically, and mentally.  It was not a free ride, but very rewarding race and workout.  At the finish skiers that could quickly exited to find shelter.  A few that had cracked, collapsed onto the ground nursing shockwaves of leg cramps.  Not much cooling down took place and people mostly took a warm cup of soup and a sausage sandwich before making their way home. Great job to everyone.  This will make things interesting as the stage is set for the end of the season.


Damian

The Curse and Reconciliation of the Stowe Derby

February 23, 2014

By Dhyan Nirmegh

On Saturday before the Stowe Derby I drove to Trapps and skied my customary 10k loop up Chris’ trail to the cabin and practiced letting loose back to the center just to get what I called Derby hardened.  It was a day you would not trade for any summer day. The ground was a mix of icy corn and wet corn, and if tomorrow was to be cold, it might be fast and dangerous.


If ever there was a Derby where I had confidence and felt that I was ready and not scared, this was it. Year after year, the race stares at you.


I awoke and got everything in the car.  The morning was cold and icy but the sun was peaking out over the mountain tops. Yes, the skate race would be fast, the classic would probably be warm and the snow was to get wet on the flats.  I’ve seen it before.

I drove to Waterbuy and stopped at the store, walked in, bought a coffee and looked at the paper rack. On the front page of the Times Argus, was a picture of Maria Von Trapp, the step-daughter of the Baroness Maria Von Trapp.  She had died a day or two before, but here she was looking at me. 


Now this hit me like a thunderbolt, because 40 years ago to the day, at the conclusion of the Stowe Derby, the Baroness Maria Von Trapp was at the finish line and she greeted me as I finished the race.  That year I worked for Trapps and with Dudley Rood, we worked for three days preparing the trail for the big race. And since I was skiing for Trapps and Trapps had paid my entry fee, the shop had convinced me to try out the new Bonna fiberglass ski.  I wanted to use my wooden Eggans, but I was to be the standard bearer of a new technology. I started out on the cold, cloudy day.  Everything went well down the mountain.  These weren’t bad skis I had decided. Since the snow wasn’t great that year, the race went down the toll road, climbed back up to Trapps, crossed the road near the gift shop, and went down the Ayers trail and ended up at the Stowe High School.  There were a few tricky descents down to the school which were very steep. I made it to Trapps, started across the gift shop field to the descent, when funny things started to happen.  I fell over.  That was odd.  No reason to fall.  I fell again and again about four more times down through the steep sections.  What was wrong?  Was it the wax? Was I tired? Getting to the school was a bit of a struggle, and I was completely disappointed.  Finally I got across the field, getting to the finish line, where the Baroness Von Trapp stood. She walked over to me in wearing her Austrian scarf, “Ray, how was your race?” in her Austrian accent. “Well I said,” in my Vermont accent, “I fell a lot, and I felt like I let the ski shop down.” “You look like you have difficulties,” she said to me.


I looked at her, wondering what she was getting at.  She pointed to my skis, and I took them off.  They were completely delaminated, and I shook them like an Austrian accordion.  “Ah,” she said, “Bad luck.” This was about forty years today, and I thought about her all the way to the top of the course.  The Baroness was in my mind, full force.


Paul O’Neill, the director at Trapps, had this year, yesterday, the day before the race had waxed both my skate skis and classis skis.  “They’ll be fast,” he said.


At the top of the lift, I skied down to the start. They were scary fast, those skate skis.  I started out with Keith Woodward, my old rival and a UVM woman.  We flew down the mountain, but the camber of my skis seemed so big I couldn’t get my ski on the ground to edge.  Keith led the way.  I and the UVM girl hung on behind. I noticed between the three of us, I was the least stable.  But me, being me, I pushed it to the max. To the bottom of the power line and a 100 yards from safety, my tips started spreading in the soft snow.  It was a like a slow motion movie to the ground. I hit, as if a sledgehammer had stricken me, and I saw a flash of light, a mass of stars, and I felt the brain rattle.  It wasn’t good.  I had buried my head into the hard snow, head first, flipped and sat there in a daze.  Some spectators groaned, ran to stop me, but I brushed them off, jumped up and skied on. 


The rest of the race was a matter of trying to stay upright.  I was off balance and shaky, and before I got the field and bike path I had fallen four more times. Liz Hollenbach passed me, and said she had to side-step the crater I had made, and I could not keep up with her. Now it was just a matter of hanging on and finishing. Fortunately my skis still ran fast along the flats, and like a prizefighter I managed to pull it together and get to the finish line.  I slumped over, hurt all over. I looked over to see Jim Fredericks and Keith Woodward calmly drinking water. I looked for Eli Enman, but didn’t see him in the crowd. He was to be my ride back up the mountain to get the classic race to complete the two disciplines of the Derby.  I thought they had left, since I had fallen so much. 

Now, how I was going to get to the mountain for the classic race?  I was not in my mind, he was there looking at me as I disappeared up the road. I left my skis on the bus, ran down to the corner, hitchhiked a ride in a car to the where traffic was backed up for the derby cross.  I jumped out of that car, and ran a half mile to the crossing and I danced a couple of steps to the cheering motorists, until I got to the crossing. On the other side of the crossing, I managed to get a ride to the mountain.  I redressed in the lodge, got new gloves on, drew my classic skis out of the bag, and sat five minutes to readjust .


I now was so shaky and dazed, and I reflected about the race as I went up the lift. I did not want to fall again.  I thought about the Baroness looking at my battered skis 40 years ago. Was I cursed? Was I destined to fall today? And was I destined to fall now, at the classic race? I looked around at the mountains, and reflected on all the battles I had had with Mt. Mansfield in my life, some of them had nothing to do with skiing. Slowly I went up the lift. Again I felt impact with the ground once more, and shuttered. Then I heard Maria Von Trapp, “You are a good skier, you will have a better day.” Now I don’t know if the Baroness really said that 40 years ago, or if the recently departed Maria had, but that is what I heard right then. I got off the lift, and calmly skied to the start area, and prepared for the race.  There was Keith once again, lined up 30 seconds ahead of me, surrounded by three brave women from the Stowe area.  We bantered and laughed.  The sun was beating down and the sky was blue, as I watched Keith and the women disappear down the trail. 


The next 30 seconds is why I race.  Time stops. “You are a good racer, you will have a better day.” I heard these words again.  Is today really the day, or forty years ago? I smiled and laughed at the thought, and said out loud, “I will see you at the finish line, and I will not fall.” The girl beside me looked at me and said, “You won’t.”  I looked at her and the next thing I knew, I was speeding down the mountain, and I skied as well as I ever had.

EC Final 2014

February 15, 2014

Results


This past weekend marked the finish to yet another Eastern Cup season.  This year was filled with plenty of excitement as usual.  Things got off to a rocky start when the first weekend had to be called due to a severe ice storm, the second weekend saw a batch of unlikely skiers from Madagascar looking to get a last minute birth in the Sochi Olympics.  The third weekend was held on razor thin conditions at Trapp Family Lodge.  The final races capped off the season held in a recent near blizzard like dumping of fresh powder!  Oddly it was the first EC race held on completely natural snow this year, and not everyone was happy about that.


Day one was a freestyle interval start at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire.  The last time I skied here was during a severe snow drought and snow had been trucked around to make a course.  This time things were much different.  We had conditions as forecasted.  Seasonable temps, overcast with flurries, little to no wind and two feet of the fresh stuff. The snow was so new they did not have time to groom it properly.  It appeared one hasty pass with the groomer was made and the race started shortly after.  This meant there was an extremely soft track.  The 5km loop started with a sustained climb for almost 2km.  Then a downhill brought you almost all the way back to the starting elevation, the course returned to the high point via another long climb, another fun downhill to the lap finish area. The finish had the only flat section that was about half a kilometer long.  


I was the lone representative of NWVE at this race.  I was disappointed to be last in the start list.  However this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I had the advantage of the most skied in course.  I concentrated on keeping my skis flat and let them float over the soft snow.  This worked well for the most part.  It was clear that skiers had broken through the groomed surface on much of the course but I had the benefit of seeing the trouble spots and avoiding them.  I double poled a lot and kept my gate as narrow as possible. 


