Event Archive 2011 - 2012
2011 - 2012
Mt. Washington Cup
March 25, 2012
After some rest Kyle and Damian were joined by seventeen others, plus many supporters and future members for the 38th Annual Mount Washington Cup.The course was shortened a few km from the Marathon loop but still retained many of the distinctive features.The climbs also seemed to be combined, as one of the previous days loops seemed to have been omitted.The conditions were faster.The course set up well, was more glazed and the temperature was about 10 degrees warmer.There were a few spots that slowed the skis, but overall things were very fast.
The field seemed a bit larger and many of the previous days skiers returned for round two.The start was cleaner, at least for Damian and the rest of the NWVE racers.Eric Tremble shot off the start in his usual manner quickly taking pace with the lead group.He ended up skiing most of the race with Tim Weston (Mansfield) and out kicked him by a fraction of a second for a solid top ten. A few skiers trickled off the lead group at the start and Scott Magnan set the pace for the chase.Damian took pace from Rick Powell (Ford Sayre) and behind him was a train that included Eric Darling, Tyler Magnan, Robyn Anderson, and Paul Smith.This group caught Scott early in the race and really worked well together.In a mishap with an overly aggressive college racer Rick Powell was sideswiped on an icy corner and left with a broken pole.These two were not seen again by the NWVE train that hammered up the hills.First Scott led, then Tyler and then Eric.It was good to have the smooth and even skiing of Eric D. and Tyler at the helm.A fast and maintainable pace ensued.Working together this crew skied through many who were dropped by the top five.We picked up Chris Nice (Ford Sayre) who over extended himself at the start.He got a little respite in the group and later became a key factor to all of our success when he got his motor going again.He was impressed with how organized we raced and how we really knew what we were doing.Robyn was appreciative as well, stating that she would not have “attempted to go up the hills so fast” but the group was hauling and she was in thick of it having fun. The group broke aparta little, but a recharged Chris Nice took the lead and bridged those that could still hang back together and then went on to work with Eric to bring the line up to the top ten.The final km’s were mind numbing V2 with only room for perfection as we closed the gap.In the end, Eric would break through to lead and Damian lost the sprint against Chris by half a grunt.Tyler and Scott came in very soon after and all were excited about how well executed the race was.Not just by NWVE, but Forde Sayre and VTXC!After a brief pause with all the excitement of the chase pack, Liz Hollenbach made her way in pulling the main field. In this extended group was the bulk of the NWVE team.Will Gochberg had a solid race though his skis felt slow on the down hills.The father-son rivalry of Dhyan Nirmegh and Tristan Leggett continued.It was good to have these two back for the points finale.Nirmegh overcame an injury from the woods and Tristan the lingering cold that plagued most everyone this winter for a little showdown today.Nirmegh gets the bragging rights for now, but Tristan looked very strong and pulled Raul Siren(MNSC) to a result he has not had in a long time.Raul was searching after the race to thank the guy who pushed him all the way in.Sarah Pribram felt her skis were running fast.She climbed well but felt the slow snow affected her a little more than the men around her.She left it all out on the course going a little early but finished right behind Raul by out sprinting Jud Hartman (Grafton Ski Club), not bad company to be with.Lary Martell was right there too.He was a little panicked at the start, facing the wrong way trying to get his poles and gloves on, but made his way to a calm finish just ahead of VTXC’s Mary Stewart.Kyle Darling split a sprint with Todd Taska and Bill Holland (ORS/CSU).Kyle more than met his goal of matching his points for the team from last year by quintupling them!Rick Kelley has quietly been making a comeback this season and continued his trend up the results page.He cruised by Perry Bland and continued on out of site.Early in the season at the Mt. Hor Hop, David Loney (Ford Sayre) fired a warning shot to NWVE.Perry accepted the challenge. Today, Perry got the last laugh and must have said eat my dust and out-sprinted Loney from the bridge to the line in one of the day’s most heated sprints!Jessica Bolduc started in the back and moved up a little bit, dealing with a boot that unbuckled itself and multi-tasked on a gradual downhill, securing her boot while tucking.Jessica spent mid-race playing cat and mouse with CSU’s Jodi Newton and John Witmer (Mansfield).She was too polite on a downhill letting them by and lost contact.She was closing but ran out of course to regain the lead over these two.Zach Shuttle was ready for a race coming off the high school season.He spent a lot of time with our friend Bill Farrell (Ford Sarye). Racing Bill is an induction to a whole different level of competition.After one race with him letting me have it, letting himself have it, and letting his skis have it, his poles the snow and anything else, I did not know what to think when he offered me a warm muffin from a basket with a presentation fitting for Little Red Riding Hood skipping to grandma’s house.I credit Bill for the idea of having a little treat to make peace after the race for what ever happened out on the course.And thus we have the NWVE Brownies.Hattie Pipes, another BFA skier helping out after the season was psyched about her performance.It was the longest skate race she has ever entered, and nothing like anything she has seen before.She may have already registered for next year.Cipperly Good represented the Maine contingent of the club.Making the trip from Searsport she continues to show her dedication.She mixed things up on her own this winter by winning a biathlon earlier in the season.Brennan Shuttle made the trip over for the first time and walked away with a little hardware taking 3rd in the J1 division.
Camille raced in the BKL division.Sporting some new skate poles, her timing improved.She had a good double pole off the start and settled into the field about mid-pack. She gradually advanced positions moving into 5th place overall and the first female!At the awards ceremony she claimed the best prize, a Twisty Balloons Kit and has made 3 dogs and a cat so far.She was very happy about the difference her new poles made and how much easier it was to push with them.
What a success this weekend was.A lot of clubs showed up today for the finale and the final tally should be interesting.Most are confident that today’s performance pushed NWVE over the top.Post race we made our traditional stop at the Station to recap the race, the season and celebrate.Great job to all that raced!It was a fun day and well worth the trip.
Bretton Woods Marathon 2012
March 24, 2012
This was the Bretton Woods Weekend.Saturday was the New England Ski Museum Marathon and Half Marathon followed by the Mount Washington Cup on Sunday.It was a great way to enjoy some end of season skiing.Bretton Woods delivered as only Bretton Woods can and skiers were treated to a special experience as the season winds down.
Four NWVE racers competed in the Marathon on Saturday.Conditions were “interesting.”There was a little of everything on the course.We started on ice, one was sent to the dirt, then there was a pool of water, then more ice, then granular, then powder and mix, and a consistent continuation of inconsistency.The wax of the day was relatively easy, and most had prepared for it.Blue Klister covered with purple wax.This had the greatest range and worked nearly everywhere on the course.Towards the end of the race it slowed a little, but then again most things do after 40km.The weather was nice with temps in the mid twenties, no wind and partially cloudy skies.
Stephen Wright, Damian Bolduc, and Pavel Dvorak lined up for the full marathon.Kyle Darling was the sole NWVE racer electing to do the half.No nonsense race director Amy Gunn covered all the bases and had everything running efficiently.The racers were all lined up and there was no fooling around with 3 minutes to go.The start quickly narrowed from eight lanes to two in a matter of 50 meters.Groomers had to plow slush and pile it to smooth it into the start area.It froze solid and mother nature dropped a little snow on top to make it all look neat.Stephen, Pavel and Damian all had good start positions.Stephen and Pavel elected to stay left while Damian lined up behind the eventual Women’s winner, Robyn Anderson of VTXC.Those on the left had a clean shot and while Damian had a good start a wrecking ball came through and caused quite a calamity forcing several skiers down and Damian off course into a mound of sand with skiers on the tips and tails of his skis.All he could do was watch as the field skied away and the downed competitors on his skis righted themselves.He had the field to conquer in order to ski with Stephen and Robyn as he had planned.Stephen and Pavel got through clean and Damian decided that good skiing was the only thing that was going to save him.He worked his way through the field receiving an enthusiastic cheer from Pavel who was in a nice pace line a few Km’s into the race.Pavel had good company with some of the collegiate women and a few other masters working the course in a good revolving pace line.Once through this and a few others like it, the race had thinned out and skiers could move more freely.Stephen was rolling with Robyn for a while and then a group of collegiate men from Colby, Dartmouth and CSU’s Robert Burnham. At about the 18km mark the course came out of the woods and had a flat 3km section as the racers ended the first lap and started the second.Damian had a visual on Stephen and Joe Holland (Putney) who had a dominating double pole.Optimistic that he would close on the climbs he never saw them again.The second lap went well for all and all picked off racers who fell off the pace.Kyle did not say too much about his race, he was happy with the effort and had fun. He finished midfield in a large pack.Kyle took second in his division; Damian won the M1’s. Damian also secured a sweet engraved cow bell award completing four races of the Marathon Championship Series.
Rangeley Lakes Loppet
March 10, 2012
Note to self: The rest of the course at Rangeley is not groomed the same as the final 3Km, also the feed stations lack gel.
Four NWVE athletes traveled across New England to participate in the Rangeley Lakes Loppet. The annual marathon promised the legendary Rangeley conditions, with abundant snow. It seems every time we travel to Rangeley we are reminded that this place simply has more snow than anywhere else. So was the case this year, with snow being added as we raced.
