Sunday, February 26, 2017

CSU BW Ski Camp

Looks like a happy group after a week of ski camp at Bretton Woods!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jim Ellis' Craftsbury

Small Victories – a report from the back

To quote Gunther Kern, “at our age, any season you are not injured is a good season.”  For years I have battled with wrist tendonitis from spending orders of magnitude more time on a keyboard than on skis. This always limited my ability to use my upper body and I would always make sure my kick wax was perhaps more than solid so I could us my legs more.  Of course my glide always suffered.  One season I almost completely missed because I strained my back very badly and DNSed Craftsbury.  The next year, I tore my rotator cuff, thanks roller skis, and dropped back to the 25k on my second attempt to do a 50k by the time I was 50 years old.  I have battled with tennis elbow and inflamed bursas.   At this point, I stretch for a half to an hour almost every day and do light weights several times a week to deal with all my issues.  I have all sorts of therabars and stretch devices and lots of light weights.  I have a cartilage tear in my right knee.  Skiing never really bothers it but running anything other than uphill does, which limits some of my off season training options.  Discovering elliptical in the last two years has helped.  Last year when I thought everything was good some ankle inflammation occurred, loosening my skate boot slightly has seemed to help. This year everything is good.
Last year, I did my first 50k.  I felt like I was out there forever.  I had to pee three times during the race.  This year, I decided to drop back to the 25k and focus on speed.  To me doing the 25k in under two hours has been an elusive goal.  To me the 2 hours to 2:05 is a dividing line over 2:05 that is a 5+ minute a kilometer pace.  That 2 at the beginning of your time is a different first digit than the top racers in the field.  The best I had ever done was 2:11 at the Burt Kettle.
I talked to John and Jamie and other CSUers for wax advice.  I went out and tested.  I had some slip back, but decided not to add another layer or lengthen the kick zone.  I decided that my problems were with the skier and not the skis and to tough it out.
I had to get out of the track a lot on the uphill which exhausted my aerobic capacity, but my glide was good on the downhill.  At the end of my 25k I see 1:56 on the clock.  Same hour as the winner.  Small victories.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Race for Snow

Kudos to CSUers who organized a great event on Sunday, the Race For Snow. The team included Chantal Raguin, Tyler Lee, Elinor Graham, James and Madeline Kitch, Lydia Yoder, Emily Nottonson and Lorelei Poch.  Lots people raced, the course was quite challenging now that Mt. FOLJMS is in use and the snow didn't get too mushy in the warming weather.  A few photos of the action.  Lots more at

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Massachusetts Qualifier Races

Leo J. Martin hosted the Massachusetts Qualifier races today.  Classic and Skate races were held to qualify for the Mass U16 Team and the Eastern High School Championships team.  A few photos of the action:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Flying Moose Classic

Jody Newton, Gray Holmes, Mark Doughty, Clinton Kreuger and I ventured up to the Flying Moose 22 km classic today in Bethel, Maine.  This year there was lots of snow, although the recent snowfall must have transitioned because the tracks were a bit icy hard.  While the field is not large, it usually is pretty loaded with a fast crowd out to get Zak Cup points including the usual suspects from Northwest Vermont and of course the local speedsters like Kirk Siegel.  Many of us lost a bit too much wax on the icy corners.  Should have gone with klister binder rather than hard wax binder. Otherwise, not a bad day.  Except for Bill Holland, former CSUer who had the story of the day, below:

Not once in 47 years of racing do I recall having become involved in a multi-skier pile-up, but it happened today in spades. 

Usually, I manage to side-step downed skiers. Not this time. Down I went to avoid the guy sprawled in front of me and got plowed into by about five high school racers. Fortunately, before the start I'd ceded my position to my betters: Chris Dorion and Doug Armstrong, so I at least wasn't responsible for taking down any of my peers. 

I staggered back to my feet to find blood spurting from my nose onto the snow, bruised ribs, and some significant wobbliness that evaporated after just a few minutes of shuffling. Bit of a shame since for the first time this season I had utterly bomb-proof kick and could in a number of instances keep diagonal skiing right over the herring-bone tracks of my predecessors.

Take-away #1: Don't talk about your most recent major wipe-out--at the Stowe Derby where I got knocked unconscious and suffered 3-4 cracked ribs--five minutes before the start of your current race. Definite psychic self-sabotage.

Take-away#2: Do ski the first 1K or so of a race course during your warm-up so you know what to prepare for--in this case a long, squirrely downhill .5K into the race.

Take-away #3: Do take a peek at the course map beforehand. I didn't and missed a major turn that would have taken me back up onto the Upper Loop. So not to worry, Jamie and Co. I didn't beat you or any other CSU worthy by the startling margin indicated in the original results.

On to Rangeley!

Bill Holland

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bill Holland's Craftsbury Tale

2017 C'bury Marathon Index

By Bill Holland

Part I: The race to the race

Est. travel time from Cumberland, ME to Craftsbury Outdoor Center: 3.75 hours
Actual travel time to Sunset Inn, Morrisville, VT: 8 hours
Number inches of snow forecast: 3"-5"
Actual amount snowfall: 7"-9"
Number of snowplows encountered on back roads between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.: 0
Number of times pulled out of snowbank by friendly farmers en route: 2
  Via pickup truck: 1
  Via tractor: 1
  Amount either would accept in payment: $0
Number of hills my car could successfully negotiate between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.: 0
Total hours sleep Friday night-Sat. morning: 2

Part II: The race

On a scale of 1-10, how fast were skis: 9
On a scale of 1-10, how good was kick (7 layers Xtra blue, 2 layers VR 45 under foot): 5
Time for 1st lap: 53 mins.
Time for 2nd lap: 61 mins.
Percentage of time going uphill spent out of tracks: 50%
Rate overall race satisfaction on a scale of 1-10: 7
Additional comment: Skis so fast I stayed with Kris Freeman on one downhill. Will make final attempt at bombproof kick tomorrow at Flying Moose. Then it's bye-bye classic races till next year.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Weston Worlds!

Beautiful conditions for this week's race at Weston - no ice and no rain!  A few photos from the 2nd wave: