Nearly one hundred athletes Geschmosseled this weekend! One of the oldest events on the athletic calendar (turned M4 this year), the race has come to be known to provide the refined hospitality you would expect from a Bretton Woods experience. This is contrary to the loose translation of Geschmossel provided by Frank Feist (organized chaos), but the tradition of Nordic Skiing at the base of Mount Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. day has come into a definition of its own.
It was another cold commute, but racers were eager to see what Bretton Woods had in store for us. The Thaw had more of an impact further east, but there was optimism that Bretton Woods had benefitted from the snow at the tail end of the deluge. Upon arriving we found good coverage, but the abrasiveness of the snow was a question. Temps were to remain consistently cold, the wind was absent, and it was another day where the energy of the sun and athletes kept everything warm.
Athletes quickly got to work fretting about what to wax with. Information on the course was that there would be lots of double poling, but that there would be some inclines. It was felt that wax would be necessary for the first half of the race, but the conditions perplexed many as they fell between options available. My gut instincts and bias in favor of hard wax have always served me well, but I also assume the responsibility of sucking it up when klister might be the better choice. Oddly with all the ideas floating around, few were actually testing.
NWVE set up Cipperly Good with a klister covered and the feedback was good kick but slow. We switched it up with a faster cover, which returned with poor kick and still slow. By now we had determined that hard wax was going to be the call, stripped her skis and put on VR30. We heard a lot of people going with klister binder covered, one on straight klister, some on straight hard wax, two on waxless, a few double pole and one no poles. I am not so sure I would trust that last one, but it seemed a variety of things were working, so it was a matter of preference.
As usual, there was a rush to the mass start, and people scrambled to get all the things they wanted to do before the start done. I guess this is the Geschmossel part of the race, along with the mass start. After a few self-seeding corrections the race was underway. It is a tricky start with skiers jockeying for position in dramatically decreasing lane options on a 180 u-turn. After the start skiers headed across the golf course onto the B&M Trail. We had thin ice tracks, and sometimes they were so thin you had to imagine they were there to see them. People seemed to be racing fine with little calamity, and happy to be skiing. The course climbed B&M to Porcupine and crested near the warming hut. From there it was all manageable downhills the rest of Porcupine onto Sebosis to Dark Forest and then a flat taking Perimeter to the finish.
In fast conditions, it is deceiving how close the race is. People tend to stay within sight of each other, but to bridge, the gap takes an effort few have. This year the conditions were so fast that many double poled the whole thing whereas normally there is some nice striding along B&M. The elite pack was made up of 3 skiers. NWVE's Eli Enman, Sam Evans-Brown (Concord Nordic) and Evan Wetzel (Waukesha) broke away early with a driving pace. New club member Andy Klem could only watch as they skied just out of contact for the first half of the race. He would get a break when the pack let off the pace to re-organize, and he tucked in just before the long downhill section. Eli would go on to win the overall against the younger skiers deploying the sling-shot move to Shake n' Bake Sam at the line. Eli felt a little guilty, but was advised not to have remorse for using his M3 wisdom. The chase group was heavy with NWVE talent. Tyler Magnan, Tom Thurston, and Eric Tremble joined Neal Graves (Stowe Nordic) and Thomas Clayton (UVM Nordic) to make a formidable group that worked well together keeping the leaders within seconds. John Sakalowsky (CSU) and Eric Darling were caught between the chase group and the usual master's heavy hitters. In the final stretch, they closed on the lead and pulling away from the main field which is no easy feat especially considering who was working at the front of the main pack. Chris Nice (Ford Sayre) and Kirk Siegel (Bethel Outing Club) were battling for the M6 and M7 titles and dropped a few contenders in the process. Bryce Wing (Ford Sayre) Rob Bradlee lost contact with Kirk and Chris near the end of the climb but made up the ground with aggressive skiing on the downhill nearly latching back on. Stephen Wright had a great race keeping good position throughout. He got in with this group at the start and stayed in. Ed Hamilton worked his way up in a more methodical manner. A little hang-up in the start caused him to have much work to close in on where he should have been in the race. He remained composed and slowly worked his way back into the race with Stephen, Bryce, and Rob. Kyle Darling and I were in a different type of race with Mansfield's Rick Costanza and Mark Isselhardt (Stowe Nordic). We had a Mansfield U14 girl chasing us, and it took some good racing to hold her off. After leading a charge up the climb, I was still a little too cautious after last year's falls on this course that took a toll on my back as well as a follow-up fall on ice two weeks later that broke my shoulder, so this group sailed by me when things got a little technical. We still raced hard, and Kyle recovered from an unfortunate spill after a tricky section that had you airborne into a turn. Ava Thurston (Mansfield) continued to stalk keeping a sitting duck within her sights as I continued to drop back. Hearing her poles closing in during the final kilometers I knew I needed to go all out to hold her off. James Doucett (CSU) and Ian Blair (Bethel Outing) had a great race watching the Ava drama unfold. Leigh Mallory and John Lazenby (Onion River) skied neck and neck gunning for the M8 win. I wonder if the outcome of the race determines ride arraignments as these two often carpool together. It was good they had each other to race as it spared them the commotion of the Trina Train. If you were to plot results, it is interesting to find certain phenomena. One that I have noted is that there is always a pack of racers around Trina Hosmer (Stowe Nordic). There is also the experience of “getting Trina’d” in a race that may contribute to people gravitating around her. The Geschmossel was no exception, and Trina schooled a few in duel of World Champions. Victims of this race were Kort Longenbach (Mansfield) Christopher Naimie (Bow Nordic) and Jessica Bolduc. As the Mountain Running World Champion Kasie Enman M2 and the Venerable Nordic Master’s World Champion Trina Hosmer M9 raced to the wire. This back and forth battle looked to favor Trina, but a heroic effort by Kasie double poling down the final stretch caused her to concede and step into the draft to hold off the rest of the pack. Jessica had lost a little ground on the downhills but was hoping a strong double pole would bring her back in, but she was unable to latch back onto these two titans who crossed paths today. Steve Messier was a little disappointed that all his work on the Notch Road this season did not benefit him much in this race. There is very little double poling on the Jeff side, and strong double poling was critical in this year's Geschmossel. Maja Smith was back in action skiing with Bill Holland (Onion River) who was elated with the fantastic skiing. Last, we saw Bill he was a little bloodied and dazed from a bad crash at the Flying Moose, but he was back in the game at the Geschmossel. Bill was able to pull away down the final stretch, but Maja dug in to hold fellow age group racer Sarah Dolcino (Bow). After all the testing Cipperly was sure to be glad to have stripped the klister from her skis. She was well in front of much of her usual competition and was knocking on CSU’s Jody Newton’s door for this one. Cipperly took second in the FM2 division, which was won by teammate Kasie. Lisa Doucett (CSU), Karen Alence (Mansfield) and Ellie Bouffard (Mansfield) all chased David Hosmer (Stowe Nordic) who must have felt like a rock star as the man who usually gets all the attention was out for another weekend.
Once the cool-down was complete, athletes moved inside for some delicious post-race fluids and snacks. Medals were handed out to all participants who placed in their age groups, and there was enough to go around to everyone once the awards were completed. While conditions were much different from Rikert, the third day of the long weekend was a blast to race. Surely the double pole workout will come in handy as we look towards Saturday's Club Championship at the White Mountain Classic and getting position before climbing Yodel.