Bogburn, not Bogburn
By Sarah, not Damian (our pole-itzer prize winner race reporter was in Michigan cheering on Camille at senior nationals)
Despite the lack of a Worthy Burger post-race, Saturday’s Bogburn at Rikert was a great event. Bob Haydock’s crew and the team at Rikert worked some serious magic to pull off the race in less-than-ideal conditions. The day began with over 100 BKL kids racing in the morning. Then it was time for the U16-M10s to line up. Wax testing and warming up was tricky as we couldn’t be on the course once the race started, which was long before most of our numbers would be called, and there literally wasn’t another 100m of snow anywhere to ski on. Still, everyone seemed happy with their wax choices, with most of us opting for the NWVE Wax Prediction of Nero. Eli and Thomas went with Swix 45 or 50, or 55. (Eli can’t remember) and that worked well too. Warming-up consisted of running a few laps around the parking lot in our ski boots and shuffling back and forth on 20m of snow by the start.
The course was missing some of the signature Bogburn twists and turns (Jessica would have appreciated not having to navigate that first crazy downhill in Pomfret) but did have a few sections without tracks, two-way traffic, and a 180-degree turn for the lap. We did four loops on the 1.25k course. I was a little concerned about keeping track of how many laps I’d done, but counting proved not to be an issue for anyone, and it was good practice for counting laps at Wednesday Night Worlds at Sleepy Hollow. The individual start was roughly organized by age group and gender, so the U16s went first, while yours truly was the final bib on the start list. We were all a bit hesitant about how crowded the course would be, and although we all had moments where we needed to be patient, there were no major issues or big time losses.
Thomas was our first starter, followed by Neal, who reported back upon finishing to take the corners tight as they weren’t too icy. Next up was Eric Darling, who was happy to hold Justin Freeman off for one lap. The former Olympian started 30 seconds behind Eric and ended up third overall, winning the masters men’s race by a substantial margin. The rest of us started over the next 15 minutes and had the chance to ski with, pass, or get passed by some of our teammates who were on a different lap. It was a bit crowded, but with each lap, the crowds thinned, as did the cheering spectators.
Eli was our top male finisher (2nd M4), followed by Eric Tremble (1st M3) and Eric Darling (4th M4). Despite not feeling like they raced exceptionally well, Thomas (1st SR), Neal (2nd M2), and Tom (1st M6) all placed well. I didn’t get a chance to talk to Stephen post-race, but he easily won the M7 division. On the women’s side, I was happy to be the 4th master, “only” 3 minutes behind the overall and masters’ winner Allison Crocker. Sara Graves was just behind me, and since no other Stowe skiers showed up, we may have gotten her one step closer to defecting to NWVE.
Overall, it was a fantastic day of racing that we weren’t sure was going to happen. As much as we missed the old-school ski racing in Pomfret and the extra motivation of a Worthy beer and burger, we were so grateful that they figured out a way to have the race and to spend time with our friends and teammates doing what we love to do!