The race course was the 25km loop we have used the last few years. The new trails continue to improve each year and seem a little smoother and wider as time passes. The snow was the story of the day. Lots of fresh snow from two storm systems that passed through within the last week dumped plenty of powder. Upon pre-race course inspection it was all groomed nicely and was going to set up for a perfect day. As predicted, the night of the race, a light dusting of snow fell. Unfortunately high winds caused a wind-blown effect on the course so there were fast glazed stretches spaced by slow drifting snow. It was not that bad as the temperature never dropped that much, though in the same respect the mercury did not rise as high as expected during the race. Having waxed my skis for the race on Wednesday with the club recommendation, I was well within the range. Structure was the only dilemma, but nothing to worry too much about.
Skiing the final 3km as a warm up we could see that the course was firmly packed and the previous nights snow blended in nicely. While not extremely fast snow, it was good with a solid foundation. Racers waited until the last minute to line up, and after a brief countdown we were off and quickly confronted that not the whole course had been re-groomed in the morning. We had an inch or two of fresh powder in the sheltered areas, and in a few places where the course was exposed the wind swept most of the powder off, but we had a strong head wind to contest with. I suppose we never noticed the tailwinds, but isn’t that always the case?
All NWVE athletes elected to do the 50Km distance but each had different race experiences. Paul Allison was at the front in a large group that gapped the rest of the field very early in the race, perhaps just after the double pole zone. Drafting was important and those that missed the train or could not make the cut ended up skiing a much more difficult race. Damian Bolduc saw what happened to those that failed to make the front pack. While a couple of mini packs survived, the line he was in chased down and dropped anyone who was skiing it alone. Also those that tried to break out of the field ended up tiring and being relegated off the back. So while the skiing seemed easy at times, the pace was not maintainable for most on a lone effort. Will Gochberg did not have his best day. He was caught on his own, and without food on board. As stated earlier, the conditions were not super fast and skiers had to work to keep the momentum going. Form, focus and dialing in a consistent effort were imperative under these conditions for this distance and losing concentration on any of them would quickly tax any skier. For Paul skiing with the top male contenders, and Damian skiing with the top female contenders it was a little easier to follow their lead. It was not hard to imagine that not having those examples the race could have been much more difficult when left to your own devices. Will encountered another challenge with the lack of neutral support available to racers namely, no gel at the water stations. Despite bonking with 20km to go Will pressed on hoping that a second wind would come. Unfortunately that was when the long gradual climbs into the strong headwind really took effect on the racers. The packs blew apart at this same point and the race became a matter of the survival of the fittest. Although it was not the best place to hope for a little recovery Will skied strong to the finish and quickly got himself to the soup and then the cookies. Perry Bland had a mechanical issue that plagued him early on in the race. As a result of a malfunctioning iron that was not getting hot, his skis were not very hot. Not having his wax fully melted and penetrating is bases Perry found his skis were not running quite as good as everyone else’s. He was happy to gain time back on the climbs, but simply could not keep up on the down hills. Knowing early on that he had an issue, he resolved to make the best of the day and work on form, focus and consistency. Staying strong mentally and technically. So while it was not going to be a great race he put forth an honest and true effort for 50km and will be back next week, stronger from the experience. Racers also had to deal with attrition. Many people who started the race bailed early leaving holes in the field and diminishing the benefits of teamwork on course. It is hard not to be tempted by the 25Km cutoff, but all NWVE racers persevered to the 50Km finish.
All were happy they made the trip to Rangeley. The event was outstanding and the skiing was fantastic. Perhaps not super ideal for cranking out a PR in a 50K, but for training the racing mind and body there is no substitute. After a brief awards ceremony, soup, sausage and cookies, all departed and made their journey home. There is much talk about Mt. Washington and the NWVE Closer among many people, so all of our friends from around the region are hoping to end the season that seems to have just started with a bang!
Stowe Derby 2012
February 26, 2012
Well, the weather certainly cooperated for the latest installment of the Stowe Derby. At the top of the mountain the skies were clear and the wind was whipping creating a rather chilly wait for the start so many hunkered down out of the wind and in the sun to stay warm. After receiving 2 feet of snow the trails were groomed and ready for the hundreds of skiers who would do their best to get from start to finish as quickly as possible. Speaking with one of the groomers (Keith Woodard helping out from Craftsbury) I realized just how much time was spent making the course skiable and I, for one, appreciated the work they had done. Because of the lack of snow in the village earlier this week the organizers had to change the course to end behind the Nordic Barn instead of the village which resulted in more climbing in the early and middle stages of the race to make up the difference in distance yet there were still lots of flats after the chute. The waxes of the day were LF or HF Toko Blue or Swix Blue (6).
Although it was cold waiting at the start, once the race started it didn’t take long for things to heat up. Thirty seconds after the first wave took off, the second wave, dubbed the “Eric wave” (Eric Tremble, Eric Darling, Eric Phaneuf, Eric Ely [no show] and one non-Eric) hit the slopes. We all nailed the turns and settled into quad-burning tucks. Partway down the Toll Road we saw the first victim of the sharp, fast turns: a powder covered Jake Hollenbach off the trail in 3 feet of fresh snow yelling, “I can’t get up!” He was able to find a little piece of crust with which to pull himself back onto the course and fortunately he and his equipment were unhurt and he did his best to make up for lost time, which he did successfully. Both NWVE Erics were happy with their skis and their races with Tremble finishing 9th overall and 2nd in his age group and Darling 14th and 4th in his age group. Tristen Legget made the trip to Stowe for the Derby and had a good day despite almost falling off the chair lift when his ski tips caught the snow when he got on the lift. He took the approach of staying relaxed and having fun and it seemed to pay off as he said he had a great day of skiing. Ed Hamilton made it to a race on 2 consecutive days after missing most of the season to injury. It sounded as though he was happy with how the day went and seemed really proud of his son Forrest who beat him for the first time today. Ed said he thought to himself as he watched his son ski, “I wish I could ski like that.” I’m guessing most of us will be thinking that in the not too distant future. Leigh Mallory raced the skate race and unfortunately hurt his shoulder yet he still managed to finish and placed well in his age group. I hope his shoulder is OK. Liz Hollenbach participated in her first Derby since 1995 and made it count with a great ski placing 7th overall all and 1st in her age group. Ilke Van Genechten finished 10thand seemed happy with her race. Not skiing as well as she hoped seeing as this is her favorite race in the world, Sarah Pribram worked through an early crash and some nervousness on the fast downhills to place 12th overall and 3rd in her age group. I recommended she blame her wax tech but she refused to do so (perhaps knowing her was tech is sensitive). Kyle Darling somehow got hosed with a poor starting position but made the best of it by staying upright throughout the entire course (not an easy feat as many of you know) and finishing strong.
In the classic race NWVE's loan representative was Stephen Wright who finished impressively under 1 hour and took top honors in his age group. Stephen was happy with his race and said he had a lot of fun.
That’s what it’s all about: fun. That’s why we all ski and why we travel to various destinations to compete. This weekend showed just how much fun we have skiing. I’m hoping for a few more good weeks of skiing and racing now that winter is here.
February 25, 2012
What a difference a day can make.As things came down to the wire for this year’s rescheduled Bogburn, race director took a leap of faith and decided to host the race on borderline skiable conditions with less than 24 hrs to the start and only a forecast of snow.How many times have we been let down with the promise of snow only to have a major rain event this winter?Kudos to Bob Haydock and the rest of the CSU crew for having the guts to take a gamble and host the 2012 Bogburn!
That said, NWVE pounced on the opportunity to race.Our “Race anywhere, anytime, no matter what” mantra was back and we fielded our largest numbers yet this season.Conditions at the Bogburn were some of the best ever seen in Ponfret.The “skiable” base provided a good foundation to the fresh snow fall and the trail coverage was quite good.Top tier skis could be used without worry.The full course was used and held up nicely for the modest field of New England’s stalwart Nordic racers.
Waxing was slightly challenging.In hindsight, the club may have over complicated it a bit.The call made Wednesday on the club’s wax recommendation page worked great, but lots of testing and feedback had us tinkering a bit with the kick.For the most part, most were pleased with what they selected, but a couple were disappointed that they had made some last minute adjustments.In the morning, blues and purples were working, and by the afternoon we were moving into reds.The DOC leader called it right when he said that it was a day to go colder and longer, than warmer and shorter.Those that put a pocket of warm red under the boot paid for it later in the race.
Camille Bolduc kicked things off for the club in the second race of the day.Racing J5 Camille was the first skier in the lineup.She opted for waxless skis as she was having difficulty compressing her new waxable skis in the soft conditions.After a few warm-up strides she was on course and skiing well.She competed against a strong BKL contingent from Ford Sayre and ended up 3rd for girls and in the middle of the entire field.Her endurance carried her through the race and she made gains on some of the over eager competition where it counted on the climbs .5km from the finish.
