Event Archive 2015 - 2016
2015 - 2016
Gatineau World Loppet 2016
February 20, 2016
Writing this I realize that a Gatineau Report is long overdue. People have been telling me for years to come up here and do this race, and now that I finally have, I regret that I had not sooner! Gone are the nightmares of freezing cold temps or icy conditions. This year’s race welcomed NENSA Members and immediately created a bias by simply having an abundance of snow. Not to say that Gatineau has not been a victim of this winter as well, but a 20 inch dumping a week prior followed by a little rain and more snow made for great race conditions. The locals thought its been better, but they have not chased snow to an alpine hill barely getting by on "frozen granular." No matter who you were, conditions for this year were unbelievable.
Day one was the Classic Day. Temps were perfect in the low teens, there was a little wind and skies remained overcast. Some fine snow fell periodically during the race. The tracks were set perfectly and had that feel of firmly set sides, yet a soft cushion with a very positive kick on the bottom for striding you dream about. No slapping, shearing or working for it, just great skiing.
The 51km + 1000 m course was a point to point through the Gatineau Park. The trail system has 200km 100% open. It was nice rolling terrain with a few minimally technical sections. They were well marked and rather fun. Almost all the climbs were easily stride-able with one major ascent after the 30km feed station. The course had plenty of feed and check points helping skiers feel secure in their adventure. Upon reaching the 51km mark a bright yellow sign read “1000m TO GO.” It was a good day to go the extra kilometer.
Some people were on covered klister, but most used hard wax with Extra Blue being the go to of the day. Everything was working so it was a matter of what you felt would be durable and have the range of the forecasted warm-up during the race. Ski*Go HF Blue and Violet were working very well on my skis and have become a new favorite for sure after this season.
Skiers were bussed to the start from the finish area. A 40 minute highway ride that left some wondering if they really had it in them to make it back. Upon disembarking the bus, skiers found themselves in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere with a Ski Festival set up. Music, announcing, motivating affirmations, history recollected and plain old excitement about how perfect the race was going to be this year. Skiers went off in several waves based on experience and results. Tom Thurston and Stephen Wright were in wave A. Damian Bolduc and Pavel Dvorak in Wave B and Emanuel Betz was in wave C. Races got underway in a fairly organized manner as racers knew to conserve for the challenging climb in the latter half of the race. The fields quickly thinned out through a series of turns and gently rolling hills. Soon skiers found themselves in small packs of similar ability. Tom was locked into the chase pack in wave A. Stephen was cruising along in one of the larger groups, Pavel and Manny found their niche as well. Damian skied a few km with Pavel in the elite wave B pack but soon began his quest racing up though wave A. As the race progressed the dynamics would change. First were those to lose their wax. Durability was an issue for some, but a good application of binder should have eliminated this variable for anyone. They would hang in double poling, but eventually burned out as the hills became more sustained and steeper. The next was those that became fatigued. Again most likely a wax issue, but a few were in over their heads. NWVE racers easily moved up through those encountering difficulties along the way. Once over the highest point of the course was a series of thrilling down hills. This would be the final factor that had a major effect on race outcomes. Around 39 km mark skiers found themselves in a 1 km tuck. Not an easy thing to do at this point in the race, but standing up would take away hard earned seconds and potentially places. Racers were forced to leave it to ski speed and physics to carry them through this section of course. Once through it was a short effort to the finish. Skiers were teased as they went by the 51km mark, the advertised distance and came upon a 1000m to go sign. This was more than an extra kilometer, but all the more reason to dig in and hold position. Racers finished strong, leaving everything out on the course with many exciting sprints. Tom got edged by Eric Grimm at the line, Damian who had skied his way through most of the A wave, knowing he had 2 minutes on his challenger would not yield position in their charge to the finish. Stephen won his sprint as well, after having stayed with a few from his group the whole race. Pavel put in a solid effort within less than 24 hours of his return from Cancun where more than just the locals thought he was a crazy man for roller skiing. Manny also had an outstanding result consistently moving up through the field and taking significant time off his previous mark. Manny raced virtually side by side with fellow C wave winner Simon Hamel for the entire distance.
The Gatineau is not just about the World Loppet. There is something for everyone. There was a Half Marathon as well as a 15km and 5km event. NWVE had excellent representation in all the races. Lida Dvorak (who did not roller ski in Cancun) held her own among the racers in 27km field. Jessica Bolduc and Leigh Mallory were last minute entrants in the 15km and each earned an age group Gold! It should also be mentioned that Ava Thurston took the overall Women's Podium for that race in a final sprint. Leigh had all he could do to stay ahead of her after being overtaken on a downhill! In the 5km Quincy Massey-Bierman would take 3rd overall and first for women leading from wire to wire. Camille Bolduc cruised in for 4th overall, and 4th in her age group, conserving a little for the Super Sprints to follow later in the day. Julia Thurston pulled in another Gold (age group) for the Thurston Medal Count.
Later in the afternoon it was off to the World Cup Sprint Course. Camille would represent well here. 200 boys and girls competed in the Annual Chelsea Nordic Super Sprints. Skiers had a 15 second interval start qualifying round followed by 3 rounds of Mixed Super Sprint Waves. No eliminations but seed changes. Camille posted the fastest female qualifying time and set the women's course record! She executed all her sprint waves well and took Gold in her age group! Improving the Bolduc's medal count for the day. It was a great event with each round changing features on the course including Jumping through FIRE in round 2. Of course the features would be removed by Tuesday so that the World Cup skiers could contest Camille's mark.
Day Two of the Gatineau was the Freestyle day. Skiers were happy not to have to rise early to catch the bus as all events were based out of the same area. Several more skiers joined those who had raced Saturday and would make it a big day for NWVE. Starting in wave A were Eli Enman, Luke Shullenberger, Leigh, and Damian. Tom drew a short straw and had to deliver the B treatment to the field this day. Kasie Enman started in Wave C. Conditions were great with the course setting up nicely, a light steady snow falling throughout the morning, and little to no wind. The freestyle course was a little more challenging with significant climbs throughout and narrower more technical trails. It was a blast flying through the woods on trails that resembled those of the Mt. Hor Hop in between the freeway sections of Gatineau Park.
Eli Enman would quickly find his way into the elite pack. Luke was in a chase pack. Damian took a more conservative approach as he was not sure what was left in the tank after the classic race. Leigh got out to a good start, but it was Tom from wave B who threw it down. Tom wasted no time making up ground and had the fastest split to the first check point. By 8km he had made up the time on Damian and continued on his conquest through the field. Unfortunately there were sections that stalled him out due to how narrow the trail was, but he pressed on catching Luke by the 20km mark. Kasie was doing the same but had that much more traffic to get through being in the C wave. Eli would remain with the elite group for most of the race as they dropped racers that could not hang in. One went off the front early on and was never caught. Eli eventually lost contact with a few km to go but held his position as those he was with hammered in with authority. Tom never really settled down, rallying to the finish. Luke had an impressive race as well taking it all the way to the line with his best result of the year. Damian dropped the group he was skiing bridged to the next before he turned off for the 27km race. He continued overtaking people and held off 3 in the final kilometer. Leigh was loving the conditions and took silver in his category. Kasie eventually got to where she could ski freely moving up to 7th overall for women and first in her age group.
