CSU had a great day at the Mass Skate Qualifier at Weston today all the way through the order, skiers and parents all. Conditions were excellent, with cold temps, a clear sky, nice new natural snow and great course conditions groomed up by Weston. Lots and lots of great race results, which are HERE! The CSU wax team under the guidance of Amie Smith made it look easy, with no muss, no fuss and no pressure! The CSU food table, organized by Sandra Meyerson, was laden down with great eats and soup and everyone got to enjoy that! CSU volunteers made sure skiers were registered and started on time, laps were counted, times recorded and results posted. Thanks! A coach's job is so easy when the wax is applied, the skiers perform, food is provided, results are quickly posted, the gross, sweaty bibs are collected and sorted and everything is picked up. A magnificent team effort from everyone!
Today it was the Masters chance to race, with a few seniors mixed in, at the White Mt. Chase in Jackson. It finally looked like winter up there with about 6-8" of new snow on top of some crusty stuff they had. Thanks to the fluffy new snow the tracks and skiing were excellent. Add in lots of NE masters skiers, the one day club championship and picturesqe winter weather for a great day of racing.
CSU brought up its usual big, fast team to contest the club championship. Racers included Ben Smeltzer, Frank Feist, Andy Milne, Rob Bradlee, John Sakalowski, Bob and Anne Burnham, Greg Werner, Jamie and Lisa Doucett, Sarah Gates, Jody Newton, Tom Smith, Robert Faltus, Victor Golovkin, Michael Melnikov, Joe Bouscaren, Mark Doughty, Tom Simon, Charlie Kellogg, Alec Smith and Irina Melnikova. Quite the crowd!
Victorious Men's Team
It was about 8F in the morning, but calm and cloudy. By the time Lisa and I got up to the ski center there were flurries coming down. Waxing was not difficult. I bumped my wax up to Rode Super Blue covered with mint and Rob was suggesting Toko Viola covered with Toko Blue, which is what I put on Lisa's skis. I ended up having great skis and they were pretty fast too. After an all too short warmup, testing my skis partway up Yodel, we lined up with a good crowd of mostly masters skiers. The start went off well, as the field started to spread out quickly due in part to the slow snow. Unfortunately, somewhere in there Andy went down and had to scramble, skiing between the tracks, for a while to move back up toward the front.
Yodel was, as always, a difficult climb to start a race on. I was clearly not warmed up enough and realized that I was going to suffer a bit, so didn't press too hard. However, I wasn't stuck in a train, like others further back, so that was a good thing. I keyed on Bob Burnham, trying to hang with his group, which worked well for a while. I recovered a bit in the Eagle Mt. fields, catching a glimpse of the big front pack with Frank and Andy in there and probably Ben and Rob as well. Then we headed up. I couldn't hang with the Burnham group on the steeper hills and faded back, not sking particularly well, relieved at last to head down the Wave back to the flat fields and double poling and kick DP. The downhills were really nice with the new snow. No ice to contend with, they were totally skiable and fun. At the first feed Ron Newbury passed me. Ron and I have had some really fun duels over the years and that got me rolling. I wanted to get a gap on the flats since Ron climbs well, so picked up the pace for the rest of that loop. Miraculously, I remembered how to ski classic and did much better on the hills on lap two. I really enjoyed the downhills again, trying to find the best line and be smooth on the corners and, coincidentally, getting a nice rest. Now on to my part of the course, the flats! With rollerski kick and thinking of all those Littleton rollerskis, I started working the fields pretty hard and managed to pass a couple people. Since the course wound back and forth all over the fields there were skiers going every which way making it hard to tell who was in front and who was behind. Now I developed a little problem....triceps cramps. I readjusted my DP to save my arms and the sports drink I got at the feed seemed to help. Finally, down Yodel to the finish. Only a couple more hills, I got up those without my arms cramping and then hammered to the finish, not quite catching a Bethel skier. Turns out he had triceps cramps too. I'd had a good, solid race and was very happy.
After grabbing my warmups I went back to Yodel to see Anne Burnham, Jody Newton, Lisa and Sarah Gates come down the big hill and finish.
As the race wound down, Team Captain Andy scored the men's and women's finishes for CSU and at lunch it was announced that the men had regained the one day champions trophy due to great sking by a bunch of CSUers and the women took home the silver in a fine effort. Not bad for flatland skiers! Best finish for CSU was Ali Crocker's first place overall! Just about everyone seemed to have had a good race as you can see in the race results. Race results can be found HERE
Alex did a great summary of the weekend. Here are the visuals! The big uphill at Titcomb Mt was followed by a big and very fast downhill. CSUers did well negotiating it, most trying to get as much speed as possible to rest from the uphill. Fortunately, I didn't catch any CSUers taking a big fall like this poor dude. He bounced up and continued.