NWVE fielded three in the women’s race.All looked good at the start as many of the other competitors were slipping their way out of the start dip.Seeded alphabetically we had a racer at the beginning (Jessica Bolduc) the middle (Liz Hollenbach) and end of the field (Sarah Pribram).All seemed fairly pleased with their races.Liz had a fall that many witnessed and was the talk of the post race.Many accounts made it out to be serious, but in the end it seemed it was more a matter of the difficulty of righting herself and getting back on course that was the challenge.All three looked good climbing the final wall on the course and cruised into victories in their respective catagories.Not too bad for Jessica’s prerace fear of being passed by the whole field. Sarah stated that going with waxless skis was the right decision as she had excellent kick for the whole race.All were happy the women’s race was only one lap as they were all exhausted at the finish.The Bogburn has that effect.The course is laid out to have racers in quite an oxygen deficit as they finish.There is nothing easy about the race.
The men’s lineup began with NWVE’s Paul Allison.Paul took his pole position seriously and maintained the lead to the finish.When all was said and done he had the overall victory.Not an easy feat as Dartmouth had more than a few contenders, and he had no one to chase the whole race.Mental toughness won him the race.Next in the lineup were three Bogburn veterans, Doug Armstrong (Mt. Washington Nordic), Larry Berman (CSU), and our own Perry Bland.Perry made quick work of them both overtaking them by the 2km mark.Damian Bolduc was the next NWVE racer having a good first lap, he was one that paid for the last minute layer of wax on the second lap. Tim Cowan and Eric Darling both had very strong races.Eric overtook most of those that started before him and kept pace with some of the DOC skiers as they made their way through the ranks.Will Gochberg had a very impressive race.New to the Bogburn he had a performance that matched the veterans on the course.Having experience with this race is a huge advantage.Will proved that having excellent fitness helps a lot too.Ed Hamilton who has not raced very much this season due to injury was on site bright and early helping with the BKL races and supporting his son Forrest who won the J3 race. Ed looked as if he has not missed a stride and put forth a result much like the one he had early in the season at the Craftsbury Classic coming in one place behind CSU’s main man Milne.Rick Kelley had a good race coming in ahead of Doug Armstrong and John Brodhead not to mention looking like one of the fresher skiers to cross the finish line.Scott Magnan amidst a busy State Championship week had to borrow some equipment for the race.So what happens when you put Scott in a pair of boots marketed by Jake Hollenbach as “Scott Beaters?” Scott has a good race and is grateful for the substitute boots despite the added ankle support that Damian uses like a crutch in classic races.Scott’s take was that he was a lot happier with his performance this week than in the last classic race.Eric Tremble had an exciting race as he chased down most of the field.Late entry André Bolduc chose the Bogburn to be his first classic ski of the season.Perhaps his only classic ski of the season, André made it count and took 5th among the senior division earning 6 club points!
Great job to all who participated!The real reward once again was a day of great skiing!While attendance was down a bit, the race field seemed 100% in contention for the Club Series Championship.NWVE’s numbers and diversity will probably expand our current 1 point lead on CSU, but with strong showings from SNOC and Ford Sayre it is still anyone’s game going into the last two races of the series.The day gave a few some motivation for Rangeley momentum for the rest of the season has been renewed.Special thanks to Bob Haydock for sticking it out, and putting in many hours of manual labor to get the exceptional conditions we all enjoyed this year.
Looking forward to some Derby tales.
Eastern Cup Finale
February 18, 2012
This weekend was the Eastern Cup Finale.Things have gotten rather desperate this season.The latest Burton Factory Flagship Store advertisement comes in just short of begging you to come clear out the old inventory.Lack of snow forced both races to be relocated to Craftsbury. Craftsbury, which has been making snow and farming a bomb proof loop since Thanksgiving, provided yet another outstanding race experience.Two days on the full 5K loop that supported the Williams Carnival and the Eastern Cup.Parking was tight but skiing was phenomenal.
Day one I was the only of the club to race.I have been trying to restore my standing this season after sitting out last year due to injury.I was optimistic after the UVM Carnival, but came down with a cold earlier in the week.While I am not one to sit out due to the sniffles, I certainly felt the pain that has plagued so many on the team this year.Regardless, racing was great.Wax was easy as people were skiing well on anything from blue to orange klister.I mixed purple with a little red and called it good.And that it was. I had good kick up all four major climbs on the loop.My skis did feel a little draggy, but of no consequence to those that I was skiing around.
The consensus of the racers was that the new homologated race course at Craftsbury has a different feel.The climbs have been spread out a little and transitions are much more important.The climbs are still very demanding, and must be skied more aggressively.This can potentially cause the racer to have a spike in their heart rate and blow up as was the case for someone who blew chunks all over the trail at the top of the final climb.Could have been the stomach bug, but I could sympathize as I got that feeling rounding the corner looking for a little respite on a downhill. I prefer the old loop as I think I could put skiers overtaken on the long grueling climb far enough away not to come back on me.On the new course the gap did not open up as much with the hill divided.
Day two I was joined by a few excited teammates.It seemed people were looking forward to skating the race loop and the mass start made a few extra-anxious.The timing of arriving seemed quite variable.Perhaps the lack of carpool plans threw off a few people.Jake Hollenbach of VTXC left extra early while Leigh Mallory cut it a little too tight arriving in time to do a post cool down ski.In all fairness, due to the relocation and the multiple events going on at the same place it was easy to be confused.Eric Tremble, Tim Cowan, Lary Martell and I managed to get our bibs on and get under way at the 11:00 start.Eric, Lary and I started in the main wave while Tim elected to do the Master’s wave.Eric, Lary and I all started within two rows of each other, but Eric’s fitness and ability to maneuver allowed him to get a jump and out of sight immediately.It also paid off at the bottom of the first real descent where there was a little carnage.A chain reaction crash happened right in front of him and Eric picked his way through.Skiers were still all over the trail an in the trees when Lary and I came though.Perhaps having experience with these sorts of things in bike racing on occasion all three of us skied though calmly and clean.About this time Tim locked horns with CSU’s Jamie Doucette in the Master’s wave.Home town favorite Adrian Owens skied away from the field early, but the rest of the Masters had a race.It was easy to gauge fatigue with each lap.Cresting the hills was snappy the first lap, on the second it was a chore and by the third I was ready to crawl over the last one.Fortunately NWVE had a cheering section that lifted us over the hill and into the stadium.Liz Hollenbach, Helen Smith, Jessica and Camille Bolduc were only four strong, but had the strengtht cheering through the masses, giving the much needed encouragement at crucial points of the race.Eric ended having a strong field finish, I relegated myself to the chase group holding my own with a few high school and college kids.Lary ended up skiing alone on a day when being in a draft made a huge difference.Tim skied neck and neck the whole race with Jamie and they made the final turn into CSU Cheering Territory Jamie simply could not match Tim’s power and technique as the two gunned it into the finish.It was certainly one of the loudest, most anticipated sprints of the day.Even SNOC’s Keith Woodward cheered approvingly of Tim’s performance in the duel.
So another week down as we head into the final weeks of the season.As of now, things look good for the Stowe Derby Prologue AKA the Bogburn next week. Bob Haydock has been able to set tracks and as long as it does not rain too much the Bogburn is on.Let’s get a big group out next weekend.Conditions look a little scratchy so a second tier ski may be preferred. If you want to borrow a pair I have a few in both sns and nnn.Let me know, I can even prep them if needed.As we drove home there was a nice cloud snowing over Stowe so things ought to be good for the Derby too.There is also interest in a road trip to Maine for the Coastal Nordic race. More on that to come.
Flying Moose Classic
February 11, 2012
Nine athletes made the trip to Bethel, Maine eager to compete in the Flying Moose Classic. The early start made for some groggy morning decisions. While all made it to the park in ride clothed, one pair of skis was left behind. In NWVE fashion, worries were put aside and we had the issue covered. The drive over was fairly good with snow squalls on the western facing slopes providing optimism that ski conditions were improving.
Once in Bethel, the snow looked as good as we have seen this year. It was granular, but not the ice base with chopped ice on top that we have become accustomed to. It was transformed snow with a thin crust on top. It was a nice sensation to have your foot break through the crust to plunge into a foot of what seemed to be cotton candy.
As racers registered they compared training experiences with one another and contemplated the wax situation. Once we got to the competition trails it was the two colors that Perry had on his mind, Purple or Blue. After a little fiddling around we decided on Purple Klister with blue hard wax covering. This seemed to work for most. The course was well groomed with two sets of tracks the whole way. There were some icy spots where skiers scraped off the snow on a few of the fast down hills. It was challenging, rolling and looping around on the hillside behind Gould Academy. Temps were in the high twenties to low thirties. There was wind, but skiers were sheltered on the fully wooded course.
For a new twist, the mass start veered right and up the long climb onto the longer part of the race loop. Damian Bolduc and Eric Darling got off to good starts while the rest of the team settled early and worked their way into the race. There was a lot of action at the front with a few collegiate skiers and the top masters mixing it up. Nat Lucy came through after about 1km and bridged to a group with Wade Kavanaugh and Chris Nice. These three went on to have a really good race against each other with Nat tying Chris taking 9th overall. Eric and Damian fell back in the order, but Scott Magnan moved up working with Neal Graves of Gunstock. While they had Nat and company in sight, they could not take advantage of any opportunities to close the gap. The feeling was that had they bridged they would have been able to hang in but there were no errors being made by anyone in the top ten. Both were pleased with the effort they made together and had better races for it. Eric cruised along on borrowed equipment. While we got his wax bench to the race, his skis and poles were safely locked in his car at the Richmond Park and Ride. After the start and things spread out, he skied mostly alone, but did get a little company from a Bowdoin skier who double poled most of the race due to having lost all his wax by the 5km mark. Damian continued to fall back in the ranks, but got a second wind when Ron Newbury passed him. Damian picked it up and began reeling in skiers that passed him on the first two of the three lap race. Liz Hollenbach had a good race. Her race exemplified how each of the three laps had distinct features for each racer. She had a good start and quick first lap. On the second lap a few skiers closed in and joined her, but on the third she was able to break away and gain a few spots. Rick Kelly was glad he made the trip over. He was a little overly cautious on the down hills after having a couple of injuries from some bad falls, but got into the flow of the course skiing strong to the finish. This course really does have a different feel compared with those we have raced on so far this season. Attacking it does not pay off, unless you know it like the back of your hand like the Gould and Bethel skiers do. Jessica Bolduc and Cipperly Good rounded out the 22.5Km skiers for the club. They were pleased with their races despite a little commotion from the 7.5Km wave filled with high school boys and girls. Cipperly noted that while the course seemed quite technical, it was completely doable with a little confidence and trust in the course design. While it does not have the appearance of wide banked turns like the Trapp Race Loop, it could handle speed and racing.
Camille competed in the BKL races and was happy to finish, eat her lollipop and then cheer on the team as they made their way around the loops of the 22.5Km race.
It was another great weekend of racing in Bethel. The race directors and staff pulled off yet another quality event. Prizes were collected at awards and post race recovery was enjoyed at the Sunday River Brewery. It will be interesting to see how the Club Points look after this race. I think that we may have closed a little on CSU, but a strong contingent from SNOC may have bumped us into third place. There is plenty of more skiing for this season!
EC Trapp Family Lodge
February 3, 2012
What a phenomenal weekend!Skiers from all over the world converged on a Little Piece of Austria at the Trapp Family Lodge for the UVM Carnival and TFL Eastern Cup races.Everything from the weather to the snow conditions were great. The energy the event produced was contagious and it was hard not to feel like clipping into your bindings and skiing your heart out for the joy of it.
The weekend started with the classic races on Saturday.All races were held on the Morton’s Maze race course, a 5Km loop John Morton must have created by overlaying a MS Paint Doodle on a map of some of the Von Trapp real estate.The twisting course provides plenty of challenge and a few technical sections making for an exhausting race experience.Damian Bolduc was the only NWVE racer to participate in Saturday’s events.Determined to get the result he has been looking for this weekend, he risked nothing. Conditions were between klister and stick wax and after some extensive research and a lap around the race course he nailed the kick wax.In the klister pocket ToKo base green klister, Swix KR35 with VR50 melted and mixed in, with VR45 over the top of it all covering the whole kick zone.Great kick and fast skis.He raced the 10K with Leandro Ribela from the Brazilian Snow Sports Federation.Both were very happy with the match up and had excellent races as neither flinched the entire way.It was amazing how effective the competitive teamwork was.Both recognized this and a genuine, mutual thanks for kicking my ass was exchanged in the finish chute.
Day two provided another opportunity to ski in very fast conditions.The course remained the same and the bomb proof tracks were smoothed into 16’ wide skate lanes.NWVE’s day started out with the women racing 10K.The field contained collegiate national champions, Olympic Gold Medalists, World Cup Winners and more.Sarah Pribram, Jessica Bolduc, Sam Martell and Liz Hollenbach represented NWVE in the stacked field of 174.All of the women looked great in their race.While more than one claimed they were starting only to get a quality ski experience in it was clear that by the half km mark it was on! It was exciting to watch as they made their way around the loop and who they contended with as they mixed with skiers on lap one and those on lap two.Since the women had late starts they did not pick up too many fresh skiers on their second lap.Sam had good energy and carried it through to the finish.Sarah Pribram was in the zone with one of the larger cheering sections encouraging her around the stadium.Jessica, coming off a lingering cold, picked up where she left off at the Valley Cup skiing hard while maintaining good form.Exhausted at the finish, she was pleased with her race and decision to compete.Liz started last for the club and worked her way through most of the masters that started before her.She had a huge cheering section as well, having a little history with UVM carnivals at Trapp Family Lodge.Despite the popularity, she maintained race focus that took her to second in the master’s competition.Olympic Gold Medalist and former German Sprint Specialist Nina Gravrylyuk took the top honors.As Liz entered the stadium for the finish a roar cheering Nina rolled up the hill as she zeroed in on the line.Liz cranked it up a notch and Nina was not able to overtake her in the final meters.
Inspired by the women, the men warmed up and prepared for their race.There were nerves, but people were feeling positive and looking forward to the challenge.Scott Magnan, Eric Tremble, Eric Darling, Damian Bolduc, Stephen Wright, Tim Cowan, Dhyan Nirmegh and Perry Blandlined up to see how they would fare against the day's competition.There were no false hopes, but a general feeling that that it was going to be a good day.How could it not?Scott was the first racer for the club on course.
Breaking in some new skis, he looked good as he matched up with a UVM skier starting his second lap.Eric Darling had Federico Cichero, the Argentinean that gave him a run a week earlier in the Craftsbury Marathon, 30 seconds ahead and Robert Bradlee 15 seconds ahead. Eric took the responsibility of giving them a race seriously and had a very strong start.
Eric Tremble was feeling a little under the weather, but put that aside for the day and raced hard anyway reeling in Eric D. and Rob Bradlee by the start of lap 2. Damian had another shot at Leandro Ribela as the Brazilian was seeded one place ahead.He kept him in sight for the whole race while keeping pace with Middlebury’s Jimmy Levin’s for a lap and then skiing through the CVU team on the second. Stephen Wright had a solid race getting the nod from the announcer at the start and finish of his race. Tim Cowan caught an edge on one of the corners that sent him down an embankment knocking the wind out of him. A little shocked and dazed he righted himself and got back on track. Dhyan Nirmegh picked a Duesey to return to club racing in the Eastern Cup. He raced strong and rallied at the finish picking up third and 8 points in his category! Perry matched the result in the M7 division finishing with many accolades from the announcer that were echoed from those in the pits and parking lot. I have to give props to CSU’s Dave Holmander as well for making his way around the loop.While he finished after take down was well under way, he got some cheers and a huge thumbs up from the chief of timing.
WELL DONE to all who participated this weekend. It takes a lot to get out there and ski in a field like we had! It was great to have all the support on course.I even got approval from Murray on one of my transitions at the top of the hill!We kept our place in the overall Club Series and CSU did not run away with it despite fielding at least twice as many skiers. Things look like they are shaping up for another great weekend. I hope that we can get a good contingent to the Flying Moose. We have always done well there and Milne says that CSU’s Russians are afraid to cross the Maine border. If you do not want to make the trek to Maine there is also the Romance Half at Rickert's (if it is not cancelled). A little pricey, but probably evens out if you factor time and gas. I will set up carpooling to Maine and hope to see those we saw early in the season join those that have just started racing as well as a few we have yet to see make a statement in Maine!
Craftsbury Marathon 2012
January 29, 2012
NWVE showed up in force for New England’s premier marathon in Craftsbury, Vermont this weekend. This winter’s snow drought has caused race registration numbers to be lower than normal, but there has been no shortage of talent and that was displayed once again this weekend. Things looked and felt wintery in Craftsbury as the parking lot slowly filled with anxious skiers from all over the world. This year the course was a challenging 11K loop done 2 times for the half crowd and 4 times for the full marathoners.Hats off to Craftsbury for continuously making snow this season and perfecting snow farming techniques. I am sure it has been frustrating not to get a break for those that have put in many hours prepping the trails for this event. It was amazing how well prepared the course was after the deluge of rain the day before. The light dusting that fell overnight helped some, but mostly made things look clean and fresh. I talked with a weary chief of grooming Keith Woodward prior to the race to get the scoop.He said it could be better, it could be worse, that there was a little of everything on the course including a section of running water. Though he was tired, and disappointed with what nature has delivered this season, he seemed to have no doubt that the course was ready to withstand what several hundred skiers came to do.
The snow was ground ice with a little powder mixed in. The rain from the previous day had not frozen or completely drained from the snow. Depending on where you were on the course there was variation, and conditions changed everywhere as each skier passed.The 11K loop was the most technical course we have seen so far this season. It had a lot of climbing and a few exhilarating down hills. There were some major wipe outs from unsuspecting skiers throughout the field.The tracks were firm and in some places I imagined by skis were careening down a luge run with the way they chattered and hugged the turns. The temperature was in the high twenties to low thirties with partially sunny skies.
The biggest challenge was wax. It was not too difficult to determine what would work, but what would work best took a little effort and insightful thinking. I do not think anyone was totally happy with their kick, but it was enough to get the job done. Everyone had an advantage somewhere, at the expense of a disadvantage someplace else. Also with the changing condition of the track the racer had to adapt to another dimension. This favored the experienced and adaptable (Perry Bland) and even challenged the top contenders who may have picked the wrong skis for the day. As the race progressed the rain water soaked in the snow gathered under the compression of each skier and froze the surface of the track. By the fourth lap there was a smooth layer of pure ice in the track.
Skiers waited until the last minute to line up for the start. As I pulled into the corral I noticed many still frantically applying the final touches to their skis and I was thinking I was cutting it close. We all took our spots and it was time to go. The start was as one would expect, chaotic with a few falls, but it seemed all were being civil. Chris Nice (Ford Sayre) went down when his skis stopped in some powder, but was able to recover quickly thanks to generous skiers giving him room to get up. Our own Tim Cowan had a similar experience. Not a great way to start the 9th ski and first race of the season, but he popped back up and kept on going. Eric Tremble and Paul Allison were out of sight immediately, the next tier of skiers included many of our favorite competitors and Eric Darling, Damian Bolduc, and Stephen Wright of our club.On their tails were Perry Bland, Leigh Mallory, Will Gochberg, Tim Cowan, and Rick Kelley. The women started in wave two five minutes later. Liz Hollenbach, Sarah Pribram and Jessica Bolduc lined up. In the High School Division Scott Magnan, and Mike Mashtare skied with the BFA Team.
With racers under way, some great matchups were created. Eric Tremble and Paul Allison were in the chase group as the top five split off the front. Eric Darling settled in after 2K and was keeping company with folks like Nat Lucy (Mount Washington), Andy Milne (CSU), and our friend we learned about last year from southern Argentina Frederico Cichero. Damian and Stephen were in the next group rolling with Rob Bradlee (CSU), Jim Fredricks (Mansfield), Bryce Wing Ford (Sayre) to name a few. Tim, Rick, Will and Perry skied relatively close together. Leigh Mallory found himself in between picking up racers that fell off the pace from groups ahead and those that skied out of groups from behind. Leigh was in good company with our favorite Mount Washington racer Doug Armstrong as these two continued a battle from earlier this season. Leigh prevailed once again. In the women’s race Sarah and Liz traded places a few times, eventually Sarah split off finishing the 25K and Liz continued on catching the men in the 50K. This was the story for many. The second lap of the race was very busy with almost everybody on course together. Then it got really lonely. The spread on the 50K seemed more than usual as the 25K racers pulled off.
The 25K finishers surprised the timers with their speed. For a little while, the off guard timers thought Bryce Wing had won, then they realized Eric Darling was in and apparently did a little more back tracking.I can understand the confusion as three different distances plus tourers were on course simultaneously. Leigh was our next finisher edging Doug Armstrong, then Rick Kelley in a tie with Eric Hemphill. Sarah Pribram was in a close race with Alice Nelson. Jessica Bolduc finished smiling happily with the early decision to do the 25K this year.
Finishing, Paul Allison cruised into a top ten between two of the biggest names in American Nordic skiing Freeman and Caldwell!Eric Tremble recovered from a mid race re-waxing, going all out in the final K’s but unable to hold off Jake Hollenbach who claims he went a little crazier than Eric. Damian finished looking very beat but holding off a few racers that he has yet to overtake this season. Not long after, Stephen was in, then Perry loving the 50 and Tim hanging with Donovan Freeman. Will was skiing much stronger this year and held of CSU’s big man Victor Golovkin. Liz looked great as she took 7th in the women’s overall! This matched Paul’s 7thin the Men’s race.
Post race, all seemed pleased despite incomplete training plans.Several NWVE skiers made their seasonal debut as well at the NWVE Brownies! The day was challenging and while there was a lot of Monday morning Quarterbacking, it boiled down to nobody had a perfect race, which is perfectly how it should be.People were looking forward to the next race and talk of the events coming up was spirited.Great Job to everyone out there including those cheering at the side lines.It made a big difference for me and others commented on it as well.It is a nice feeling to be known and encouraged along the way!
Race to the Cabin
January 22, 2012
On a cold, clear and beautiful morning at Trapp Family Lodge, a group of 26 racers tested their grit during the Race to the Cabin. The temperature was hovering around 0 degrees at the start and conditions were perfect for a classic technique climb from the ski center to Sugar Road, across Picnic Knoll to the Cabin Trail and left onto Oslo with an uphill finish to the cabin.
When the starting bell was rung a group of 4 including Paul Allison and Eric Tremble took off like a shot and they were all out of sight by the time I reached Picnic Knoll. Paul finished a strong second place and Eric was fourth overall even after an impressive 30k race the day before at White Mountain Classic. I was leading the next small group of skiers including Sam von Trapp who was hot on my heels for the majority of the race. Nirmegh was the next NWVE skier followed by Leigh Mallory who was only a few seconds behind (4 according to Nirmegh and Leigh). Apparently there was some back and forth between the two skiers with Nirmegh just edging out Leigh in the last climb and not surprisingly there was some retelling of the race details while we sipped hot cider in the cabin. Kyle had an impressive finish and looked tired (as we all did, actually I don’t know if Eric T and Paul looked tired as they were so far ahead of the rest of us) yet still displaying perfect technique climbing the final incline to the finish. Not far behind was Sarah Pribram kicking it in with her customary and instantly recognizable quick turnover. For some of us this was the first race of the year and none of us regretted the decision to brave the cold to get our hearts to do what they do best. After a brief cool down there was hot cider waiting for us in the cabin and when we were well rested and satisfied by the warmth of the cider Leigh, Nirmegh, Sarah, Kyle and I skied down Haul Road and made our way to the Bakery where the awards were to be held. There we met Eric T, Paul and Liz Hollenbach, who didn’t race today as she had raced in Jackson the day before and she was the team’s unofficial team photographer for the day. While waiting for awards there was the opportunity to sample one of Trapp Brewery’s offerings or chocolate milk as part of the registration fee. Although all of us had a successful day of skiing, Nirmegh was the only one to take home some loot, which was maple syrup for the first male finisher over the age of 40. Also of note, 7 of the 26 skiers were from NWVE.
Despite the somewhat small turnout the race was a blast and definitely one I would consider doing again next year.
Valley Cup 2012
January 22, 2012
The bright sunny skies this morning enticed many skiers to journey to Warren for the Annual Valley Cup. Seems no one quite knows how many years this race has been going on, but the tradition has been challenging racers for as long as anyone can remember .As can be expected for a low key race, talent poured out of the woodwork and the race went off without skipping a beat.
Those bright sunny skies tricked racers into thinking it was nice and warm out. Thankfully the sun did warm skiers as the race-time temperature climbed into the single digits. We were seeing -2 at the Richmond Park and Ride and as low as -10 on the way to the race. As we rolled through Waterbury and Waitsfield it was good to see recovery and progress occurring in the towns ravaged by Hurricane Irene, though it was eerie to see the State Office Complex was a ghost town and the loop driveway was not plowed.
The race course was a loop that basically started at the door of the lodge, skiing down the trail next to the runway, bearing left and heading back towards the lodge on the other side of the runway but making a right into the Upper field, and then down into the lower field for a loop before coming back to the finish circumnavigating the rest of the runway. Twice made a nice 10K. There was a thin base of icy snow with a few inches of powder groomed on top. The Ole’s Sherpa groomer made 3 inches of packed snow look, feel and race like mid-winter conditions, no debris poked through anywhere and one could ski confident that they were gliding on solid snow. While the course was fairly flat, there was enough variety to challenge racers and the slow snow speed also exaggerated how difficult an “easy” race can be.
Many NWVE racers toed the line. After some brief instructions, Chief of Race Pete Oliver counted down from 5 seconds giving the racers the go. It was nice not to have the agonizing 5 or six minutes of trying to stay warm while clocks are set or…One could literally register and in 10 minutes be racing. Lary Martell proved this himself! He was a little late arriving, registered, changed, walked out the door put on his skis, got to the line, waited 5 seconds and was underway. No time for fingers and toes to freeze or really worry about anything. Damian Bolduc and Perry Bland were back in action after a tough 30K yesterday. Joining them were Will Gochberg, Lary, Tristan Leggett, and Jessica Bolduc. Both Damian and Perry were optimistic when they woke this morning and even driving to the race, but on the warm up lap they realized that they may have been slightly fatigued from yesterday’s effort. Not that it matters to either of these two; they modified their goals and had a great ski anyway. Damian had another good start for the second day in a row, skiing at the tail end of a large pack of leaders. As the race spread out he found himself in a smaller pack skiing with Keith Woodward (Craftsbury), Bryce Wing (Ford Sayre), Mike Kavanaugh (Ind.), and a Middlebury High School skier. Hanging in with these guys proved wise and the whittled down group was rapidly reeling in Dan Greenleaf of SNOC at the finish.Will was the next NWVE finisher. He had a nice strong V2 holding off close challengers as he crossed the finish line. He also had one of the frostiest beards of the day that almost instantly turned white as he walked outside into the elements. Tristan who has been under the weather opted to pull out after 5K, after getting the feverish feeling that maybe you are not quite ready to be making this effort. He cheered us all along with Ed Hamilton on our final approach to the finish line and skied a nice team cool down lap after. Ed was there supporting his son who is having a stellar year getting top 5’s as a J3 in Eastern Cup J2 races skiing with the Mansfield youth program. Lary looked strong on his way in. Perhaps a warm up lap would have helped him as it looked as though he had not tapped everything that was in the tank. Perry was making good on his goal. He had discussed that due to a lack of fast snow, hills and trail turbulence that finesse would take a skier a long way in today’s race. Perry was not focused on fast, but form. The plan paid off and as Perry circled in for the finish he kept his skis smooth, even and trim as they touched down for long glides all the way to the end.
