Monday, January 22, 2018

World Masters

Meanwhile, at World Masters being held at Theodore Wirth in Minneapolis, Alex has claimed a couple firsts, Rob a 10th and a 3rd and Kathy a couple firsts in their age groups.  Hopefully they will report later.

Alex looking pretty happy, but then she just won! (Fasterskier photo)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Handsome and Beautiful CSU Skiers Take on the White Mt. Classic

For the second week NE suffered a big warmup which ate up snow, but at least there was a brief snowfall early in the week which gave Jackson a few inches to work with.  They maintained plenty of snow cover so the big question became how warm would it get on race day and when and what klister would be needed.  Based on my looking at the weather about 100 times during the week I waxed up skis at home before heading to Jackson
Dawn over good tracks

The morning dawned at about 22F.  I rushed out with the test skis and quickly decided that Start Wide Universal covered with Rode T Line would work well.  My major concern each year is getting up Yodel without blowing a gasket early in the race.  The course was back to a longer course by adding in loops in the fields before we headed up the race loop as well as adding in the Henry loop, so the course was reportedly 26km, much better than last year’s 18 km. 

Just before the race started with temperature shot up, I removed my hat and the winds started gusting.  Weird weather!  The start went smoothly as we looped the golf course as I followed Robert Faltus around just a bit behind Bob Burnham who was behind Andy Milne with Frank Feist and John Sakolowski leading out the large CSU contingent.  I was happy to cross the road and start up Yodel with Andy and Bob just a bit in front of me, although they slowly gapped me as we crested the hill.  Behind me, Clinton was going full double pole again, this week on much harder hills.  I will be signing Clinton up for some canoe racing next summer!  Robert was just behind me as we labored up Yodel.  On the left turn heading toward the road crossing I passed Bob who was dusting himself off from an uncharacteristic fall.  Out in the fields, the wind was picking up, rendering the tracks useless and skiing into the wind was like skiing up hill while going the other way was so fast it was like going downhill.  Bob and I even tucked in several places.  Heading up the first section of the Wave was as always a rude awakening and I struggled a bit but once we got back into the woods it was better.  However, with the wind we now had large pine cones littering the track, some branches here and there so it was hop in the track, hop out of the track, try to flip pine cones out of the way with your skis without running over them, etc.  Lots of one-footed skiing, picking one foot up, then the other.  Interesting!  Adding in Henry added some good climbing to the course and some twisty downhills.  Back in the fields the wind gusts were getting ridiculous and it was good to get back in the woods in Alice’s Alley, but back in the fields Bob and I managed to draft off a skiing high school kid and he stayed in front so we kept following.  The wind gusts were so strong we were barely moving going into the wind and were flying going the other way.  Just before heading up the Wave again, someone ahead of us took a big, inexplicable dive.  As I crested the first big hill to head down the dip I figured out why….it was now warm and wet enough that I’d iced up a bit.  No problem kicking it free though.  We left the kid we drafted off of for dead as we headed up the hill but we in turn got totally schooled by Ava Thurston, an 8th grader skiing for Mansfield Nordic who had smartly drafted us in the fields and then scampered up the hills and dropped us like a stone! She finished 2nd for women.  Lap two of the wave went better than round one with better kick as I chased Bob.  I tried to stay close on the downhills as he gapped me a bit, but once back in the fields was able to slowly catch back up.  Now the winds were probably gusting to 30 or 40mph.  We tucked in a few places going downwind and struggled going upwind.  I nearly got knocked down on the top of the one hill in the fields as I turned the corner.  Ridiculous!  I finally got by Bob as we headed up to the Eagle Mt. House, trying to get a lead before the big downhill on Yodel where I knew Bob would ski faster.  The focus narrowed to the finish line as we crossed the road in muddy slush and down to the first herringbone hill where Bob pulled up. “Here we go!” he said and proceeded to kick my butt up the hill, having taken lessons from    Norway's Johnny Kaebo, effectively putting our race away right there.  I chased but he gained time on the downhill and I didn’t have anywhere near enough time on the golf course to catch him.  Further up, John Sako led the big CSU contingent, coming in 13th with Frank Feist 15th, Jimmy Burnham 19th, Ari Ofsevit 24th and Andy Milne 31st.  On the women’s side Ann Burnham was first CSUer and winner of her age group, followed by Christine Pasterczyk, Amie Smith, Lisa Doucett, Sarah Gates (1st F4), Jody Newton and Sara Mae.
Jody, Christine, Amie, Ann, Sarah and Lisa take home the club championship!  Absent - Sara Mae

This race serves as the one day club championship and as usual the scoring was going to be close between CSU and NWVT.  In the men’s race it came down to the first tie-breaker and NWVT took top honors.  I noticed they’ve locked down the younger age groups and we seem to have locked down the older ones.  Need to round up some younger skiers!  Also, they stole Chris Burnham from us (well, Chris does now live and work up in NWVT territory).   On the women’s side CSU pulled out its secret weapon, founder Sara Mae Berman, who made the difference after the scoring came down to 2 tie breakers to give CSU the top spot!  Well done!

It was another beautiful day to race, even if the weather was a bit extreme, the course was good and lots of CSUers made the trip to enjoy the racing and comraderie.

Full results are HERE

Here are some really nice photos from the Jackson Facebook page.  Thanks Jackson!

