The CSU juniors finished up another great school vacation week ski camp on Wednesday, skiing one more day at Bretton Woods because the skiing there was so good. On Tuesday we skied a long classic workout in the morning and in the afternoon did some drills and a game of full body tag (see photos below). On Wednesday morning we did a relaxed skate for an hour followed by 10 x 1 min. intervals. Bretton Woods worked out really well with lots of terrain for us to ski, including 1 day climbing the 1000 foot to the Top of the Quad at the downhill area with some skiing back down on the xc trail and some down the downhill slope. Bretton Woods also gave us a great deal on tickets. Its been many years since I'd skied so many kilometers around all those great trails in such awesome conditions!
30 CSU junior skiers (including a couple of non-CSUers) and coaches enjoyed a fabulous dinner cooked by Fabio Schiantarelli, Lisa Lynch Lisa Hirshhorn and Bennet Goldberg. It was a very full house as we watched the Olympics after a great day of skiing at Bretton Woods. Kids did between 2-3 hrs of excellent classic skiing with light snow falling. After lunch we did 1.5 hr of skate drills and fun downhills. Back to Bretton Woods on Monday because the skiing at Jackson is not that good given the lack of snow.
In vain did I put in those two four-hour workouts intermingled with fairly numerous two- and three-hour workouts. One of the four-hour workouts even involved skiing twice around the intended course for this year's marathon--minus the second trip back to the Common.
In vain did I set a super-modest goal: merely to ski 50K at a pace leisurely enough to avoid the dreaded bonk.
In vain did I super-conscientiously follow Rob's wax tip and cork 8 layers of VR40 on top of room-temperature green klister binder.
In vain did I take feed at every feed station, including the frequent ingestion of gel packs of Heed.
What happened? Why did I nonetheless bonk at roughly the same point--35K--as other years
1) I think it had something to do with being relentlessly tracked starting partway into Lap 2. Skiing relaxed means skiing at a steady rhythm, and I never could quite get into a rhythm once the trains started roaring past.
2) It was highly demoralizing to see the young bucks barreling along up Ruthie's Run like they were on motorized rollerskis. I began wondering if I was engaged in the same sport.
3) My fatigue may have had something to do with the big effort I put forth in the 10K skate on Thursday. Though I barely lost any wax during the course of the race, by midway through the third lap I no longer had the oomph requisite to make the decent kick work and ended up herringboning nearly all of Ruthie's Run.
4) A definite downside of this race is that I have a long personal history with the rest of the field. Having Gina Campoli zip past me at the beginning of the third lap felt like a visitation from the all-too-familiar Angel of Death that had announced the death-knell of other C'bury marathons.
Resolved: I will no longer sign up for the 50K version of this race. At the risk of feeling slightly wimpy, I will henceforth do only the 25K. With the 25K, I know I can actually race the entire distance, not kinda race, kinda tour. From now on I will save my 3-4 hour endeavors for triathlons that include a kayak leg. It's a lot more varied and fun. Plus, you don't get frostbit. I don't know about the rest of you, but I literally lost face as a result of this race. Despite the application of duct tape to my cheeks minutes before the start, I just finished peeling a solid layer of skin.
From Victor Golovkin:
My condolences about the bad Cbry experience.
I think, the fact that you've been forced to h-bone on the Ruthie's hill is the reason of bonking.
I can't imagine, that I do the h-boning 2 times there and being alive. I remember couple Cbrys in the past, when it happened to me ( just once at this hill + maybe some other such parts) and the outcome was the same as yours.
My guess, with solid kick you'd pass the distance in a decent shape.
I had about the same kick waxing - green Swix klister + extra blue + VR30 (sometimes, it seems to me, that shifting to a warmer Swix wax makes kick worse). The 1-st and 2-d Ruthies were Ok but on 3-d and 4-th passes I was forcing myself to stay in track at some steeper parts by dancing in track. No h-boning after all.
