Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eastern Mass BKSL on Only a Game

Bill Littlefield's Only a Game story about the Eastern Mass BKSL program can be heard here and photos from Bill Littlefield can be seen here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CSU Juniors Dominate!!

 Julia Schiantarelli
The CSU Juniors had excellent performances at the Mass Skate Qualifier race last Sunday at Weston.  Weston did a fabulous job with the race course as it wound in and out, up and down bumps.  It is a great course for spectators as you can see the whole race.  The skiers did 3 laps.  The crack timing crew also turned results around very quickly.

On the boys side CSU's Jackson Rich took first place with Isaac Hoenig 2nd and Andrew Reed in 3rd.  CSU garnered 10 of the top 11 spots!  Results can be seen here. On the girls side, CSU's Corey Stock brought home another victory, followed by Cate Brams in 2nd and Hannah Smith in 3rd.  The girls took 9 of the top 15 spots.

The classic qualifier will be at Prospect Mt. in Vermont, due to lack of snow in Western Mass on Sunday.

Andrew Reed 

Neil Garrison

Olivia Meyerson

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

White Mt. Chase - 30km

CSU Master's Team Members Claiming Both Men's and Women's Team
Championship Trophies

On Saturday a strong contingent of CSU Masters headed to Jackson for the White Mt. Chase, a 30km classic race.  The day dawned clear and calm and down at the touring center it was about 7F but was going to warm up quickly into the teens.  We wanted to once again claim bragging rights for the club championship. We had won the men's trophy the last 2 years (I think), but not the women's top spot.  However, we had a couple aces up our sleeve and it was now time to lay them on the table!

After trying a klister combination on my skis and a hard wax combo I decided to go with the hard wax combo that Rob recommended, a couple layers of Toko base green stick covered with Toko blue.  My skis were set, they climbed well on Yodel and it was time to line up.  One great thing about this race is that it draws the best masters skiers in New England.  There were a sprinkling of younger Dartmouth skiers and high school skiers, but really this race is all about us old farts.  However, it was nice to also see former CSU Juniors Matt Truehart and Luke Siebert at the line.

At the gun we were off on one circuit of the fields and then across the road and up Yodel to the upper fields at Eagle Mt. House and the wave.  It was a bit of a thrashfest on Yodel as people hopped out of the tracks to herringbone and I got a bit tangled up with Chris Osgood as I tried to stay in the tracks.  However, we sorted that out quickly and got back to the climbing in earnest.  Going around the fields at Eagle Mt I realize my skis were a bit draggy and I was losing time to Ron Newbury and Peter Harris, among others.  Time to get to work!  I tried clawing back distance up the short steep hills on the Wave but didn't seem to be making much progress until Robyn, the eventual 3rd place woman passed me.  She scampered up the hills much better than I did and then on the downhills showed me how to ski until we got back down on the fields where my forte of double poling and kick-double poling came to play and I lost her.  As we dropped back down to the ski center and headed out on Ellis River 3 guys appeared for me to chase and chase I did.   But, they never seemed to get closer....uggggg, this was turning into real work!  I finally caught one at the water stop on Ellis River and narrowed my focus to the next two.  But, I had to back off a notch or I'd burn my arms out too soon....and so I settled in to the rythm of Ellis River....lots of DP and kick DP followed by short bouts of running up a short hill.  No progress....those two guys were like a mirage.  I switched to the left track and it felt a bit faster and I kept double poling, passing tourers, switching tracks....but no closer.

As we neared the turn-around point there is a long flat straight section and as I came around the corner onto it I looked up to see 6 guys ahead of me.  That really lit a fire under my sagging butt!  Time to hammer and DP is one of my strengths.  At the last real climb I finally caught the back of the coalescing pack in the form of Doug Armstrong.  I happily got close enough for a draft but quickly realized that Doug was dragging.  I was fired up now, so I passed and worked my way to the front of the group.  Doug, being a wily veteran, hopped on the tails of my skis, yelling he had the engine.  Fine, I'm driving this train I thought, and if I do so hard enough these guys will fall off the pace.  The Chase was on!  On I drove, pulling a bunch of guys who were smart enough to sit back and ride the draft.  One younger guy pulled a couple of times for a short stretch, but I always felt like it was too slow a pace and resumed my duties at the front.  We swept up one lone racer like the peleton at the Tour de France.  As we neared the road crossing I tried to think of how I would break away - control the corners, just like at Weston!  Out into the fields, through the tunnel and over the bridge and still I felt the presence of Doug - was anyone else there too?  Down the long back straight and still no one made a move....around the last corner to the starting move as a crossed several tracks to get to the inside.....up the last bump to the finish straight and BAM, Doug comes out from hiding and throws down the gauntlet.  I tried to respond, but too little, too late with weary arms and Doug got me at the line.  The others in the group, including Ron Newbury and Bob Treadwell came in right after. 