While the marathoners and half marathoners recovered Jessica and Camille took on the 10km field. A group of J2 boys organized quickly and skied away from the field. They were followed by the Elite pack of girls, mostly J3 and J4's led by Quincy. Camille clung on as best she could after her huge sprint day, but lost contact on a long hill. She closed it up in the final kilometer, but the second wind was not enough to bridge all the way back on, but good enough for the overall women's bronze.
NWVE did very well. Eli was 7th, the first American, taking a Silver in his age group. Tom took Gold in his, demolishing the B field, racing up to his rivals from 2 minutes back and dishing it to them in person. Luke made the first page of results taking Bronze in his category. Damian would move into the top 10, taking 7th in the 27km race earning a Silver in his age group. Kasie was also lucky number 7 winning her age group from the C wave, Leigh moved to the front of the pack he was skiing in to secure Silver in his age group. Jessica would go for age group Gold again, and Camille had earned her Bronze (overall as well as age group).
After our weekend of unbelievable skiing many stayed around to watch the World Cup in Gatineau and Montreal. These races were well worth seeing and very motivating. To watch the races, tactics, techniques and determination so closely was an amazing experience. To mingle with other fans was equally rewarding. Everyone was filled to the brim with a love of skiing.
Flying Moose Classic 2016
February 13, 2016
Several NWVE Racers traveled through the Great Valentine's Day Polar Vortex of 2016 bursting free of its frigid temps landing on the other side of Mt. Washington safe from its brutal chill to race the Flying Moose Classic.
The Flying Moose Classic was yet another amazing installment on the 2016 race season. We have been fortunate to have so many people working very hard to pull off these races with little snow to work with, but it has been happening and we are grateful for it. Bethel lived up to being "Maine's Most Beautiful Mountain Village." While it has held snow better than anywhere in the northeast, it has been challenging to work with only a couple of inches of snow at a time. Many trail improvements have aided in snow preservation and it payed off for the Flying Moose.
A substantial amount of new snow for the 2016 season had arrived earlier in the week supplementing the firm base with just what was needed for a challenging Classic race. Though things behind the scenes remained challenging as even though the new snow was very welcome to work with, the regular groomer was occupied with an exciting new paternal responsibility! Fortunately for the racers, Brad Clarke (Bethel Outing Club (BOC)) stepped in and set the course with expert precision.
Conditions were packed powder on a firm granular base. The course was the challenging Pine Hill Competition loops. Temps remained in the mid-teens and the wind steadily picked up throughout the day. Intermittent clouds gave way to the much appreciated warm sun. The venue was truly fortunate as other events braced and dealt with near zero temps and cancellations. Several skiers agreed with Sarah Pribram that "this was one of the best Flying Moose' ever!"
Pre-race waxing was interesting as we were sure that temps were going to be 5 -10 degrees cooler at best. The pleasant 15 degrees took us by surprise. Perry tested the recommended VR30, thinking it could work, but wanted a little more. We went to VR40 and Extra Blue with success, but some still found it to be slick. Perry's assessment that he had never heard of Extra Blue ever hurting anyone was true, but a newer wax was testing well and in the mix for NWVE. Ski*Go HF Violet has been around for years, but not in the clubs wax bag until this weekend. It was decided that this new approach, wax designed for snow type over temperature would be put to the test and it delivered. Even Perry calling it a keeper. Due to the new snow and softness of the snow machine set track, conventional wax had an early release. It worked fine, and a longer kick zone could be employed to accommodate this, but we were finding that the normal zone with the Ski*Go was very fast with solid kick.
Racers lined up for the 11:00 AM start. They were sent away for a 10 minute delay as the timers resolved an issue, once back, another short delay took place, but the starter took charge and skiers were off. The race this year started on the upper loop subjecting skiers to the most challenging climbs early in the race. This did not pan out well for several of the competitors. A combination of colder than normal temps, steep climbs, and a lack of race fitness sent unsuspecting racers deep into the Red Zone in the first few kilometers of the 22km race. Those who have been hitting the race circuit regularly pounced on their advantage as did those who had acclimated to the cold earlier in the week. The start was a little chaotic as it narrowed to two lanes quickly, but for the most part with the small and courteous field there was not much issue. Andrew Siegel (Gould Academy) led the race decisively wire to wire. Joel Bradley (Millennium Racing) chased on his own but could not catch the Junior on his home course. Tom Thurston, Eric Darling and Kirk Siegel (BOC) skied with several Gould and collegiate athletes in the chase pack. Damian had been boxed at the start and was skiing comfortably a few spots back in the main field led by Brad Clarke (BOC), Rob Bradlee (CSU) and an early duel brewing between Kathy Maddock (Dublin XC) and Olivia Cuneo (SMS). Mike Kavanaugh marked Ian Blair (BOC), while Sarah Pribram and Perry Bland hit their stride in a group of heavy hitting Masters with Jonathan Chaffee (Ford Sayre), and Mount Washington Nordic teammates Doug Armstrong and Donavan Freeman. Jessica Bolduc found herself in familiar territory with Carrie Nourjian (VTXC) and Todd Taska (Ind.). Cipperly Good and Brad Ketterling were also in good company skiing with Jody Newton (CSU) and Karen Alence (Mansfield) early on in the race.
Things changed a lot making for an exciting race. Some skiers simply blew up with the difficult start, several dropped out and many had to re-calibrate in order to finish. NWVE held their ground for the most part. Tom would hold his position dropping a few racers, but not quite able to hang with some of the home town favorites as Gould Academy put on a show. Damian, patient on the initial climbs changed gears and broke free of the pack as he accelerated over the top of the hills on the first lap hoping to draw Brad Clarke (BOC) into another one on one race. Eric suffered a bit early, but regained his form by the third lap, closing on Damian who had surged past in the first lap. Mike and Ian Blair(BOC) skied together for much of the race but in the final kilometers Ian used the home course advantage against Mike's hesitations on the course gaining the upper hand for the finish. Todd Taska (Ind.) worked his way through the field picking up may spots and pulling a few skiers with him as he went by. Among them were Jonathan Chaffee and Sarah Pribram who broke free of the M8 cat-and-mouse race between Perry and Donavan Freeman (Mt. Washington). Unbeknownst to Perry and Donavan, Doug Armstrong was quietly stalking within striking distance. Doug eventually made his move over taking them, but Donavon was able to dig deep enough to regain his position before the finish line. Jessica and Carrie (Snoc) had a similar thing going on as many in the race, but those with downhill confidence had the advantage today. Cipperly and Brad had great races as well dropping Karen (Mansfield) who missed a turn, and enjoying the course and conditions. Brad was really psyched with the course and will surely enjoy the Bogburn.
In the 10km event Camille Bolduc and Ava Thurston (Mansfield) lined up with many Eastern Cup regulars from Colby, Bates, CSU, and Gould. The U14's stayed together skiing through the 10km field and over taking many in the 22km. After 6km Camille's endurance faded but Ava pressed on overtaking all but the top three men and beating out Bates College skier Samantha Pierce in a sprint for top Female in that field!
The post race recovery was a hit at the Sunday River Brewery. It was as if the restaurant was anticipating a large party of cold Nordic Racers and had a table ready and waiting for us next to the fire. The service and food capped the wonderful day as we traded stories about the race and what had happened in the hours before. There was also much delight in how nice things had turned out.
Once again the Club Series rewarded those who raced. The conditions were the best natural we have had all season, Polar Vortex held off until after we had our recovery brews and meals. NWVE athletes sped off into the chilly weather in anticipation of a much deserved rest day in their warm homes.
