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Event Archive 2009 - 10

2009 - 2010

Event Archive 2009 - 2010: News

Mt. Washington Cup 2010

March 27, 2010

NWVE took a spin in the rinse cycle at the Mount Washington Cup on Sunday.  Thirteen athletes made the trip to take avictory lap with Perry in the club series finale.  Despite the 200+ point buffer "we left nothing to chance" exclaimed Masters Chairman David Hosmer.  Mansfield’s Nat Goodhue was impressed "we got the whole team over in these conditions."  While the conditions were daunting, racers were pleased with the decision to compete and enjoyed the challenges the weather added to the race.  This has been the case repeatedly this season rewarding the hearty folks who show up with great events.  NWVE's success was based on a commitment to race anywhere, anytime, no matter what. This strategy really delivered. 

What a season it has been.  While others have been discouraged by the snow drought, our club racers have been rewarded with wonderful events and experiences we will not soon forget. The team grew and the new members brought new energy while being motivated and encouraged by the club veterans that they were getting good results, trying new things, not to mention having fun!

Back to the Cup.  We loaded the cars and began our trek to Bretton Woods.  As has been the case this year our hopes of conditions bobbed with the changes in elevation and latitude along the way.  When we arrived at the Mt. Washington Resort we were greeted by a thick coating of sleet.  Undeterred we registered and warmed up.  It was determined that it would be a "slog," but for some reason that did not diminish the high spirits at all and skiers braced for the challenge.  Thanks to Eric Darling, racers were able to apply a coarse structure to their ski bases with the help of his abjured expertise, portable bench and tools.

So this season we have seen a variety of conditions.  Up until Sunday we have seen one condition at a time.  At the Cup this year we saw all conditions at once. Slush, powder, midwinter, scratchy, windy, cold, warm, gusty, calm, dirty, fresh, pond skimming, ice... you name it, it was there, even the sun poked through the clouds once or twice, though the precipitation never let up.  The race started on the golf course then rolled into the woods finding its way back to the resort through a gravel pit.  Most skiers approved of the course and many were happy to be on trails they had not seen for years.  They were groomed smooth but were on the soft side due to the warmth and all variety’s of precip that was falling out of the sky.

The mass start quickly funneled into a 1.5 lane trail.  Jake Hollenbach and Damian Bolduc got a clean start along with Keith Woodward, Tim Reynolds, 2010 Olympian Tucker Murphy and the rest of the elite skiers.  Damian could not hold the pace and a gap opened while Jake pulled a group of 6 away from the main field.  Jake ended up third overall at the finish.  Tristan Leggett caught an edge in the start wiping out early, but recovered quickly and focused on making up the lost ground taking no prisoners.  “It was surprising to see such an aggressive effort from Tristan as he weaved through the field. I wish I could have followed his lead!” exclaimed one racer after the event.  The rest of the racers settled in mostly as part of the group the Damian and Stephen Wright pulled for about 5km.  After that, things slowly separated.  Racers tried to hang on as conditions on the course continuously changed.  The race was very dynamic and favored the power skiers.  Un/Fortunately Tim Reynolds broke a pole at the 1.5km mark and skied the whole race until the final half km with one pole.  It was interesting that he would only lose ground on the down hills and was a testament to his strength and determination.  With about 2km to go, Damian cracked on a short steep hill and began yielding to skiers behind him.  Among them was Eric Darling who continued on to pick off the uni-poler, Tim Reynolds, while working with Craftsbury’s Sheldon Miller.  It was definitely advantageous to work together and that is exactly what Scott Magnan, Tristan Leggett and Stephen Wright did to the final sprint over the bridge to the finish line.  Tim Cowan also found himself working with a mixed group that included Raul Siren (who was on (or just wanted to get it over with)), Ford Sayre’s Bryce Wing, NWVE’s top woman Sarah Pribram, and Amy Gunn from Mt. Washington Nordic.  Freeman who credited fast skis took the sprint in the end.  Sarah had mixed emotions on finishing before her idol Trina Hosmer. Jessica Bolduc was the next NWVE finisher.  For the first time she skied in an organized pace line.  It also happened to be all women.  Andre’ Bolduc was the next club finisher.  He was happy the course was easier than last years and his hard charge at the finish was more than enough to gap a skier he passed coming back onto the golf course. Perry Bland came in shortly after, holding off David Hosmer by a minute.  Perry said he felt good and it was what it was.  Still plagued with work we are not sure if Perry had a bad day, woke up too early or was waving to the trees as he skied the victory lap he has been planning since the Craftsbury Marathon.  One thing was for certain, no one found out before he made a quick exit in true Perry fashion.  Perry did arrive early and announced that there are still applications and slots available to join the club to a few of our friends from the Hanover area.  No word on if any of Janet’s Ham and Cheese sandwiches were exchanged.  Cipperly Good rounded things out for the club veterans.  Cipperly was a fan of the fireplace in the lodge after the race and updated the club on the activities of the “Red Menace.”  They have adapted quickly and due to our new race suits refer to us as the “Green Team.”  I suggest the Green Machine but guess we are destined to be confused for other teams.  Not that there is anything wrong with it.  Two high school skiers raced under the club banner as well.  Grady Monroe and Zachary Shuttle went 1, 2 in the J1 division.  Zachary was hooked last year at this event and took about 7 minutes out of his time last year.

After the race, we sipped wine and enjoyed exotic fruit, cheese, and vegetable platters. Results were out surprisingly fast.  Many club members picked up some hardware, hit the Swix clothing sale and headed for the Station for a much deserved hot lunch and celebration.  Stories of today’s race, former glory and Pajama Jeans were exchanged, and despite the gray weather that drove many away, a great time was had by all.

We ended another season with a bang.  It is safe to say that we won the points series decisively as well as the Zak overall and many age group categories.  It was great to have new members motivated by the team atmosphere inspire the rest of us and we have a great group to go to new places with in the future.  In the Zak Cup we unofficially have two of the top three overall women, with Jessica and Sarah winning their respective divisions. Cipperly was a close second in the M1. For the men we had four of the top ten with Eric Tremble doing his thing for first once again.  Eric, Damian, and Scott went 1, 2, 3 for the M1 division.  Eric Darling took M2 by 60 points, Stephen Wright edged Kirk Siegel by 3 for the win in M4, Tim Cowan, Lary Martell and Rick Kelly were three of the top ten in the super competitive M5 category,  Dhyan Nirmegh had a solid second in M6, and Perry Bland held off Freeman to take second in M7.  Whatever we are doing its working better than ever!  The proof is in the results that keep getting better across the board!

Birkie 2010

March 5, 2010


So the first new NWVE skisuit crossed the finish line at the American Birke this year!

Jake and I headed out to Wisconsinto do the Birke this yearinstead of the Stowe Derby– I was hoping to complete my first 50k race ever, and Jake was hoping to place well among the big dogs of 50k competition.You may think this is strange considering I can barely motivate myself to finish the 6k races at Sleepy Hollow this year and usually opt for 4k instead.  But, really, I can do stuff. I just need a little prod,that’s all!

