Results and Start/Finish Video
A lively crowd of cross country skiing enthusiasts arrived at the Bretton Woods Nordic Center for the Mount Washington Cup on a bluebird ski day. Enthusiasm was in the air as skiers registered and prepared for the event. Fresh snow and cold overnight temperatures made ski prep easy. A bright warm sun made enjoyment mandatory.
While things looked a little thin and windblown in some of the open areas, the trail network at Bretton Woods was in great shape. The course was firmly packed-powder with a solid base. The snow was relatively clean, with a bit of tree debris to be expected. There were no thin or icy spots that revealed themselves during the race. Trails were a little narrow, but two skiers could ski side-by-side.
The race loop was “easy.” An easy course never makes for an easy race. Skiers would start in the stadium on the driving range behind the Nordic Center and make an immediate hard right onto Perimeter. Skiers followed Perimeter out to Sebosis, and climbed to Dark Forest. Skiers followed Dark Forest as it rolled back to the intersection with Perimeter and Sebosis. They would repeat the lap for a second time before heading back to the stadium for the finish on Perimeter. There was a lot of V2 on this one.
Skiers lined up and started the race. The start was not exactly clean, with some broken and lost poles as the racers tried to funnel onto the course. Once things got going on Perimeter, the field started to spread out. It was impressive to see how quickly packs formed. The snow was not exactly fast, but skiers were going for it due to the relatively easy terrain and it only being 10km. I wondered if it would favor the power or technique-oriented skier. I guess in the end; it took a good dose of both. You could burn a lot of energy trying to thrash, but floating on the fast snow in the middle of the trail paid high dividends.
An elite pack broke away, taking the top skiers Sam Evans-Brown (Concord Nordic) and Mark Johnson (Ford Sayre) drove the pace towing some younger skiers along, including Thomas Clayton (NWVE). Thomas would get gapped with Theodore Castonguay (SOHO) early on. Eric Darling (NWVE) was also at the wrong end of a split skiing much of the first lap alone. Two Ford Sayre Juniors, Noah Branchflower and Andrew Davis, were able to bridge and Eric latched onto the company as speeds dictated that drafting was an advantage. Eric played it smart, putting in a well-timed surge to take the edge at the line. Andy Bishop (MNC) led the next pack that included Sabra Davidson (EABC), Benjamin Kramer (Full Gas Wolf Pack), and me. Andy powered away from the group. I moved on the climbs in the second lap that was enough to hold position to the line. Lea Davidson (Caldwell Sport) broke a pole at the start and went back for a spare worked her way through the field and caught Rob Bradlee (Freedom Trail), who was skiing with Sarah Pribram (NWVE), Sarah Glueck (Ford Sayre), and Isaac Novosad (Ford Sayre). All Rob could do was watch as Lea motored by, but Sarah Glueck would not let Lea take her place after the effort she put in and outsprinted an exhausted Lea to the finish. Amy Caldwell (Caldwell Sport) connected with Eli Walker for a while (Unattached) before slowly gaining over the course. Jamie Willsey (NWVE) skied much of the race with Johan McGill (Onion River). Rosalie Wilson (Ford Sayre) was also right with the two cyclists. Stuart Kremzner (Blackwater Nordic) and Andrew Legg (MNC) battled with JoAnn Hanowski (Craftsbury). JoAnn drew Andrew out, and they caught a few skiers on the way to the finish line. Stuart fell back to but held off Jim Fredericks (Craftsbury). Jessica Bolduc lost a pole early in the race and had to go back to retrieve it. She worked her way up into the field after losing many seconds and spots on a course where making up time was nearly impossible. Lisa Doucett (CSU) had an outstanding race. Skiing it mostly alone, she moved up quite a bit on the race results page from earlier this year. Perry Bland and Cipperly Good of (NWVE) resumed where they left off at the Alumni Race on New Year’s Day. This time, Perry had the advantage, frustrating Cipperly by throwing in some double pole to keep the acceleration going down the final stretch into the wind. Skiers continued to trickle in, some with mishaps, others with fatigue, but all with smiles for having such a wonderful day for the event!
It was good to be back at Bretton Woods for a race again. The staff and groomers did an excellent job pulling off the event. Skiers could not have asked for a better day to soak in the picturesque setting. Many went off on long cool-downs in anticipation of not-so-pleasant conditions to follow on Sunday. On the NWVE cool-down, we came across Doug and Candy Armstrong, who gave us enthusiastic helloes and waves. I am not sure if they watched the race, but it was good to see them out enjoying the day.