As for the race I found myself continuously catching and passing people.  On the second lap there were much fewer racers on course.  This allowed me plenty of space to do my thing and just as I thought I would finish the race alone I saw a familiar orange suit in the distance. I thought of Nirmegh in the Flying Moose last week and focused on out sprinting Jim Fredericks at the finish.  The goal kept me honest and I skied as fast as I could over the final kilometer.  Once we hit the last section of the race, the flat finish tether it looked like Jim was too far ahead to be caught.  My hammering got his attention.  He made an effort to respond, but as we hit the final 50m and the trail widened into 3 marked sprint lanes and he knew my momentum would be too much to overcome.  I overtook him in the last few meters.  


This turned out to be my strongest effort this season.  I think I had a few advantages over those that started earlier in the race.  The course was more packed out by skiers for me, and I had the satisfaction of passing the entire time.  Lastly I had the spirit of the best team driving me all the way to the finish.  It is great to have so much to draw inspiration and motivation from.  Especially when in the depths of that place you may find yourself in towards the end of a race.  In a competition where every second counts the team carried me through even though I was all alone for the day.  That is what makes NWVE so great.  Channeling all the energy from great competitors in the club is a powerful tool when you need it most.


Sunday I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out for the Cheri Walsh Classic.  This is the traditional final race of the Eastern Cup series.  It is also a very well organized event that draws many dedicated racers back every year.  


It was another perfect day for skiing. The course was well prepared and the tracks were nice and firm.  The course was the usual challenging 4.5km loop done twice for the women and 3 laps for the men.  There is a lot of striding on this loop and picking the right wax is critical. Though coming from different places we all arrived at about the same time.  We quickly set out to find the perfect wax and prepared our skis.


The temperature had dropped to the mid teens from the 30's the day before.  There was the same abundant fresh powder, but the extra day gave groomers time to pack and set the course making it bullet proof for the race.  As we prepared, many of our friends from other clubs checked out what we were doing as we did the same to them.  While temps said Blue wax for the day, we found Purple was working better.  This is likely due to the conditions the snow fell in.  Type of snow at the time it falls is a consideration that gets lost or overlooked but is important when we have a day like Sunday where there was a lot of fresh snow that fell when the temperature was in the high twenties.  The temperature then dropped moderately.  While the temp can change rapidly, the properties of the snow crystals in the case of cooling temps cannot.  Ski flex was also very important at this race.


Liz Hollenbach got things started in the Women’s race.  With a little testing, a little guessing and not much warm-up, Liz headed out.  She enjoyed the course, especially the last two kilometers of the loop that went by very fast.  As a day of race entrant Liz started near last and worked her way up through the field. Her result placed her as the second Master right behind JoAnn Hanowski (MNC).  For the men, all of NWVE was stuck toward the end of the running order along with the rest of a large masters’ contingent.  The Ford Sayre and Bethel boys were out in force and made good marks to chase, race and out run.  One NWVE athlete would out run almost the whole field.  Paul Allison posted a top 5 result bettering every collegiate athlete in the field!  Only a few of the very elite were able to better his time while having the advantage of racing among skiers with similar paces.  When Paul politely went by those he was catching it was clear he was racing on a much different level.  Who knows what his time or result would have been without all us virtually stationary obstacles in his way?  Eric Tremble also enjoyed passing many along the way.  He felt his skis were a bit slow, but he worked through the field catching almost every skier he saw.  His skis did not look slow with all the speed he was able to carry to the finish line.  Ed Hamilton was also in this mix working their way through the field in front of them.  Ed had a very strong result winning the M4 division and finishing in the top 5 of Masters.  Though Ed was clearly more excited about the race and season his son Forrest (MNC) has had, punctuating it with a win in the J2 race with all contenders on hand. By the way, the top master was Justin Freeman who won overall by a comfortable 90 seconds.  It was his home course and he really delivered. Stephen Wright and Damian Bolduc skied their first lap together.  Both had good skis and put some distance on Bryce Wing from Ford Sayre who started right on their heels.  Damian pulled ahead bringing Mount Washington’s Nat Lucy into view.  Stephen liked the dynamic of racing with the younger racers who were on their second and third laps.  Dhyan Nirmegh continues to improve with each race and had another outstanding performance.  Nirmegh proved you are never too old to try something new as he perpetually dials in his equipment and technique with tweaks here and there.  Another stand out performance that must be mentioned was Peter Davis’ skiing under the Mansfield banner.  Perry Bland noted that Peter was on the upswing.  While the thought that Jonathan Chaffee (Ford Sayre) had the M8 division all locked up, Peter proved the deal is not sealed.  Peter’s result was over a minute faster than Jonathan’s and the dethroning had to rattle Chaffee’s sense of security a little. Perry has enjoyed a few really good results over the last month.  The tables turned with Donavan Freeman on his home course.  And so the rivalry will continue.  Perry is still up a tally or two on the season, but as is always the case, there is no sitting pretty in a sport with so many variables and the constant presence of healthy competition.


The Eastern Cup Finale showed us how short term our memories can be.  It seemed the conditions erased how we have been waiting/dancing for snow like this all season.  Some (no one from NWVE) even had the nerve to use the conditions as an excuse for disappointing performance!  Most appreciated the snow.  Having the right mentality certainly made a huge difference on both days.  NWVE continues to draw attention with the quality and quantity of its athletes and their contagious enthusiasm for skiing.  Whether the results are good or not quite what you wanted, the purpose is to have healthy fun. With the depth and breadth of our results, along with the cohesive mutual respect between all our members, no one can argue that we are not getting the point. 


Damian

Flying Moose Classic 2014

February 8, 2014

Results


The NWVE caravan took off from the Richmond Park and Ride early and several cars strong to journey over to Bethel, Maine for the Flying Moose Classic.  With blissful anticipation of great conditions, we sped across three states to take part in the Annual Race.  The temperature followed its predicted path and the snow kept getting deeper and deeper.  Upon arrival we were not disappointed.  We were even a little early giving the team plenty of time to enjoy the truly mid-winter conditions.


Conditions were lots of powder on top of lots of firm base.  Tracks had been set, they were firm, but forgiving.  No bone jarring ice tracks.  The temps held steady in the high teens and the sun shined the entire time keeping us warm, on a skiing high.  There was a brisk wind but skiers were only exposed on the out and back trail to the race loop on the Gould Competition Trails.  The race started in the stadium at the Academy, skiing 700m on the track and then headed through the fields to the Pine Hill Competition Trails.  There we enjoyed the roller coaster course, three laps for 22km, one for the 9.5km skiers.  The race organizers did a great job setting the course and the layout skied beautifully, challenging skiers and keeping them right on the edge the whole race.  It was the type of course that challenged physically and mentally as you have to stay focused to transitions well and optimize your energy.  The loop was also just technical enough to produce some g’s on the dips and turns, yet remained totally skiable.  In other words it was a fun thrill ride!


Upon arrival we set out with our usual rituals of registering and waxing.  Blue wax was working, but the application made a difference.  ToKo hit the nail on the head with covering Mint with Blue in their prediction.  This worked well because the Mint made a nice cushion and the Blue on top provided enough grip for excellent kick.  Straight Blue worked as well, but tended to be a little draggy, so it did not release the snow as well as the mixed waxes.  Eric Darling, who is nursing a knee injury, did a great job in the role of wax tech getting people waxed for the race.  Feedback was good and aside from a few minimal issues people had good skis for the day.


The Flying Moose is known for its confusing start instructions.  It consists of laps and half laps, or this and that, and this year was no exception.  The start would be two loops around the stadium, and then the finish was changed.  No real issues, but difficult to describe to people anxious to start and not paying attention.  Fortunately the people on the front knew what to do and the course was well marked.  The 22km skiers started first, the 9.5km skiers followed 5 minutes later.  The BKL 4km race went off last.  NWVE had racers in all events.  It was nice that in conditions so good the shorter distances were lengthened so people could get a full appreciation.  The 22km was long enough. 