Jake got to start in the elite wave. Whoopee– I’ll let him tell you all about it next time you are at the skirack.So since this was my first 50k– the people that control seeding for the Birke would only let me start in the last wave (wave 10)– so I did. About 8,000 skiers had skied the trail ahead of me– so it was like skiing though sugar snow– more like wet sand actually for 50 kilometers, with little landmines of banana and gu packets along the way. I ended up finishing about 2,000th.  It was like a slalom course of people to pass– some slowing plodding along– some completely stopped– and others justsort-ofskiing slowly. If you have any reservations about your ability to do a 50k race– I would say theBirke is for you since they seem to encourageslowness out there. There are barely any hills– andit is a very rolling course– good for those who are good at transitioning and have a nice V2 alternate.  I started passing members of wave 3 (who started 1hour and 10 minutes ahead of me) at 15k into the race.Wow! I finished in 3 hours and 36 minutes– which I thought was pretty good for having to stand still on some climbs to wait to get over them! Next year– I’m starting in wave 2gosh durnit.

Jake ended up 40th– about 10 minutes behind the winner. I think the trail was rock hard corduroy for him. LUCKY! He was a bitdisappointed– but considering the time, years, coaching and support theelite racersin his group had– I think that is pretty darn good.Some Italian named Fabio won. Figures. (He wasn’t even that handsome)

SO I think we should have a NWVT contingency next year! It should be called“own the podium NWVT styleeeee.” Except if Fabio comes back next year.In that case it would be“proprio il podio Fabio style” or something like that.

Another exciting event there in Hayward is seeing the prize Musky (it’s a fish) hanging up in a bar called Moccasin. Classy. 


Flying Moose & Eastern Cup Final

February 27, 2010

NWVE put another great weekend into the history books.  We continued our command over the point’s series with a very strong showing at the Flying Moose Classic in Bethel , Maine.  Our every race, anytime, anywhere, no matter what strategy is paying off.  Fourteen members made the trip over, thirteen to race the 20km event.  Road conditions were a little more treacherous than usual, but all made it to the event safe and ready to race.

The day began with Camille Bolduc upgrading out of the lollipop division to race 1km with 2nd and 3rd graders.  She took a bad fall on the back stretch, but finished well in time to cheer on the 20kers as they looped through the stadium 7 times.   The 20km course was a figure 8 raced 3½ times.  This was confusing to racers and officials, but most made it through with ease.  One tired racer did have to contest the judge’s decision but with support from the roaring crowd, Andre’ Bolduc kicked it in with one of the fastest sprints of the day.

Although it snowed for most of the drive over, once we hit the Maine border the snow stopped. It seems that this section of Maine has been completely void of snow since the rain in mid-January.  While hopes of using stick wax waxed and waned on the drive over it was clear at registration that there was no alternative to klister.  For the second week in a row the folks in Maine pulled together a great race course.  It was condensed to the wooded section of the regular race loop which is also the hilly section.  So we only did one moose antler this year, but it was the best part of the normal loop.  For the most part the course held up, but it did soften in sections, and there were a few thin spots, but overall it was very skiable, with a little of everything. Temps were in the low thirties, and KR50 was the choice of the day.

The results were top heavy with NWVE athletes.  Five of the top ten, eight of the top 15 and so on.  From the start it was Tyler Magnan, Eric Tremble, and Scott Magnan setting the pace. Stephen Wright, Eric Darling, and Damian Bolduc climbed their way to Scott, while Tremble and Tyler gapped the rest of the field.  Scott and Eric continued to work together, Damian and Stephen settled in a little further back.  As the race wound around the laps and through the woods Dhyan Nirmegh began dropping racers.  Perry Bland had a solid race moving up the results page.  This was really his type of race with continuous transitions and trails that got gnarlier by the second.  Even a spill on a patch of dirt did not slow him down.  While most of the field got slower, Nirmegh and Perry got faster!  Rick Kelly and Tim Cowan took 2nd and 3rd in the hotly contested M5 division.  Both had great results and were pleased with the day’s effort.  Tim’s skis held their klister, and despite a pole break in the final 50m Rick out kicked a skier on course he was lapping.  There was nothing but action out there today.  Sarah Pribram was our next finisher coming in 3rd overall for the women and easily taking her division by about 45 minutes.  Jessica Bolduc came in shortly after continuing her domination of the Women’s M1 division.  She was cheered in, as was the rest of the field, by her family and especially her father Adrian who has become a fixture at this race.  He helped watch Camille and leant a hand volunteering in the stadium.  Andre’ came in next with the disputed lap count. Fortunately Adrian and the rest of the team was there to support him and after a 20 second heated discussion, the misunderstanding was cleared and Andre’ was given the green light to finish.  The adrenaline from the exchange was enough to fuel a furious flurry of finish double poling and in 200m Andre’ made up the lost time.

We had another great day in racing and the journey to ski paid off again in good times and lots of NENSA points.  Though it was not all about the points at the post race meal where we threw back a cold one watching the Olympic Biathlon and replenishing our energy reserves with a good helping of Sunday River Brewery lunch. In the end the day belonged to Tyler Magnan. He took charge of the race from the beginning and left the rest of the field scrambling to keep up.

Eastern Cup Update:

Damian Bolduc, Evan Martell and Jake Hollenbach competed in the final Eastern Cup Weekend.  Both days presented skiers with fast well prepared courses.  Saturday was a 15km Classic.  Evan had a great result racing with Burke coming in 57th place.  Damian held his ground taking second for masters in 69th place.  Sunday was a fast 10km skate.  Jake Hollenbach continues his hot streak placing 13th overall and Evan completed the double well, finishing 66th.

Close to the Coast

February 13, 2010

NENSA summarized it well:“The Close to the Coast ace took place on a stunning day at Pineland, New Gloucester Maine today.  NWVE's Jake Hollenbach earned the overall win and his NWVE teammates won six different age groups to earn a lot of club points and extend their lead over Cambridge Sports Union.” 

The team was represented by 10 members and a BFA skier making his citizen’s debut under the Northwest Vermont Banner.  While our numbers were a force to be reckoned with in the field of around 70, it is our continuous improvement that brought home the points.  We are seeing PR’s from several skiers reaching new heights together as the team encourages each other to aspire to new goals.

The conditions at Pineland were questionable going into the race.  Even as we drove to the course from registration things were looking bleak.  The fields had patchy snow, but there was primarily a brown grass surface.  Even walking from the car to the start area things looked rough.  But hidden in the trees was “the best skate track we have seen all season” according to Jake Hollenbach.  It is true the race organizers worked very hard and pulled together a fantastic race course, trucking snow to the trail and a large groomer to make things perfect and fast.  The course was on the Morton designed Oak Hill Trails, which wrapped around the woods up and down gradual hills.  The course did have two longer climbs that tested athlete’s thresholds, but overall it was just plain fast.  The surface was tilled granular that had setup overnight, with the race temp in the mid twenties.  Pineland had done a great job designing trails and preserving snow and it seemed the entire course was elevated off the forest floor.  Another amazing thing was how clean the snow was.  For not having any new snow in the last three weeks the trails were free of debris.  I really cannot say how well prepared the course was.  Conditions for the race, held for the racers softening a little as expected as the course was skied in.  Bright sun lit the way and the field featured a strong showing from the Bowdoin and Colby clubs, as well as masters, lovers, and a few seniors.

