Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cherie Walsh Race at Craftsbury

Day two at Craftsbury saw some ripping fast conditions out on Craftsbury's homologated course, which was in excellent condition.  Craftsbury has done some fabulous work, not only in rebuilding the race loop, but also with spreading and grooming their manmade snow.  With mass start races and places on the line for junior nationals this was sure to be an exciting day.  First up were the J2 girls.  As expected, CSU marched right to the front again with a nice pack of Zoe, Hadley, Charlotte followed by Meg, Clara, Sonya and Claire.   Finally, the front pack started up the big hill which included Zoe right at the front (and Leah Brams!) followed closely by Charlotte and Hadley.  A bit further back, having excellent races came Katrin, Sonya, Clara and Meg, all skiing near each other and Claire who made a great move up the last part of the hill to pass a couple of girls in front of her.  All the girls raced well!

Zoe, Hadley, Charlotte, Clara in the mass start

Zoe, Hadley and Charlotte


Sonya and Clare


Next up were the J2 boys.  CSU's Gavin McEwen, Max LaChance and Chris Koziel went right out with the lead group and were in great position as they disappeared off into the woods. CSU coaches and parents were spread out on the big hill at 4k waiting somewhat impatiently to see what would unfold. As the boys powered up the last big uphill Gavin was making a bid for the lead with Max and Chris just a bit behind. A bit further back came Lewis, Nick and Jacob, all powering up the rather unrelenting hill and racing well. Gavin put in a good sprint to nab second place!

Gavin making a move

The start with Chris, Jacob, Gavin, Max and Lewis

The Jacob and Lewis ballet



Next were the women, doing 10k.  CSU had a large contingent, but unfortunately I didn't get to watch much of the race since I was warming up for mine, but Olivia and Cate had awesome races.  Olivia was right in the pack that was chasing eventual winner Maria Stuber coming up the last hill and finished in 4th place with Alex just a bit further back in 7th and Cate in 12th.  Maddy came home in 22nd, Olivia Cannon had a great race, flying up the hills in 33rd, Julia 43rd, Rebecca 46th and Rosie in 50th. 

Final race of the day was the men's 15km.  I was especially looking forward to 3 laps and the big hill 3 times!  The main race had a big field for the mass start and took off while a small group of us masters started a minute later with no muss or fuss of a large start.  Up ahead the CSU men were trying not to get caught up in the melee.  Nathan was top CSUer followed closely by Ian and Calvin.  Rion "Crash" O'Grady decided that skiing with a handicap might give everyone else a chance and decided to break his ski on a tree and his pole too, but he persevered through 3 laps with a floppy ski tip and mismatched poles.  Next up was Sean and then Ryan and Hank.  Meanwhile, back in the master's wave I got into a nice rythm racing with another M6 and chasing my friend Peter Rayton.  The race course has a nice rythm and I was having fun out there, epecially with the amazing CSU cheering section on the big hill.  I almost had a heart attack trying to ski up to the level of the cheering!  However, in the end I got outsprinted to hold down DFL, but it was a hard fought and fun race on a beautiful day and course. 

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