...And work on your mental strengh - no attention to passing "young bucks": "The one, who understands the life, doesn't hurry" (folk wisdom).
From Jamie Doucett:
My situation at the Craftsbury marathon was simple – I had an awesome day! The confluence of all relevant forces aligned almost perfectly – good clothing decisions for the cold weather, great kick from start to finish, losing only about 1.5 inches of it under my heel, fast skis (Toko HF Blue with cold powder and blue Jetstream), and my aging body held together. And, after a long time in hibernation, the Vulture returned!
Friday was a nice, relaxed day, in large part because it was damn cold and windy outside and so we hemmed and hawed and took our sweet time (Rob, Joe, Jud and I) getting out the door to test wax. Well, Joe got a little maniacal (see photo below), but that’s pretty normal for him. The testing was key though for my wax prep for the race. Unlike Rob, I actually paid attention to what I’d figured out and went with it. It was totally awesome to wax the night before the race and not run around like a chicken with my head cut off in the morning trying to dial the wax in. That is the one good thing with wicked cold, wicked dry weather, the wax doesn’t change much. So, what I went with was a very thin layer of Toko spray green klister heated thoroughly into my skis and worked in with my thumb followed by a thin layer of green stick binder on top, then a couple layers of Toko mint corked in, all applied indoors. During my warmup I decided to apply a layer of white under my foot for some added security and I was ready to rock and roll!
Given my wealth of experience at Craftsbury and bonks past (see little white crosses on the side of the trail discussed by Bill Holland in last year’s story) I decided that going out relaxed and a bit cautious would be good. I had the good fortune of immediately hooking up with Ron Newbury and Chris Osgood and we started working as a team, wending our way through the backmarkers from the 25km wave that started before us. I was a little disappointed to see Peter Harris, Bob Burnham and Robert Faltus disappear in front, but I decided that patience was a virtue…..Ron took had a wild wipeout at one point, but eventually caught back up to us. Chris led it out and it was a delight to ski behind him on the big downhill because those Putney guys are about as relaxed and flowing as you can be as they fly around the corners. Perfect! Going up Ruthies I felt great! I had it all under control today and no one was running away from me. In fact, things were going so well on the 2nd lap and I was getting so excited and having so much fun that I had to hold myself back and not bust it loose. (See bonks past…) The 3 of us settled into a nice rhythm of Chris leading the downhills, me taking over on the flatter stuff and Ron on the steeper stuff. I would yell ahead to a backmarker that we were passing on the left and Chris would say thank you as we passed. Teamwork!
At some point going through the center around 35 km we lost Chris to a cramp. Now it was down to Ron and I on lap 4. As we went through the feed to start the lap there was a nice surprise, Peter Harris and Rick Powell stopped for a feed. I kicked it up a notch as I went by. Now, similar to the Tour de France, I was trying to figure out how and when to break Ron after working together so well for 36 km. Were Rick and Peter hanging in there?? I didn’t dare look, just go….. Of course, Ron was thinking the same thing. I took over pulling at the front, passing people everywhere and Ron was pretty much glued to the backs of my skis around the pond, down the hill and starting up Ruthies. Half way up he finally dropped the hammer and got a gap on me. No panic though, knowing I had faster skis and a better double pole. I got a brief lift from the cheering of Sarah Holton near the top of Ruthies. I was still in the zone. I figured I could haul him back down on the flats after Ruthies. But, the gap grew….clearly he was putting in a big charge and I lost more ground when I took a last feed and he didn’t. Hmmmmmm, this wasn’t looking so peachy any more! Time to get after it! On the flats I got a good ride from a couple guys from wave 1 that gave me a bit of a rest and finally, Ron started coming back, slowly, but surely. The rubber band had stretched, but not snapped and I got back on his skis at the start of the climb back to the center and the finish. Now, just stay there. My focus narrowed to a pair of Fishers and a green racing suit. Up the first hill, up the next and the next, just focused on those damned Fischers…up the final striding hill, through the crowd on the last little herringbone and out into the field by the road. Finally, over the last bump I ran between Ron and some other guy and started a double pole frenzy, unleashing all I had left to the finish, Ron in arrears.