That was a fun race on a perfect winter's day.  CSU won both men's and women's trophies as Ali Crocker took 2nd overall and in the Senior class while Sara Mae Berman took first in the M9 category.  In between there were lots of good showings by CSU, including Frank 7th overall and Andy 9th, Rob 16th, Ellen Chandler 2nd in M4 and Ann Burnham 4th in the M5 group.  A good lunch, some ugly trophies, a gorgeous day with fabulous grooming and easy wax selection made for a perfect day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Geschmossel

On Monday a bunch of us oldsters raced the Geschmossel 15km classic race at Bretton Woods, It was nice to worry only about 1 pair of skis instead of 24 after the JOQ races we were at over the weekend.  The bad news is that I overthought the wax for the day and lived to pay the price.  The good news was that almost everyone had problems, which made for interesting racing and results.

Rob and I drove over to Crawford Notch from the brown, dirty snows of Rumford at the conclusion of the JOQ races.  There is LOTS of snow in the Notch and big, white, clean snowbanks at Highland Lodge where we settled down for the night just as some new snow started falling.  We got in a good waxing session down in the basement before dinner so we could relax later on.  That was a great plan.  Joe Bouscaren and his brothers were also staying there, so we had breakfast together in the morning before heading over to Bretton Woods.

4" of fluffy snow had fallen over night, but Bretton Woods decided???  not to regroom the race loop, a single 15km loop using Dark Forest, Clinton, Beech Hill, Sebosis and some other trails!  What's with that???  The Piston Bully was sitting at the touring center running for the hour before the race for crying out loud!  Nothing like an amateur operation.....Some people, including Alex Jospe, who wasn't racing, went out and at least skiied in the tracks that no one had skied on, which helped a bit.  Tactic of the day - don't lead!  Not to worry for me.  Because the tracks we were testing waxes on was glazing and getting pretty slick I decided to be aggressive with my wax since my skis are reasonably stiff.  So, I went with some VR65 and covered it up well with Rode Super Violet.

At the start of the race, because it narrowed from 10 tracks to 2 quickly, I decided on being somewhat mellow.  I was pleased that I was able to pass people at will on double pole sessions as we headed for the hills and I could run right up the first few easy hills.  Slowly I moved up with Chris Osgood, Peter Harris, Nat Lucy, Doug Armstrong and others.  This was fun!  Until I came to Beech Hill - a long uphill that is totally skiable.....except when you ice up and develop high heels on your skis.  I couldn't kick the snow off effectively at that point and trudged up the hill.  Nat Lucy had stopped to scrape his skis off on his bindings earlier and Peter Hall was also in trouble.  Slowly I was left behind.  At the top I was finally able to get going as I whacked my skis with my poles from time to time to get the snow to fall off but every time I had to stride in the fresh, ungroomed powder I'd ice up again.  Double poling became the technique of choice.   Finally, we started the long series of downhills on Sebosis back to the golf course.  With the ice gone and a glazed track my skis were very fast.  I soon hauled in Peter Hall and someone else.  By the time I got to the golf course I had Ron Newbury in my sites and whipped by him in a mad double pole frenzy.  I ran out of race course before I caught the next group, but I'd had a good run there at the end.

This was a fun race if you didn't let the atrocious grooming bother you.  It was frustrating to ice up, but since nearly everyone did I wasn't too unhappy.  Motto of the story - don't over think the wax.  Sometimes it will come back to bite you!

I don't have any ski pics, so here is what Franconia Notch looked like on the way home.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rumford - Day Two

Rob's email report on day two at Rumford, mass start skate races:

Today was another great day.  Phoebe Meyerson set the tone for the day by winning the J4 BKL race.  I told the team that the message of the day was "ski like Phoebe".  Seems that everyone took it to heart as we had many outstanding performances.  What was the best?  Hard to pick.