Jessica started in the women’s wave of 9, two minutes after the men’s start. She did not contest from the start, but found herself working her way up through the women’s field and skied though a couple of Ford Sayre skiers that got by her at the Mt. Hor Hop New Years Eve. She had great turnover as she skied the final meters and was glad that her placement within the field continues to improve.
It was another great day of skiing. Leave it to Ole’s to make thin cover impeccable. NWVE racers seemed quite satisfied with their races. Who could complain about getting in 20K of skiing with a 10K hard effort on yet another day made for skiing? Waiting to hear how things went up at the cabin, pass along your stories!
White Mountain Classic 2012
January 21, 2012
Skiers were treated with Mid-winter conditions at the White Mountain Classic in Jackson, NH today. The first real snow banks of the season were a welcome sight as travelers closed in on the venue. A steady snow fell making everything look fresh. It was the perfect day we have been waiting for.
Though NWVE continues to compete with a modest contingent, there was no shortage of strategizing and celebrating the day of winter we enjoyed today. Six men and two women completed the course and all seemed very pleased with their performances. The race had slightly lower attendance this year, but there was no shortage of competition.
The course was groomed perfectly. It started on the golf course and did the usual loop before crossing the road and heading up to the Eagle Mountain Trails. Racers did two loops on the upper trails before heading back to the center for the finish. It was a great course that offered a little something for everyone, even an untracked, narrow, bumpy section for Perry!
NWVE racers lined up in their respective places in the field. Known for his brilliant starts at this race, a couple lined up behind Eric Tremble.Following Eric was a challenge, but a thrill. First, he exploded off the line and got a jump on the field. Then it seemed as if he had memorized the first kilometer knowing precisely when to change lanes due to narrowing trails, or turns. Following Eric’s lead, Damian Bolduc was able to force Eli Enman to the untracked lane in order to advance. That has never happened in a ski race. Once things settled, a large pack of leaders separated from the rest of the field. Eric was in this group. Not far behind was group of master’s skiers that included Damian and Stephen Wright. On the first lap of the Eagle Mountain Trails, the tracks had an inch of fresh powder in them. This caused the lead group to race conservatively, and triggered the group of masters to hammer as they were salivating for the dream to close the gap. That would not happen as the leaders caused the elite group to explode on the second lap, having the tracks skied in by the field by then. Still the course provided many vistas where one could measure progress. This seemed to keep people very motivated. It was fun be able to see for a bit then disappear knowing letting up when no one was looking meant being caught or dropped. Damian and Stephen became separated as the field spread out. Scott Magnan methodically worked his way through paired well with Steve Scoles from Winnepeg. Stephen got caught by himself which was a major disadvantage today, but skied well holding off Mt Washington’s Steve Pietrow on his home course. Liz Hollenbach was in a close race nestled in with John Brodhead, Trina Hosmer, Kelsey Allen and a few others determined not to get Trina’d! Liz was able to hold her off going the distance with well over a second to spare. Perry Bland had a great race, skiing his way to a solid performance. Sabra Davison was able to claw her way past him making use of any advantage she could get on the final stretch. Pavel Dvorak was very pleased with his race and the conditions. He even seemed genuinely bummed that he will be missing next week due to a vacation in the Bahamas. He was also psyched that he finished before the food ran out or was limited to only bananas! Cipperly Good also had an excellent race, skiing with legends George Hall and Dave Boucher.
Great job to all the racers today. The greatest reward was the conditions we have all been waiting for. Things are looking good as we set our sights on Craftsbury next week.
January 15, 2012
It is the year of the loops on the Eastern Cup Circuit. First six at Craftsbury, then eight at Titcomb! The course was a 1.5K loop utilizing a downhill ski slope. It had a 2 foot base of manmade ice with 5-6 inches of tilled ice on top and set solidly over night. There was plenty of room on the course and it easily accommodated skiers 3 wide. It was mind numbing cold and I was so focused on counting my laps I do not remember much else. The course was well suited for light but strong and the results reflected that. Jake Hollenbach (VTXC) was on the first page and had one of my top EC finishes ever.
January 16, 2012
5 NWVE skiers from the west and 4 from the East met in the middle at Bretton Woods to race in the Geschmossel. Today’s race had a nice mix of the region’s best preparing for the upcoming marathons. CSU had a large contingent swinging by on their way home from the EC weekend in Maine. Jamie Doucett and Rob Bradlee barely had room for themselves in their cars packed with tents, benches and everything else. We were well prepared too, with three canvas paintings, a bench, wax, 6 pairs of skis, two dozen canning jars, hats, gloves, mittens and some squash just to mention a few. Ford Sayre also showed up with a couple carloads of racers.
It was cold again, but not bitterly cold as it was when I am sure most set out early this morning. It was sunny and there was no wind. The greatest challenge was to find the start. For the Club Series it is the year of the start in the middle of the woods.Skiers had to leave the lodge and ski 2K out to a hidden field where start/finish banners were set. Those that succeeded in finding the secret location were treated to a great 5K loop. The course was fun and easily doable. It was a great tune up for what we will race on in the coming weeks. There were a lot of double pole gradual climbs and fun descents. The tracks were solid and the grooming was quite good except for few dirty spots and thinning coverage on the bridges.
The race was a mass start that quickly sorted into competitive groups. I think most everybody had someone to ski with. Folks seemed happy to be racing and race they did. Paul Allison got a jump on the field and skied with the leaders for the duration. Stephen Wright and Damian Bolduc raced the full 10K together just behind a small group that included Nat Lucy, Robert Bradlee, John Sakilowski, and Andrew Milne. Never getting quite close enough to benefit from the pack but showing they have what it takes and could have a story with a different ending in the long distance races. Liz Hollenbach, Perry Bland, and Will Gochberg were in a solid group. They skied with Donavan Freeman, Doug Armstrong, and John Brodhead. Liz eventually was able to pull away pulling Freeman along. She was able to drop Freeman as well before the finish. I am sure Donavan’s performance is not going to sit well with the rest of the group. Donavan has the lead in the ZAK Cup… for now. Doug and Perry skied close to each other, but Doug’s skis outperformed Perry’s on the last downhill giving him enough of an advantage to take it to the line. Jessica Bolduc, Cipperly Good and Pavel Dvorak started out together and were also in a little race within a race. Cipperly had a clean start, but was taken out on a congested corner, Jessica capitalized and continued skiing with Pavel and Dave Hosmer. I am not sure if Pavel was a stray at the Richmond Park and Ride that joined up with the club carpool or if he had a little pre-convincing, but rumor has it that Perry rode the whole way over with both hands on his lunch box in his lap. Perhaps safe keeping of one of Janet’s ham and cheese sandwiches to seal the deal for surely hungry Pavel on the long ride home? Camille Bolduc raced the 1K BKL loop. While everyone had no waxing problem choosing green, VR30, or VR40 or V40, Camille’s Swix grip tape was problematic. This was Camille’s first time classic skiing on wax skis and I thought that grip tape would be just the thing to make the transition. Unfortunately sitting in the extreme cold over night caused the tape to peel off. No matter a quick application of VR40 and Camille was on her way. She skied well and took the silver medal in her category. She also got a cookie. Nothing beats Bretton Woods amenities with a wine and cheese buffet and tissues at the finish line for all finishers.
I think today’s race served as a prologue to the White Mountain and Craftsbury marathons. The clubs were showing their colors and everybody was looking to be in good form heading into the major races. NWVE had very strong performances and is on track for some very exciting weeks ahead.
First Run & Craftsbury Classic
January 1, 2012
Craftsbury Classic Results: http://www.craftsbury.com/skiing/events/results.htm
First Run Results: http://www.runvermont.org/elbo/assets//FRRESULTS.HTM
NWVE athletes had a busy day today. Several attended and raced in the First Run this morning, and a few others traveled to Craftsbury to race in the Craftsbury Classic. It was a balmy start to 2012 with morning temps in the mid 30’s warming up to the low 40’s in the afternoon. It was great to see so many people being active to start out the New Year and NWVE got quite a few results today.