Damn, what a great day!
From Anna McLoon:
Well, I suppose I'll give my own race report. For wax, I showed quite convincingly I am not sponsored by any wax company, putting holmenkol blue fluoro over toko lf moly for glide and swix blue extra stick over rode chola klister binder. And the choices were largely dictated by what I had on hand, not any true rational process.
Alex and I didn't manage to actually get to the starting area with our skis and without the car and all that until maybe 40 minutes to race start and spent most of that time putting our kickwax on (we had binder on, but not kickwax) so warm-up was about 5 minutes. But that's OK, I knew 3hrs or so of classic would be more than I'd done all year, so why add to that with a warmup?
I was a bit late lining up, but luckily a woman was willing to give me her spot on the front line. After a km or so, I decided I wanted to go a slightly faster pace so moved to the front to string things out a bit and to settle into the pace I wanted to hold. We were already starting to catch the master's men at that point, so dodging and weaving became increasingly important. In fact, as I was trying madly not to run into a snowplowing master and a tree, Alex ran into me and I strained something in my thumb/wrist. I'll blame it on the race organizers for starting us close behind slower folks!! Ah well, no pain, no gain. Or something.
After the first lap, our lead pack was down to 5 or so skiers, me, Alex, Dorcas, Susan Dunklee, and one of the Craftsbury green women. The lead was traded off a bit over that lap, the pace was a bit mellower than the first lap, and then through the final hill/stadium/feedzone going into the 3rd lap, Susan got a bit of a gap (I needed to grab a gel, needed to avoid hitting some men, etc.) I ramped up my pace a bit but it quickly became clear that 1. the gap was not closing 2. the gap was growing. SO I just settled into my own pace (and all the other women except Susan were behind me at this point) and skied in the rest of the race basically just doing my own thing. About 4 of the first seed of men passed me as I was about to start my final lap, which seemed about right. The final 3 or so km of the race were pretty uncomfortable since my wimpy back and arm muscles aren't used to as much double-pole as that course required, but luckily I have the technique and general fitness to fake it. As long as I don't mind being sore for over a week afterwards.
SO, I finished 2nd and this year, they decided to give prizes to the top 3 overall, and I won a big thing of maple syrup! Most Excellent!
The next day was women's day, and since I was trying not to further damage my wrist, did a lot of no-pole skating, and succeeded in making the few muscles that weren't sore from Craftsbury sore. Word of warning: no-pole skating up Tripoli road is not such a good idea if you don't ski very much, unless you don't mind having sore adductors for a week and a half or so!
For any women on the list, I'd highly recommend going to women's day if you haven't had the opportunity. It's a great day of skiing and hanging out with female skiers from all over the region, and who knows, you may get coached by yours truly (it's up to you whether that's a good or bad thing).
CSU Juniors had another good day at the classic qualifier, which had to be moved from Mt. Greylock high school to Prospect Mt., VT due to a lack of snow. Prospect, fortunately, had plenty of snow and had received a few inches of powder over the weekend so the skiing was excellent and the waxing was pretty easy....nothing like blue stick! Makes a coaches job much easier! As it was, almost all of the CSUers raced and we barely got all the skis done in time, which meant we didn't get to watch the boys race since we are busy waxing the girls' skis. That explains why I only have photos from the girls.
Hannah Smith Takes Off!
CSU took many of the top spots once again with Isaac Hoenig winning on the boys side, followed by Andrew Reed in 3rd, Neil Garrison in 4th, Chris Burnham in 5th, Hamish McEwen in 6th and Rion O'Grady rounding out the top 10 in 10th. On the girls side Hannah Smith took the top spot while Nadja Kern was 2nd, Cate Brams 4th and Olivia Meyerson in 6th. Results can be seen here.