Due to a lack of a stadium, skiers were sent off at 10 second intervals in the order of showing up. You guessed it; Perry Bland was the first off for the club. The interval proved very effective, spacing things out just enough so that all skiers had people in sight.  This was the shortest interval most have ever raced with, but it seemed to be received with overall approval.  The loops were so tight that 10 seconds was just right to keep things interesting.  Skiers looked fast heading into the woods, and the first half was very fast, the second half hurt a little with the two climbs before heading into the second lap.  The hills really hurt the second time around and taxed the skiers to the finish.  Dhyan Nirmegh, Tristan Leggett and Stephen Wright followed Perry onto the course with early starts as well.  Tristan continues to come back into form and the hours of training are really starting to show.  This seems to be creating a rivalry with Nirmegh who is happily inspired by the improvements.  Nirmegh, the M6 winner, should also be very pleased with putting Ken Remsen 18 seconds behind him this year after being out kicked by 3 seconds last year.  Stephen Wright was in the mix as well, just a few seconds back, winning his division.  Then the couples went, Helen Smith and Jake Hollenbach, Jessica and Damian Bolduc, and then Scott and Jennifer Magnan.  While Jake and Damian let the ladies go first, Jenn took a smarter approach by letting her man lead her out.  Jake went on to take the overall for the day setting a blistering time of 26:00.  71 seconds in front of second place. Damian would turnout the next fastest time (28:53 7th place) for Northwest Vermont winning the M1 division and second for Masters overall.   Scott was next in among some collegiate skiers and with Tristan hot on his tail.  The women fared just as well; Jessica continues to dominate the M1 division and only has two races to go for a seasonal sweep.  Helen and Jenn went 1-2 in the senior division but were robbed by the U23’s that were folded into the senior division at the awards ceremony.   Both were pleased with scoring points and widening our lead over CSU.  Grady Munroe had a solid result deciding to hop into the race at the last minute while visiting nearby. 

It was a very impressive showing for the club not really based on the number of skiers, but on the improvements of individuals.  The organizers did a great job getting things ready and were very quick on the results.   Everyone who made the journey was rewarded with a great event and a very friendly field.  Let’s do it again next weekend at the Flying Moose. 

Lake Placid Loppet & Super Tour

Frbruary 6, 2010

February is loaded with events of all kinds. The first weekend delivered the UVM Carnival/ Eastern Cup at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, and the Lake Placid Loppet at Mt. Van Hovenburg.  Both events are very challenging in their own respect and NWVE athletes rose to the occasion and podium.  You could not have asked for better weather for skiing and conditions at both sites were excellent considering the snow drought we have had.

The day started with several team members racing the Loppet and making  the Podium.  Jake Hollenbach took the overall in the 50km Freestyle, while Eric Darling and Sarah Pribram were runner up in the 25km Free.  I have heard several race accounts including one that Helen Smith skated the whole 25km with one pole, and that Rose Long had an outstanding 50km race putting 7 or 8 minutes on her pacer. Tristan Leggett taking an early lead in the 25, and Dhyan Nirmegh winning his division. I am sure all would love to read more accounts about the races so send them in.  It does not need to be a full review, but we would love it if you share your experience.

Perry Bland, Damian Bolduc, Paul Smith, Evan and Samantha Martell, Jake (day two) took on the top collegiate field in the country at the UVM Carnival.  Finishing the race was an accomplishment and 222nd place was reason to celebrate!  In other words this race was top heavy with talent.   Both days used the same course on the Morton Race Trails at Trapps.  The weather for the weekend was Sunny, low twenties with a light north wind.  The snow was a mix of powder on granular making conditions fairly fast.

For Perry and Damian day one was all about redemption.  Last year they hit the wax early, but the hour before the race started the temperature tanked and the Rex Power Grip they were using hardened into a useless layer of frustration on their bases.  No kick at all.  This year was different.  They did not make the same mistake and the conditions made it easy to load the VR40 and VR45 on for the race.  Kick “was effortless!” exclaimed Doug Armstrong at the finish.  Perry, and Damian were pleased with their results ranking high in the masters.  Evan was satisfied with his finish as he has been charging up the results page skiing for Burke.  Sam and Paul had great results skiing for St. Michaels and UVM respectively.  On a side note Martin Breu who the club supported a little last season has been having a great season after making the Middlebury Team.

Day two was more of the same, which was a good thing.  The crew was joined by Jake Hollenbach who skied to a great finish lacking the snap he used up winning the 50km at Lake Placid.  That was going to be Perry and Damian’s excuse coming off Craftsbury, but they did not really need it and Jake totally debunked it anyway.  The race was tough especially with the last two km having significant climbs but “all NWVE skiers carried good speed to the end” according to Official Forerunners, Scott and Tyler Magnan who hung around to watch the day’s events.

Great Job to all who participated in these Epic Events this weekend!  Thanks to all who cheered as well. I was amazed by how many people were out on the course that knew who I was and although it was not acknowledged during the race it kept me going and really made my day.  We are showing great improvements and enthusiasm grows.

Craftsbury Marathon

January 30, 2010

NWVE had another very successful year at the Craftsbury Marathon.  Everyone seemed pleased with their achievement of the day, be it just getting a good workout in or finally beating a rival they have had their sights set on for the last few years.  The race field this year was a little deeper than normal due to the Masters National Championships being held in conjunction with the race, the Craftsbury Green Racing Team which seems to have attracted talent beyond its own and because it was a carnival free weekend and a few collegiate skiers that are normally absent were able to race. This added a dynamic that made competition a lot more fun and interesting.

The conditions were good considering the January thaw that occurred on Monday.  In fact they were far better than what we raced on Thursday.  It was disappointing not to have the full loop but Craftsbury made the right decision and pulled together a shorter loop in excellent condition to race on.  One might say that the conditions improved as the day went on, even though the course took a beating of being skied over 2000 times by 500+ racers doing their laps.  Craftsbury set perfect tracks on the firm base at least 2 lanes and often 3 lanes wide.  The course took racers out of the stadium, around Murphy’s field, into the woods around Duck Pond then down towards Eleanor’s Hill but cutting back to the center for a feed and completing the first loop of the figure eight.  The second loop was longer and more challenging with two sustained climbs.  It started out of the stadium onto Lemon’s Haunt to Race Loop, then straight out to Ruthie’s Run for the first long climb and the second feed.  It followed Ruthie’s back to Race Loop and took the Race Loop bypass to come into the stadium the traditional way via Lemon’s Haunt.  No complaints about the course which ended being exactly 50km!

The temperature was one of the biggest challenges of the day.  Thankfully the lack of wind and bright sun made the real feel of the -4 at the start a little bearable.  The temps did add an element to contend with but were probably responsible for making the day a success.  With the temp so cold the skiers kicked up powder in the tracks rather than glazing them.  It also made the snow very firm and able to hold up to the racers well.  Finally it made waxing easy - Swix VR30 on your choice of Klister or hard binder.  On the down side many racers felt a hypothermic mania at some point in the race, combined with the strobe effect from the shadows of the trees and excitement for the race the hypnotic trance may not have been all bad.  For the most part they skiers seemed to be well protected from the elements.