So after some instructions the countdown was on and the race started.  Jim Fredericks of Mansfield Nordic would jump the gun and start a second ahead of the rest of the field.  You cannot blame him, it was not fair to keep us from attacking the great course and conditions.  The race started with about 2.5km of double pole as skiers did two laps around the stadium and then the connector trail to the race loop.  This first test, split the field putting skiers against respective competitors in races that would unfold over the course.  Tom Thurston raced off with the leaders skiing away from the pack right from the start.  Those of us hoping to try to hang in a little were no match for their power and efficiency.  Tom skied in a group with a Colby and Gould skier and put a full three minutes on fellow master’s skier Bethel Outing Club’s Kirk Siegel.  Kirk has been on fire in recent years and had edged Tom at White Mountain by a few seconds.  Tom’s performance here, while still feeling some fatigue from Craftsbury, shows what he is capable of and extended his lead as the ZAK Cup leader.  At the front of the next pack Damian Bolduc and Andy Milne (CSU) resumed the club rivalry.  With no regard for the other racers, they raced each other.  Perhaps a little too hard as at the end of the second lap a group of skiers overtook the fatigued pair.  Damian dug in and went with the group eventually gaining his position back, and holding off Milne to the finish. 


In the heart of the field, the biggest race of the day was unfolding.  Jim Fredericks and Dhyan Nirmegh were battling once again in a rivalry that has spanned over 40 years!  It was at the West Hill race in 1974 that these two first met in competition, Nirmegh would have the advantage by 8 seconds on that day.  Perhaps Jim was risking nothing with his false start.  As the field made its way up the climbs Nirmegh slowly closed a large gap that had opened at the start.  Soon the two would race neck and neck.  Nirmegh was feeling pretty good about out-sprinting Jim to the finish of the 25km at Craftsbury, before continuing on to finish the 50km.  Jim was out for redemption.  As stated earlier the course and conditions provided no better test of the whole skier.  Toward the end of the final lap Nirmegh made his move and dropped Jim by accelerating over the tops of the last two major hills.  He held on skiing with determination to the finish. History repeated itself; Jim crossed the line eight seconds later. 


Mike Kavanaugh had a great race skiing in the aftermath of what Jim and Nirmegh left behind.  Putney’s Chris Osgood was dropped by his fellow M7’s, but picked up Mike and raced against him.  Chris was able to out sprint Mike.  The two were grateful for the race, respecting each other’s efforts in the perfect conditions.  While this was going on the bulk of the field was right behind marking another competitor that has quietly worked his way up the results page.  The recipient of NWVE’s “Tim Cowan Quiet Contender Award” Rick Kelley has drawn some attention.  People have put a face with the results and Rick has become a target among skiers within the club and beyond.  Rick says his skis were not the greatest, but sometimes that is how they feel when you are really testing yourself and going for it.  Among those marking Rick were Mike, Brad Clarke (BOC), JoAnn Hanowski (Mansfield), Trina Hosmer (SNOC), Perry Bland, Lary Martell, Donovan Freeman (MWN), and Sarah Pribram.  Some would get by, but most were held off as Rick double poled up the last hill due to a lack of kick.  Rick is the beneficiary of consistently improving results as he pulls those he has worked through over the years along with him up the results page.  Perry would be the club’s next finisher.  Challenging classic skiing really suits him well and he had to be loving every moment of this race, especially the finish where he once again held off Donavan Freeman.  Lary Martell raced well too.  After having not raced much over the last few years Lary is making his return.  He knows starting back up will take some work but sees these races as only the starting point as he gets back into race form.  He is on track improving with each race.  Sarah Pribram had an off day with skis that felt draggy and did not have superb kick, a victim of the subtleties of ski flex and wax application.  She had the same stuff the rest of us had, but for some reason it did not work the same for her. She still had a good race competing with those around her and thinking that Rick is not usually that far ahead of her at Wednesday Night worlds.  Jessica Bolduc had a good race and has admitted the last few races were actually, maybe, kind of fun!  Jessica had some great company racing with longtime club friend Raul Siren (Maine Nordic Ski Club) and Ken Kimball (MWN).  They broke away from Jessica in their own little M8 battle. If you think you are too cultured and experienced to sprint and throw a toe over the line to win, think again.  Raul did so and the difference made his day as he recounted the feat after the race.  Cipperly was under the weather with the flu all week but she is not one to sit out her home state race.  She made the short 2.5hr commute to Bethel and raced.  She was tired but skied with good technique.  Good skiing will carry you a long way on a course like this.  Cipperly came up the final hill determined to finish and held off a few masters including a Bancroft!  Camille Bolduc raced in the 9km race.  She was happy with her ski and thought the course was really hard.  She did not like that a group of high school kids swarmed her at the finish trying to beat her only because she was little. In the 4km race Ava and Julia Thurston raced for Mansfield BKL in a deep middle school field.  Being much younger than most of the field they did well and enjoyed a day of skiing after the race.  In fact after all the cars were packed up and ready to go Camille, Ava and Julia were still out having a great time playing and skiing!  Yet another way to highlight the day.


It truly was a day not to be missed considering the conditions we have had this season.   BOC’s gift to New England was this race and everyone appreciated it.  They field did not even care about the awards though the results were still closely monitored.  It was another great weekend for the club.  Rumor is that the Valley Cup at Ole’s was as equally fun!  Take advantage of this snow.  We know it can be fleeting.


Damian

EC Black Mt.

February 1, 2014

The Black Mountain Eastern Cup was held over the MLK weekend in true Chisholm Ski Club fashion.  They lived up to the words of Chummy Broomhall once again.  “It is only a small club… but we do big things.”  Pulling off an Eastern Cup weekend given the weather we have had was no easy feat.  They not only did it, but held the races on a full 5km loop.  Everyone was very pleased with the conditions and excited to race a high quality event where winter has survived.


Day one featured many races with the J2 Women followed by the J2 Men, Open races that featured former and future Olympians, but the Main Event was saved for last.  The Eastern Cup Masters Wave.  Pre-reg showed a head to head no technique barred match-up between CSU’s Rob Bradlee, and NWVE’s Damian Bolduc. (me) I was looking forward to the duel as Rob has bested me in the Craftsbury Opener by the slimmest of margins.  I figured man to man in a mass start, our strategy, and guts would be evenly matched, but that my youth would be an advantage on the demanding climbs in the middle of the loop. Not to mention I have been fortunate in getting in a lot of on snow time canvassing the region. I knew Rob is a tough competitor and strong, but over the 15km I would be able to wear him down and slip away in the final kilometers.  That is how it played out in my head anyway.  Upon arriving I learned that Rob would be joined by two other CSU members.  No problem, just more fun and tactics for me.

The Course was the Legendary Black Mountain 5km loop.  This track takes you on an exhilarating rolling down hill then a series of grinding climbs bring you back to the starting altitude, but before looping through the stadium, at around the 4km mark the steepest and most sustained climb, “High School Hill” must be summited, then you roll back down into the stadium. Temperatures were in the low thirties and partially sunny skies.  The snow had been churned into loose granular by the time our race started.  It was still fast, but a little mushy on the major climbs.


Well Rob was joined by only one teammate, and I could not have been more wrong about how the race would play out.  We all started together, I let Rob take the lead.  He is a strong skier and is used to being marked.  I think he likes it that way and he wastes no time seeing what other people are doing.  He dealt with Scott Magnan and I in the Flying Moose last year pulling on the front of the pack the whole race.   You have to respect an athlete that does not hesitate to go to the front and lead.  For all the disadvantages, the one advantage is you will be the first to respond if anything happens.  We all stayed together for about 400m.  Then Rob took off down the series of down hills.  Not a big surprise and being a lighter skier I should have been able to make up the ground on the climbs.  Rob’s teammate Tom Simon and I went back and forth a little in the first two kilometers, but once the serious climbing began I was able to put a gap on him. 


Initially I thought I was making up ground on Rob as we climbed back up for the second of three laps.  But I was working a lot more than I wanted to, and knew it would not be good if I kept up the effort.  Cresting High School Hill Rob was within view, and I knew I could not make any mistakes, or check my speed anywhere.  With a new game plan I set out to keep the gap as small as possible the next time down the hill.  Rob simply did not let up and I never saw him again until after the finish.  Not only did he out ski me, but he even beat my Eastern Cup Points PR, and if they adjust the scoring due to the depth of talent in the Open Race this may have been my PR.  I did not see a 90 second whipping coming, and had to accept that Rob has come a lot further since the Craftsbury Opener than I have.  After the race a Podium ceremonies were held.  To our surprise after photographing Kris Freeman on top of the Open Podium wrapped up a Master’s Podium Ceremony was held.  A little confused as Masters in the Open Race had beat us, it was clarified that it was indeed meant for the Master’s Wave, Rob got the big moment  he deserved for “opening up a can of whoop-ass” on me to get the big W and I was happy to stand on the second step as I have never won anything at an Eastern Cup.


Day two presented skiers with challenging conditions.  The loose granular had been groomed and firm tracks had set, however snow began falling and by race time almost two inches had accumulated.  Wax that was working had to be adjusted as snow kept falling.  Snow was welcome by me.  I really like this condition and have always had luck with straight hard wax versus Klister covered.  I watched the first races and listened as the kick reports came in.  I stayed close to one of the Craftsbury Wax testers, and Mansfield’s Tim Weston as they had skiers report back.  Seemed Klister covered was still preferred, but with no sign of the snow letting up I went with a mix of Rode Viola Multigrade and ToKo Red.  One thing I learned from myKlister Boycott years ago, is that it is way over utilized.  I sacrificed the tracks on the steep hills, but so did everyone else. My skis ran well, not caking out of the track and I was surprised by how few racers passed me, and that on my first lap, I was keeping fairly good pace against the elite racers on their second.  Having the previous days experience to work on, I raced as clean as possible and put in a very hard effort.  Finishing I had no idea of my place, but looking around I knew I did fairly well.


I was happy with the weekend even if the race against Rob did not go as planned.  Black Mountain is a great host, getting all the details right for a large race.  If you ever have the chance, do not hesitate to race there.  They even gave me and Eastern Cup Medal!


Damian

EC Trapp Family Lodge 2014

January 25, 2014

A few NWVE skiers took the starting line in Sunday’s Eastern Cup 10km Freestyle interval start. Conditions were interesting with very sticky fresh snow on top of old granular.  Temps were in the low thirties and the legendary Trapp’s Breeze was blowing.  It was overcast and light snow would change to mist as the temps teetered on that line.  The trail was in amazing shape.  It held up to the punishment of a large Eastern Cup weekend and was the most durable thin cover ever seen by many. It was firm and did not scrape out.


Cody Putnam and Cody Boissoneault have graduated from the BFA program and now ski for the Purple Knights at St. Michael's. They were at the tail end of the collegiate field in the start order. Paul Allison and Damian Bolduc would start at the end of the running order with the masters, Paul was actually third from last to start, Damian was 1:30 up in the 15 second intervals.  A couple of other local masters were also in the field: VTXC’s Ryan Kerrigan, and Jake Hollenbach as well as Mansfield’s Andy Bishop.  There was also a large contingent of NWVE members enjoying the day skiing, advising and cheering.


It is good to see Cody and Cody continuing their sport at a new level and have improved greatly over some of their EC Results last year.  It is a long haul but with more experience they will surely continue on their trajectory.  Having just raced the Craftsbury 50km aggressively Damian was getting a lot of attention for putting a bib on.  Rick Powell of Ford Sayre and Joe Holland of Putney were both impressed with the decision.  Damian simply wanted to get an EC ranking building on his performance at Black Mountain and knew he could skate a 10km fairly well after a marathon. Tom Thurston advised him to ski easy as much as possible prior to the race and that is what he did, combined with eating as much as possible.  Race time closed in as nerves built.  Damian did not blast out of the gate, but took a more conservative approach.  It was difficult to balance as the course was a little bumpy due to thin cover and he was clearly fatigued.  Paul kept his promise not to pass him in the first kilometer.  But that did not stop a few others from moving on through.  Paul quickly caught and with a polite wave passed Damian around the 3km mark in the race.  Paul skied very well and enjoyed the fast conditions.  He noted how the down hills provided little recovery and used his energy wisely on the difficult course.  His efforts paid off as he placed 36th in the very deep field.  A result that would easily get him on any collegiate carnival team! Of course it could not have been done without cheers from many NWVE members such as Mike Kavanaugh, Tom Thurston, Helen and Liz Hollenbach, Dhyan Nirmegh, Camille Bolduc and many more that helped them along the course.  Damian would eventually find the rhythm of the course toward the end of the first lap and set out to chase down those that had passed him in the first kilometer of the race.  His endurance served him well and he did regain a few spots earning some enthusiastic cheers from those who knew what was going on.  Even Joe exclaimed "you still got it!!!"  


Post race NWVE skiers that remained took a nice leisurely cool down ski. When that was done Rick Powell congratulated Damian on a great result.  Figuring that it was more damage control than anything he shrugged it off.  Rick re-emphasized stating he would have a lot of explaining to do after getting beat by 40 seconds by a guy who raced 50km the day before!  Paul was equally surprised with his position on the results page as he did not feel like it was a top page day for him.  The feeling of exhaustion must have matched the effort as Paul left it all on the course.  After that a few went to Piecasso in Stowe and enjoyed epic stories over equally epic pizza!


Damian

White Mountain Classic 2014

January 26, 2014

Results: http://www.jacksonxc.org/uploads/Events/White%20Mountain%20Classic.html


There were a lot of NWVE smiles at the White Mountain Classic today.  The conditions were a bit extreme with low temperatures and gusty winds.  The course was shortened 10km to minimize exposure to the wind, and most were grateful for that.  Most were pleased with their performances and almost all NWVE racers felt their races were better than expected.  It will be interesting to see how the Team Championship results shake out as there were several elite skiers in attendance challenging those who have comfortably won their age divisions in the past. 


Driving to the event was not as smooth as hoped, but we arrived with a little less than an hour to prep instead of a little more than an hour as hoped.  Trail conditions were a mix of granular and packed powder, with wind-blown powder. Temperatures held steady at zero and there were wind gusts up to 25mph.  The real feel wind chill was -30 for those obsessed with how cold they were going to feel. Partially sunny skies above were not enough to radiate warmth to the field.


With little time to prepare, a waxing frenzy took place in the parking lot.  It was easy to pick the wax of the day.  ToKo Mint, ToKo Blue, and VR30 were all kicking well.  The Swix recommendation was to have a Klister Binder, some went with that and others decided not to bother.  Applying Klister in the conditions proved very challenging, but with the snow surface so firm there was little consequence for a sub-optimal application.  I kind of liked how the team got ready.  People yelled for wax or a cork and it appeared as one person finished what they were doing and moved on.  The chaos worked for the most part, but most were a little late getting to the line.


Once the gun went off, the frenzy continued.  It was one of the messiest starts I can recall.  It was clear that self seeding had not occurred, or rather those, that should have been closer to the line, were late to arrive and had to start behind where they ought to have.  Once on course, most skiers quickly realized that the tracks were full of wind-blown powder and quite slow.  In the scuttle of determining tracks or corduroy people became very unpredictable and the pack was very squirrely.


Eric Tremble had his usual start and blasted off the line.  The elite pack quickly established itself as the remainder of the train tripped over itself.  This group stayed together up to the Eagle Mountain Trails and then slowly broke apart.  Eli Enman (VTXC) would go on to win a sprint against Torin Tucker (Dartmouth) for the overall.  Eric skied in a group with Chris Mallory before eventually dropping him and skiing into 6th place.  Tom Thurston made his way into the chase group that picked up those that fell off the pace of the elite pack.  He battled with Bethel Nordic’s Kirk Siegel who has been tearing things up the last two seasons.   Between Tom and Damian was a train of masters having very strong races.  Chris Bean (Onion River), John Sakalowsky (CSU), Carl Swenson, David Herr and Rick Powell battled in a very contentious race.  The highlight of Damian’s season occurred when he dropped CSU’s Andy Milne and cautiously made a move past his teammate Frank Feist.  This is not something Damian has ever had the opportunity to do this early in a race and he was a little concerned with how things were playing out.  It ended up being a move Damian would not regret! Damian finished out the race with a Dennis Page of Dartmouth and a mad sprint to hold off Matthew Birkebak of UNH.  It was the consensus of those mingling at the finish that CSU had slow skis.  Stephen Wright was another victim of the messy start.  He found himself dodging skiers for a while until deciding to put them away.  Once free and clear he continued to move up through the field with strong skiing and out kicked Ford Sayre’s Bryce Wing at the line.  A couple of racers were back in action after a year off.  Dhyan Nirmegh was back after a year off.  Using this race as a tune up for the 50km next weekend he played a pivotal role in our team scoring.  He seemed very happy to be back getting the nod of approval from more than a few of his long time rivals.  Nirmegh also held off a hard charge from fellow NWVE teammate Pavel Dvorak.  Pavel being three minutes up from CSU’s Victor Golovkin with whom he chased down last year, found a new challenge in Ford Sayre’s Jonathan Chaffee.  While both are quite tall, Victor’s bulk causes him to eventually tire out, but Chaffee fit is very lean and is very tenacious, racing Pavel all the way to the end.  Chaffee is surely responsible for getting his team in line and toppling CSU in the One Day Team Championship.   Rick Kelley had a great performance today as he continues to ascend the results page.  He found himself going back and forth with a few racers as each took advantage of their strengths and ski speed.  Liz Hollenbach raced strong as well taking the M2 division.  Liz found herself in a precarious situation as a gust of wind almost knocked her down as she overtook VTXC’s Mary Stewart.  Liz shook it off and went on to win her age group.  Perry Bland skied much of the race with Donavan Freeman (Mount Washington) and NWVE’s Mike Kavanaugh.  Perry and Freeman put a gap on Mike coming off the Eagle Mountain Trails and just as Perry had started doubting himself, Freeman showed a weakness that Perry took advantage of and carried the momentum to the finish.  Mike saw the opportunity as well and capitalized.  Mike continues increase his appreciation of classic skiing and found the conditions today quite acceptable for kicking and gliding.  Sarah Pribram found herself close in the mix, skiing with Mary Stewart.  She had a good sense of accomplishment after her longest ski of the year.  Edging Mary and Amy Gunn probably helped too.  Lary Martell felt good to finish upright as he comes back to racing after some time off.  He too was happy about conquering the conditions and getting a good effort in before Craftsbury next weekend.  Kyle Darling, Dorrie Martell and Jessica Bolduc were all in a pack for most of the race.  They supported each other as they traversed the course giving tips and encouragement along the way.  The down hills would eventually separate them with Kyle skiing away first, then Dorrie.  All three finished well ahead of perpetual contenders Christopher Naimie (Bow Nordic) and SNOC’s Carol Van Dyke (SNOC).  Cipperly Good was glad to be back on her game skiing through her pack of fellow competitors.  She is looking forward to rejoining the team at the Flying Moose Classic in two weeks.  Joanie Kavanaugh did a planned short race as she prepares for the 25km at Craftsbury.  Her skis were a little draggy in some of the wind-blown powder.  A problem she plans to have corrected by next week.  Lida Dvorak opted for a shortened tour as well.  She proved her toughness on one lap of the tour while her companions from last year sat out.


Post race most everyone seemed quite happy with the day.  A few comments were made that the course was short, though not too much complaining about it as racers thawed out.  A lot of speculation about who won the One Day Team Championships floated around.  Scoring was compromised due to a results glitch that could not be corrected until timing had finished.  In unofficial team scoring for the Women CSU took the overall, SNOC was second and NWVE was third this year. The men had a tight race with Ford Sayre winning, NWVE came in second holding off Mount Washington by a point.  Note that in combined team scoring NWVE was a clear winner!


Damian 

Bogburn 2014

January 4, 2014

Results: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northwest-Vermont-Endurance/329615740404021

What a worthy day for a classic race.  It just does not get better than what we had in North Pomfret today - fresh powder, cold temps, and a challenging course.  All indications were for a great race, and expectations were exceeded this year.  

Conditions during racing were perfect.  Sunny skies with temperatures hovering right around 10 degrees.  The

snow cover was a foot of powder on top of a foot of powder.  Bob Haydock and family did a great job grooming and the trails were nice and soft for skiing and the occasional landing.  Most found you could let your skis run and ride the berms. 

The field was the typical Bogburn crowd, with many families, masters, seniors, and a few high school and collegiate teams present to take advantage of the New England Tradition.  Did they get a treat!

Due to the temperatures being a little stubborn in the morning, BKL Racing was delayed.  Camille was the lone NWVE BKL racer for the morning, but had a great time with her friends from the Mansfield Club she trains with.  Things were a little chaotic on the way down and getting started, but most just went with the flow and the BKL races were full of excitement.  Camille had a good race and was happy to be successfully using her wax-able skis in a race.  She looked strong making her way up the hill to the finish.  She finished right in the middle of the co-ed field and was happy to be done with the race and headed directly for a warmer climate next to the wood stove when finished.

The morning’s delays carried over to the adult races, but no one seemed to mind.  The organizers did their best to keep things on track and before long the racing had started.  One of the days mysteries was how the start order was determined, but whatever the case, it made for interesting racing.  Due to the chaos, there were some starts missed, but for the most part people were on course in good order.   The Women’s field at the Bogburn is interesting in that it is a combined field with the J2 racers.  It is also only one lap versus the two the men do.  One J2 racer was upset that his parents had signed him up as a Masters Woman, though the problem may have been that he was beat by a few Master’s women.  Also while there is speculation before the race as to the motives for 

the shorter distance, there never seems to be any complaints after.  The Bogburn course in one that never gets easier.  Despite being finished before the other started, NWVE racers Liz Hollenbach and Sarah Pribram finished within one place and one second of each other.  Liz won her category edging Mansfield’s Jenn Carlson by about 30 seconds.  Sarah’s age group competition Kathy Maddock (CSU) was a couple of minutes ahead of her, but she did not have major surgery this summer.  Both Liz and Sarah were within striking distance of Mansfield’s JoAnn Hanowski who had an excellent race.  Joanie Kavanaugh was promised powder.  Not convinced, she was suspicious that there may have been some scraped out corners out on course prior to the race.  Much to her delight there was plenty of powder on all the corners.  After a quick kick wax application with the color of the day, Blue, she was ready to go.  She seemed to like the course but stated that the last 5k felt so hard.  Jessica Bolduc had issues with the first 2k.  Falling three times before she threw in the towel and backed off a notch or two for the rest of the race.  Hannah Barden liked the challenge.  Ready to wave off the race due to the extreme temperatures her husband Brendan broke the news to her that she was already registered the night before.  So she took it in stride with a positive attitude and ended up having a lot of fun.  Cipperly Good who had the longest commute to the race was a little disappointed with her race having some difficulty with the soft tracks and may have gotten lost on her warm-up.  She got in some good skiing and hit the long road home.

The men’s race was just as exciting with a strong NWVE contingent participating.  I did not get a copy of the start list or the Men’s results so I will do my best.  Sorry if I miss you.  After testing the waters at the “New Year’s Resolution Wednesday Night Worlds, Hoodie-Footie Pajama Party, Potluck and NWVE Group Workout” at Sleepy Hollow January 1st, Eric Tremble was back in action.  Wednesday, without “really pushing it” he placed third there, behind Paul Allison and Jake Hollenbach.  Since easing back into things on Wednesday, Eric was out to reclaim his standing in the order of things against the Cyclocross Biathlon World Champion Eric Darling.  It was at the October 2013 Championships where Eric T. suffered a broken collar bone in a freak one bicycle crash while chasing down an early lead by Eric D.  Today Eric T. put aside all the friendly one pole skiing, took up a second pole and showed the World Champion what he is made of.  Perhaps this was only the warning shot on the path back to the World Title.  The season should be interesting as Eric D., while having an excellent race as well, may have been caught a little off guard with his booty covers on. 

