Sunday, March 26, 2017

Eastern High School Championships

The Eastern High School Championships were held last weekend at Mt. Top in perfect midwinter type conditions.  Clearly that didn't stop the Mass Team from their usual end of season photo op!  Massachusetts finished 3rd and CSU had some great performances highlighted by James Kitch taking the top spot in the mass start classic race on day 2 and Mass taking relay win as well as 7th and 9th on day 3 loaded up with all CSUers.  Congrats on some great racing!

Lots and lots of great photos taken by Brian Burt can be found at:

Full results of the weekend can be found at:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

CSU Invades Sugarloaf

If you missed the Sugarloaf marathon here is what you missed:
- Perfect Snow, nice and fresh
- Bluebird sky
- Superior grooming
- Comfy temperatures starting cold and ending up just right
- Best scenery with Sugarloaf Mt. in one direction and the Bigelows going the other direction
- Great CSU company
- The most fun course in NE

Results are HERE

CSU had a good day taking home several 1sts with Jody Newton and Gray Holmes winning their age groups in the half marathon (the full was about 41-42 km and the half 21 km).  In the full distance Hannah Smith was 2nd overall (the top 3 women skied about 2 km longer thanks to an unmarked trail junction that those of us that have skied the race before were familiar with and turned right on), Jess Snyder and Ari Ofsevit were first respectively in 30-39, John Sakalowsky 1st and Greg Werner 2nd in their age group, Andy Milne 4th, Tom Smith 7th, Michael Melnikov 10th, Jody Dean 12th in 50-59, Robert Faltus was 1st in 60-69 even though officially he is still in 50-59, Jamie Doucett 3rd and Richard Garrison 6th in 60-69 and Clinton Kreuger is missing from the results.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Weston Finale?

With a good U of snow there was exactly 1km of course around the outside of the driving range thanks to last weekend's snowmaking window, so Mark, Wes, Andy and John put together one more Weston race starting with a team sprint of 2 person teams each going 4 times with a hand off every lap.  Good competition!  That was followed by a 5 lap race.  Here is some of the action.  Great expressions people make in the dark!  Oh, and since it was Tuesday, it rained a bit before the action commenced.  Wouldn't want to go too many Tuesdays without some rain......

Team sprint winners!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Rangeley Marathon

A quick recap of a very cold and windy day at Rangeley where a number of CSUers and former CSU jrs. toed the cold starting line at the Rangeley Marathon.  Due to the high winds and low temps the marathon was moved from Saturday to Sunday.  While still only about 8F at the start and pretty breezy, the day promised to warm into the teens with a dropping wind.  The warm temps of last week and a heavy rain during the week left the course pretty hard in places and chopped up frozen granular in others.    And fast.  And kind of tricky.  Rangeley did a good job getting the trails in shape after the big freeze-up and CSU had a good day with John Sakolowski taking first in his age group, Jess Snyder 2nd in hers, Donna Smyth 1st in hers, Frank Feist 3rd and Andy Milne 4th in theirs in the Marathon, among others.  Full results available HERE.  A few photos:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Bogburn - A Just-in-Time Ski Race

Lisa and I headed up to the Bogburn this year to salve our disappointment that the Birkie was canceled.  At least there was still snow in Vermont and a race to be done!  
Friday evening and there was still plenty of snow
This year’s version of Bob Haydock’s Bogburn race really put the bog into the bogburn.  With temperatures not going below freezing overnight and a thick fog developing and then temperatures rising to close to 60 as the sun came out for the senior/master races the course was literally disappearing from beneath our skis one lap to the next.  What had been solid snow during warmup was transformed into small ponds during the race here and there on the course.  Bob came in from grooming in the morning with a hint of concern in his voice when he informed us that what we had shoveled onto the course Friday evening just after the dam needed replacement, and so down we went to scratch up more dirty snow from the woods and move it to the trail.  That section on my cooldown was literally reduced to a single track width with a nice solid mud pole track.  
The BKSL races started in a thick, but slowly diminishing, fog as I peered through the woods to watch for and direct the kids where to go.  With squirrelly snow, soft in places and in others with a glaze from the fog which made skiing rather “interesting”, the kids motored through with all manner of technique, no complaints, just good skiing.  
After moving around the course markers for the Senior/Masters race course it was time to slap some klister on the skis (I’d been skiing around on waxless in the morning) to see what would work, a large factor being what would work without entraining the entire forest into the klister.  Seemed like lots of stuff was working but clearly the Rex Orange (OU) that I first tried failed on the entrainment factor, picking up beech leaves, pine needles and whatever else was in the tracks.  So, I tried some old Toko silver mixed in but that was too grabby.  Next I scraped all that off and put on Rex OV, which attracted less junk, but I had to put a thin schmear of orange over it for better kick.  Not bad, I’d go with that and because OV is a bit harder, less junk.  Talking to Rob about 10 min. before the start he showed me his skis with Start Wide Universal, which has lots of silver.  No junk at all!!  So, I modified my skis a bit with a schmear of that on top and going with a t shirt instead of the CSU uni, was ready for the start.  
I stole this photo from Julia Kern showing how nice most of the trail actually was
The first loop at the Bogburn pretty much dope slaps you from the start with an uphill start through the pines to the ever tricky first turn (Barbara’s Bump) where if you stand up too soon you are doomed, followed by a nice climb and the smaller of two switchbacks.  Well, I bought it on the first switchback, the heavy, deep mush getting the better of me and down I went.  It is really hard to step turn in that junk.  Then the second big switchback (The Chicane) really did me in and in less than one Km I had fallen twice.  “Ok, get it together and ski, damn it” I muttered and on I went, those being my last falls of the day.  Sitz marks elsewhere on the course indicated the problems others were having staying on their feet.  Not long after the guy who started behind me went by and I was able to pace off of him a bit, and then Mark Doughty went by just after The Bent Tree.  I tried to keep with those guys as we entered the series of downhills off the back part of the course.  On the final lefthand big sweeper at the bottom Mark went down, caught by the ruts no doubt.  I swept around the corner, and his ski poles flopped across the course, and yelled “Poles, poles” at him as he managed to pull them in just in time.   The guy in front of me, Mark and I all converged on Beech Hill and the uphills through the Red Pine Forest but Mark was skiing well and I couldn’t hang with him.  Lapping through, Ben Haydock was shoveling snow into what had become a pond so we had a little dike so ski across.  Water was everywhere!  The snow was disappearing.   Lap 2 was just hanging on and trying not to make mistakes on the corners.  At one point a stream had opened up across the course right after you dodged a no longer submerged rock and I skied across with one foot on firm snow holding the other up so as not to get wet, followed by a herringbone that went further left into the woods to avoid a new bare spot.  Finally, reappearing out of the woods, waterskiing across the new pond I got to the finish, tired, hot and happy to be done with that particular event.  The storytelling then commenced.   Faltus had fallen once, Sako had fallen 3 times, Rob had gone down once, etc. etc. etc.  
Bob Haydock had pulled off yet another Bogburn in somewhat marginal conditions and a whole new set of race stories was born.  If we had started the race an hour later the course would no longer have been connected.  

Saturday after the race....not so much snow.  I stole this photo from the Mansfield Nordic Blog who got it from Adam Glueck.  Mark and Nathan Doughty, Ben Haydock and I shoveled snow onto this section twice and I think Ben did some more shoveling during the race!

CSUers Take State High School Championships

Congrats to CSUers Izzy Cole and Jacob Jampel on winning the state high school nordic ski championships, with Laura Appleby and Tyler Lee coming in second!   Boston Globe article:

Full results can be found here: