Sunday, January 30, 2011

And a Few More Photos

The wax team had there heads down in the wax tent for much of the day and so i wasn't able to get photos until the women's and men's mass start races.  Looked a little wild out there at times and at least Hannah and Eli had pole issues but both recovered well and CSU mixed it up well.  Congrats to all the skiers for good, hard efforts, Amie, Peter, Weston and all the volunteers for making today such a huge success!  Here are a few photos.  I hope to have video up later in the week.

Weston EC: one coach's perspective

We say that CSU organized an Eastern Cup at Weston, but really, Amie and Peter and their crew of volunteers. They were all hatted in neon green, and you could see them everywhere, making sure everything went super smoothly. I was ├╝ber impressed. Amie ran a tight ship, and as far as I could tell, from the perspective of both a coach and a racer, things went off without a hitch! Now, she can start sleeping again. Although I did hear her utter the words "next time..."

Rob is showing us here that you have to keep doing your "podiums" through the winter, so that you're strong enough to step onto that top podium when the time is right. Did anybody mention that he won his [very competitive baby boomer] age category at the Craftsbury marathon yesterday?

CSU huddle at the results area.

I believe what just happened here is that Rebecca licked Hannah. Hannah's face is priceless.

Part of the CSU girls team - everybody raced quite well!

What goes up, must come down. What a great course for spectating! I have trouble not getting too excited when I can see this much of the race course, what can I say - I just love screaming at people.

The neon hats get some lunch at the absolutely fantastic CSU food table. Thanks so much to Sandra Meyerson for organizing that!

And I caught a couple shots of some of the boys finishing the sprint race. I was too far away to figure out who those are (I think Greg and Ryan and Max are featured?), but if you recognize yourself, claim some credit in the comments.

And from the racer's perspective, it was also a super fun day. The sprint course is pretty sweet with all the snow Weston has been making. Most of the girls and I spent a solid hour touring the course yesterday, and having done all the hard thinking work the day before is great, because you just line up and know that your body will do the rest for you - press go and stop thinking! The course was the sort of thing that skis really well if you can ski transitions, and it turns out our team ain't half bad at transitions. The home course advantage also probably helps. I found the sprint course very hard, physically; by the time I got to the flats I realized that my legs were just swimming in lactic acid and I had some actual skiing in front of me, not a fun realization at all. But I tried to do all those technique things that I'd been telling the CSU skiers to do, and combined with our rocket-fast skis I came in 10th. Pretty good for a coach!

Side note - our wax team had things dialed so well - Rob, Jamie, Bob H, Tom, Henry, and Victor just rolled through the whole team's skis like nothing. Oh, we're changing the top coat and the rill? No sweat, we can do that in the 25 minutes left before the start. They define PRO.

The afternoon's race was a 6km mass start for the ladies, and I really should know better than to do short mass start races. It was an absolute mess, with some dirty, nasty racing out there - real contact sport. The front group was jostling around a lot, since it was windy enough that nobody really wanted to lead. Props to Anya Bean who finally took the lead on lap 1, I spent some time in that wind and it was NOT easy. The whole first lap of that race was really tight - elbows were being thrown, poles were being stepped on, people were kicking my skis - honestly, it was not that much fun. Coming past the team tents on lap 1, I felt like we finally started skiing a bit to spread things out, and then I got tangled up on Mt. Weston, right in front of Olivia and Hannah, who got caught behind me. Luckily they were able to close the gap, and I thought I'd do something noble and lead for a while into the wind, but they were all drafting Emily Nice instead, and she's taller (thus makes a better draft), so I spent a good bit of time in the wind unable to get back into line. Things were finally spread out enough that you could ski a bit, but back into the rollers in the middle of the course it jammed up again. Going up the last hill before the finish I'm pretty sure two girls fell, having been skied over or because they were skiing over someone else. It was a tough day, because it was much more nascar than ski race, but that's short distance mass starts for ya. I thought our girls fared pretty well despite the jostling, but we're just too nice as a team to be any good at that sort of racing!

In all, it was a beautiful day, on a really fun course, with a super fun team. I'm still smiling. Thanks to everyone who made this day possible!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mass Skate Qualifier

Weston put together a great course for the Mass Qualifier on Sunday, held in cold but brilliant sunshine.  Weston has gone wild making mounds of awesome snow, raising bumps and adding elevation to Mt. Weston.  Everything was in fabulous shape as juniors from across the state skied a two lap, 6km course in the first of the two state qualifiers to determine who will make the state J2 and E. High School teams for the championships in March. 

CSU had an excellent day as everyone stepped it up and skied very well.  On the boys side CSU took the top 5 spots and 10 of the top 15.  Eli Hoenig, going out first, hung on to take the win over Hamish McEwen by 9 seconds, with Rion O'Grady in 3rd, Chris Burnham 4th and Ian Meyer in 5th.  On the girls side Olivia Meyerson came home in first by 11 seconds over Mt. Greylock's Mackenzie Hitchcock.  CSUers Zoe Snow was tied with Mackenzie and Hannah Smith finished in 4th.  CSU girls held 5 of the top 10 and 8 of the top 15.  For the J2s, Hamish was first, Chris Zoziel 2nd, Sean Skahen 4th and Max LaChance 5th, while Zoe Snow as 1st, Charlotte Cole 2nd, Rebecca Smith 4th and Julia Schiantarelli 5th.  All results are posted on the CSU Junior site.
 Max goes for big air
 Ian leading Greg and Chris
Blake in the rollers 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

CSU Wins!!

Go ahead, fly the proud colors of CSU in front of your house today. In a very competitive race with difficult waxing issues (it is the closest I have seen our waxologist Rob Bradlee's hand move toward the panic button), CSU won the Mens' Championship. Our women were holding onto first until the some of the final skiers crossed the line, giving Maine victory in many of the older age groups and bumping us to a second place tie with Northwest Vermont. But we had the determined Sarah Gates (Frank Feists lovely bride) who broke the tie in our favor!!! We woke up to cold temperatures (5F) but with little wind. Jackson has been in a snow drought until this week when they received about two feet. The problem was that by the very end of the storm, the snow had turned to drizzle.

Consequently, the snow consisted of cold dry powder with a good amount of ice crystals. In Frank's usual matter of fact manner he urged all to "just deal with it". Short of klister, I am not sure anything worked great.

Okay enough of that OCD. Our heroes. The John Sakalowky Story: As many of you know John was one of this country's most successful bike racers who has recently switched over to the other side. He has pushed himself incredibly hard and attempted to get as much information as possible from the more experienced CSU members. In only his fourth classic race, John won his very competitive age group. Frank, Rob and I have commented that we have never seen someone learn how to ski so well so quickly. Also winning her age group was our own Dr. Ann Burnham who was happy to finally come out on top in a group that has some phenomenal skiers. Oh, and Alex Jospe won the race. Yup, our own graduate student, junior coaching, never ending commuter from Amherst extraordinaire won the entire race!!!!! All those Dartmouth skiers in their green suits were behind our Alex. Way to go Alex!!!!! Irene Melnikova, Lisa Doucett, and Jody Newton also earned CSU critical points. Now we need to discuss the important issue. Our founding mother, and CSU ringer SaraMae has has some joint surgery.  I need to talk to the doctor on his timing, but I think I can get SaraMae into double session training soon, and hopefully CSU women will bring home the trophy next year. Get well soon SaraMae!!!

DasBoyzes: If I wasn't always trying to catch him, I would enjoy more just how beautiful Frank Feist skis. He shot out of the starting gate and hooked up with some young buck. He reported that he was able to draft him up until the second time up the Wave. I was in a group of four chasing Frank, and we had a crazy double finish to the finish line whereby I barely won my age group. Rob Bradlee, a member of, by far, the largest and toughest age group in the entire race skied a brilliant race and got third. We also got invaluable points from Big Victor, Albert I. our favorite Canadian and new Master's Committee member Robert Faltus, Alex I. Papa Greg Werner, Wes Denering, Bill A., Dave A, and former Dartmouth captain Bob Burnham. I would like to welcome a new member, and former bike racer Steve Lake. Watch out, Steve has a motor. So all in all, we did great. I got the okay to order real plaques, so you should be able to see it at Weston soon. Rest up for Granddaddy Craftsbury this Saturday. Signing off until next year - Captain Andy Milne

 The Winners!!
 Victor cruises
 Lisa chases Dave Boucher
 Mr. Smooth
 Alex and Mt. Washington
Anne looking relaxed on lap 2 of the wave

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Geschmossel - Bretton Woods

Yesterday Rob and I drove up to Bretton Woods for the Geschmossel, he to race and me to take photos and get in some good classic skiing.   It was a crystal clear day and as we drove through the Notch the temperature dropped from +9F to -5F.  Fortunately, the sun was brilliant, there was only a small cloud spilling over the top of Cannon as we drove past and there was very little wind so it warmed up to a respectable temp by race time.  Its kind of nice to show up at a race when you aren't racing or waxing skis because its very relaxing.  I selected nice warm clothes and a balaclava and headed out to watch.  This is a great race for masters skiers becaue only a few younger skiers show up.  CSU, as always, had a good team there with Andy Milne, Rob, Bob Haydock, out of retirement for his one race a year, Jody Newton, John Sakalowsky, David Holmander and Luke Siebert, home from college before he heads off on a semester abroad.  Note the 3 generations of CSU suits in the photos.  It was cold and lots of different waxes worked so the secret was finding a fast combo.  After the race, while everyone else had a glass of wine with the results, I went out and skied.  It was way too nice out there.  Results are here.