Perry Bland was on a similar mission as Tremble.  After having ended 2013 not exactly as he would have liked, he

returned in 2014 at the Bogburn and set things straight with an exclamation point.  He was chasing John Lazenby and Freeman by 15 and 30 seconds respectively.   He quickly disposed of Lazenby on the first hill, and had a little back and forth with Freeman before putting him away.  Perry also chased down Brendan Barden, but just could not get by him at the finish line. Brendan opted to have kick, which was not a bad decision, but did have some consequence, though most felt they had better control with the slightly slower skis. Damian Bolduc found himself in great company.  He held his ground with two Dartmouth skiers and advanced fairly well through the field.  It took SNOC’s Tom Thurston a lap to catch him from a minute back and then he did not gain much during the remainder of the race.  Tom pulled Damian by Pavel Dvorak who looked strong and gave much encouragement.  Pavel had the brightest uniform and looked in line with the Bogburn’s long and historical fashion tradition.  At the finish, Tom went right to Eric T. and Eric D. to see how their races went and what their times were.  He is surely anxious to see how he did against Frank Feist.  Rick Kelley had an early start was feeling pretty good about how long it took for people to go by him.  He said the feeling faded when after the first person went by and the parade followed.  Mike Kavanaugh continues to learn as each classic race passes.  He had a good race, setting a new wax PR with a very thin layer making it to the finish line.  Mike skied right along with competition that has many more years experience than he and looked good doing it too.


  

A quick gauge to how people did in a race is if they have warm-ups on when you finish.  Ed Hamilton had his on, along with Eric T. and Eric D., so his race must have gone well.  He was tempted to warm his wax up a little but went with the right decision to keep it where it was.  Tyler Magnan was in fairly early as well.  He was happy with his effort and likely had a great result.  Stephen Wright had a great time and was glad he fit the race into his busy weekend.  He was really excited to ski in conditions like nowhere else this weekend and is among those that thinks this is a great event.  Leigh Mallory focused on form during his race opting not to attack the course.  This is a smart thing to do at the Bogburn as the course will always win.  It is tough to hold back a little out there, but when you hit the hills on the final 2km and you are out of gas it is a very long way to the finish.  Kyle Darling raced his first Bogburn.  His initial reaction was that he was done and standing!  He could not believe the conditions and the difference in the snow between Burlington and Pomfret and will surely be among the many new fans of the race as there were plenty of first timers out there with him. André Bolduc is among those with mixed feelings about the Bogburn.  It is a cool race and challenging course, but it just has not won him over.  Focusing on the skate technique for biathlon, André returned to conquer the Bogburn.  He had good form finishing, but may have to put a tally in the Bogburn column for this year.  That is part of what makes this race great.  It really tests you year to year and there is no way to cheat.  Once you know it is there you have to do it, and you always think that you can push yourself a little more each time, but the course keeps you honest.  A good race here is significant, a bad race will make you much stronger in future races as they will not test your limit like the Bogburn does.


Another great thing about the Bogburn is its proximity to Worthy Burger for NWVE. On the way home several club members and a few of our friends stopped by to fittingly toast a cold one to the 30th Annual Bogburn and refuel with some fine dining.  While always delicious, a Worthy Burger after a Worthy Race is exceptional.   Great Job to all who raced today.  No matter the result, this one will make you a better skier just by finishing!  Another event that will do the same is on tap at Trapp Family Lodge next weekend with the Race to the Cabin.  This race is especially good for those that do not like technical downhills, but do like great brews and great prizes!

Damian

BFA Alumni Citizen's Race 2013

December 29, 2013

Great skiing from yesterday spilled over into today’s event.  The BFA/NWVE Alumni Citizens Race was another success.  Skiers of all abilities and ages converged on the Dickinson Farm for the Annual event.  The race had its usual jovial atmosphere, taking place among friends during the Holiday Season.


Conditions were quite good with about a foot of snow on top of 4 inches of ice.  The area has suffered a lot of ice damage as was evident on course, but long hours put in by Scott Magnan and the other BFA volunteers cleaned the course up and made for some great skiing.  There was some debris on the trail with some variability in snow type depending on what type of cover the canopy provided.  In the woods ice and water falling from the trees made things interesting especially when a branch would move and the skiers below were pelted with ice.  Temps were in the mid thirties, no wind, and the snow was fast.


After some brief instructions, the race got underway.  Things stayed close through the double pole zone, but then racers quickly established who had the best ski preparation techniques.  There was a lot of moisture on course and those who had fluoros quickly moved to the front.  Within the first kilometer a duel between BFA Alumni Scott Magnan, Tyler Magnan, Damian Bolduc and Cody Putnam broke away.  Scott and Tyler led the first lap while Damian sat in and Cody struggled to hang on.  At the start of the second lap Cody was disposed of and at the 4km mark Damian overtook the lead and began opening a gap on the climbs.  Once out into the meadows in the final kilometer of the race Scott and Tyler began chipping away, closing the lead Damian had established.  All three were clearly showing signs of fatigue and the race became one of who had the most guts. One mistake on this course will cost you the race.  In the final 200 meters of the race Scott and Tyler closed within striking distance of Damian, and coming from behind, Scott capitalized on a split second of hesitation by Damian and carried his momentum by him into an all out sprint to the line.  The race was so close it went to the jury for the decision to be made official.  Although it was pretty clear Scott had won by the face, the jury of Scott’s mom, Elaine Magnan, Scott’s sister Angela Magnan and Scott’s wife, Jennifer Magnan confirmed the result that Race Director and Chief of Course Scott Magnan was Champion!  It was a close and hard fought victory and an exciting race to the end!  While the highly fluoro-ed front runners were battling it out, racing was just as exciting in the field.  NWVE’s Rich Dickinson, Kathy Kjelleren, Spike Clayton, Perry Bland, Jessica Bolduc, Helen Smith, André Bolduc, Mike Mashtare and Cipperly Good were all in close proximity during the 6km race.  Rich broke off the main field after a conservative start and used the home course advantage to slowly sneak away.  Spike, Kathy, Perry, Jessica and Helen moved as a unit until Kathy made a move to get through a pack of high school skiers.  Spike was unable to counter and Perry hung back a little longer. Perry eventually moved up passing Jessica on a tricky downhill and Helen maintained position watching the Leslie Roberts show.  Helen was quite pleased with her result having not raced since the Bogburn (with bronchitis) last year.  Cipperly had a good ski, still feeling a little of yesterday in her legs.  Mike Mashtare started a little too fast and paid for it the rest of the race.  André was toppled by an out of control Leslie Roberts early in the race and could not make up the ground lost.  SNOC’s Steve Messier also had a difficult race opting to switch skis so as not to break the ones borrowed from Damian and put on some gloves after a tumultuous first lap that left him humbled with a gash in his hand.  In the 3k, Savannah Kittel-Mitchell took and held a commanding lead over the field.  Camille Bolduc finished second and was quite pleased with the consistency of the Bolduc results, with all placing second.  Dr. Good had a tough break in the final sprint in the 3km classic division.  He did not quite land a back flip as he battled another for this year’s title.  Dr. Dickinson was very impressed with how the field looked as he made his way around the loop.  He was also very pleased at the number of people behind him.  As for other categories; not too much effort was put into the bright tights competition except for one fellow who looked to be displaced from the Blue Man Group.  Jeremy Gibbons was not in town to defend the most weight gained title.  The oldest Alumni would rather not be mentioned as they were far too young

to qualify for that honor.


The focus was on racing and the course skied very well for that purpose.  Scott and the crew did a great job clearing the path of the ice damage leaving many ice archways that racers passed under adding a cool affect to the race.  It was neat to pass into different sections of the course as the ice caked shrubs served as a gateway to a glistening forest.  The destruction will be devastating for years to come, but the silver lining was a sight seen by many, thanks to all who helped pull this race off.

Damian

Mt. Hor Hop

December 28, 2013

NWVE had excellent representation during the final weekend of 2013.  Hopefully the enthusiasm carries over to the new year and we continue to have great success.  Snow conditions at the race venues exceeded expectations, and the participants really took full advantage with outstanding fields and outstanding performances. 

The Mt. Hor Hop has become a Holiday Classic.  While the field is on the smaller side it is full of dedicated racers that cannot miss the event as it serves as an annual rite of passage to officially start the season.  Mike Kiser, Peter Harris and the rest of the crew that get the season going pulled off another great race.  Driving to the venue brought 

commuters through many different zones of snow cover with things looking the most wintry after making the turn onto RT 5.  The familiar course was well covered and the grooming was nice and smooth.  There was no wind and a light foggy mist was falling keeping things glazed with temps in the high twenties.