The race was action packed with six waves of racers taking off every five minutes.  Waves consisted of racers of the same age doing the same distance.  The loop was very busy for a few laps, for the passers it added excitement, not sure how some getting passed felt.  NWVE raced in nearly all waves.  A bulk of our racers were in the first wave working together for most of the race.  Eric Tremble had another outstanding performance placing 11th overall and second overall for the Combined Masters Championship.  Eric had a fast start and held off his competition over the distance.  He was better than 4 minutes up on Jesse Downs who was just in front of him at the Masters 10km and CSU’s Frank Feist who he edged by a second as last week’s White Mountain Classic.  Tyler Samler skied to a top twenty holding off power house Topher Sabot by over 20 seconds.  Next up were Damian Bolduc, Tyler and Scott Magnan.  These three worked well with a few other racers for 3 laps of the race.  The pace was good and work was shared leading to great results for all.  The team work really paid off in the last lap where the group remained strong passing many racers who fell off the pace.  The Green Tights Train was noticed throughout the race and chugged to PR’s for everyone involved.  Next on the results page was Stephen Wright amidst a flurry of CSU skiers.  Stephen enjoyed the race course and worked his way though a few groups on his way to a top 50 finish.  Eric Darling skied well to the end, making it to the finish before major problems set in for the first time at Craftsbury.  He was happy not to have bonked or cramped up too bad over the final kilometers of the race.  Dhyan Nirmegh was satisfied in a similar fashion.  He was strong to the end improving his standings in the Masters Nationals.  Lary Martell had an excellent first 25km but found the fast start took a toll over the second half of the race.  Compounded with vision trouble due to the cold and a lot of traffic he did not get the result he was looking for, but seemed pleased with his effort anyway. Perry Bland was our next finisher.  Plagued by employment this season Perry has not put in the hours he likes to for this event.  None the less he had an excellent result out kicking fellow M7 Philip Mahoney from WI to take second in the division.  Rick Kelly made up for his race on Thursday.  His skis were working a lot better and he also had everyone beat for the longest beard-cicle as noted by the volunteers at the Ruthie’s feed station.  Sarah Pribram was our top woman of the day, this was the longest she has ever skied, and finished second to former Olympian Dorcas Wonsavage in her category.  Sarah has converted her reluctance for marathon races into enthusiasm and is already plotting a new training strategy for next season.  She felt great and went out hard for the first lap but knew she would have to settle in to make it to the finish. She did and finished with enough energy to pick it up on the final lap.  Leigh Mallory and Tim Cowan had wax challenges during the race.  Tim’s wore off after 5km and Leigh’s was too sticky then iced as the day went on and the powder worked its way into the tracks.  Both were happy with the workout and the team dynamic helped them push though the difficulties to the end.  Jessica Bolduc committed to the 50km and had a good race winning her division and retaking some of her Masters competition that got the better of her at White Mountain.  Jessica was most grateful to BFA Coach Mike Mashtare and Mike "Boss" Cain for staying out the whole race and helping her with a Hammer Gel/Klister problem that she encountered 3km into her third lap.  They were able to scrape and brush out a glob of gel that had stuck the front of her base.  These two and their crew also did a great job feeding and supporting the skiers.   Andre’ Bolduc finished his first 50km.  Clearly fatigued and badly cramped, he finished the race looking the way one ought to after 50km.  He rebounded quickly knowing his accomplishment and picked up a much needed pair of sturdy poles at the prize raffle after the race.  Maria Cimonetti was our only 25km racer this year.  She put some low back issues on the back burner and finished mid field in the 25km contest.  Maria felt the 25km distance was quite nice for the one ski race she does per year.  She was also in good shape for the condition Nirmegh races himself into.  After the race the traditional stories were shared at the post race meal and awards ceremony.  It is good to be able to sit and share experiences before packing up for the drive home.

Even though it was very cold after a major thaw, this year’s Craftsbury Marathon will be one to remember.  As with every race it had its highs and lows, but over the last few years it seems that the club is growing stronger and stronger in this event.  Hats off to the crew at Craftsbury for pulling this together after having to start from scratch on Monday!  And hats off to the team and support for making this such a success for NWVE!

Masters Nationals 10km

January 28, 2010

Results: http://www.barttimi mast2010- 1.htm

There were some outstanding performances today at the Masters National 10km race today in Craftsbury.  NWVE skiers populated many of the divisions and looked strong as they covered the course.

Conditions were as described as dirty transformed snow, but they course held up well, and was generally very fast.  A good draft could pull you a long way.  The temperatures were hovering around thirty with a brisk wind from the northwest ahead of a front that gusted throughout the exposed sections of the race loop.  The loop itself was familiar and rolled on some of Craftsbury’s most popular trails.

The race started with the first of 8 waves going off at 2:30. There was close to thirty people per wave with three minutes between waves.  The start was quick and tricky moving from a short and icy double pole zone up to the loose granular covered hill out of the stadium.  Many skiers were closely matched which made moving around or recovering from a mishap very difficult.  Skiers from all around the country generally stayed intact until the first sustained climb spread the field into groups of skiers with like abilities.  This was the case for most NWVE racers and the results reflect how you played your cards from this point on.

A couple of standouts were Eric Tremble placing 3rd overall.  Eric stayed in with winner Eli Enman and runner up Jesse Downs until the 4k mark and then held off the likes of Tim Donahue, Tucker Murphy (Representing Bermuda in this year's Olympics) and Phil Lawson to secure the Bronze medal of the 10km. Eric Darling raced very smart staying in with a large pack and making a move with about 1km to go.  Eric held off the rest of the group to the line.  Perhaps being named Eric was an advantage today.  Scott Magnan drove the pace again today for the pack he and Eric Darling were in but was hung out with 2km to go and did not have the gas to defend his position to the end.  Damian got tangled up in the start and could never make up the ground and chose to save his energy for Saturday when it became clear he was not going to be where he wanted to be. Stephen Wright came in not too far off Putney's Joe Holland (1988 and 1992 Olympic Nordic combined skier) in the next wave, and Dhyan Nirmegh put up a good result in front of the family.  Reports from Wednesday nights are that Leigh Mallory has been in some heated sprints and the payoff came today as he out kicked Dan Schwenk by a second at the line. (That will give him something to think about on the 500 mile drive back to Corfu, NY.) Tim Cowan could not make up the 2 seconds Joseph Korzenecki of Lake Placid had on him, but squeaked into the top ten of one of the day’s largest field.  Rick Kelly made time on Mansfield’s Andy Grab coming across the finish.

It was a fun and fast race.  After the last finisher the Craftsbury Cloud, on the edge of that front coming through dumped a few inches as skiers cooled down and headed home. I hope everyone made it home safely as driving conditions deteriorated quickly.  The new snow should spruce things up for the 50km. Congrats to all who raced we will see you on Saturday for another great one!

White Mountain Classic 2010

January 21, 2010


The White Mountain Classic was held yesterday on a picture perfect ski day in New England.  Northwest Vermont had eleven athletes participate.  This is a slight improvement over last year when we had nine. On the whole the club improved on the results page over last year continuing the trend we have seen so far this season.  As usual the folks at Jackson did an excellent job hosting the race and showing the rest of us how it is done.  Each year this event sets the bar higher.

The conditions were as close to perfect as could be.  The cold overnight temps helped the impeccably tracked course set and then warmed just at race time to make for a pleasant experience.  The course was the same loop we have seen over the last few years.  Hilly for the first 10km and then about as flat as you can get with a couple well placed hills for the rest of the race.  Temperatures were in the low twenties at the start and remained there for the race.  Not a cloud was in the ski, and there was a light wind coming up the Ellis River Bed.  The tracks were packed powder on top of a firm base layer.  The wax of the day was VR 45.