Craftsbury Marathon 2016
January 30, 2016
The trend of this lean snow season continues. Race organizers pulled off an amazing race yet again with the 35th Annual Craftsbury Marathon. With no new snow after two recent melt downs it was incredible how the crew at Craftsbury transformed the center into Mid-Winter conditions with very little snow to work with. The change from Thursday to Saturday seemed impossible to be real, but due to the hard work and diligence of the staff and volunteers at Craftsbury skiers were treated to the best skiing we have yet to see this season!
Skiers arrived early to assess what they would be confronting over the next few hours. Those who had been there earlier in the week had a different perspective than those just arriving for the first time. Those that had seen the conditions after the rain Tuesday knew that not enough new snow had been added to soften things up. However those who were seeing the course as it was saw packed powder. How Craftsbury ground the course into this condition was monumental and much praise should be given to everyone who made it happen. Even the groomers were surprised given what little they had to work with.
The different perceptions played a role in how people approached waxing for the race. Fortunately most arrived early to wax and found something that was working for them. Some used pure klister, some pure hard wax and many opted for a mix. Most everything was working in the well prepared tracks so the choice was one of preference and confidence. The decision would have influence on what happened on course, but for the most part nothing too consequential.
The course was the same as last year's, sending skiers out of the lower stadium around Murphy's looping through the upper stadium out to Elinor's Hill, onto Bailey Hazen and then Ruthie's Run. The surface was packed transformed snow with very firm tracks. The loop was challenging, but very stride-able. Temps remained in the low twenties, with overcast skies, and little wind.
Racing got underway with the Men's wave departing first. A few of the usual hang-ups occurred though it appeared most corrected themselves quickly. By design Murphy's field organized the skiers and things settled for the long haul. That does not mean that there was no longer any excitement as the fast conditions and familiar course led to some great racing and many exchanges throughout the day. Many finding someone to ski with or work on all the way to the finish line!
Eli Enman got out early and with some of the local top collegiate talent Sam Merrins (Dartmouth) and Peter Hegman (Outdoor Gear Exchange/formerly UVM). Eric Tremble and Tom Thurston paired up for much of the race skiing with Paco Defrancis (Keurig) and Chris Bean (Onion River). They also worked with Ethan Dreissigacker (Craftsbury) and Magnus Bigelow (Dartmouth) who both were dropped, one due to wax the other due to bonking. Damian Bolduc started conservatively and worked his way through the field eventually overtaking a mark he has had all season at the crest of the final climb in the race. This invigorated him to sprint hard to the finish. His victim Neal Graves (SNOC) was suffering from extreme fatigue and finished quite hypothermic. Eric Darling had his best Craftsbury ever, trading places with Neal, skiing some with Magnus as he dropped back and finally overtaking John Sakalowski (CSU) midway through the last lap. Tyler Magnan made a good comeback from illness he had last week and worked with Ford Sayre's Rick Powell and Bryce Wing on the first half of the race and then picked up the David Herr train (Ind.) on the second half. The next few NWVE racers had a great competitive pack for much of the race. While things accordian-ed as they do in such a long race this group kept each other honest the whole race. Adrian Owens (Craftsbury), Mike Kavanaugh, Lary Martell, Peter Harris (Craftsbury), Tristan Leggett and Daniel Voison (Onion River) were surely the heart of the field and all had excellent results from the work done together while trying to get the upper hand on the rest. Mike and Lary would prevail. Rick Kelley was optimistic earlier in the week as the forecast looked warmer, and that he would not freeze this year. He keyed off of CSU's Jamie Doucett (CSU) who has gotten a few big results this season. Rick came in just ahead of Manny Betz who dropped Mainer Brett Deyling up the final climb on Ruthie's. Kasie Enman did not have too much company during her race while double lapped a few 25k'ers. In doing so she scored a top ten and won her age group. Perry Bland returned to 50km racing this year as conditions were favorable. Normally in Damian's no Klister camp he did advise some to use it. Perry's steady effort as he comes back from an injury paid off as he overtook Mansfields Andy Grab as he returns to racing after a long coaching stint. Andre' Bolduc planned prepared for a long haul claiming to have packed sandwiches in his backpack. He looked good as he set out on his last lap and pondered that 50km was an awful long way to go for a bowl of chili once he was done. He did beat his goal finishing under his anticipated time.
One of the nicest things of the day was having all the teammates supporting each other as they raced, especially the 25km racers after they had finished their race. Another, who saved more than a few days was Nirmegh, who helped wax, took photos and expertly cheered us all on. Stephen Wright scored a top ten after working with Damian and Tyler on his first lap. Leigh Mallory had a great race overtaking Ford Sayre's David Lindahl toward the end of his first lap and working his way through a tiring field with Bob Gray (Putney). Liz Hollenbach also took advantage of superior endurance noticing that the people she was passing were quite a bit slower and began wondering if she was slowing down too. She charged ahead determined to hold off Mary Heller Osgood (Putney) and Trina Hosmer (SNOC) who were chasing. Sarah Pribram was right there too, rounding out the pack with Dartmouth's Eliana Mallory. Sarah and Liz's club rivalry looks to be shaping up for another exciting year. Jessica Bolduc had a great race. She started conservatively and picked it up the effort on the second lap. The result was nearly even laps where most slowed significantly each time around the course. Jeff Alexander had a great race with Bill Holland (Onion River Sports). Bill is a tough competitor, but also a great skier happy to help those that could use a few pointers along the way. Jeff's ski with Bill will certainly pay big dividends in future races. NWVE picked up two new racers at the White Mountain Classic. One being Manny Betz, the other John Witmer. John debuted for the club skiing with John Lazenby (Onion River). Kathy Kjelleren was all smiles on course as she cheered on the club members during her race. Hannah Barden and Brad Kettering would have had a great race together had they not started 10 minutes apart. However each were in their own race. Hannah held off Robin Hogg (Ind.) kicking it in to the finish. Brad was happy to finish holding his position between Mansfield's Jim Adkisson and Craftsbury's George Hall.
While many people had ups and downs this weekend all were pleased with how good the skiing was. It was a difficult race and wax durability was an issue, but given what they had left for snow, Craftsbury put on an incredible event. This should certainly be a race for all to remember. Looking ahead the club series has a break next weekend, which seems like a good thing looking at the forecast. Hopefully the winter will rebound from yet another thaw in time for our favorite road trip to the Flying Moose Classic in Bethel 2/13.
January 24, 2016
The Mansfield Duathlon is a growing event new to the Club Series schedule. Formidable fields of Men and Women contested the Open Division races drawing 50 participants between the two. While setting up for the races the sun kept everyone warm, but once on course and in the shade we were reminded that temps were still in the single digits, but warming rapidly.
The course was a 2KM loop that started in the Lower Field, crossed the Upper Field and headed out to six corners and then followed Lemon’s back to the lower field via Wilbur’s Climb. Most of this loop was reinforced with manmade snow and was set perfectly with deep double tracks next to a wide skate lane. The Transition Zone was a little cramped but got the job done. The snow was cold but the mix of natural and manmade was fairly fast.