Jamie will undoubtedly post some photos of all our skiers looking quite speedy, but I figured I should fill in some of the words. This may get long, I get all gushy when my athletes ski so well. The weekend featured a classic sprint on Saturday, and a skate distance race, individual start, on Sunday. The sprint course was pretty flat, and a lot of the top guys just double poled on skate skis. This was clearly the approach for the Craftsbury Green Team gorillas, but for everyone else, kick wax was the way to go. I think Eli, Jordan, Calvin, and Greg all also tried the double pole approach, with varying degrees of success. Sunday, the course veered in the opposite direction, sending skiers up the alpine mountain for a pretty tough climb. J2s did that climb three times, women did it six times, and the men did it eight times. That's a lot.
CSU had a pretty banner day on the women's side on Saturday. Led by Corey in first, we put seven CSU women into the senior heats - Corey, Julia, Zoe, Rebecca, Cate, Olivia, and coach Alex. Coach Doro also almost qualified for the heats, ending up in 34th place! Blake had an outstanding day, ending up as the 13th junior after the senior heats - the top 12 made it to the junior heats. Bittersweet, but a great race! Rosie had a good day too - in her words, if she were a J2, she'd be in the J2 heats! Ah, the curse of when your birthday happens to fall. Kaytie improved her seed spot by over 10 places, and Katie looked really smooth and confident out there. Great skiing from everyone!
Among the J2 girls, we had more outstanding performances. 12 J2s advanced to heats after the senior heats, and Charlotte and Hadley were our athletes in that race. Both qualified easily for the A final, and Charlotte had a breakthrough day, where she realized that the trick to winning is just to beat everyone else, and she did that with ease. Hadley took third, also making it look easy!
In the men's race, Eli qualified for the senior heats. Although he didn't advance from the quarterfinal, he skied a smart race, and it was fun to watch the heat. Calvin had a day similar to Blake's, in that he was the 13th junior after the senior heats, so just missed mixing it up in the junior heats. Jordan had a good day too, showing off what happens when you are a strong double poler on a power course, and Greg, Ian, Nathan, Sean, and Ryan were close behind.
The J2 boys had three CSU skiers in the heats: Chris, Max, and Jacob. Chris skied easily into the A final, but then didn't quite have the oomph left to win the heat. Jacob unfortunately got tangled up in his semifinal, and fell on the downhill, losing his momentum, but he rallied well and ended up 10th overall, 4th in the B final. Max showed off his double pole technique, and out-poled his competitors in the finish to take first in the B final. Gavin and Lewis didn't quite make the finals, but as first-year J2s, they got a great experience out there nonetheless!
We had a surprise overnight when the hotel had a fire alarm in the middle of the night, but luckily that didn't seem to affect anyone's racing, and CSU skiers were ready to rock on the tough climber's course. J2 boys went first, and our guys skied really great. Gavin led the way in 3rd, proving that he is indeed a fantastic climber, and Max had his best result yet this year, ending up 5th. Chris toughed it out in 9th place, and Jacob was 15th, with Lewis just behind in 17th, all climbing smoothly, and descending fast.
The J2 girls were next, and the CSU gals put on an outstanding show, with all five girls in the top 7! These are some fit ladies. Julia took 1st, and Zoe was 3rd, just seconds behind her friend and rival Katherine from SMS. The next five seconds had three skiers, with Hadley in 4th, and Charlotte in 6th. First-year J2, Katrin, was 7th place, in her first EC! They made that hill look easy.
Next up were the women, with six laps. Due to a head cold, Corey sat out, but the other's picked up where she left off. Olivia and Cate led the way in the top 30, showing us what fitness really is, with Olivia posting a personal best 8th place! Coach Maddy came out of retirement (about time!) with a solid finish, and Rosie had a really good day too. Rebecca had a tougher day, battling an upset stomach, and I won't repeat what I overheard Blake and Katie saying to each other about the race... but despite not having the finishes they were hoping for, they were super supportive of their teammates, and had a really great positive attitude.