The J2 race started first.  Things were pretty close to on time and a few BKL racers hopped in the 5km at the end of the start order. Camille Bolduc started 30 seconds behind Ava Thurston.  Both girls looked great racing and did fairly well against the mostly older field.  Fellow J5 Quincy Massey-Bierman raced hard from the start, but was not able to run away with the race.  Ava gained on Camille in the final 2km’s of the race but all J5’s should have been very pleased with their races.  It is not an easy course to race up 3 age groups on.  All were competitive and have much to look forward to as the season progresses.


Next up was the Women’s field.  The team looked great with 5 women sporting the NWVE colors making up almost a third of the field.  The rest of the skiers certainly took notice as they took off their warm-ups and green filled the start order.  The stadium was certainly NWVE biased with special cheers sending each NWVE racer off.  The encouragement was astounding as the cheers and chants echoed through the woods.  Fans even started a wave.  Perry, Damian, Eric D. and brought the Mt. Hor Hop stadium to a new level.  One NEK resident commented on how “this must be what it is like at riot frenzied World Cup Soccer match.”  Liz led off for the club having a quick start.  She was caught fairly quickly by Chelsea Little (Ford Sayre) and then skied along the rest of the race.  It was tough to know how you were doing in such a small field, and even though Chelsea initially made up a lot of ground on Liz at the 

beginning of the race, the trend did not continue throughout.  Liz held her ground and ended up placing 4th overall with only collegiate women in front of her.  Jessica Bolduc was then next NWVE racer, followed by Sarah Pribram and Cipperly Good.  Jessica felt fast and had good skis, but Sarah was able to push by her on the long climb.  Sarah looked great as though she has not missed a step during a long recovery from a hip fracture.  She has certainly been doing a lot of work behind the scenes with PT and staying focused as she makes her way back to 100%.  Cipperly Good and Hannah Barden were at the end of the running order.  They too skied most of the race alone.  Cipperly had the unfortunate event of the men lining up during the start of her second lap and had to maneuver around a few guys not paying attention to the race.  She got through and made sure the way was clear for Hannah.  It was great to see the Barden’s back after some lean snow years and a baby.  Hannah joined right back in with Liz, Jessica and Cipperly with the total domination of their race category.  People commented on how it must be great to be racing around a bunch of your teammates with how fun the NWVE Women made things look!


The NWVE Men had the benefit of riding the wave of enthusiasm set by the Women.  Joining the Barden’s in a return to racing was James Donegan.  Everyone was happy to see his return and occupied most of his warm-up time catching up with him.  He started things out for the club seeing how far the inspiration for the prior day’s high school race could carry him.  Perry Bland was hot on his heels starting one spot back.  Perry really liked everything he saw from the snow, to the team, to the competition.  He was gracious on course and encouraged every one he encountered along the way.  Mike Kavanaugh enjoyed his race taking many notes along the way, like how fast Keith Woodward’s (SNOC) skis were.  He also noted that the organizers provided cookies at the end, a familiar move he approved of. Stephen Wright played it safe using his rock racers.  It may have been a decision he regretted as the conditions were quite good with only a couple of spots where you needed to take a little care.  Damian had a good start and his skis were running quite fast, but 5 seconds slower than Keith’s.  He also got a good look at Ford Sayre’s Chris Nice who had an outstanding race.  Eric Darling took the NWVE Men’s top result.  He looked strong with great technique and at home on the twisty course.  He was in good company on the results page with Tom Thurston just in front of him and Chris Nice right behind him.  Leigh Mallory was then next NWVE starter followed by Brendan Barden.  Leigh was in the most competitive age group.  There is a lot of bragging rights on the line at the Mt. Hor Hop.  Especially for the M7’s.  For some reason this group holds nothing back at the Hop.  While everyone loves the quirks of the race for Chris Nice, Peter Harris (Craftsbury), Jim Fredericks (Mansfield), Jon Lazenby (Onion River), Leigh and Perry this race has another meaning and they really come out for it.  The rivalry between these skiing powerhouses runs as deep as the lake the course overlooks.  Whatever the motive, it is between them.  Brendan was caught in the middle of this, thinking that he would catch Leigh and ski with him.  But Leigh was on a mission and Brendan did not see much of him after the start.


This year’s edition of the Mt. Hor Hop was another one for the memories.  Rivalries were re-established and the tone of the season has been set.  Over our recovery lunch plots for next week's race and recovery meal were as thick as the Miss Lyndonville Diner's gravy.    It will be exciting to see how things progress starting with the Bogburn next weekend and the classic athletes have their say.  Whoever is doing the snow dancing for the Club Series keep up the good work as things look like they will be setting up perfectly for the Bogburn!


Damian

Craftsbury Season Opener 2013

December 1, 2013

New England converged on the place where winter is already underway in Craftsbury today.Over 150 racers competed in what could be described as the Eastern Cup Prologue.The field was stacked with the best skiers in New England with many collegiate teams participating.Conditions were outstanding and people were excited for the beginning of a new 

season.

Craftsbury opted to stick to a short man-made loop of snow.For the men the course fell shy of the 10k distance, but should have been quite close to the 5k for the women.The race loop started in the lower field and climbed into the upper field, then took Lemon’s to Coaches Corner before heading back towards the stadium.The racers then had to conquer the steep climb back into the upper field and then back to the lower for a loop around the stadium.Temperatures were in the mid twenties, no noticeable wind and the snow was mostly granular man-made with a little natural snow mixed in.It was fast.

BKL skiers started the day with a two lap race.NWVE’s Camille Bolduc was our lone member in the mass start.She quickly found her rhythm for the day and maintained a good pace.She raced with good form, but felt a little fatigued

from her long ski on Saturday.She was happy with her race and is looking forward to more time on snow and improving during the season.

The men were the next field to go.Men completed 5 laps which came in closer to 8k than 10k.Racing got underway with John Brodhead talking over Rammstein as he announced each racer and their affiliation.This was an interesting pairing to say the least as Till Lindemann’s powerful, and aggressive vocals on Du Hast contrasted greatly with John’s announcing gate.Whatever it was, it will be a start of the season not soon forgotten by this author.

Racers were lined up in a semi-seeded start order and were off with a 15 second interval.NWVE looked strong with many feeling they had fast skis and good races. Most NWVE was seeded mid field with Andre’Bolduc having the honor of first club starter.He skied well for his second time on skis which was more than last season when he took to the line on his first time out.The extra training helped this year and he looked good on course.Mike Kavanaugh was a few spots back from Andre’ and tasked with holding off Mansfield’s Terence Cuneo.Mike handled the challenge and over took many skiers

during the race including Mansfield’s Mark White and Craig Pepin. Eric Darling took 20th getting NWVE’s top result of the day.He looked strong off the start and confirmed he is in shape as foreshadowed with his performance in the NWVE One Mile Double Pole Roller Ski Time Trial. Long titles are making a comeback as Eric chased two newcomers from The Intramural Nordic Gentlemen’s Club of Burlington Vermont.He made quick work of them along with many others in the field.Damian Bolduc followed not quite as fast, but moving up in the field as he continued a long standing battle with USA SKI_O/Craftsbury’s Adrian Owens.The two have been closely matched the last 10 years with Adrian having the upper hand as of late, especially at Craftsbury.Damian did place one spot in front of Craftsbury’s Ethan Dreissegacker who was stopping to shoot at the practice biathlon range each lap, but the result stands. As the line up aged up, an interesting phenomenon was unraveling.Bill Farrell noted that he was the meat in a M7 sandwich with Jim Fredericks (Mansfield) and our own Perry Bland.Jim could not pass up the conditions even after a recent major surgery, Perry was anxious to see if the results would reflect his feeling of being in a little better shape this year and Farrell was feeling the pressure as he returns to racing after a few seasons off.“Toast that sandwich bread into crumbs” were the parting words of advice as Farrell departed. Perry had a good race but noticed that Jim was looking going pretty good despite the recent speed bump. Leigh Mallory started in 63rdposition and Scott Magnan started last in 65th place.Leigh had a great race and looked strong all the way to the finish.Scott picked off a few racers, but did not really have it today.After going out a little too hard he pulled up and just skied it in the last two laps.Despite being a short and fast race, the challenges of the course make it difficult to attack and a steady effort will prevail.Finding that balance is tricky especially when you really want to make a run for it in a short fast race.