People were milling around, testing wax and visiting when the call to line up came. “Craftsbury always starts on time.” So we lined up, got a few instructions and the race commenced. Genders raced separately with the Men going first. It was quite a hustle out of the stadium, but things soon settled into their natural order. Mansfield, Burke Mountain and NWVE were well represented in the field and each had at least one skier in the front pack. Adam Terko (Mansfield) set the pace, pulling a small group away from the main pack. Tom Thurston was our man up front again skiing with Adam, Christopher O’Brien (Burke), Will Solow (Mansfield) and Neal Graves (SNOC). Damian quickly found himself in No Man’s Land after a block from former cycling teammate Andrew McCullough (Harwood) stalled him out heading onto Lemon’s. The first leg was 3 laps (6KM) of classic technique. The field spread quickly as the transitions of the loop sorted skiers. It seems the easier the loop the harder the race, and people were racing hard. Ford Sayre’s Bryce Wing led what was left of the field, but for the most part it was each man for himself early on. Ed Hamilton, Tristan Leggett and Rick Costanza (Mansfield) chased with Bryce, but the racing was so intense that there was not much organization or efficiency of working together. Rick Kelley was in a small pack keeping Mansfield’s Jim Fredericks in their sights. Jeff Alexander also got on course skiing with Mansfield’s Kort Longenbach.
After hammering for 6km with Classic technique came the exchange. This apparently played out as a comedy of errors in the Men's field. Skis went flying, boots unclipping, poles flailing all over the place. This is the price the men paid for coming into the exchange zone too hot. Not everyone had a bad exchange, but too many have some room for easy improvement. Future racers were taking note. One skier elected to do the boot change, not due to binding incompatibility, but skiing preference. Another potential boot change was averted as Damian lent Jarlath (Mansfield) his NNN Classic Skis waxed and ready to go.
The exchange eliminated what was left of any packs and skiers proceeded to the skate leg. As they left the stadium and tried to make up seconds and minutes lost in the scramble, they hit Teaching Hill, climbing to the upper field. This is where all skiers experienced a fatigue check as an underlying burn crept into their quads. Just a subtle sensation that lingered from the Classic portion of the race.
Adam who had led the whole race moved through the exchange easily and with a good plan. He gapped 3 of the elite 5 and settled in behind Christopher to rest a little. Tom chased and the rest of the field spread out. There was a lot of enthusiasm and cheers as every club had much pride on the line with this race. Instead of going last, the grown-ups had to display all the finer points of sportsmanship to the next generations of youth who looked on. Oh why did we do this! As the race proceeded skiers carried on getting a second wind and finishing surprised with how hard the effort was. Adam went on to win, Tom took 4th, Damian 8th, Ed 13th, Tristan 14th, Rick 20th, and Jeff 25th.
Then came the real contest. While the Men’s race had its club contenders, it was much more “citizens” than what lined up for the Women’s race. The Dartmouth Women had an imposing presence dominating the start with green. Not at all intimidated coming off their perfect score in the One Day Team Championship at the White Mountain Classic, 3 NWVE women lined up with them. Jessica Bolduc, Jenn Carlson and Maja Smith were fearless as they stared down the Big Green 8. Sensing danger the Dartmouth team fled the stadium at the gun, skiing in terror as if for their lives as the NWVE Women commenced to chase.
Having successfully shooed away the collegiate skiers with their old school technique and finesse, they went about the race in a more civil manor. Actually the women’s race was quite exciting to watch. One young BKL admirer was psyched to pick up Sophie Caldwell’s sister’s hat! Another collected a pair of cast away sunglasses from someone who surly was related to someone as equally famous. Behind the elite pack, a couple of other exiting races shaped up. Mansfield teammates JoAnn Hanowski and Eliza Thomas were in a close race. JoAnn trying to put enough distance over the Classic Leg to hold Eliza off on the Skate Leg. Jenn and Jessica found themselves in a similar contest with Rosemary Shea-Cobb (Mansfield) in the mix. Maja worked on dropping Mansfield’s Chelsea Cary as the race spread out.
The Women were able to change skis much quicker than the Men. That is not to say every exchange was clean, but on average they were much more efficient. One did have some trouble, pulling out of the zone realizing that she was on someone else’s skis, but still, the switch was quick.
As the skate leg began the Women felt the same fatigue pangs as the Men. While most of the Men elected to Classic in Skate Boots, many of the Women chose to Skate in Classic Boots. Jessica opted for Skate Boots as had Eliza and it was clearly an advantage once the Skate portion of the race started. It was exciting to see how close things were as skiers began their final lap. Eliza had closed and overtaken JoAnn. Many were anxious to see if JoAnn would counter successfully in the final half kilometer. Jessica had also overtaken Jenn and their race was very close as well. Eliza continued pulling away from JoAnn, while Jessica and Jenn looked to be headed for a sprint. Even Andy Bishop (Mansfield) noted that there seemed to be a little more behind the effort. Jessica would hold on to the lead. Maja Smith successfully shed her competition finishing happy to have skied on such a beautiful day.
So another race is in the books. Mansfield Nordic did an excellent job hosting and awarded some very nice prizes. The Duathlon was full of a lot of friendly fun competition. The 2 X 6KM format was sufficiently exhausting to skiers. Several waves of BKL Races followed, all equally exciting. The Duathlon certainly brought out a different energy than we have seen this season with the dynamic welcomed and enjoyed by all.
White Mountain Classic 2016
January 23, 2016
The Marathon Season got under way as usual with the White Mountain Classic. The enthusiasm from Monday's Geschmosselcontinued to grow with the event drawing 144 participants of all abilities. Skiers arrived pleased that the race was being held and happy about the thin base. As Tyler Magnan put it "it is comforting knowing that there is a thick layer of ice under whatever they set the tracks in." Jackson does pride itself on very high quality grooming, always doing an amazing job even when there is little to work with. While things had clearly solidified with a crust that looked like you could ice skate on, the trail conditions were good, and though shallow, the tracks held up and did their job.
Temps were a little warmer than forecasted and hovered in the low to mid teens. Wind was undetectable. A well liked change from WMC's of the past. The snow surface on the trail was mostly powder and the crust had been pulverized and mixed well creating a very nice but thin race surface. It was odd to have such a soft path carved into the glazed crust and I imagined a crew of hearty volunteers out with leaf blowers wearing ice spikes rounding and redirecting the snow to the trail were the groomer set everything in place. The surface was fast and as stated before, tracks were shallow.
Skiers went about testing and sharing rumors of what the course was like on the higher elevations compared to around the center. For some reason not too many fretted about the anticipated change as it seemed that it would only be an improvement to an already good thing. Waxing was easy as it was what every skier longs for. An Extra Blue Day! If it was not, we made it one anyway. So blues worked for most, only a few covered green/blue klister with blues. Jonathan Chaffee (Ford Sayre) noted that NWVE was really mixing things up with ToKo, Start, Ski*Go, Swix, and Rode out on the table and chuckled when he heard the reply "well when you are not sponsored by anyone you get to use what's best!" but most used Swix VR30 over Swix VR40 and were very happy.
Skiers lined up at the start relieved to take off their warm-ups with no punishing winds. Some instructions were given, and then the Go after a long pause. The tracks closed in quickly but skiers made their way on course in an orderly fashion. This marathon starts fast with a long double pole and racers approaches vary. With Kris Freeman in attendance this year most decided to follow his lead.