The final race of the weekend was the men's 11km, 8 lap, sufferfest. Cathy Schen counted laps for the boys, a very necessary task when you have race brain on a hilly course. Eli led the day, as the top junior overall, and only two minutes out from the leader, in 18th. Ian, Rion, and Calvin were all clumped not too far behind Eli. I swear Rion didn't slow down at all between any of his laps, and Ian made that hill look easy. Nathan was just behind that group of guys, skiing smoothly for each lap. Sean had gotten a nice ride off of Rion early on, but discovered that pace was a bit too fast for 8 times up that hill, and faded a little. Greg skied really smoothly, showing some nice technique improvements, and Ryan had a fitness breakthrough - "how did that feel?" "It felt AWESOME!" And he wasn't even being sarcastic!
Overall, we had some great performances, and some breakthrough races. Keep up this great attitude, CSU!
Everyone has made it home from Rumford safe and sound, and to our delight, Weston has a full loop of snow! Hopefully cold temperatures this week will allow them to complete the outer loop, but right now there is good coverage, and I was so happy to see all the smiling CSU skiers doing their intervals together. What a great team!
Thanks to some fast and furious racing last week, we qualified three athletes for the US Ski Team trips later this winter. Corey was the top-ranked junior girl, and will be representing the US at the Junior World Championships, in Turkey, and Eli was the top-ranked J1 boy, so will be representing the US at the J1 Scandinavian Cup, in various places in Scandinavia this winter. Eli was also the 8th junior overall, very impressive as he's still a J1! Julia, thanks to her fantastic racing this last week, qualified for the women's J1 Scandinavian Cup trip, and as a J2!
While we're obviously excited about the athletes heading overseas later this winter, they couldn't do it without having great training partners and supportive teammates, and I was thoroughly impressed by the level of skiing shown by all our athletes both at Rumford, and those racing for their high-schools back home. Attitude counts for so much, and CSU has a great attitude!
Now back to the grind, and see you all on the gerbil-loop!
Awww, we all missed Zoe when she had to go home mid-week to go to school.
CSU Juniors rocked Rumford yesterday! On tap were the classic races at Nationals. The juniors had separate and shorter races than the seniors, who went 20km and 30km, while juniors went 10km and 5km. I didn't hear any of the boys complaining about not going up High School Hill 9 times! Nevertheless, the boys still had to go up 3 times, while the girls had just one trip up the big hill and then went on the men's sprint course for their second lap.
We awoke early to find snow falling fairly heavily, which immediately changed the waxing plan of attack for the coaches. Arriving at Black Mt at leisurely time of 9 since the junior races were in the afternoon, just as the senior races were going off, Rob and Alex started right in testing skis, first for glide and rilling, and then for kick wax while I spent a few minutes watching the men's race, catching Noah Hoffman put a sudden gap on the pack to take the race on the last lap.
Since temps had warmed up and with the new snow Alex and I re-glide waxed all the skis for the warmer conditions. Rob and Alex then narrowed down the kick wax selection while Gunther and I finished topcoats, rills and base green prep on all the skis. Conditions on the track were a bit dicey, with the 1-2" of new snow mixed into the manmade stuff and a track that was pretty well buffaloed by the previous races. A final wax selection was made and we waxed up the boys and off they went. Eli skied a very smart race, hanging on to the eventual 2nd place finisher Scott Patterson of UVM, who started right behind Eli and passed him early on. Eli then was able to chase down Paddy Caldwell (SMS), his main J1 rival, by the 3rd lap, who had started just in front of him, and came home the J1 winner and 5th place overall, only 16 sec out of first! Following Eli were Nathan, who thought he had his best classic race ever and Calvin, who is improving race by race in classic events, skiing very strongly in a strong field.
Then it was time for the girls race. After a bit of scrambling to deliver enough solid kick for the girl's skis they were off, Cate going first and skiing very strongly on her comeback from injury to finish in 37th overall which put a nice smile on her face. Corey was out next and skied very strongly to take 2nd overall to Anne Hart, a future Dartmouth teammate by only 1 second. Julia then went and skiied a very strong race to come in 11th overall! Olivia banged out another solid effort like we've come to expect every time she races to come home in 27th. Zoe, starting near the end of the start order, moved steadily up through the field with her hard effort, picking up Hadley along the way who then hung tough, keying on Zoe for all she was worth as the two came in close together for two more stellar CSU finishes.
This was a very gratifying end of Nationals with every CSUer going out and laying down a great effort, leaving little on the course and having excellent races! It is exciting to watch everyone going hard, game faces on and ponytails flying.