NWVE’s Joanie Kavanaugh had a great race with the Masters Women.Ford Sayre’s Cheryl Carlson who has had a lot of energy leading up to this season, took a little lead over the rest of the master’s field.Joanie was right in the chase holding off a strong push from SNOC’s Carol Van Dyke and Trina Hosmer.


Another season has gotten started in a big way!Congrats to all who raced today!It was a tough course and strong field for the first effort of the season, but NWVE looked great. A special thanks to the crew at Craftsbury for pulling off a high quality early season event with all the finishing touches. Their Mission and Vision have continuously improved all aspects of winter activity and they have become a vital part of the winter competition scene if not the heart of winter in New England. As skiers made their way home, light snow started falling making conditions even better.

Damian

Westford Turkey Trot 2013

November 23, 2013

NWVE rocked the Westford Turkey Trot today. The field was as strong and as many as ever. It is clear that word has spread about this race and its popularity is growing undoubtedly due to the fact that it is simply the best race ever. The whole event is expertly executed by those very in tune with the clockwork of an athlete. Warm-up, a dose of inspiration with the kids dash, race instructions no one listens to, the race and then awards and all the archived results hung around the gym transforming it into a depository of treasured running lore.


I may have jumped the gun on the race the race conditions announcement.After hearing the wind and precipitation all night I really was eager for truly memorable conditions.Depending on your perspective the race conditions were rather average.The road also froze and the mud was not the type you could lose a shoe or two in.That said its temps were in the mid thirties under partially skies and the infamous Westford head wind blew steadily in your face for the full 6.2 miles.


Despite the unchanged program each Westford Turkey Trot is unique.The talk of the day this year was how fast the fast people were.It is not uncommon to have 1 person demolish the field in Westford, but 3 side by side for 5 miles was unprecedented.Then followed up by a pack of 5 which included a woman that averaged faster than the average winning time and you have yourself a remarkable day for Westford. Despite having local big guns show up NWVE still took the top of the podium with Paul Allison edging Tim Reynolds at the line.It the true spirit of Westford a tie was granted as these two ran in step for the entire race.


The day started with its usual fanfare.People registered, visited and warmed up in their own ways.Then the parking lot was cleared for the Kids Dash.Wagers were made and the race was off.Eyes were on several contenders, including Acadia Enman who looked a little fresh when she ran across the finish line.Acadia was pleased with her race stating that she ate a whole chocolate Turkey Prize.Sydney Baer was a no show this year, but her title as cutest first race ever was filled by NWVE member Ruby Donegan who was a little timid with all the attention until mom Sara came along to hold a hand and with that a big smile and a final kick to the finish gave everyone doing the grown up races some inspiration.


Another notable no show was the Westford Pony Tail Guy.He pulled off a disappearing act as work called him to the great state of Texas.The occasion must have been quite important as is with most people once you have done one dozen Westford Turkey Trots you cannot miss another. Or even the Westford Pony Tail Guy does not mess with Texas. Westford Sun Glasses Guy was there and true to form.He wore his Sun Glasses as Mercury wore his winged sandals and even gave words of encouragement as he uttered “you go girl” to Liz Hollenbach as she overtook him on the course.Behind the elite pack was the chase group.Among them James Donegan ran strong setting the pace for the half of the race, then yielding to the eventual 30-40 age group winner Adam Bulakowski who had an outstanding race and got a 10K PR.Other notable athletes in the pack were Kasie Enman (aka the Kaiser of Westford Turkeydom) and Norm Larson.Damian, disappointed about yet again chasing an Enman, worked his way up and through those that fell off the pace James was setting.He resumed his annual battle with Chris Rodgers, taking advantage of Chris’ bulk as he labored over the hills.Mansfield’s Tim Weston was close behind but not able to catch Damian as he maintained more speed on the down hills to the finish.Kristen Courcelle loved her first Westford Turkey Trot using the occasion in preparation for a Thanksgiving Day Triple Header in sunny Florida. If not the heat, at least she will be ready for the hills.She also took top honors in the Middlebury Turkey Trot 5k.Scott Magnan and Liz battled their way in.Liz looking a little more composed, Scott running a better time than in recent memory.Rick Kelley also had a great race as he cruised in edging the big man Mike Bessette.Rick also held off the Mansfield Masters Rick Costanza and Jonathan Rodd. After some heckling and trash talk from Kevin McMahon, the saga of Nirmegh and Pascal continued.Nirmegh has been getting the upper hand as of late due to having a monster kick and Pascal’s one pace fits all style unable to counter.Sarah Pribrim split the two in her first Westford Turkey Trot.Since Pony Tail Guy was out, what better two to run with then Nirmegh and Pascal?Jessica Bolduc followed along while Tyler Magnan finished in survival mode with an Achilles issue.Tom Lane improved on last year’s result looking like there was a little more race than he wanted at the finish.There is no cruisin’ to the line at Westford.Being an actual resident of the great town of Westford Perry Bland made the required appearance at this race and looked strong as he conquered the final hill closing on Charlie Windisch who was coming off a strong performance Masters New Englands.Mike Mashtare accompanied his daughter Meredith in her first 10K.Mike left all the details that make this race so special as a surprise to her, and topped off the day winning a pair of shoes in the raffle. (Better than that Turkey Feather he got when he took the overall a few years ago.) In the two mile contest the offspring of the Westford Pony Tail Guy carried the torch to victory.Wearing some New England Cross Country Championships wear he looked to be settling down after a long season.NWVE’s Janet Frantz also cheered us all by name as she participated in the 2 mile walk.Janet finished with plenty of time to spare (1 minute, 1 second) to cheer winners Paul Allison and Tim Reynolds across the line.


It was indeed another great year with great racers at the Westford Turkey Trot.Congratulations to all the participants for completing this classic, and a big round of thanks to all the organizers for a great event. Bring back Westford Pony Tail Guy but don’t change a thing!


In other club related news, Camille Bolduc (who sat out the Westford Turkey Trot) raced in the USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Region 1 Meet.The top athletes from this race advance to Nationals in San Antonio, Texas, December 16th.Camille ran an outstanding race staying sheltered in the top 15 for most of the race.The fully exposed course was challenging with a very fast start, then some serious climbing, steep down hills leading to a long flat before a short kicker to the finish.(Did I just describe the Westford course?) The highlight of the race was Camille’s acceleration over the top of the final hill and sprint to the finish.She moved from 12th place to 8thoverall in the final 100m.Her official time on the difficult 3K course on a cold and windy day was 12:55.


Damian

NWVE 1 Mile Double Pole Uphill Roller Ski Time Trial 2013

November 2, 2013

Ten Roller Skiers stepped up to the challenge of the First Ever NWVE 1 Mile Uphill Double Pole Roller Ski Time Trial this morning at UVM’s Gutterson Field House.  Racers donned their Bogburn apparel competing for Bragging Rights, Baked Goods and a Genuine Fram Oil Filter.  The course was a straight shot up the UVM Bike Path traversing exactly 1 mile and gaining 100 feet of elevation.  The snow capped Green Mountains served as a perfect backdrop to this event reminding racers that winter is only a few weeks away.  Conditions could not have been better with temps in the mid forties and a favorable tail wind of 4-7 MPH.


Racers were very pleased with the course.  It offered the right amount of resistance to get a good effort in while not being so steep that it would bring you to a complete stop.  Varying Double Pole technique was utilized to help prevent fatigue.  The small field was deep with talent featuring skiers from Craftsbury Nordic, Mansfield Nordic, VTXC, NWVE, area high schools and the recently self proclaimed Cyclocross Biathlon World Champion (Novice).  Today’s winner Forrest Hamilton (Mansfield) hit it out of the park setting the bar high for future contenders.


Today’s event went off well and special thanks goes to the volunteers, UVM, the staff at NENSA and all the athletes for pulling this off in just over a week and making the event a success.  Organizers were pleased and plans for expanding the event in future years are already being considered including adding a no poles, and skate race as well to create a trifecta challenge, or a Trick or Treat division where competitors randomly draw the technique to be used.


Damian


Link toresults

Link to pictures