Tommy on High School Hill

Hannah W. Smith (the W is for Winner? or Wicked Fast?) amazed everyone by skiing right with the women's lead pack, jostling with the Stratton girls, and asserting dominance over the last few K to finish 4th after blowing by Dartmouth skier Megan Killigrew.  It was doubly impressive as she was bouncing back from some setbacks during Saturday's race.  Corey Stock crushed the field in the J2 girls races with another impressive distance win - can anyone touch her in a distance race?  Cate Brams in her first JOQ weekend really went for it and almost hung onto the lead pack.  She couldn't stay with them, but held on for an excellent top 10 finish.  Rion O'Grady also busted into the top 10 for the first time with a strong race.  Eli Hoenig did battle with the best J2 boys and made the podium once again. He is always a contender.  Hamish McEwen  showed amazing consistency with another top placing.   Expect even better from him in the future. 

In the Men's race Jackson Rich showed that the swine flu is just a bad memory with a superb race that made him top dog for CSU.  Isaac Hoenig was not far behind.  (Chris Stock was feeling the effects of all those heats on Saturday combined with the remnants of a bad cold). Neil Garrison also had a very strong race.

Chris Stock on the final hill

Best of all were the girls skiing their first 10K (Kelsey, Meryl, Catherine B., Katie C.) on a very tough course.  It was a MBW league race in the north country.   They all skied well and looked good doing it.
I know I haven't mentioned everyone, but believe me the coaches were proud of the great job that everyone did.  I'm pretty sure that we fielded more skiers than any club in NE.

Mass Bay West Race in Rumford!

I'm writing this from the living room of the AMC Highland Lodge. Jamie and I stayed up for an extra night and are racing the Geschmossel race at Bretton Woods on Monday.   Everyone asks us why we work all weekend waxing skis.  It's simple really - we have so much FUN and it is so rewarding to work with so many talented and dedicated athletes.   Thanks to the team and the parents for making CSU such a special organization.

Snowy Dawn from the Highland Lodge

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rumford JOQ - Classic Sprints

CSU had quite a day today up in Rumford in the classic sprint races.  24 CSUers toed the line in the qualifying round and 8 moved on to the elimination rounds! The day dawned clear and when the sun popped over the horizon it started to warm up enough that we had to break out the klister for the first time this season.  After much testing and experimentation we settled on some new klister covered with hard wax combination that worked well for most of the kids.  During the waxing frenzy a huge gust of wind whipped down off the mountain and picked up the Ford Sayre tent, aiming it squarely at the CSU tent.  Fortunately I raised the alarm and we all grabbed the CSU tent before it lifted off and the Ford Sayre tent then sailed over us and into the trees!  So much for my life flashing before my eyes, back to waxing.  Qualifiers included Alex Jospe and Corey Stock in the women's race, Cate Brams and Olivia Meyerson in the girls J2 race, Chris Stock and Jackson Rich in the men's race and Eli Hoenig and Hamish McEwen in the boys J2 race. 

The snow continued to soften up for the afternoon elimination rounds, so the coaches stripped off the morning klister and came up with a new setup, including rilling and Jetstream.  It became clear that we had nailed it as the CSUers rose to the occasion and skied really good races all afternoon.  In the women's race Corey led the whole race but got out-doubled poled at the line to take a very close 2nd.  Alex was in the B final, finishing 5th for 11th overall.  In the girls J2 Cate skied to 5th in the A final and Olivia hammered up the hill, coming from behind to garner 2nd and 8th place overall.  In the men's race Chris took 5th in the A final while Jackson finished 2nd in the B final for 8th overall.  In the boys J2 Eli had a great race, coming home in 2nd while Hamish followed closely behind for 4th in the A final. Not a bad day for CSU at all!!

The men's qualifying race had some very weird results so there were a couple of protests.  We are still not sure of whether those results are good, but they went on with the show anyway. 

This was probably the biggest showing by CSU at a JOQ and tomorrow we will have 25 on the line in the skate mass start races.  Stay tuned!!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Knife Through Buttah!

Alex's report from Nationals up in Anchorage: 

I did actually have a lot of fun out there, believe it or not. The warmup tracks were all rock-solid, making me wish I'd brought my stiffer skate skis, but the course was super chopped up, and because its been cold, it was all pure sugar-slush - just like weston!  Some of the hills here are also really short and sweet, (well, not that short actually), also like weston - I visualized myself out-skiing a herd of angry master blasters, and it got me right up and over those steep little kickers! 

