Saturday, January 7, 2012

Of Game Faces and Flying Pony Tails

CSU Juniors rocked Rumford yesterday!  On tap were the classic races at Nationals.  The juniors had separate and shorter races than the seniors, who went 20km and 30km, while juniors went 10km and 5km.  I didn't hear any of the boys complaining about not going up High School Hill 9 times!  Nevertheless, the boys still had to go up 3 times, while the girls had just one trip up the big hill and then went on the men's sprint course for their second lap. 

We awoke early to find snow falling fairly heavily, which immediately changed the waxing plan of attack for the coaches.  Arriving at Black Mt at leisurely time of 9 since the junior races were in the afternoon, just as the senior races were going off, Rob and Alex started right in testing skis, first for glide and rilling, and then for kick wax while I spent a few minutes watching the men's race, catching Noah Hoffman put a sudden gap on the pack to take the race on the last lap. 

Since temps had warmed up and with the new snow Alex and I re-glide waxed all the skis for the warmer conditions.   Rob and Alex then narrowed down the kick wax selection while Gunther and I finished topcoats, rills and base green prep on all the skis.  Conditions on the track were a bit dicey, with the 1-2" of new snow mixed into the manmade stuff and a track that was pretty well buffaloed by the previous races.  A final wax selection was made and we waxed up the boys and off they went.  Eli skied a very smart race, hanging on to the eventual 2nd place finisher Scott Patterson of UVM, who started right behind Eli and passed him early on.  Eli then was able to chase down Paddy Caldwell (SMS), his main J1 rival, by the 3rd lap, who had started just in front of him, and came home the J1 winner and 5th place overall, only 16 sec out of first!  Following Eli were Nathan, who thought he had his best classic race ever and Calvin, who is improving race by race in classic events, skiing very strongly in a strong field. 

Then it was time for the girls race.  After a bit of scrambling to deliver enough solid kick for the girl's skis they were off, Cate going first and skiing very strongly on her comeback from injury to finish in 37th overall which put a nice smile on her face.  Corey was out next and skied very strongly to take 2nd overall to Anne Hart, a future Dartmouth teammate by only 1 second.  Julia then went and skiied a very strong race to come in 11th overall!  Olivia banged out another solid effort like we've come to expect every time she races to come home in 27th.  Zoe, starting near the end of the start order, moved steadily up through the field with her hard effort, picking up Hadley along the way who then hung tough, keying on Zoe for all she was worth as the two came in close together for two more stellar CSU finishes. 

This was a very gratifying end of Nationals with every CSUer going out and laying down a great effort, leaving little on the course and having excellent races!  It is exciting to watch everyone going hard, game faces on and ponytails flying.

 Nathan out of the start gate, focused
 Calvin lapping through, focused
 Eli, heading to the finish, focused
 Olivia starting fast, flying
 Cate, focused and flying
 Zoe, clearly going fast!
 Julia, focused on the finish line
 Corey, bringing it home as fast as she can
Hadley showing her game face

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