As has been the case for several years, Eric Tremble launched off the start and took an early lead setting the pace through the double pole zone around the initial field loop that separates the skiers before heading for the hills.  A ways back Stephen Wright, Damian Bolduc, Scott Magnan, and Tyler Magnan marked their competition and drove the pace for a long train of masters.  The climbers prevailed for the first half of the race, but eventually yielded to the power of the double polers who took over going into the second half of the race.  CSU and Mt. Washington were very attentive to what was going on with the NWVE racers and our racers certainly influenced the dynamic of the race.  While Eric paired up with CSU’s Frank Feist, Damian, Scott, and Tyler had their sights set on Andrew Milne and Robert Bradlee.  Milne pulled away early and was uncatchable after the first km.  However Mt. Washington’s Charlie Gunn and Nat Lucy joined with NWVE in taking on CSU’s Bradlee and Greg Werner.  Around 10km Damian lost contact with the group and shortly after the second feed Charlie dropped off too.  The race continued to unfold with the Magnan brothers keeping things aggressive in the pack.  Over the last 20km of the race none of these racers let up for a second.  All knew the importance of not getting dropped.  Once this group crossed the bridge onto the final 500m the sprint was on.  It ended up with Nat Lucy powering thought to win the sprint.  Scott was a ski tip behind, followed by Werner then Tyler and finally Bradlee.  This was a race all were looking forward to and it could not have happened on a better day.  Eric Tremble was our top finisher and won the sprint with Frank Feist.  These two found a niche as no other racer was within a minute in front or behind them.  Both shared their experience and respect for each other after the race. Following in the wake of devastation left by the Magnan boys, Damian overtook Gunn with 5km to go and finished alone about 90 seconds behind that pack.  Stephen Wright missed the draft early on and found himself alone most of the time over the course of the race.  Eric Darling was in the mix with the company of Bob Treadwell, James Doucette, and Charlie Boswell all fun competitors to ski with. The race with them left Eric with wanting more.  Most improved goes to Dan Sandberg who knocked 20 minutes and 30 places off his time from last year.  Dan was very happy to have a great race and is turning his attention towards the Skate Marathon in Rangeley.  Perry Bland skied strong to the finish and put 9 seconds on his closest competitor over the last 100m.   It was exciting to see him picking off racers over the final 500m in his unique way. Sarah Pribram was our top female of the day.  She took second in her division.  This was the longest distance she has skied since the last time she was in Jackson when US Nationals were being held there back in the eighties.  It must have left an impression because she signed up for the 50km at Craftsbury last night (with enthusiasm). The club excitement remained high as the last two of our finishers found themselves in a sprint to the line.  Andre’ Bolduc and Jessica Bolduc were back and forth during the race and found themselves approaching the finish side by side along with another U23 racer.  Andre’ lost the tie with UNH’s Andrew Butler, but edged Jessica in the final meters to an exciting finish that left the announcer tongue tied.  Jessica took the M1 division continuing a streak she has had at White Mountain.  Andre’ was pleased that his pace for 30km at White Mountain was faster than at the 13km Bogburn. 

In the One Day Team Championship CSU’s perfect scores (4 pts) were too much for any other team to contest.  Captain Andy Milne’s squad of Russians, Germans and Bermans swept both the men’s and women’s divisions by spreading winning talent over many age categories.  CSU has been rising to the occasion over the last few years but it was still a very tight competition.  Mt Washington was second (6 pts) for the men and NWVE third with 7 points.  Our 4 team scorers were Eric Tremble with 1 pt, Scott Magnan, Eric Darling and Perry Bland all had 2 pts respectively.  In the women’s it was really close having to go to the 4th skier to break a tie with CSU 4pts and a 4th, followed by Craftsbury with 4 pts and 5th.  Mount Washington was third with 5 points.  The NWVE women were incomplete with only two racers.  In the ZAK Cup we improved greatly and still hold a lead in the Club Series, but Mt Washington and CSU showed how they can easily close things up fast with both teams fielding close to 30 racers.

After a day like yesterday who could not look forward to the Craftsbury Marathon?  There will be scores to settle, victories to defend and new goals to achieve.  Let’s see who can can go the distance!!!

Bogburn 2010

January 14, 2010

2010 VOmax Bogburn


The 2010 season has officially been broken in.  We have seen a little of everything so far.  Early season snow, a thorough thaw, thin conditions, a Burlington blizzard, and finally mid winter conditions yesterday at the Bogburn.  Northwest Vermont had another excellent turnout for the toughest race so far this season.  We had veterans return with experiences to improve on and many toeing the line for the first time!

The 26th Bogburn is now in the bag.  Many elements have developed over the years that make the Bogburn a very special event.  Bob Haydock has got to be the best race promoter in New England, if you have not seen the website, you have to check it out.  There are no secrets kept in the10 min Bogburn video, watching those guys ski in fast forward is how the race looks and feels to me.  The race is the only NENSA sanctioned event held at a private residence.  The soft packed, shallow tracks, narrow, winding trails and dramatic ups and downs are a rarity in the current skiing scene.  All of these components lead to a special event that you must respect; many return to every year even if it takes a few to enjoy the experience while racing on course.

For those racing the Bogburn for the first time, especially those who used it as the first race of the season: just finishing is a great accomplishment.  For an experienced skier this course is challenging.  For first timers, or those coming back into form, the unique characteristics of this race make it impossible to come to any competitive conclusions.  Do not be discouraged.  For many, the race is a throwback to a time when trails were packed with snowshoes.  In my first year I was last, way last, and vowed never to do it again. But I realized that by simply completing the Bogburn my skiing and racing improved dramatically.  I have come back every year and this is the first year I can honestly say I skied the race.  Things get much better as we hit the manicured trails at White Mountain, Craftsbury and beyond the rest of the season. I certainly favor the deep hard packed tracks on the wide boulevard trails. It is hard to gauge yourself on the Bogburn, but you can put yourself ahead of those that do not race it.

This year it was the women’s turn to go first.  Northwest Vermont arrived and skied early determining that the grooming was variable depending where you were on the course.  All had been packed and tracked, but some not since receiving a 2-3 inch dusting of fresh light powder.  The temperature was in the mid teens and the blue skies above matched what to put on the bottom of the skis.  Many combinations of blue kick were tested and all worked well.  People also used green and purple satisfactorily.  There was a light gusty wind at the start, but most of the course was well protected from this.  See the video for a description of the course.

Northwest Vermont had 23 racers participate this year and is sure to maintain and widen the points lead going into the marathon races where we typically have tremendous results but do not rack up the points.  The day started with 7 women racing.  Club newbie’s Kate Crawford and Sarah Pribram had outstanding races.  Kate was 4th overall and both won their age divisions.  Jessica Bolduc, Cipperly Good and Hannah Barden went on to sweep the M1 division, with Sam Martell and Helen Smith contributing to a great grouping of NWVE racers.  Helen looked great, but relieved as she turned the final corner for the stadium with a few club members cheering her in.

The Men’s race was action packed with all the usual groupings of contenders.  NWVE was peppered throughout but a few crossed the gap onto the next tier they have been eying for a couple of years.  The Bogburn start order is always a work of art.  Typically Perry Bland is the first racer off, but this year he registered day of and Charlie Boswell substituted.  Damian Bolduc was second followed by Warren Cornwall, Eric Darling, Scott Magnan and the rest of NWVE peppered throughout.  Most of the men had improved times over last year.  Ford Sayre looked to be up about 30 seconds to a minute as well as CSU.  NWVE improved to but more than a few were 1-3 minutes up!  What could this translate to at Craftsbury?  Eric Tremble was the only male to crack the top ten placing 7th overall and winning the M1 division.  Scott and Damian both had great races and finished the sweep of the M1 division.  These two moved into the Milne/Bradlee territory of the results page.  Also on the first page were Eric Darling, Tyler Magnan and Stephen Wright all in a great competitive grouping of NH skiers.  Lary Martell bridged the gap between Stephen and Dhyan Nirmegh who lead a 4 man group of masters.  Nirmegh, Perry, Rick Kelly, and Tim Cowan were in a tight race with some Ford Sayre racers including Bryce Wing.  Rick felt that the course was not as old school as billed and was very happy with his result while working out a little soreness from the Sleepy Hollow race on Wednesday.   Tristan Leggett debuted for the club filling the gap between Tim and Warren Cornwall.  Warren was just one place behind Freeman!  In a mass start and a face to race, he could easily reverse this order.  Kevin Bessett and Andre’ Bolduc were not too far off, moving up the results page on a course that does not favor their strengths or preferred technique.  Better Bogburns will make better skaters.  Brendan Barden got caught up in an early crash that dislocated his shoulder.  He was very disappointed as it was the first time his skis really had a good bite on the snow.  He shuffled back to the start finish area using one pole which kept throwing him off balance with classic technique, but decided not to call it a day.  After working his shoulder back into place, he ditched the poles and restarted.  I do not know if anyone has ever raced the Bogburn with no poles.  The irony is I was telling Brendan that Dartmouth had raced it with no kick wax a few years ago and double poled the whole thing.  Brendan bragged that was going to be his plan this year.  Brendan raced and finished with no poles tying the man who took him out.  His skis worked good and though PO’d, was happy with his effort.  Had he not had this misfortune he probably would have been in the mix between Lary and Tim.