Pink Hoodie-Footies peppered the First Run field with many NWVE members donning the distinctive apparel. If the members today thought they were the first club members to wear such flattering pink outfits they are mistaken, Mike Mashtare ripped up the Nordic scene in his hot pink uni-suit back in the 80’s. I believe it was purchase from Lary Martell at Endurance Sports. But Matt Considine wore pink best when he activated his suits invisibility properties with profuse perspiration. Only the suit was invisible; Matt, au naturale, was able to attract more attention than wearing a bright pink suit. (States 1993?) It was great to see people’s festive spirit and considering the winter we are having most were making the best of it. Check out the results to see how Mike Bessette, Rick Kelly, Allen Mead, Dee Barbic, Eric Darling, Sarah Pribram, Kyle Darling, Jessica Bolduc, Camille Bolduc, Liz Hollenbach, Megan Farrington and any one I missed did in the field that was close to 1000. Times may be skewed do to an overwhelmed finish crew.
Those that opted to kick off the New Year with kick went with klister at the Craftsbury Classic this afternoon. Craftsbury added to its manmade snow loop and had a nice 3K course groomed and tracked. I am not sure they will have coverage all the way to Highland Lodge in time for the Marathon, but I am sure they will have something nice pulled together if Mother Nature does not come through soon! The weather was overcast with temps in the low 40’s. Fortunately a brisk wind chilled racers and it felt like a ski race. The track was good for the most part with a couple of wet spots here and there.The course started the normal way in the lower field and racers went into the woods on Lemon’s Haunt, past the first intersection and onto the Race Loop, at the next intersection it took the cut off back to Lemon’s Haunt bring racers up a hill and out into the lower field. We had to climb the steep hill to the upper field, loop around back to the lower field and back onto Lemons Haunt to wrap around in the woods and back to the start finish area the usual way. Three laps of this made for a challenging 9K.
The self seeding for the mass start seemed honest, making for a clean start.New member Paul Allison was off the front with the leaders from the start. NWVE had a good group in the field that quickly began to spread out.Scott Magnan and Stephen Wright got out at the front of the pack, while the rest of the club settled into the field. That is except for Ed Hamilton who worked his way through the traffic and pulled ahead of the main pack early in the first lap. Thinking he could hang Damian Bolduc quickly switched strategies as Ed was clearly moving much faster.Leigh Mallory raced with no regrets in the most competitive division of the day. Perry Bland had his best race so far this season and paced Warren Cornwall to second in the M3 division. Perry also picked the klister of the day having tested everything from KR 40 and up. Thanks to his research we knew that everything from 50 and up was working and to what degree. Those that picked accordingly had no complaints. After a contentious first lap, Paul placed himself in second between VTXC’s Eli Enman and Ryan Kerrigan. Ryan was part of a chase group that included Mark Gilbertson, Jake Hollenbach, and Russell Primeau. Ford Sayre’s Chris Nice was chasing back on after a pole mishap. In the main field, racing was exciting as well.Ed was at the helm a majority of the time, but on the last lap he pulled away and secured a top ten finish. Damian started skiing through the field at the start of lap 2 and had Stephen in his sites by the third lap. Stephen was in a battle with Luke Strauss and Robyn Anderson that proved too much for Damian to catch. Leigh was in the thick of the M7 battle. Murray Banks was a little ahead of the rest of the M7s, picking on Scott and Damian, but Leigh was in with Doug Armstrong, Peter Hendel and Perry in hot pursuit. If you have ever been involved in a race like this with Doug, you know that the guy who is fun to share a brownie with after the race probably ate glass prior. He is a competitor and will not give an inch when he has you in his clenches. When they got to the line Doug came out ahead, but Leigh held off a hard charging Peter by half a ski length in the most exciting finish of the day. Perry and Warren were the next finishers, ready for another lap or two. Steve Messier gets special recognition for doing both the First Run and the Craftsbury Classic, and proving you didn’t have to choose.
The team fared well. Paul took second overall and won the senior division. Ed, Stephen and Scott won their respective M4, M5 and M2 divisions.Warren was second to Mark Gilberston in the M3 division. Damian and Leigh were Bronze medalists in the M1 and M7 divisions. This type of showing at the White Mountain classic could dethrone perennial team scoring champs CSU! Great job to all who participated today. This enthusiasm bodes well for the rest of the season.
Mt. Hor Hope 2011
December 31, 2011
A few diehard athletes finished out 2011 with the Mt. Hor Hop. There was no shortage of excitement despite the modest turn out for this year’s race. The conditions were good considering the winter we have had and that Mt. Hor depends 100% on natural snow. Race director Mike Kiser said that Mt. Hor always delivers, and yet again he was right. One of the highlights of the day was seeing what equipment people resurrected to race on. Some went with their regular race skis; others opted for rock skis and a few pulled some ancient racers out of retirement. However the best option I saw was to borrow someone else’s race skis!
The race course was the figure 8 that we have become familiar with over the last few years. The lower loop being relatively flat, but with a lot of twists and turns, then a long climb at the start of the upper loop, a flat section at the top to test the skiers and then a nice long downhill with a few switchbacks to recover on.The snow cover was good. Thin spots were well marked, and it seemed that you could ski over them without any consequence. (I have yet to inspect my bases, but did not feel any ski stopping jolts during the race). The temperature was in the high twenties with a fine misty fog covering us for most of the day. Only at the start of the men’s race did it begin to sprinkle for a few minutes.
With the small turn out, it was a good opportunity to pick up some points. Three clubs were represented well, Ford Sayre had the largest contingent, followed by a good mixture of NWVE and then SNOC had their cheery Masters out in force. The women raced first. Jessica Bolduc and Liz Hollenbach represented NWVE. There was speculation on whether Liz had a little pent- up energy having watched so much racing while coaching at SLU and UVM and directing at Bolton Valley.While the race looked like Joann Hanowski and Amy Gunn were making a statement quickly making their way to the front of the women’s field, Liz quietly charged through from the back. Bystanders noted, as Liz hammered up the hills and kept a smooth technique on the bumpy terrain. Liz was at the top of the results page when all was said and done punctuating her return with a W! Jessica was using Damian’s beloved Germina’s and buried them one quarter of the way through her race. Despite losing a chunk of the side wall she pressed on finishing at the back, but probably taking the FM2 division. Stephen Wright led things off for the men. He caught and tucked in behind Jim Fredricks for a bit but pulled away early on in the race. Tristan Legget was the next NWVE athlete in the lineup followed by Scott Magnan and Damian Bolduc. Starting a few places back was Eric Tremble. While Tristan, Scott and Damian skied relatively close to each other, Eric came from minutes back and blew through the group in the first 5K. All were skiing well, but Eric was a few notches above the rest. He went on to take second overall. Lary Martell, Perry Bland and André Bolduc started towards the back of the start order. André was starting his last upper loop as Scott, Damian and Tristan sprinted for the line. André held good form and carried on as his teammates finished with a frantic effort. Scott held off a hard charge from Ford Sayre’s Chris Nice. Chris had a strong comeback after laying low for the last two seasons.Damian was doing everything he could not to let the gap open up too much, and Tristan followed in with a powerful V2. Chris’ teammate Rick Powell was rapidly closing on this group as well getting a very strong result for the day. Racers continued to finish at a steady rate and the groupings on the results page reflected that everybody was fairly close together. Being a little under the weather was no excuse for Perry to break his perfect attendance streak and he was happy with his decision to visit the Northeast Kingdom.
It was great to see all the familiar faces and matchups carrying over to yet another year. Charlie and Amy Gunn, Adrian Owens, Carol Van Dyke, Jonathan Chaffee, Peter Harris, Donavan Freeman and more were all smiles when the day was over. Those that raced were glad they made the journey to the tent in the middle of the woods, in the middle of nowhere and participated in the last Nordic race of 2011! Most were planning on racing more next year starting tomorrow.
Santa 5km 2011
December 4, 2011
NWVE showed its Holiday Spirit today at the inaugural Santa 5K, in Burlington, VT. This race was a huge success with over 1200 Santa’s competing and supporting the Make a Wish Foundation.It was a beautiful day to race with sunny skies, temps in the low 40’s, and a brisk 20 mph south wind. Racers were treated with some improv caroling as the countdown to the big moment wound down.
The enthusiasm for the day was overwhelming. Being in a blur of Santa’s that stretched from College Street two blocks north to the Burlington Town Center Mall was an event in itself. Over a thousand Santa’s with seasonal excitement and prerace jitters created an air of anticipation like no other .One person’s went to an extreme further than anyone else’s. Self declared race promoter Jason Baer has been psyched for this race since the VCM Expo in May. He recruited on his own initiative and spread the spirit of the race to anyone and everyone. Today, he paced Church Street from one acquaintance to another in a jolly daze that was starting to cause alarm to a few in his inner circle. Once in the start corral, he was a little more contained, but it was clear that 6 months preparation was about to explode. Just what was to happen was a mystery to all, but when the gun went off it was on!