NWVE had 18 racers spread throughout the field. Eric Tremble and Tom Thurston got into a big chase group with heavy hitters from Dartmouth, Portland Nordic and Bethel Outing. This group stayed together until a split with Eric and the Dartmouth guys pulled away. Tom could not bridge the gap, but ended up out skiing Onion River's Chris Bean and got a little revenge on Monday's winner John Sakalowsky (CSU). The elite pack was quite strong this year. Kris Freeman (Freebird), Tad Elliott (Vail) and Welly Ramsey (MWSC) stayed together for the whole race all they way down to a sprint finish. Kris had opted to double pole the whole thing which is quite impressive as there are several steep climbs in the race. Peter Mamrol (Dartmouth) skied equally impressively as he soloed the whole race in between the elite group and the chase group. A little further back Damian Bolduc skied with Rob Bradlee (CSU), Luke Shullenberger, and Jake Hollenbach. The ski up yodel was enough to break this group apart never to reform again. Rob let up to fall back and pace Elissa Bradley who also happened to be skiing with Luke. Tyler Magnanwas a little under the weather, but worked his way around the course never able to catch up Luke and Rob. Mike Kavanaugh and Tristan Leggett started at the back of the lineup and worked their way through the field. Tristan enjoyed the company but settled in as Mike continued to move up. Mike eventually caught Pavel Dvorak but carried on picking up a few more spots over CSU's Robert Burnham and Hannah Smith before the finish. Tristanfound himself among a retired NWVE's Skier's rivals. Is it possible that decades old rivalries are hereditary? Is it in Tristan's genes to compete Chris Osgood (Putney), Robert Faltus (CSU), James Doucett (CSU) and Jim Fredericks (Mansfield)? Perhaps he picked up where his father,Nirmegh, left off to carry the tradition to bring their heritage to the top of the results page as he finds his form in his return to racing. This week Scott Magnan got the Doug Armstrong treatment. Coming off a season of virtually no racing, and a back injury, Scott's ski with Doug and Bob Gray (Putney) was perhaps enough to fan the embers and kindle the fire that burns within Madman. Sarah Pribram certainly thought so as she thought she had things under wraps until a blur of blue whizzed by her coming down Yodel and Scott was uncatchable by anyone in the final kilometer of the race. It was most likely inspired by Doug and Bob, but may have been the result of volunteer Ron Newbury who was cheering and keeping the final road crossing at the top of Yodel in excellent condition. You may not have noticed but behind CSU's Big Man Victor Golovkin was Trina Hosmer (SNOC) and Mary Heller Osgood (Putney). Victor is a very consistent skier and a great person to draft on the open sections of the course. Liz Hollenbach skied strong, but was not able to latch onto the train this week. Jessica Bolduc found herself with NWVE friendly skiers John Lazenby (Onion River), Jud Hartmann (Grafton) and Emanuel Betz (unattached). We think Manny enjoyed the club's presence and may perhaps be swayed to join in the near future. Brendan Barden was spent trying to catch up to the group Jessica was in when he found himself in one of the most exciting sprints of the day. Brendan's exhaustion was clearly visible as he gave everything he had left yielding to CSU's Kevin Callahan by 0.2 seconds. Perry Bland found himself in that excited/reluctant position of returning to racing after a little mandatory respite. The White Mountain Classic is a great race to test the waters because the competition is so friendly, the challenge is good and the distance is not too long. Hopefully Perry did not push too hard and is looking forward to the next race on the calendar. Cipperly Good's Marathon Series Competition Bruce Katz (independent) was having a good day as was the man he skied with David Hosmer (Snoc). Cipperly was quite happy with the day as well. Last year was tough on many racers as the course scraped out and was very icy. Losing wax was an issue, the wind and cold did not help much either. This year things were much more skiable and the weather although chilly was pleasant. Plus Cipperly's skis were great for the whole race as were Dave's which made them both much happier. Brad Ketterling debuted for the club in the usual manner. We noticed him on the registration page and he introduced himself to a few people before and after the race. It should not be too long before he is jumping in the carpool, participating in the pre-race wax testing calamity and bringing a hot dish to Wednesday Night Worlds. Brad was skiing with Cipperly and Craftbury's George Hall until things spread out ending up between the two. Hannah Barden was another very happy skier. Hannah was on her first real classic effort of the season breaking in some new skis.
In the One Day Team Championship the NWVE Women Won with a PERFECT SCORE! The Men tied for first, but lost due to the tie-break skier. In an off the record statement one member of another club stated: "that skier must be fired!" However it was me. Eric Darling was glad it was not him this year and that he had done his job in winning his category. So we decided to blame Jake Hollenbach (VTXC) for turning M2 earlier this season. It still does not make sense as it would not have given us the win, but that is as far as we could think it out, and we could not blame a nicer guy.
The overall vibe at the White Mountain Classic was similar to that of the Geschmossel. People were pleased to be racing and understanding of the weather challenges that have made things difficult this season. As usual the hosts did an excellent job pulling everything together for the race. Hannah's attitude really summed things up: "I did not feel too guilty about not racing hard because I felt so great just to be skiing!"
January 18, 2016
Bretton Woods pulled off the Geschmossel! Skiers were excited to race, for many this was the first of the season! Traveling to the race was a little different than in the past. Normally as driving conditions worsen, people become frustrated about driving into the storm, but knowing the eye of the storm was right over Bretton Woods had the commuters anxious to get to the venue and ski on the fresh snow! The harder it snowed the more optimistic the travelers got.
The difficult travel left little time to prepare for the race, but with falling snow waxing was fairly easy once we figured out and knew what was working on the skis. Temps were once again a little warmer than predicted, but remained in the excellent classic skiing range. Blues and purples were working and for those that wanted a little more kick, ToKo Red covered with blue did the trick.
Although a localized blizzard was parked over Bretton Woods, the cover was thin. This did not matter to most who were ready to throw down for their first race. The course spared racers the steep climbs and technical down hills of Bretton Woods, but routed them along the long grinds of the venue. The single 10.5km loop was a nice change from the gerbil loops we have had up to this point this season. Temps were in the high teens and a steady wind blew from the east.
The normal pre-race panic took place but most skiers found their way to the line ready to go. There was not too much negotiating for position on the starting line with NWVE taking many front row spots. After a couple of long minutes the command to go was given and the 43rd Geschmossel began. Eric Tremble and Tom Thurston surged out in front of the pack for NWVE. Eric Darling, Tyler Magnan and Damian Bolduc helped form the large chase pack while honorary member Rick Costanza led the main field. Within that was the rest of the club members Tristan Leggett, Jonathan Rodd, Sarah Pribram, Liz Hollenbach, Jen Carlson, Camillle Bolduc, Jessica Bolduc and Cipperly Good. It was very exciting to see everybody coming out for this race and to have so many new faces as part of the team! While Rick tested the waters of racing not affiliated with Mansfield Nordic, he was not totally alone, Jenn Carlson had made the complete conversion sporting a NWVE suit for the first time!