Another Bogburn is history.  If history repeats itself we will have some very exciting races coming up.  Congratulations to all!  Finishing the Bogburn is an achievement! We had many age group winners and much improvement as a club.  As we move into the next phase of the season it will be critical to stay healthy and keep those energy reserves topped off.  By the way the team looked great in the new threads and there was a lot of positive feedback!

Mt. Hor Hop 2010

January 7, 2010

Four adventurous Northwest Vermont skiers ventured in to the heart of the Northeast Kingdom to compete in the Mt. Hor Hop.  Crossing the state proved interesting.  On the way there, conditions were not too bad as the storm had not hit south of Richmond, as we motored back north on Rt. 2 we encountered more snow, and when we reached Burke snow was accumulating fast.

The race was held on the same course as the last two years.  A 5km figure 8 raced twice for 10km.  We had an early glimpse of great conditions as the trail to the start was fully covered with snow.  Sometimes this area is iced or scraped out leading to better snow at higher elevations, so good snow at this point meant better things up top.  As skiers left their racemobiles they were greeted with strong gusts of wind.  Things felt fine despite the blowing snow and strong winds, but the droves of frozen high school skiers coming down the mountain foreshadowed what continuous exposure was to bring us.

The race organizers were busy keeping things moving.  They had the extra challenge of not having all the pre-registered information, but they adjusted and accommodated well.  Even though the course had seen hundreds of racers earlier in the day it was snowing enough to keep things looking and feeling fresh.  The snow was fast.  The course was well prepared with the trail leveled off nicely. Temps were in the low twenties and it was snowing hard.

At 2PM the Women went off 1 skier every 15 seconds.  The Men followed immediately.  First out for the Club was Leigh Mallory.  Leigh had arrived early was one the first starters.  Damian Bolduc, Dhyan Nirmegh and Perry Bland arrived late and were in a mix of Ford Sayer and Craftsbury Nordic skiers.  All were feeling good knowing a great competition was about to unfold.  The challenging course provided just the right amount of difficulty for the racers.  All claimed to have good races going and strength to the finish line.  Nirmegh was misdirected and finished a little early, but race directors let him make up the ground with a 300m penalty added on.  Damian was embroiled in a close race with Peter Harris.  Once Perry overtook a few skiers on the climb he found himself in no-mans -land, but finished it out strong working on maintaining good technique.  Leigh arrived at the finish to see Nirmegh waiting.  Not remembering being overtaken by Nirmegh, accusations of cheating flew while they figured out where he went wrong and how to make up for it. A special thanks to Leigh’s wife Joanie, out on the hill cheering racers as they crested the last steep climb on the course.

After the finish racers were quick to put on their warm-ups and get moving again.  Damian and Nirmegh were bonked and headed back to the car after a 2km cool down.  Perry kept chugging along knowing he had a good result today and another to look forward to.  Little time was wasted as the frozen skiers went back to their cars and started home. 

BFA Alumni Citizens Race

December 26, 2009

2009 Alumni Race

The BFA/NWVE Citizens Alumni race was held 12/26/09.  As always epic battles unfolded in the race for bragging rights.  Many Northwest Vermont athletes competed in the annual fundraiser for the BFA Cross Country Ski Team.  Once again this race proves that the best performances come in all forms in a race for fun.

The day started with excellent grooming.  Chuck Farrington worked a miracle with what little snow he had.  The course was finished with the best grooming we have seen this year and was completely race ski worthy.  A little shoveling to cover some dirt and plant matter and the course was spotless.  We used the usual 3km lap that rolls around the meadows, into the woods, through a pasture and back into the woods, before a heading back to the meadow via a big W in the pasture.  The snow was not deep, but it was dense and sticky, so it blanketed the ground quite nicely.  Racers had the option of doing one or two laps.

The Alumni race is known for its colors. The colors are all about pride.  There is a lot of green and gold that represents the current BFA team, as well as the blue green and white of NWVE.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Many skiers return representing their collegiate team, St. Lawrence is well represented in red, St. Michaels in their purple, among many others. Scratch the surface a little deeper and you get into the fashion competition.  You will have your Fairfieldien’s dressed in wool, but that is very tame compared to when the warm-ups come off from Dr. Good and Coach Mashtare.  No runway jitters or self consciousness or holding back from these two when it comes to race wear fashionistas.  Mike in his hot pink uni-suit and Wally unveiling a new look going from his flower power ski pants to a straight up tie dye outfit that the family has forbidden him from wearing until this year.   It is the intimidation of these displays that are a blow to the opponent psyche before the race even begins.

The rest of business got underway at high noon.  The men’s 6km wave went off, followed 1 minute later by the women’s 6km and the 3km race a minute thereafter.  Splitting the race into these waves makes for a fun time by putting like abilities together and keeping the competition close.  The 6km race was led out by Evan Martell.  Evan took command with a strong efficient double pole pulling away from the chaos of a frantic scramble behind.  It is key to get a good start in this race, as pass opportunities are few along the narrow trail.  Evan led for a little over 1km settling into his pace for the day.  This was the same time that Tyler made a move to pass the race leader just as he heard Damian Scott and Vincent bridge their early break.  Tyler read the race perfectly pulling ahead of Evan before a series of narrow climbs and effectively using him as a block to gap the field.  After the climbs Damian, Scott, Evan and Vincent continued to race each other hard, but Tyler was not to be caught.  Scott and Damian red lined it to the finish with Scott getting overtaking Damian by a tip at the line. In the main field a similar race between Warren Cornwall, Rich Dickinson, André Bolduc and Perry Bland was unfolding.  Warren did extremely well considering this was his first experience in the Alumni Race and skiing at the Dickinson farm.  Warren overtook an early lead by Rich by skiing consistently and once was freed up from the traffic could really get going.  Rich raced well for the first time in several years and vows to regain the title of Alumni Race Champion in the future.  André and Perry had great races as well.  André took care of his mechanical of the day prior to the start by breaking a brand new pole.  Perry just loves to race on gnarly trails that test the ability to make quick and frequent transitions and literally improvise on the fly with what is best suited for the moment.  The trend is a method to learn some perfect form, but that is not always the answer, and when you are on a narrow, winding, hilly, bumpy trail a 20m glide is not an option.  It is important to learn to adapt, or remember to adapt as Perry always demonstrates with his deep experience.  Lary took it easy helping a few of the high school kids get around the course and skiing it in with his daughter.