There was a lot of racer interaction, in a good way - I caught a girl who was lapping on my first lap, and skied with her until just after the really steep part of the hill, when she took off on the more gradual pitch and I just couldn't keep up.  Then I caught up to a pack of girls on their second lap, cut through that like a hot knife in buttah, just trying to not get too excited and keep it relaxed, but not sloppy.  Second lap I caught my 30s girl, who was a much better climber, and I think that really helped me - she passed me on some of the big climbs and I just had to not let her go, it made me climb a lot faster than I would have, but I think I needed that fire lit under my butt. Boy was I wheezing for most of that second lap, those courses are TOUGH, and the deep soft snow wasn't helping, but at least my skis were fast.  Now if I could just stop coughing...

That picture Janice took is awesome (see below) - the crazy thing is, it felt pretty light by then, since we'd been warming up in almost the pitch black.  I think they turned the lights off once it was light enough, probably at 10 - didn't pay attention.  As pretty as this place is, I'm pretty sure I couldn't live here - seasonal affective disorder much? 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Val Cartier

Rob's report from Val Cartier Nor-Am races and a photo courtesy of the Stratton Mt. School Blog:

“The path to excellence is overcoming obstacles” – Terry Orlick

“When a bad thing happens to you, then you are about to meet some nice people.” – Rob Bradlee

Corey Kicking it in for 5th place!
CSU had a great day of racing today, but also some difficult obstacles.  Yes, Corey Stock placed 5th in the Junior Women’s pursuit race at the Val Cartier NorAm and the Canadians were preparing immigration forms to put her on their World Junior Team, but after the races the Stock’s car just would not start.  Jim needed to be in Boston for a 4 PM flight on Sunday so hanging around was not an option.  What to do?  Peter Moore of the Coastal Nordic Club (in the Portland area) volunteered to drive Isaac, Anne, and Corey to the airport to pick up a rental car while Jim and Chris waited for the tow truck.   We jammed all the Stock’s ski bags inside my Volvo.  Peter, Susan, and Anna Breu of NH took Neil and Hannah to stay with them back at MSA.   Tomorrow I will be driving home Hannah and Neil and we will be stuffed in with a whole lot of skis, but the bottom line is that the whole club and all the precious skis will make it home.  We train, race, and
 travel as a team.

So, aside from that little difficulty, how was the racing?  As I mentioned, Corey asserted dominance over most of the Canadians and all the other Americans (including a large group from SMS) with her 5th place. She had to start way in the back of a large mass start and she just powered through everyone until she caught up to the lead pack.  Nice work.  I told her it was good practice for those future World Cup races where she will have to do the same thing when she’s just starting out.

Corey wasn’t the only story in the Junior Women’s race.  It was also a replay of the Mass Bay East races at Weston.  Hannah Smith and Olga Golovkina (now at Colby) also worked their way from the back of the starting pack to the top third.   Hannah even passed Olga on the V1 uphills showing the form that she had worked so hard on developing at the MSA camp.  This race, by the way, was a continuous pursuit with a classic race, a switch-over to skate gear, and a skate race – all with the clock running.  At the finish Olga, now back ahead of Hannah, was a bit confused and skied into the lap lane and Hannah followed her.  An official corrected them and they finished, but when you look at the results please understand that they skied even faster than the numbers indicate.

The first race of the day had been the Men’s 30K pursuit (15K classic and 15K skate).   Coach Andy Milne represented CSU in this very difficult race that had both hard climbs and treacherous downhills, especially in the skate portion.   The winners of this race will be skiing for Canada in Vancouver at the Olympic Games in February.

In the Junior Men’s race, a 20K pursuit, we had four young men: Isaac Hoenig, Chris Stock, Jimmy Burnham (now at Bates), and Chris Burnham.   All four skied well on the difficult course with Isaac gaining revenge over Chris Stock who had beaten him in the CSU pursuit 4 days ago.

Late in the afternoon the “Juvenile” class finally had a chance to do their races that were 7.5K classic-only races.   Hamish McEwen ripped an 11th place (racing with 14, 15, and 16 year olds) that I believe put him on the podium for 14 year olds (Juvenile 3).   Neil was close behind after his nasty head-cold caught up to him on the second lap.

The final race of the day started at 3:10 and Cate Brams showed fine form with an 8th place finish.  I believe she may have been another podium for her single-year age group.

The weather during the day was amazingly stable with temps holding steady exactly at 26 F (-4 C) all day.  For the wax freaks out there we used Ski Go (-3 to +1) covered with a bit of Ski Go (-2 to –15).   The track was very slick with all the skiers going around the 2.5 or 3K loops so we had to wax warmer than the temps indicated.  (Toko Yellow covered with Red had good kick, but was a bit slower.   Rode Super Blue was also quite good.   Corey added a bit of Swix VR55 as she used some pretty stiff skis and needed a bit more kick).