The elite pack of four raced hard wire to wire. Each having the advantages on the course, but John Sakalowsky’s (Team Romeo?/CSU) fast skis and monster double poling prevailed. Tom held off a hard charge from Eric to take second, and Andrew Doherty fell back to 4th behind Eric. Tyler Magnan set the pace for the chase group early in the race, however Eric Darling made a move about a third of the way through the race fracturing the group. Tyler continued to pull, but Eric took a few racers with him. Eric held his position to the end. Tyler grew tired at the top of the climbs relinquishing his position temporarily, but regained spots by the finish. Damian cruised up the climbs, but his skis were too slow to hang onto the chase group. After pulling Ford Sayre’s Bryce Wing to the group the descent began and with a quick thank-you Bryce left Damian. Tristan skied on Damian’s tails until Damian took advantage of an opportunity to advance. Rick was in close pursuit as well, but being boxed and among strong contenders opted to see how things would shake out. Rick’s skiing excelled on the second half of the race, Tristan having his first classic race in 5-6 years was content to hold position and ski on the conservative side. Jonathan Rodd was a last minute entry and found himself among some good M6 competition. He was very happy with how well thing went as he has struggled to get on snow and is battling a chronic injury. Sarah Pribram, Liz Hollenbach, Jenn Carlson and Ava Thurston (Mansfield) found themselves joining a legendary pack of women. Mary Heller Osgood (Putney), Trina Hosmer (SNOC) and Meredith Piotrow (Mount Washington). Certainly there was no messing around with all the history within this group, and to be part of a race within a race like this is an amazing opportunity that only makes all stronger competitors. Throw in Doug Armstrong (Mount Washington) and you can take 20 minutes off your Craftsbury Marathon time. There is no better opportunity than to learn from these racers. Just observing the subtle changes, the tenacity, games and patience gives a huge perspective on how to race with the best! Camille and Jessica Bolduc got to the start with only seconds to spare due to a pants mishap with Camille. They worked their up through the field with Camille moving more easily through the pack. Jessica settled in skiing with Christopher Naimie of Bow Nordic who was grateful for motivation on course. Cipperly was also happy to see Jessica on course as well. Being based in Maine has had its advantages this year as Cipperly has been able to get on snow a little more than us in the Champlain Valley. Although a little regretful of putting on that last layer of kick wax Cipperly had a great race finishing not too far off the likes of John Brodhead (Craftsbury) and Jody Newton (CSU). It was also a big boost to have Wally and Natalie Good out supporting their favorite team at their favorite place to ski, Bretton Woods.
After an incredibly slow start to the season skiers finally got to enjoy a great competition at the Geschmossel. Race director Ellen Chandler did a great job making sure everything was in order for the race, picking a forgiving course, and even got on course a bit to make sure everyone had a smile and a cheer as they made their way over the final kilometer. Our traditional post-race recovery was changed as the Station was closed! We continued up the road to the Trading Post and had some surprisingly good and generous portions to refuel. After a satisfying meal we had a little friendly conversation with the grateful owner, a former Ben and Jerry’s consultant who reminisced about the time he spent in our neck of the woods.
EC Quarry Road 2016
January 17, 2016
What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, the solid mid-winter conditions we had been enjoying since Thanksgiving came to an abrupt end with a significant January thaw. This year it was the weekend of the first real significant snow. At least in Maine.
Unfortunately I was not able to make the Eastern Cup on Saturday. Quarry Road was the beneficiary of blizzard like conditions and picked up 6 inches of powder by some accounts. The official tally was 4 inches, but by any means measurable snow is something to be pretty excited about. Day two EC skiers reaped the rewards of the snowfall for the Mass Start.
I was the lone NWVE skier for this event. Temps were a bit warmer than forecasted and there was abundant powder. The course was basically the same as last year’s Quarry Road opener with an extra chicane to help spread the field out before hitting the trails proper.
Upon arrival I surveyed what people were using for wax. To my surprise people were going quite warm. I had been figuring on Purples, but many were moving into Reds and Yellows. Since the snow was new and quite soft and a majority of the course was on the new snow fall I was leery of going too warm as I have had the experience of ripping tracks out of the ground, which is not very fast. I tested my recommended purple and went with it.
The mass start was surprisingly clean with only a couple of crashes. Just when I thought I was clear and beginning my race I caught an edge on a fast downhill and spun out. It took me a while to recover from the spill and I had lost my seeded advantage. Upon righting myself and getting back underway I found myself in a heated masters’ battle with Bethel Outing’s Brad Clarke. It was a great race between us as we changed positions and hammered away behind the field of EC contenders. Unbeknownst to us George Clarke of Portland Nordic was right on our tails the entire time. Brad had a lot of fans supporting him and the chants of BC kept me on the move. In the final meters of the race Brad made his final push. It was early and I had a little in the reserves to counter and I overtook him double poling to the finish.
While discouraged about giving up my position due to a crash early in the race, things went well for me. It was a fun race and the conditions were great aside from a few rock patches that had gotten tilled to the surface at the most inopportune points of the course.
After completion of the race people cleared out quickly and moved on to their next destination. I had a meal and a night to recover for the Geschmossel.
Race to the Cabin 2016
January 9, 2016
The Annual Trapp Family Lodge, Race to the Cabin has a long standing tradition as THE race for bragging rights. No matter how it is conducted, be it a challenge between friends, a highly publicized race, or an invitation only event a few things always remain the same. The course is as it has always been, the Cabin never gets any closer, skiers of all kinds take on the challenge, and a certain prestige comes with winning the annual challenge. Not only for the winner, but for all the friendly and not so friendly rivalries. All be it a small field this year, all was in order for the Race to the Cabin.
Conditions were a little warmer than predicted. Over night lows never really dipped below freezing, thankfully the wintry mix still fell as snow. At race time temps were in the mid thirties and there was snow lightly spitting. People scrambled to register, pick skis and wax. The course followed Sugar Road to Picnic Knoll up Owls Howl to the Cabin Trail finishing at the Cabin. The trails were all packed powder with heavy snow softening and lightening up as elevation gained. Wax decision making was difficult for some, others worked hard to dial things in and some showed up late playing roulette with what they thought would go.
No special starter for this years race, however Ryan Kerrigan recited the mandatory Race to the Cabin Preamble as has been handed down for generations. Then with a hesitant "go..." the race was off! Skiers started off conservatively this year. For some it was just the wisdom from experience, others a wax issue and a few took advantage of the quiet to measure up the competition before the storm. Juergen Uhl was left to lead things out. Not a surprise considering he has a NCAA title with the classic technique. It is simply not a good idea to contest a skier like that right at the starting line. What was interesting was the scramble for position behind Juergen. The subtleties of Sugar Road quickly revealed who made good ski decisions and who did not. Though most knew the snow would change and shift the dynamic of the race. By Picnic Knoll a race order had been established, small groupings had formed and the real challenge began. Mansfield's Adam Terko who scrambled the first kilometer to close gaps that were opening, quietly and calmly slipped into second. Behind him a few Burke Mountain kids, then the Blue Train of NWVE Skiers began with Eric Tremble leading the way. The field was still quite close together, but as always, it blew apart when the climbing began. Luke Schullenberger, Eric Darling, Neil Graves (SNOC), Damian Bolduc, Rick Costanza(Mansfield), Leigh Mallory, Sarah Pribram and Liz Hollenback were all still in close proximity as the race turned onto Owls Howl. Some had worked the flat, others rested, some kicked easily, others slipped. Early in the climb after a relatively easy start, Damian's skis were working very well. He easily advanced in the tracks as he overtook others who had to work for their kick on the initial parts of the climb. Tom Thurston, Eric Tremble would have to wait for powdery snow. Eric Darling, Luke, Sarah and Liz slipped the whole way while Leigh fought to keep his skis from icing. Adam made an uncontested move on Juergen and skied away smoothly. As the climb continued Damian pulled away but as the course turned onto the Cabin Trail, Tom and Neil had closed with Tom overtaking Damian and almost catching Eric T. just as he got a second wind. They dropped Neil as the trail leveled off as his skis were slow. Luke found good company skiing with Rick but eventually Rick's covered Klister gave him an advantage Luke could not surmount. Leigh continued on holding off Sarah, proving that in an uphill race grippy skis beat slippyskis, but also that no wax skis are simply slower than wax skis. Liz persevered despite struggling to get kick. She finished close to VTXC's Carrie Nourjian who has been putting in a lot of time on snow and concentrating on seriously improving as a skier all around.