With the conclusion of this race the announcements were made for who qualified for the J2 team and the E. High School team. All 6 of the CSU J2 girls and 5 CSU boys made the J2 team with 1 additional alternate. For the EHS teams, 12 CSU boys made the team and 1 alternate and 9 girls made the team and 4 alternates. Not a bad showing!!!
It was cold. -11F when we got to the commons at 7:30, “warming up” to -4F for the 9am start. I ran into Victor, who was smiling broadly, enjoying the cold “almost like home”. I had skied in my vest and covered my face with Vaseline but still got some bright red patches of cold burn on my cheekbones. I lived up to my reputation of the most boring of CSU waxers: Craftsbury 2010 was my 6th consecutive race with basically the same wax-job (Bogburn, Jackson, Craftsbury 2009, 2010): Swix VG35 binder ironed thin, Blue extra ironed thick, lots of layers of either VR40 or VR30. I did 6 layers of VR30 on Sat. There were discussions of green klister as an underlayer vs. binder before the race; I put the green klister on Sarah’s skis (she did the 25k) covered by 5 layers of VR30 which worked well for her. I stayed with the hard wax binder hoping for better glide and brought some VR40 in case I had to re-wax. Kick was great in the first 2 laps and still decent in the end – just used some low gears for the last uphills. My skis’ edges were scraped pretty clean, had about a half inch strip of thin wax on either side of the groove left. I think my glide (LF4 + turbo Cera) may have been a little better than the average in my train but it is hard to tell.
Given the deluge on Monday Craftsbury had put together an awesome course, about 250 altitude meters per lap. Adds up to 1000m altitude meters for the 50k – no cake walk. 50k times turned out about 5min faster than last year, so I felt pretty good about beating my 2009 time by 10min. Wes says that statistically you slow down by 0.9% every year beyond the age of 34 - always satisfactory to beat your odds J. (I do not beat those odds in 3000m track tests. 0.9% is about 6 seconds – pretty much exactly what I have been losing every year). Actually, at least in the short term for me the biggest driver of skiing speed is how often I get sick. This year I managed to avoid any serious colds, (knock on wood) maybe because I’ve been using the zinc spray that Andy put me on. The race started fast and furious. I skied with M1 Eric Eley of Stowe for the 2nd half of the first lap, and we caught back up to Reid Greenberg and Jesse Downs of Jerico VT at the end of lap 1. Earlier we had hung on to Eric Tremble – I had skied Jackson with him – but he took off and finished a great 11th in 2:42, repeating his great race of 2009. At some point Joel Bradley joined us as well and for the 2nd lap the 5 of us kept a nice train going. At the beginning of lap 3 our train suddenly fell apart. Reid and Jesse pulled away. Reid ended up 15th in just under 2:45. He is a kajaker with incredible upper body strength. I had skied Jackson with him last year and had marveled then at how he double polled parts of Yodel when his skis slipped. Eric and Joel dropped off behind me, I think Eric’s skis were a little slick. So I was on my own, for the first time in a long time because last year I had done both Jackson and Craftsbury ski to ski with Anson Moxness, then a Dartmouth Senior who was (still is?) dating Chris Nice’s daughter … Chris had quizzed me about Anson’s skiing politeness after the race. Anson must have graduated now and I haven’t seen him this winter. Lap 3 was challenging because there was so much passing of skiers from other waves, a little dicey in some of the downhills. I kept pushing pretty hard, felt good and stayed on the edge pretty much the entire race. I was completely spent in the end.
Looking through the results it is great to see so many of our CSU Junior alums doing really well. Matt Briggs from Concord who is now training with the Green team at Craftsbury was 6th in just under 2:38, Dartmouth Senior Matt Trueheart from Concord finished 9th in 2:41isth – probably his best marathon ever: Congrats! Ollie Burruss - also with the Green team came in 18th, I have not talked with him yet after the race but it looks like he ran into problems in the second half.
Anyway, it was a great feast of skiing and companionship. Lots of great results for all of CSU, I won’t attempt to list them here – just waiting for your stories.