I think we all had a great time as “Team USA” consisting of CSU along with Stratton, Colby, Middlebury, UVM, Putney, Coastal Nordic, etc. competing at an international event.   Obviously, it takes a great deal of work to go to an event like this, but it is very exciting.

SMS and Colby obtained one of the nice wax rooms at the facility and let me share their space.  Before I left I re-waxed the skate skis of Hannah, Neil, and Anna Breu (Toko HF Red + Jetstream Red hand-corked.  I will re-test in the morning to be sure).  They will race the prelim of the sprint race at 9:45 and 10:15 AM.   Then, we will jam everything in the car with wax boxes, dirty clothes, and a zillion ski bags and Hannah, Neil, and I will head for home.  I sure hope the border guards believe that I have a good reason to have $10,000 of skis wedged into my car.  If not, please come visit me at the ICE detention center.

Friday, January 1, 2010

MSA Time Trial Results

Place   Name        Classic  Transition Skate Total
1    Chris Stock       12:47    28    12:17    0:25:32
2    Isaac Hoenig     12:51    32    12:17    0:25:40
3    Eli Hoenig         13:03    37    12:23    0:26:03
4    Jimmy Burnham 12:52    38    12:37    0:26:07
4    Jackson Rich     13:02    34    12:31    0:26:07
6    Patty Caldwell   13:10    31    12:36    0:26:17
7    Frank Feist        13:32    34    12:47    0:26:53
8    Andrew Reed    13:44    25    13:02    0:27:11
9    Andy Milne       13:41    34    13:11    0:27:26
10    Chris Burnham 13:36    32    13:42    0:27:54
11    Rob Bradlee    14:40    48    12:56    0:28:24
12    Corey Stock    15:05    33    13:06    0:28:44
13    Rion O'Grady  15:10    32    13:43    0:29:25
14    Lizzy Aderson  15:14    34    14:20    0:30:08
15    Jim Stock         15:12    29    14:33    0:30:14
16    Bob Burnham   15:36    37    14:59    0:31:12
17    Eric Brote         15:34    1:06    14:37  0:31:17
18    Hannah Smith    15:43    48    14:49    0:31:19
19    Jamie Doucett    15:04    28    16:14    0:31:46
20    Hamish McEwen 16:25    57    14:42    0:32:10
21    Ian Moore         16:31    44    15:30    0:32:45
22    Cate Brams        17:05    45    15:23    0:33:13
23    Nick Serbedzija 16:51    46    16:59    0:34:36
24    Olivia Meyerson 17:45    1:04    16:41    0:35:30
25    Stoddard Meigs  17:55    1:05    16:50    0:35:50
26    Ellen Goldberg    20:30    1:22    18:15    0:40:37
27    Caitlin Guiney      20:04    1:38    19:11    0:40:53
28    Katie Cosman     20:45    1:24    18:38    0:40:56
29    Kelsey Colpitts   19:27    4:24    17:36    0:41:27
30    Blake McCartney 21:33    2:09    19:52   0:43:34

    Classic only:  
    Rebecca Smith        19:58

    BKL Classic  
1    Jacob Meyerson    17:45
2    Gavin McEwen      17:50
3    Leah Brams           19:32
4    Katrin O'Grady      20:31
5    Oscar Brote           23:12

Pursuit Time Trial at MSA Camp

Rob's Report on Day 4 at MSA Ski Camp and Erin's Photos from the time trial:

Is this day 4?  I'm starting to lose track.

We had a great day today. Sure it was 10 F and windy, but the skiing was great.  We did our annual time-trial. It's 4K of classic, a quick change to skate gear, and the 4K again.  Bill Koch skiers did just the classic portion.  Including the BKLers we had 33 racers.  (I'll send results out soon - it's a lot of typing!).

Thanks very much to our hardy parents who stood out in the cold doing timing and video work.   It gave the coaches a chance to race and we are incredibly appreciative of that.

The cold was tough for the inexperienced and a few of our younger skiers did not know to cover their ears and there was some minor frostbite, but nothing serious.

In the afternoon some folks did a second ski workout.  The gang here in the club condo headed to the Chutes Montmorency to view the impressive waterfall. Then to the Chateau Frontenac for toboggan races.  We did some souvenir shopping and then had a find italian dinner at Portofino in the old city.

Frank, the Master and Chris, the Student



Caitlin and Kelsey

Katie, Ellen, Rebecca and Katrin


Chutes de Montmorency

The Evening View from the Frontenac

Duel on the Ice