For the second time in a week, Adam decimated the field. He is skiing very strong which is a good sign for the Mansfield Juniors who will surely have to work to hang with the coach. As skiers trickled into the finish most smiled in relief as the race was over, and the casual ski back to the lodge would be much less arduous than the discipline used to get them to where they were. We were all grateful to follow in the path of a true legend and role model who for some reason thought this feat of strength would be a good way to declare his mojo.
NWVE and Friends Challenge Race 2016
January 3, 2016
The 2016 racing season got underway with a little more optimism than what closed out 2015. A few NWVE members gathered at the Dickinson Farm in St. Albans and had an informal race. Conditions were thin, with grass poking through as well as a few visible and easily avoidable dirt clods, but otherwise things were quite good. The continuously falling snow throughout the event kept things looking fresh. There was persistent wind coming from the southeast that stalled the racers, but was welcome as it was probably also responsible for the lake affect snow accumulating. The temperature was in the low thirties.
The course was a 1.35km loop that followed the perimeter of the Big Meadow and the Back Meadow at Dickinson Farm. This loop took full advantage of the terrain giving skiers plenty of variety to work with. The race format basically used cyclocross rules where the leader's pace set the number of laps to be completed. After 25 minutes of racing the leader would start their final lap and all skiers would finish on that lap. So for those on the same lap as the leader the race was 7 laps, or just under 10km.
NWVE racers were happy for the event showing off the full spectrum of NWVE uniforms as can be seen in the link to pictures below. Perry Bland and Janet Frantz were the Start/Finish crew and got things going after a few brief announcements from Race Director Tyler Magnan. Eric Tremble took the lead from the start and never looked back. Cheered on by Liz an Oliver there was nothing anyone in the field could to do to match his effort. Cody Putnam and Brennan Shuttle latched on to Eric early on. A talented chase group organized and patiently worked together. Tyler Magnan, Brandon Mays, Tristan Leggett and Damian Bolduc worked their way around the course over taking Brendan quickly and Cody after two laps. Eric Tremble was long gone when Damian made a decisive move for second place at the beginning of the fourth lap. Feeling rather fresh after drafting Tristan up until this point he pulled away easily with a quick burst of speed. With Damian's departure the pack re-organized and Rick Costanza joined in. Scott Magnan skied evenly and picked up Cody and the two would race to the finish. Wally Good also made an appearance being that the race was held in Franklin County. Wally opted to classic ski and threw skiers for a loop by taking the short course here and there. Four women raced as well. They quickly paired off with Camille and Jessica Bolduc skiing briefly together and Mary Costanza and Cipperly Good finding company with each other for most of the race. Camille pulled away from Jessica, but realized that if she maintained the effort she would make the cutoff and have to ski an extra lap. She pulled up so that Eric could lap her and finished -1 lap in first place for the women. Jessica skied well, but as the snow continued to fall on the course things gradually got slower. Coming off a cold and the First Run Jessica slowly bogged down. Mary and Cipperly worked together until Mary latched onto a lapping skier and pulled away on the final laps of the race.
Post Race all enjoyed Maple Pumpkin Muffins and many competitors went home with a Pecan or Pumpkin Pie! For a contingency event this weekend the NWVE and Friends Challenge Race had a lot of excitement. Dickinson Farm was in good shape and should be even better for the Dual Meet later this week with the BFA's (St. Albans hosting Fairfax) squaring off on the loop broken in today. Skiers left happy with the workout and looking forward to more racing in the weeks to come.
Thank you to Shawna Poulin Shuttle for taking and sharing photos - https://www.facebook.com/Northwest-Vermont-Endurance-329615740404021/?fref=nf
EC Opener, Craftsbury 2015
December 19, 2015
A few NWVE members traveled to Craftsbury this weekend for the Eastern Cup. While only a few raced, several others cheered and volunteered. Saturday a very strange occurrence happened for this season. It SNOWED!! No NWVE members raced Saturday, but a few were out there taking advantage of any seconds of snow time they could get. This report will focus mainly on Sunday as that was when we raced.
Leading into the weekend was a continuation of the dreary ski weather we have been having. Thursday, several members skied on surprisingly good conditions on the 500m loop. One threw in a few intervals and to help pick lines, approaches and transitions on what would be the race course. Others were happy to ski prior to the rain. The rain continued on and off Thursday afternoon and through Friday. Craftsbury scraped and salvaged every manmade snowflake they could and put together a skiable course. It was moist and icy Saturday morning, but solid enough for EC Sprints.
Then it snowed. A very grabby slow snow that balled up under the foot and slowed skis way down; especially when mixing with the moisture of the snow base. A few skied this prior to the race start and were happy not to be racing during the day. Any skiing improved the mixture but it continued to snow. On another note the road crews were not prepared and travel to the race was compromised with many parking at the bottom Murphy’s Field and hiking in, delaying the start of the races.
Craftsbury got a nice 4 inches of snow on Saturday. This was not good for the sprints as the course’s speed continuously slowed down, but good for snow as we are getting fairly desperate for it. After the sprints Craftsbury got to work preparing for Sunday. Temps dropped, it continued snowing and things really turned around over night. Sunday’s course was fast, and Craftsbury was able to open Murphy’s field for skiing. Skiers also had good rock skiing reports from Ruthie’s, I skied Duck Pond and if you did not mind catching an occasional stone you could go most anywhere. Craftsbury put a layer of stone down on Lemon’s (in anticipation that someday they may have a paved loop) so that was very scratchy.
The Gerbil Loop was the best it has been this season. Fast, solid and smooth. It remained this way throughout the day and withstood the beating of the EC with no signs of fatigue. I got on course about mid field in the Men’s 5k. A reluctant entrant as the shorter EC races do not bode well for me, I was quickly pleased with how things were looking. My skies were fast and I was catching and passing people. A rarity for me at this level of competition early in the season. Paul Allison was the other NWVE 5km racer on the day. His new look was a change from his clean cut norm, but once he was skiing he was unmistakable. Paul launched himself into the race starting near the end of the field and hammered his way on to the first page of results. On course with Paul was CSU’s M11 Larry Berman. The contrast between these club rivals was significant, but Paul was respectful and gave Larry the space he deserved which could not be said about everyone. Also in the mix for CSU Masters was Sarah Mae Berman who entered both races this weekend. Sarah continues to demolish the barriers set before women as I am sure she set a new standard for female M10’s in USSA/FIS/EC Scored Sprints. Many familiar names entered the BKL events. Ava Thurston won the 5th and 6th grade race and Julia Thurston placed well in the 3rd and 4th grade race which was also the most contentious of the day. Camille Bolduc participated in the final race of the day. The 7th and 8th grade girls BKL race. She had a steady effort holding off a Lucy Glueck in a race for second. Quincy Massey-Bierman had a dominating performance for first.
