by Tim and Jack
(email readers: to see all of the photos – including one of every racer – click through to view this post in a browser)
[Tim] Most days start with the sound of an alarm clock, but not at the ungodly hour of 4:40AM. Today was the day the Ford Sayre ski team met up with Gertrude for the first official race of the season, and it was to be held on the glistening, world-cup grade trails of Rikert Nordic Center. Which as it turned out, were no more than a sliver of some of the iciest snow I had ever seen. It was going to be amazing.
[Jack] After the smooth sailing from Centerra to Middlebury, our convey docked in the parking lot and the ready crew jumped up and into fast action. Bags, boxes, and bodies went in all directions as the wax table was set up, skis were produced from the depths of weary looking bags, and trail passes were purchased. After a short test ski along the icy run that constituted the course, we took to foot and followed the clean and packed gravel roads in order to keep warm before the foreboding start. However, fate waits for no man, and after a short meeting between directors and athletes, the boys and men took to the line hastily painted with red Gatorade and began the process of waiting until it was our turn to leap from this red mark in the ice and meet ourselves and our competitors.
[Tim] Riding in the last car on the convoy over to Rikert was fairly uneventful, actually it was more of a silent disco, without the disco. When the doors opened up on site however, the music crescendoed to a dull roar and people got to work. The table and skis were set up in time and the first few skiers went out to try the new sport nordic ice skating. From that point in time I split off from the group to do my warm-up, running up and down the muddy trails of Rikert was truly an unusual way to warm-up for a snow based sport in DECEMBER. In any case the race came upon us in a flash, and the 5k skiers lined up. Normally this would be a race that I would look to do very well in, but today I was racing without poles, today was indeed going to be amazing.
In short, the day was full of great kickoff races, great weather, and a ton of no pole skiing. With three hours of skiing under our water belts, we packed up Gertrude and set sail towards home.
A race photo of each athlete…