Mt Washington Road Race

Mt Washington Road Race
Hannah, Madeline and Gabby go 1-2-3 up Mt. Washington in their age group

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Bogburn - A Just-in-Time Ski Race

Lisa and I headed up to the Bogburn this year to salve our disappointment that the Birkie was canceled.  At least there was still snow in Vermont and a race to be done!  
Friday evening and there was still plenty of snow
This year’s version of Bob Haydock’s Bogburn race really put the bog into the bogburn.  With temperatures not going below freezing overnight and a thick fog developing and then temperatures rising to close to 60 as the sun came out for the senior/master races the course was literally disappearing from beneath our skis one lap to the next.  What had been solid snow during warmup was transformed into small ponds during the race here and there on the course.  Bob came in from grooming in the morning with a hint of concern in his voice when he informed us that what we had shoveled onto the course Friday evening just after the dam needed replacement, and so down we went to scratch up more dirty snow from the woods and move it to the trail.  That section on my cooldown was literally reduced to a single track width with a nice solid mud pole track.  
The BKSL races started in a thick, but slowly diminishing, fog as I peered through the woods to watch for and direct the kids where to go.  With squirrelly snow, soft in places and in others with a glaze from the fog which made skiing rather “interesting”, the kids motored through with all manner of technique, no complaints, just good skiing.  
After moving around the course markers for the Senior/Masters race course it was time to slap some klister on the skis (I’d been skiing around on waxless in the morning) to see what would work, a large factor being what would work without entraining the entire forest into the klister.  Seemed like lots of stuff was working but clearly the Rex Orange (OU) that I first tried failed on the entrainment factor, picking up beech leaves, pine needles and whatever else was in the tracks.  So, I tried some old Toko silver mixed in but that was too grabby.  Next I scraped all that off and put on Rex OV, which attracted less junk, but I had to put a thin schmear of orange over it for better kick.  Not bad, I’d go with that and because OV is a bit harder, less junk.  Talking to Rob about 10 min. before the start he showed me his skis with Start Wide Universal, which has lots of silver.  No junk at all!!  So, I modified my skis a bit with a schmear of that on top and going with a t shirt instead of the CSU uni, was ready for the start.  
I stole this photo from Julia Kern showing how nice most of the trail actually was
The first loop at the Bogburn pretty much dope slaps you from the start with an uphill start through the pines to the ever tricky first turn (Barbara’s Bump) where if you stand up too soon you are doomed, followed by a nice climb and the smaller of two switchbacks.  Well, I bought it on the first switchback, the heavy, deep mush getting the better of me and down I went.  It is really hard to step turn in that junk.  Then the second big switchback (The Chicane) really did me in and in less than one Km I had fallen twice.  “Ok, get it together and ski, damn it” I muttered and on I went, those being my last falls of the day.  Sitz marks elsewhere on the course indicated the problems others were having staying on their feet.  Not long after the guy who started behind me went by and I was able to pace off of him a bit, and then Mark Doughty went by just after The Bent Tree.  I tried to keep with those guys as we entered the series of downhills off the back part of the course.  On the final lefthand big sweeper at the bottom Mark went down, caught by the ruts no doubt.  I swept around the corner, and his ski poles flopped across the course, and yelled “Poles, poles” at him as he managed to pull them in just in time.   The guy in front of me, Mark and I all converged on Beech Hill and the uphills through the Red Pine Forest but Mark was skiing well and I couldn’t hang with him.  Lapping through, Ben Haydock was shoveling snow into what had become a pond so we had a little dike so ski across.  Water was everywhere!  The snow was disappearing.   Lap 2 was just hanging on and trying not to make mistakes on the corners.  At one point a stream had opened up across the course right after you dodged a no longer submerged rock and I skied across with one foot on firm snow holding the other up so as not to get wet, followed by a herringbone that went further left into the woods to avoid a new bare spot.  Finally, reappearing out of the woods, waterskiing across the new pond I got to the finish, tired, hot and happy to be done with that particular event.  The storytelling then commenced.   Faltus had fallen once, Sako had fallen 3 times, Rob had gone down once, etc. etc. etc.  
Bob Haydock had pulled off yet another Bogburn in somewhat marginal conditions and a whole new set of race stories was born.  If we had started the race an hour later the course would no longer have been connected.  

Saturday after the race....not so much snow.  I stole this photo from the Mansfield Nordic Blog who got it from Adam Glueck.  Mark and Nathan Doughty, Ben Haydock and I shoveled snow onto this section twice and I think Ben did some more shoveling during the race!




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