Jamie and Bob



Sara Mae


CSU going downwind (to the right) and upwind (to the left)



Jamie, Bob and Steve



Frank and Jim

Geschmossel 2018

After a week of warmup and heavy rains that destroyed the snow in the Boston area it appeared that Bretton Woods had survived with sufficient cover to hold their race.  Lisa and I headed up on Sunday in time to get in a ski to check things out.  BW had already modified the planned course due to the icy conditions and lost cover.  Heading across the golf course in the cold and wind, which had returned, we skied on a sheet of boilerplate and heading up B&M there was ½ inch of new snow over, you got it, boilerplate and nice big ice patches.  It was pretty grim, but the coverage was at least pretty good.  I started down Abenaki Way and turned around due to the ice.  Hopefully BW would be able to pull off a grooming miracle for the second year in a row.

Monday dawned at 2F, but sunny and no wind.  It was going to be a beautiful day, although it was a bit weird that the top of Mt. Washington was naked rock and little snow.  Heading over from Highland Lodge nice and early I started working on the skis, using klister binder and blue klister covered with blue stick.  It was warming up nicely and tested the skis, happy to find that indeed, BW had groomed things up very nicely, covering up the ice, grinding up ice and setting a couple tracks, shallow in places, but totally skiable.  Well done!  It was going to be fast!

CSU arrived in force along with Northwest Vt, Ford Sayer and other New England clubs.  Toeing the starting line for CSU were John Sakolowski, Rob Bradlee, Kathy Maddock, Robert Faltus, Clinton Kreiger, Tom Smith, Lisa Doucett, Sarah Doucett, Jody Newton, Gray Holmes, Steve Moreau and Roger Wilson.  (Hope I didn’t miss anyone.)  The start went well with few entanglements and off we went!  I started a bit too far back and a gap was opening ahead of a couple people in my track, so I hopped out of the track to the outside and DP’d by several people before settling into the gap comfortably behind Robert and Clinton on his first foray into double poling the entire race.  Turns out that wasn’t a bad idea as it was very fast and there was very little striding but Clinton found how tiring it can be!  I strided a bit just to get the legs moving and stay a bit warmer, but it was mostly DP and kick DP all the way up.  I was moving pretty well, chasing some high school kids and was joined by Ian Blair from Bethel, trading places as we chased the kids. Near the top, in the one place where striding was the way to go it was like I’d forgotten how and flailed about a bit, then back to DP toward the downhills on Sebosis.  Up ahead John was having a good race in the top group with Kathy and Rob a bit further back while close behind were Robert and Clinton. The ride down Sebosis was interesting with some icy spots, a bump with dirt after which I spazzed and fell down on a flatter stretch. Stupid!  The fast ride down continued on Dark Forest to the last hill by the road where I’d almost caught up to the kids and 2 guys who’d passed me when I fell.  My skis were rocking!  The finish was a dead flat km to the finish and my skis were so fast I caught up to everybody, the last one a high schooler and I just knew he’d be able to shoot his foot at the line and I would have probably torn my hamstring if I’d tried, so got nipped at the line.  I’d had a blast in my first non-Weston race of the year.  CSU had a great day and a good showing with John in 10th, Rob in 18th, Kathy 21st, Steve 26th, Jamie 31st, Robert 37th, Clinton 39th, Tom 52nd, Gray 60th, Sarah 62nd in her first non-Weston race since high school, Roger 70th, Jody 80th and Lisa 85th.  Lots of age group first places with Sarah, Kathy and John all first! 

A full lap of warm down with NWVT then commenced for many of us as our big pack slowly yakked our way around the course again.  An excellent day of racing!  Many thanks to Bretton Woods for pulling off a race in marginal conditions.

Full results can be found at:

Sunday, January 7, 2018

CSU takes on the Gunstock Winter Thaw

A good crew of CSU juniors and masters showed up to the Gunstock Winter Thaw race this Sunday. The name was meaningless, because it was -3F when we arrived, and warmed up to about zero for race time and well into the double digits after the race. Conditions were beautiful, though there was definitely some debris on the trails from the recent storm.

For the juniors, we had a big crew. Dante, Lucas, Ben, Linden, Flora, Jordan, Eva, Francesca, Madeline, Graham, Henry, Alex, and Devon were all racing. For some, this was the longest race they'd ever done - kudos! Alex Burt had a good day, getting to stand on the overall podium despite finishing fifth (I like that math). I think everyone enjoyed the experience, at least in the "type 2 fun" sort of way.

For the masters, we had a bunch of age group winners: Bob Burnham, Frank Feist, John Sakalowsky all won their age classes. In the M5 category, we swept the top four spots, and that includes Andy Milne who brought his classic skis to a skate race. Cameron Cogburn and Ari Ofsevit took second and third in M1, and we had good representation across all the age groups - good training for the White Mountain Classic coming up!

We had fewer women in the race, but took a DXC/CSU sweep of the overall podium, with Kathy Maddock winning the race, Alex Jospe in second, and Lily Bates in third. Chris Pasterczyk took second in the M5 category, and Cat Johnstone missed her start with equipment problems, but still managed 5th in the category!

Women's results:

Men's results:
Andy striding the hill

Women's podium

Beautiful day!

Men's podium

Dante cruising