Blue bird sky, perfect snow

Mont Sainte Anne Time Trial

A little late in posting but these
pictures were taken by Zoe's brother, Ben Snow, at Mont Sainte Anne's. He took a picture of every racer but we're posting just a few of the pictures that show more than one racer. This picture is shortly after the start.

Rob leading the way...

Rion, Katrin, Charlotte, Julia, Katie
and others close behind.

The men duking it out.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lake Placid Super Tour

Here is Alex's report from Lake Placid:

This last weekend was the Saint Lawrence Carnival (college race), and it was also a Supertour race, hosted by NYSEF, in Lake Placid. Supertours are the top level of domestic racing in the US, and the overall winner of the Supertour gets to go to World Cups with the US Ski Team, to give you an idea of what a big deal they are. The races also counted for JOQ points, so Hannah, Olivia, Kaytie, Chris B, Cate, Zoe, Hamish, and Ian Moore went out racing to see what they could see!

Most everyone arrived Thursday night (the races were on Friday and Saturday), although Chris and Zoe couldn't miss Friday's school, so came just for Saturday. Friday's race was at the jumping complex, and it was really cool to be racing underneath the massive ski jumps. The course was pretty brutal, it was a 2km loop, that went up up up and then down down down. It required good pacing, but the hill wasn't any longer than the one we use for hillbounding, and because everyone was doing three loops, it was just like doing three hill repeats. We had good kick, for the most part, and wicked fast skis on the downhills, and everyone skied really well. Although the skiers might have just been putting on a good face for their coach, it seemed like everyone had a good time at Friday's race.

We had a brief meeting about Saturday's race, and then we all headed out to Mr. Mike's for pizza and pasta. Saturday morning was disgustingly cold, but by the time the girls were racing, it had warmed up nicely, and our skis were again running really fast. We were in the same waxroom as Janice Sibilia (NENSA competitive director), who is a great waxer and wax tester, and I certainly learned a lot working with her. The J1/OJ/SR women went first, and that was when tragedy struck. This still hurts to tell. We had a great course tour, and then Hannah went out for more warmup, as she was the earliest starter. I told her I'd bring her skis to the start, so she'd have time to do enough warmup, and when I went back to the waxroom, I saw Bob Burnham, who wanted to know if there was anything he could do to be helpful. I wanted to go get my bib for my race, so I asked him to take the girls' race skis out - but, I didn't specify where to bring them. He brought them to the logical place, the warmup area, but because I hadn't been specific about where to bring them, or better, brought them there myself, Hannah didn't have her race skis when she started. Luckily, Hannah is a real soldier, and she raced as well as she could on a pair of super slow warmup skis. I was in pieces about this, because, as a coach, when you mess up, you screw up someone else's day, not just yours, but don't worry, Hannah and I are still on speaking terms.

So, later in the day, before the J2 race, Cate and I had the following exchange:

Cate: So, my race skis are in here, and I can just pick them up before my race?
Me: Yup, although I could also bring them out to you at the start if that's easier.
Cate: NO!!!
Cate: I didn't mean that in a bad way, I just really want to make sure I'm on my race skis.

My mistake aside, we raced well, as a team, and it was great having all the people out there cheering for us. The tightest battle of the day was in the J2 girls' race, where Cate and Heidi Halvorson finished within 2 seconds of each other, unfortunately this time Heidi was on top. Zoe was close behind, within 25 seconds of Brook Mooney, and it was super exciting to be standing on the only real hill of the course cheering these girls on. Hamish and Ian also raced really well, looking quite sharp and snappy coming up the hill. Unfortunately I didn't get out to see any of the older kids race, but I was quite proud of them all - it was a big field, and a deep one, and I think we did a great job! Thanks all, for making the drive, and I can't wait for the next Eastern Cup!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More photos from nationals

I'm a bit behind the game, I know. But, I had some more gems of photos from nationals, so figured I'd post them. The first one is Hannah excitedly un-sheathing a plastic sword that normally lives in my trunk. Rob and Jamie had managed to forget the klister boxes in the house (seriously guys? You've been doing this HOW many years?), so we crammed them into my honda, which has a broken trunk, along with Cate and Hannah, and drove over to the race site. Crisis averted. But in the process of filling my trunk (from the side door) with wax boxes, we unearthed a plastic sword. And who DOESN'T need a plastic sword in their trunk? You never know.

Apparently, I embarrassed Cate to no end by telling her that she'd caught up to an APU girl (with the APU skier just in front of her), and that she should be happy about that. Cate ended up apologizing for her rude coach at the finish, but the APU skier didn't mind. It never occurred to me that it would be rude to point out an observation, that you have caught a skier from a club that is one of the best in the US. Whoops...

The only photo of Hannah I got, she was just going too darn fast.