Sunday, January 21, 2018

Handsome and Beautiful CSU Skiers Take on the White Mt. Classic

For the second week NE suffered a big warmup which ate up snow, but at least there was a brief snowfall early in the week which gave Jackson a few inches to work with.  They maintained plenty of snow cover so the big question became how warm would it get on race day and when and what klister would be needed.  Based on my looking at the weather about 100 times during the week I waxed up skis at home before heading to Jackson
Dawn over good tracks

The morning dawned at about 22F.  I rushed out with the test skis and quickly decided that Start Wide Universal covered with Rode T Line would work well.  My major concern each year is getting up Yodel without blowing a gasket early in the race.  The course was back to a longer course by adding in loops in the fields before we headed up the race loop as well as adding in the Henry loop, so the course was reportedly 26km, much better than last year’s 18 km. 

Just before the race started with temperature shot up, I removed my hat and the winds started gusting.  Weird weather!  The start went smoothly as we looped the golf course as I followed Robert Faltus around just a bit behind Bob Burnham who was behind Andy Milne with Frank Feist and John Sakolowski leading out the large CSU contingent.  I was happy to cross the road and start up Yodel with Andy and Bob just a bit in front of me, although they slowly gapped me as we crested the hill.  Behind me, Clinton was going full double pole again, this week on much harder hills.  I will be signing Clinton up for some canoe racing next summer!  Robert was just behind me as we labored up Yodel.  On the left turn heading toward the road crossing I passed Bob who was dusting himself off from an uncharacteristic fall.  Out in the fields, the wind was picking up, rendering the tracks useless and skiing into the wind was like skiing up hill while going the other way was so fast it was like going downhill.  Bob and I even tucked in several places.  Heading up the first section of the Wave was as always a rude awakening and I struggled a bit but once we got back into the woods it was better.  However, with the wind we now had large pine cones littering the track, some branches here and there so it was hop in the track, hop out of the track, try to flip pine cones out of the way with your skis without running over them, etc.  Lots of one-footed skiing, picking one foot up, then the other.  Interesting!  Adding in Henry added some good climbing to the course and some twisty downhills.  Back in the fields the wind gusts were getting ridiculous and it was good to get back in the woods in Alice’s Alley, but back in the fields Bob and I managed to draft off a skiing high school kid and he stayed in front so we kept following.  The wind gusts were so strong we were barely moving going into the wind and were flying going the other way.  Just before heading up the Wave again, someone ahead of us took a big, inexplicable dive.  As I crested the first big hill to head down the dip I figured out why….it was now warm and wet enough that I’d iced up a bit.  No problem kicking it free though.  We left the kid we drafted off of for dead as we headed up the hill but we in turn got totally schooled by Ava Thurston, an 8th grader skiing for Mansfield Nordic who had smartly drafted us in the fields and then scampered up the hills and dropped us like a stone! She finished 2nd for women.  Lap two of the wave went better than round one with better kick as I chased Bob.  I tried to stay close on the downhills as he gapped me a bit, but once back in the fields was able to slowly catch back up.  Now the winds were probably gusting to 30 or 40mph.  We tucked in a few places going downwind and struggled going upwind.  I nearly got knocked down on the top of the one hill in the fields as I turned the corner.  Ridiculous!  I finally got by Bob as we headed up to the Eagle Mt. House, trying to get a lead before the big downhill on Yodel where I knew Bob would ski faster.  The focus narrowed to the finish line as we crossed the road in muddy slush and down to the first herringbone hill where Bob pulled up. “Here we go!” he said and proceeded to kick my butt up the hill, having taken lessons from    Norway's Johnny Kaebo, effectively putting our race away right there.  I chased but he gained time on the downhill and I didn’t have anywhere near enough time on the golf course to catch him.  Further up, John Sako led the big CSU contingent, coming in 13th with Frank Feist 15th, Jimmy Burnham 19th, Ari Ofsevit 24th and Andy Milne 31st.  On the women’s side Ann Burnham was first CSUer and winner of her age group, followed by Christine Pasterczyk, Amie Smith, Lisa Doucett, Sarah Gates (1st F4), Jody Newton and Sara Mae.
Jody, Christine, Amie, Ann, Sarah and Lisa take home the club championship!  Absent - Sara Mae

This race serves as the one day club championship and as usual the scoring was going to be close between CSU and NWVT.  In the men’s race it came down to the first tie-breaker and NWVT took top honors.  I noticed they’ve locked down the younger age groups and we seem to have locked down the older ones.  Need to round up some younger skiers!  Also, they stole Chris Burnham from us (well, Chris does now live and work up in NWVT territory).   On the women’s side CSU pulled out its secret weapon, founder Sara Mae Berman, who made the difference after the scoring came down to 2 tie breakers to give CSU the top spot!  Well done!

It was another beautiful day to race, even if the weather was a bit extreme, the course was good and lots of CSUers made the trip to enjoy the racing and comraderie.

Full results are HERE

Here are some really nice photos from the Jackson Facebook page.  Thanks Jackson!

Jamie and Bob



Sara Mae


CSU going downwind (to the right) and upwind (to the left)



Jamie, Bob and Steve



Frank and Jim

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