The women had a smaller field and as always exhibited more finesse than the men do.  However the race was hotly contested.  Sam Martell led the first lap with Cipperly Good keeping the heat on each step of the way.  Jessica Bolduc settled in a little further back.  Being in the middle wave there are the extra challenges of slow traffic from the first wave and fast traffic from the third wave.  In this mix Sam caught her father and skied into the finish with him, Cipperly took the lead and won again on the tenth anniversary of her last Alumni Victory in 99.  Jessica caught third wave starter Camille Bolduc who was competing AFA (against father’s advice) and finished it out with her relieving Natalie Good of the duty. In contrast to what was going on in the first wave, the second wave represented an entirely different type of experience.  A good keeping it real experience.

The third wave is where the prestige flows the deepest.  This is where the most trash talking, excuse making, fun time skiers have their race.  Are there serious contenders? Yes. Are there races to complete exhaustion? YES.  Is it a fun time? YES!!! This year the field had a new rabbit to chase.  Coach Mashtare recovering from a serious injury in the spring suited up to take on those who have let their fitness wane far beyond the size of their egos. With the likes of the retired Tim Laroque, and Dante Gemache cracking jokes and making excuses Coach Mashtare skied well, overtaking much of the women’s field on his way to victory.  Is there integrity in winning among the ranks of the beginners, jokesters and out of shape?  HELL YES!!! Only Coach Mashtare can dish it all out with the flare of the Hot Pink Uni in all its glory while issuing a butt kicking to those who dare to disrespect their teacher with a “that’s right, I taught you to trash talk too.”

The Alumni Race was another great success.  We saw another chapter of the great story play out in its own special way yet again.

Bolton Opener 2009

December 13, 2009

What a strong showing from NWVE at our home race.  We had 22 members compete in today’s challenging race.  We also had a good showing with volunteers keeping things rolling with some things coming to light last minute.  Handling the unexpected and pulling of the event with few snags really shows how well the team works together.  Many thanks to Liz Hollenbach and her crew of experts for handling the vital tasks of the day.  Their experience is what made the day a success!!!

The day was cold.  Temperatures never really warmed up out of the teens.  The race course was in fairly good shape and held up for the most part as over 80 skiers made their way around twice.  Special thanks goes out to new team member Rick Kelly for spending hours Saturday shoring up weak sections of the course.  There would have been a lot more dirty snow out there had he not gone through before the groomers yesterday.  The course was a technical 4km loop done twice.  It started up the relentless climb of World Cup, coming down and making the sharp right onto Broadway.  Once on Broadway skiers could catch their breath to the top of Maple before rounding tear drop and starting the 2km climb back to the top of World Cup via Pond Loop.  The skies were overcast with a cold North wind.

With 22 racers on course NWVE certainly had a big impact on the results page.  Everyone performed well and it was really great to see some old faces return as well as a large contingent of new racers toeing the line for the club.  We have certainly set the points bar for the season.  “You guys got a lot of points today didn’t you” was heard more than once at the awards ceremony.  Most were thankful for having the race and as Perry stated we had “one friendly field.”  Official results are pending, but timing went off very well especially considering the electronic timing crashed during the Women’s race.  This is where Liz’s experts really showed their talent with the back-up timing and the double back-up timing.  If anything there was no one complaining about the accuracy of times so that really says a lot.

It was great to be out on course with so many teammates.  There were groups of NWVE athletes together helping each other along as the contested the usual internal battles that play out during the season.  New members found their place among the field with strong showings from James Donegan wedging himself in the perennial battle between Scott Magnan and Damian Bolduc.   Steven Wright (finally successfully recruited) and Warren Cornwall (new to the area) were not far behind in their first race of the season.  They have been showing some solid efforts in the preseason and will improve as they get more skiing in during the season. Eric Darling also newly recruited had a solid top twenty result and was the top M2 of the day. He credits his performance with pacing off the day’s overall winner Eli Enman’s second lap.  Not a bad strategy.  Rick Kelly fit right in with Lary Martell, Tim Cowan, and Perry Bland and should subtract at least a minute for all the volunteer hours he put in. 

Returning faces were Brendan Barden and Kevin Bessett, finishing almost side by side in the results.  It was great to have them back in action.  It seems that they have not missed a stride and connected the gap in the results between the younger masters and the more experienced masters. 

Seniors Jake Hollenbach and Tyler Magnan took care of business at the top end of the results page with Jake taking 6th and Tyler 15th in a field littered with talent.  Our U23 skier had a stroke of bad luck breaking a ski on its maiden voyage.  Not an encouraging way to start a relationship with a new pair of skis. 

Seven women raced under the NWVE banner. Ilke Van Genechten was the last to start for the club and as last year chased down most of the field finishing 6th overall.  Sarah Pribram held the gap to 30 seconds on skiing legend Trina Hosmer, placing first in the M3 category . Sam Martell now racing for St. Michaels held her own in the collegiate camp and lead a pack of 3 NWVE racers with Jessica Bolduc and Rose Long close behind.  Rose looked strong and her no-poles Broadway workout paid off.  Not many have the guts to commit to that workout.  Cipperly Good moved up the results page along with Rose.  Cipperly has been doing reconnaissance on our nemesis from the south at their Tuesday night workouts.  Keep up the good work.  Hannah Barden handed the 4 year old and 5 month old to Brendan and started the race.  She had a good race keeping tabs on a couple of SNOC racers though the first lap and staying in the mix on the second.  Hannah favors the interval start and had a great showing after a year off for obvious reasons.  Lastly Jenn Magnan got down to business early this season.  Instead of waiting to be called into action at the last race of the season, Jenn is getting things done now.  Judging by how close she was to David Holmander she is well in front of her mark of CSU’s Sara Mae Berman.  With youth and Perry on her side, we will see Jenn set her sights and surpass David in upcoming races.

This is a great way to start the season.  I hope that no one was missed, but it could have easily happened with so many in the race.  There is nothing like seeing a teammate, let alone 22 to help along a course or through a difficult race. It is important to remember that everyone on the team has a purpose whether they are having a good or bad day.  With these numbers we can really improve as a group and affect the outcomes of battles within races.  Let’s welcome Warren, Eric, Rick, Steven, James, and Sarah to the club as well as welcome back Kevin, Brendan, and Hannah to the racing ranks.  They really helped us out volunteering and racing to get us off to a great start this season!  And another thanks to the Crew at Bolton for bringing the race together for everyone this weekend.

 Craftsbury Opener 2009

December 12, 2009

At least 4 NWVE racers competed today in the Craftsbury Opener.  Conditions were good considering the minimal amount of snow on the ground.  Craftsbury did an excellent job preparing the course that held up to the racers abuse.  Close to 80 skiers participated in the Craftsbury Opener this year.  There was a great mix of high school, ski school, collegiate, citizens and elite racers in attendance.

Conditions were cool with the temps in the mid teens.  The snow surface was packed powder.  The course was a gently rolling 3.5km loop with racers doing 2 or 3 laps.  After the start, skiers made their way to Murphy’s Field, then back to the lesson area and around Lemon’s Haunt back to the stadium. Leading up to the race the wind was fairly calm, but once racers started going out, it picked up and with brisk gusts. 

The start was interval style with two racers going every 30 seconds.  This was a good format placing skiers within sight all around the course.  Eric was the first to start for the club sprinting off the line and easily taking the lead over a Colby skier who started in his heat.  The next to go off was Andre’, he too pulled away from the skier that he was paired with.  Damian got an easy break when his start-mate tripped in the first 20m.  Brendan Barden was the last to go with Eli Enman hot on his heels one wave back.  Brendan’s goal was to hold off Eli for 2 minutes.  (He bettered that by 30 seconds!)