The whole day of races was fun to watch and ski in. Fans lined the course cheering in different ways at different points which really helped me along. Volunteers, Leigh Mallory near the downhill, Scott Magnan on the back stretch, Peter Harris at the top of Chip Hill were among the most motivating. They helped racers know they were doing well and helped keep them focused on form and turnover. Camille Bolduc, Jessica Bolduc, Ed Hamilton and the Thurston’s offered great encouragement as well, keeping me on pace when thoughts of letting up a little entered my mind.
So for a day, there was a huge Nordic ski celebration at Craftsbury where many enjoyed a brief moment of winter. Craftsbury did not take the snow lightly and was making efforts to preserve as much of it as possible. All who made the trip surely took advantage of the treat as much as much as they could.
November 29, 2015
The Ski Season’s Annual Right of Passage the Craftsbury Opener took place today…or did it? With no registration, no results, no bibs, no times and no entry fee, can it be said that this event ever happened? Well to the hundreds that participated the answer is a resounding YES INDEED! Clearly many joined in spirit watching the live telecast, bringing down the network and disabling the Lower Field Camera.
The race was held on a trail familiar to anyone who has been on groomed snow this season this side of the Mississippi. It was the Crafsbury Man Made Gerbil Loop. Racers started in the lower field, up teaching hill, around a teardrop in the upper field, then back down teaching hill around the biathlon range looping through the start and finishing at the top of teaching hill in the stadium next to the new lodge. Yes for a 500m loop it covered a lot of ground. Fields raced different numbers of loops in different formats. Five NWVE racers participated.
Things started out with the Bill Koch Racers. Five boys challenged in the first race. A duel between Craftsbury’s Cormac Leahy and Bjorn Westervalt quickly materialized with Bjorn edging at the line for the W. Camille got the ball rolling for NWVE in the BKL Girls race. The big news here was that the girls would match the boys field with 5 racers. Stella Duncan of Chelsea Nordic and Quincy Massey-Bierman (Craftsbury) would replay what had happened in the boys two lap barn burner with Stella falling victim to Quincy’s devastating final kick she has been perfecting. Camille had the reigns on as she prepares for the Junior Olympic National Championships in a couple of weeks and cruised into third doing an “Active Recovery” from her workout yesterday. The race for 4th was highly contested with Sarah Glueck (Ford Sayre) pulling out all the stops to secure the position. Sarah gets a special mention because she had enough spirit to fill the whole stadium all day, cheered every race and was simply excited beyond imagination to be on skis. She also managed to support and encourage Francesca Kitch while dropping the hammer on her during the final climb.
The Junior races had a similar feel, going 3 and 4 laps. Many locals participated in those races as well. The Open races had the largest fields with upwards of 50 racers in each of the Men’s and Women’s divisions. A criterium format was used for these races. Participants started and would complete as many laps as they could and a 2 lap warning was given when the field approached 15 minutes of skiing. Lapped skiers were to be pulled, though it seemed self enforced more than anything.
In the Men’s Open, UNH dominated a majority of the race. The field skied easy for the first 3 laps while UNH assembled 4 racers at the front of the pack. Things heated up as they let two go off the front. They worked well together while the remaining two did an excellent job blocking on the narrow sections of trail. The gap opened and the strategy worked, although a heroic late surge and solo effort from a Williams skier almost overcame the tactics and stole the show. Another notable performance was Mansfield Nordic’s Adam Terko who steadily worked his way up through the field into the top ten just behind Craftsbury’s Ethan Dreissigacker.
In the Women’s Open race Emily Dreissigacker marked her return to competition with a dominating performance. She simply skied away off the start and continued to gain on the field the entire race. Strong races from UNH, Dartmouth Outing and Harvard pursued but were simply diminished by Emily’s commanding lead.
In the Main Event, the mixed masters wave, a dozen or so athletes contested along with U-18 racer Adam Glueck of Ford Sayre. Representing NWVE was Mike Kavanaugh, Tyler Magnan, Damian Bolduc and Perry Bland. Other notable Masters were CSU’s Rob Bradlee, Mansfield’s Adam Terko doubling up and UNH Coach Cory Shwartz. Upon the start of the race Damian’s thoughts quickly turned from “beat Rob Bradlee” to “thank God Alexandra Jospe did not line up.” Adam and Adam quickly separated themselves from the field with Mike in close pursuit. Tyler and Rob were leading the rest of the field which quickly disintegrated. Damian watched hopelessly, being reminded why he has not raced on his Rossi’s in years, and that some skis are just better off staying on the rack. Perry closed an early gap opened by Cory. As the race played out, the Adam’s were uncatchable. Mike held his own, but fell victim to Rob’s tenacity at the start of the final lap having nothing left to counter with. Tyler hung on having a good result considering he had only 1k of skiing on snow prior to the start of the race. Damian futile-ly thrashed most of the race. Hopefully that is out of the way for the season. Perry was not able to overtake Cory, but finished close behind in a Legendary Coaches Duel holding off a few of the others that lined up.
The day was a success. All races were conducted well. The competition was friendly and just as you would expect at Craftsbury. Even though many of the elements of a ski race were missing it was an inspiring day. Sheldon Miller announced all the races showing that Craftsbury’s reach is wide enough to embrace every skier as he made a special, personal remark for each one throughout the course of their race. Another season is underway!
Westford Turkey Trot 2015
November 21, 2015
A dark cloud rolled in over Westford on Saturday morning. Although the weather was perfect for the Greatest Race in the Universe, something was amiss. At first we thought it was just because our fearless leader wasn’t there, but it was more than that. We discovered on the out and back section that two other mainstays of the race were absent as well - Westford Ponytail Guy and Westford Sunglasses Guy were nowhere to be seen replaced by Westford Tanktop Guy and Westford Shirtless Guy.
At 10:00 am on the dot the enthusiastic participants poured out of the warmth of the school gym to watch the kids 100yard race. The start line was packed with kids and parents. Competitors waiting for the start of the 3/10k cheered the next generation. Once the kids race finished the crowd of spectators walked to line as the next race was about to begin. It was a very social starting line as friends and teammates chatted and joked. There were even several turkey headdresses seen among the starters. After a few quick announcements, the race was off. The first 3k was entertaining as kids, families and teammates ran together and cheered for each other at the Westford Town Green turn around.
As the racers passed the Westford School again many sprinted in to finish the 3k, while others pressed on to find the hills of the 10k. Upon finishing racers were greeted by warm food, music, the classic ceramic turkey medals and a well stocked raffle table.
Eric "I’m just jogging today" Darling clearly had changed his plan and was in third place at the turn around. He ended up fourth overall and second in his age group to overall men’s winner, Binney Mitchell. Kristen Courcelle was the second NWVE finisher and won the women’s race. Tyler Magnan and Mike Mashtare pushed each other through most of the race with Tyler holding off his former coach. Rick Kelly finished just ahead of training partners Liz Hollenbach and Jenn Carlson distantly followed by Sarah Pribram who was just happy to be racing again being sidelined for almost six months. Next in were Tom Lane and then Perry Bland. Although not listed in the results we did see Scott Magnan finish and there are rumors that his award this season will be a picture of Perry and Sarah to replace his picture of Carol since he did not participate in the roller ski time trial this year. In the 3k Jen "soccer players race in shorts" Magnan represented NWVE finishing neck in neck with Carrie Meuphill.