Jason tore off the starting line "like a kid running to be first to the swings on the playground" (Phoebe Buffay). This did not last just to the first corner, or to the top of VCM famed Battery Hill. No this lasted all the way to the finish line and beyond! It was amazing to see Jason hold his lead over all other competitors, but the preparation that he put into this race was that of no one else. NWVE had a strong showing taking the top four spots overall and 4 in the top ten for women! But today was really Jason Baer’s day. Following in Jason’s wake, Ray Webster, Eric Darling and Damian Bolduc made their way through the other early contenders whose enthusiasm waned on the early hills of the race. Running into the wind down Willard Street things really began to take form. Ray closed the gap and ran it in with Jason for the overall tie, Eric and Damian distanced themselves from the impending flood of Santas. Making the turn onto Church Street for the finish brought racers to a new level. It was the perfect place to sprint in front of the crowds of onlookers in awe. Liz Hollenbach sprinted in an all out battle taking 3rd place for women, Sarah Pribram was the next women to turn the corner and made sure things stayed that way for the last 75m. Kate Crawford was in the mix and then Elizabeth Bouchard Hall rounded out the top ten with GMAA president Jessica cover.In the 10 and under competition Camille Bolduc took 2nd place being paced by her mom Jessica Bolduc. Camille toughed it out, though the overwhelming anticipation caused a little anxiety and the kid’s suit could have fit a trucker.
It was truly a phenomenal event and all participated by running or watching were filled with Holiday cheer. Hearing the comments throughout the day that reflected what transpires during this season, from the wonder of a little kid to the wassail, cheer and beyond. Normally at an event like this the beneficiary, (in today’s case Make a Wish) is the winner. Today I think it is safe to say that Jason Baer was the winner. Inquiries to the Governor’s Office on making December 4th Jason Baer day have not been returned as of publication of this letter.
EC Opener Craftsbury 2011
NWVE took on the world today at the Eastern Cup opener at Craftsbury today. It was an Epic day for NENSA as the racing season kicked off in a big way. It seems everyone on the East Coast and beyond knew of the 1.4K loop of skiable snow and took advantage today. NENSA advertised a Super Tour worthy field and the participants delivered.
The race day conditions were as good as could be considering the winter we have had so far. The race surface was 1 foot of manmade snow with a light dusting of powder that fell Friday and Saturday mixed in. After a warm day yesterday the course was re-groomed and set up beautifully during the freezing overnight.The race started in the upper field and headed out and across the top of Lemon’s Haunt.It then turned into the lower field sending racers up the steep side of the hill to the upper field and looped back into the lower field and then returned to the start/finish area up the not so steep side of the hill.Women raced 3 laps, and Men race 6.
The race winners were determined before any of the NWVE athletes even bothered to pick up their bibs. As Perry says we need to race so the young hot shots can feel good about themselves. That being said NWVE racers all had pretty good days. After receiving a race briefing from Ed Hamilton who was supporting his son who took a top ten on the J2 race, NWVE grabbed their bibs and began their prerace rituals. Scott Magnan led out about mid field in 120th position. He had a strong start and was well into his race before Damian Bolduc took to the course 20 minutes later. Perry was next, starting his first lap as Damian’s imaginary lap cards read 6.Leigh Mallory turned the sweep position into more of a take no prisoners anchor leg.
There was plenty of spectating and most of that was after skiers crested the two cruelest of the three climbs in the race loop. There was no way of knowing where you were in the race as skiers on differing loops mixed together.This kept things exciting as fresh skiers took on the tired ones that later became sprinters with their sights set on finishing. It was interesting to be able to watch the varying techniques of the NWVE racers. Scott would cruise through the fields with good technique and a long gliding V1, Damian preferred a tuck and run method that messed with those he challenged, Leigh mixed V1 and V2 and Perry resorted to double poling to catch his breath after the climbs. Perry looked stronger as his race went on perhaps just getting warmed up when he out-sprinted a skier he had lapped from Onion River at the finish line. Leigh was all jokes when he started stating that "registration was merely an expensive trail use fee," but once on course he looked like a man on a mission picking off juniors, seniors, and masters without regard. He was doing well and enjoying it very much.Scott and Damian finished within 7 places of each other in the results setting up yet another battle at the BFA Alumni/Citizens Race coming up on the 28th. Earlier in the day Samantha Martell raced in the women’s field and did quite well. Despite the men showing up well after her race was over, she stayed and cheered us all on with enthusiasm that lifted us up the hills.
Even though it was only a 1.4K loop.It was a heck of a race. It is these types of races everyone talks about for a long time. NWVE may not have been on the first page today, but we looked strong and I am sure that I am not alone in setting my goals after a solid baseline performance today. As with any Eastern Cup race you are a champion just for showing up!
Westford Turkey Trot 2011
Many Northwest Vermont Endurance athletes took to the dirt roads for the 20th Annual Westford Turkey Trot. In honor of the 20th Anniversary, registration cost the same as it did and always has in 1991! The conditions were conducive to fast times. The temperature held in the low forties, and a strong south wind that challenged runners from the mile one to three turned into a nice tailwind pushing the tired racers along to the finish. The road surface was dry and smooth. Not everyone’s favorite, but quite fast. The attendance this year was perhaps an all time high with around 130 registered athletes.
As is tradition the day started with the Main Event 50m Kids Dash. The anticipation and drama of this year’s dash was like none ever seen before. Three young racers quickly separated themselves from the field. An early surge was countered and with 15 meters to go it looked like it would be a two kid race. In a heart dropping turn of events, the racer who had just taken the lead hit the turf with 5 meters to go taking out the second place racer with a flailing leg. The early rabbit now in third was able to race clean through the crash, and take the number one Chocolate Turkey Pop. (Click HERE for similar footage) After all the turmoil, they brushed themselves off and completed the race with the rest of the field. As usual the rookie of the year award went to one young individual whose preparation must have been an intense week of learning to walk. Each pot hole was inspected for mud puddle splashing potential as this racer cruised to the finish closing out the 50m competition.
Once the dust settled, racers lined up for the 2 mile and 10K feature events. NWVE only had one racer in the 2 mile competition. Camille Bolduc was looking to chop down her time from last year. Her gut told her that 5 minutes faster would be a good goal, but after a little coaching, and analysis she aimed to knock off a minute. Despite the absence of Westford legends, Perry and Nirmegh, the club fielded a deep and well rounded team in the 10K. After some brief instructions the race was off. There was a lot of commotion at the start as race strategies emerged. Eventual winner Binny Mitchell took no chances and established a commanding lead. Then a group of 6 racers, half NWVE, half Vermont x-c state champs MMU, worked together for the start of the race. Camille was toward the front of the field as well. As the race spread out Damian Bolduc and Brendan Barden moved up from the back of the pack. By the time the field came into the 2 mile mark things had really thinned out. Will Gochberg, Jason Baer and Chris Rodgers made a formidable chase group after dropping the high school kids. Damian and Brendan were mixing it up with the Westford Pony Tail Guy and the Westford Sunglasses Guy. It is great to see these two every year, and they seem to get a kick out of their Westford notoriety when you cheer for them by their aliases at other races. Mike Bessette and Lary Martell worked together though the strong headwind. Rick Kelly was back in action after a year off and found himself without a group and exposed for most of the race. Scott Magnan capitalized on the speed he had been working on at Fallen Leaves Series and worked his way through the main pack. Tom Lane and Dale Rodgers had a solid races battling for position amongst their perennial contenders. The NWVE women were on course as well starting together and then hanging with Camille for a bit as racers went around the Westford Green. Elizabeth Bouchard-Hall pulled ahead with Cathy Martell on the uphill off the green, Camille paced Jessica Bolduc and Hannah Barden until the two mile race turn off. The next big obstacle changed things up a bit. Chris had fallen off the pace Will was setting in the chase group and Damian had closed the gap after breaking free of the field. Brendan dropped the Westford Pony Tail Guy and Lary, Mike and some other masters racers played cat and mouse up the mile long incline. Jessica had picked up the pace and caught Elizabeth and followed orders to take out the next woman just ahead. Hannah and Meghan Farrington settled into similar paces motivating each other to press on through the strong wind that only gave way to the steep hills. In an aggressive move on the downhill Jason attempted to shake Will with a little over a mile to go. Making for an exciting finish, Will shut down Jason’s attack, turned it up a notch and made Jason suffer over the last hill enabling him to kick it in for second place. Watching all this unfold, Chris made a stand against Damian on the uphill. After realizing he was not going away, Damian had to resist holding back and let gravity do the work on the downhill as much as it hurt to put a little distance on Chris. At the finish, Mansfield Nordic’s Binny won decisively, but with all the racing excitement, NWVE was able to put its seventh runner through in 10th place. The women took top honors in 3 categories!
All of the racers were very pleased with their efforts for the day. Many had Westford PR’s. At the awards ceremony NWVE took 5 podiums in a row and easily had just as many second places. The prize raffle was a lot of fun and after years of an early calling drought Jessica’s name was selected first. Many other club members were called early to choose from the Westford bounty early as well.