Race jitters and excitement was all around.  It was easy to see with skiers taking off and heading up the hill to the practice loop using the powerful V2 technique.  Most probably regretted it, some sooner than others, but I think most racers were pleased with their effort for the day.  NWVE skiers had positive reports feeling good about their results. 

Highlights were: always having someone to ski with, having nice recoveries on the course and finishing.  I think many racers would have paid for the "over ambitious" starts had it been the Craftsbury Race Loop with its series of steep climbs followed by the unending long climb.

There were some other nice touches at Craftsbury.  There was an impressive new arch at the finish line in the stadium crafted by Keith Woodward from cedar trees.  It was nice and rustic looking, but still had some special decorative aspects implemented by a fine craftsman. The new approach to the finish was a winner with athletes.  Instead of coming into the arena on a flat after the off camber climb on Lemon’s Haunt, skiers were directed behind the new workshop, up a little bump that gave skiers a little momentum to start their sprint on the down side.   

It was certainly a great day to be skiing.

Westford Turkey Trot 2009

November 21, 2009

This year’s edition of the Westford Turkey Trot was another great success.  The usual crowd made it out to the race and contributed the next page of results that line the gym wall.  Looking though the race history a trend among NWVE athletes was emerging.  Five seconds here, 30 seconds there, have been adding up over the years and times have been getting significantly slower.  The creep has been subtle over the last 20+ years but this year the clock was turned back!

Most racers cut minutes off their time from last year, and a few approached PR times.  It may have been the great weather that contributed to the improved times, or the stellar event that the Westford Turkey Trot is, that psyched everyone to step up.  But most likely, the team has really put in some quality training over the summer and fall, and this is an indication of the pay off (pay back) we are going to see this winter. 

We really could not have asked for a better day to run.  Clouds hovering kept the temps in the mid forties, there was only a light breeze, the road was soft, but not muddy and the race field was in great spirits.  The course was the same as always, but this year the up hills did not seem so bad.  Even the barking dogs as you round the corner at the 5k mark seemed to be away for the day.   

The race transpired as it usually does.  After the kids dash where Camille took top woman, the start was a chaotic mess of racers of every size age and ability trying to get good position on the hard right 20 meters into the race.  Perry and Damian found themselves alongside a young runner with an enthusiastic hut chant going.  Further up Jake Hollenbach was asserting his position among the race leaders.  Somewhere in between the race was unfolding for the rest of NWVE. 

By two miles Jake had pulled away running just behind an in shape Binney Mitchell.  About a minute back Damian and Lary were taking care of the Westford Sunglasses Guy and the Westford Ponytail Guy.  People they are in contention with on an annual basis.  After that a large pack of NWVE runners worked together as Jessica lead the way for Tyler, Scott, Mike, Nirmegh, and Perry.  Maria and Andre’ we close in tow as the racers headed for the hill. 

As usual the hill claimed some victims.  Its magnitude and location in the race is just brutal.  A runner on his way to a solid top 5 finish pulled off and was on all fours when Damian cruised by and offered some wisdom from experience.  “Just stick your finger down your throat and keep going.”  A weak “great job” was the reply.  The hill did not take any NWVE athletes.  It is going to take a lot more than that to make us crack this year.

At the finish we were tired, but most were smiling.  The consensus was that it was a good feeling after a hard effort.  Sometimes it is just hard, but this year we were able to push ourselves to the next level of hard and for that the reward was worth it.  All had impressive finishes, but Maria was up against a guy with The Face.  It is hard to retake someone who has the face on.  Mouth gaping, cheeks strained, forehead creased, eyes bulging, there is no doubting the determination of the face.  And to contest it, one would have to contort their face into an even more frightening expression. No need for that to have a good time at Westford.

After the race people reminisced and congratulated each other on the day.  The awards seemed a little quicker than usual.  No complaints there, as the prize spread is still the finest to be found.  We had our fair share of the podium, and a rather good year in the raffle too. As we left the race we looked to the mountains hoping for a hint of snow as our minds turn to the season we are preparing for.

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Colin Rodgers Run

November 7, 2009

Several NWVE’ers took to the trails today to support local Olympic Hopeful Colin Rogers.  The event took place in our favorite place to race during the pre-season, Westford, VT.  There is something about the hills in Westford that gets the NWVE blood pumping each year.  Today’s race really delivered.

The day started cool, temps in the upper thirties, partially cloudy skies and a brisk north wind.  People began trickling in for the race around 9:30 and by 10AM there was a crowd of about thirty hearty competitors ready for a true cross country running race.  Many familiar faces were present, most we look forward to seeing again in two weeks at the Westford Turkey Trot. 

At the start, the eager athletes were briefed on what was in store for today’s race.  Many of the challenges that have been weeded out of contemporary cross country races were fully intact for today’s competition.  You were in the wrong place if you were thought you were going to run on a golf course.  The 8K course description included a 60 foot ledge scramble using ropes, woods roads, single track, log ducking, round bail hurdles, thorny thicket bushwhacking, a chest deep river crossing, and a ridge run or two.  You are lucky to get one of these in a race, so we were really spoiled to have them all in one event!

The race started at the Westford Elementary School and took runners deep into the Rogers estate.  Orange was a popular color being that today was youth day for deer season.  From the soccer field behind the school we ran through the parking lot and onto the road. Racers jumped a ditch and climbed one of the day’s easier hill guided by a stone wall into a small meadow lined with apple trees.  After short jaunt up a driveway runners turned into the woods.  They followed a logging road to the ledge that had to be ascended with ropes, once on top races found themselves running down on a narrow ridge to some rugged single track.  This followed along a small stream and had an occasional downed tree with the option to go over or slide under.  There were also small clefts along the bank that needed to be jumped in order to take the straightest line.  Soon the racers were back on the driveway crossing a road and confronted with the next obstacle.  The round bail steeple.  Two round bails to be vaulted.  Most chose a simple flank, though it is rumored that Perry approached with a handspring leading into a double twist over the bail and stuck the landing on one foot!  Talk about an inspired Olympic moment! After a brief respite on grass trails around the perimeter of a field participants found them on fresh cut trails through the woods leading to the Browns River.  Racers sharply veered off the trail, down a steep bank into the river crossing to the corn field on the other side.  But as luck would have it, the course turned into waist high thorny weeds along the river’s edge to a pasture.  Once across the pasture the bloodied runners rinsed off in the river and ran back to the trail.  The course wound up and down Rogers ridge for the final challenge of the day before a short sprint on grass to the finish.

Needless to say the course offered plenty of opportunity to get the blood flowing, literally.  The constantly changing terrain forced participants to keep pushing themselves.  It varied in such a way that transitions were key, and the fatigue of monotony was completely eliminated.  Each section required using different muscles and while those were in use the others recovered.  This resulted in being able to tap energy reserves for shorter efforts and only total body fatigue slowed one down.  Usually the calves or quads go, but in this race it was a matter of everything wearing down over time.  Taking a dip in the river in November was a sure way to get the adrenaline going again.  And running through the thorns was not so bad because the legs were still numb from the river crossing.

At the finish most were impressed with the race.  Those who wore shorts were a little scraped up.  Those in pants only complained of having to keep pulling them up after the river crossing.  Accolades went out to the directors, and scheming for next year’s event was underway.  Perhaps a full 10K with a couple more challenges!  Places and times were not fully recorded.  Members in attendance were Scott and Tyler Magnan, Perry Bland, Dhyan Nirmegh, Damian Bolduc, and we may have recruited a couple of Rogers to the Club!

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