Monday, January 21, 2013

The Geschmossel

I don't know where Bretton Woods came up with the name for this race, but its been going on for a couple of decades, at least, and is always a great gathering spot for masters skiers from across NE.  The forecast was for wicked cold weather and at Bretton Woods you always need to think about the wind whistling across that golf course on such days, as many of you have experienced.  BW did not have a lot of snow, but the snow squalls they picked up yesterday provided just enough snow to have a really nice classic race with no need for klister.  CSU, as always, showed up in force with Jody Newton, Rob Bradlee, Jamie and Lisa Doucett, John Sakalowski, Robert Faltus, Kathy Maddock, Tom Simon and maybe some others that I can't remember.  A few stalwarts were missing due to the 30km skate race held at Trapps on Saturday.  But, some toughed out both races, notably Kathy.  Some people are just tougher than the rest of us!  The good news was that there was no wind, the sky was bright and sunny, the tracks were really nice but unfortunately BW felt the need to shorten the race to 10km from 15km and put it on the same loop course as last year, starting at the old biathlon range, which kept us off the golf course.  The bad news?  There wasn't any.  Rob and I arrived at the same kick wax via independent, double-blind testing.  Actually, with fresh snow and temps in the single digits upon arrival, how hard can it be? 

The start area at the biathlon range is rather tight and last year I got cut off on the sharp right turn right after the start and again at the 2 lane bridge where another track was dropped.  So, this year I started on the other side of the starting line and had a much easier go of it, popped in a train and away we chugged double-poling hard.  When we finally hit the uphill though I found that I couldn't hang with the big pack ahead of me and was fading back.  I was also striding rather poorly due mostly to a lack of good classic skiing on something that resembled real snow.  Time to readjust and get on top of my skis and make them work.  Fortunately, Jason, one of the kids Kathy coaches on her Souhegan team, came by and I could hang with him on double pole and downhills, so we ended up working together the rest of the race.  Turns out we had the same simple goal....don't let Kathy beat us!  Kathy was not far back there wishing for more climbing and a lot less double pole.  Robert was also back there somewhere while Rob was out of site ahead of me by the 2nd lap and John was ahead of him and so it was just me and Jason going hard.  On the final double pole to the finish we caught a Bethel guy, and while Jason got by him, I couldn't by the time we hit the line. 

After the race a big pack of us headed off to ski another race loop and enjoy the beautiful day at a slightly more leisurely pace.  It was so nice that Robert and I continued on with a 2nd cool down loop.  Nice skiing must be taken advantage of, regardless of the status of your fading arms.  The Presidentials were glowing in the sun, the temperatures were just right, the wind never came up.  A fine day for sure, followed by cheese and crackers and wine at the awards ceremony and of course, a hot shower.  Sweet!

John's race report is at: 

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