Rikert EC Weekend Part I: Friday

by Daniel

The bus up to Rikert was scheduled to leave at 3:15, so naturally the Bandlers arrived 5 minutes late, while struggling to cope with yet another difficult departure. Fortunately for the Bandlers, when they arrived, the team was still struggling with the logistics of packing the vans for two separate destinations. With some helpful tips from Hannah, John and Keelan managed to pack the skis into the precarious roof box, and strap them down. The van ride up was very quiet, until someone suggested that we play the Alphabet game. The Alphabet game involves looking out the window at signs, where you try to work your way down the alphabet by searching for letters. If you find a letter on a sign, then that sign is off limits. The people sitting towards the front of the row predictably curb-stomped, as those in the back could barely see through their fogged up windows. After that, people mostly talked about the last time that they had been there.

Finally, we arrived at the girls’ house. Our van was the second one to arrive, so when we entered the house was already bustling with activity. Some of the people were already in the kitchen cooking dinner, like Johanna who was making her world-famous salad, while some of the boys hovered around the Grand Piano, assembling a puzzle map of the world. Down a couple steps below them on the livingroom floor playing a game of bananagrams. After snooping through the kitchen, I ascertained that dinner would be burritos, and that my help wasn’t necessary at this time, I headed over to the living room, where Perrin had taken out a game that she had brought, called Wise and Otherwise. In W&O a person reads the first half of a proverb, then everyone writes on a card their best guess for its second half. Then, everyone votes on which one they think is right, and if you guess correctly, you get to move forward a space. It is really fun to play, especially with a creative group.

Dinner was, as I had learned, was delicious burritos with Johanna’s salad. It was quite good, and apparently I looked like I enjoyed it, because I received several comments comparing my eating style with that of Adam Glueck. After dinner, those of us who didn’t help make dinner cleaned up the dishes we made, and returned to playing games and working on the puzzle. In the other room about half of the team did what was apparently yoga, although I have never heard of a relaxing exercise which evolved so many shrieks of laughter. Then we all assembled for a whole team meeting, where we discussed strategy for tomorrow. After the short team meeting, it was time to return to our respective houses. My roommate was Keelan. Before we went to bed we hung out in the attic up on the third floor, where John Cunningham (aka “Runningham”) decided to pre-emptively warm up for the race on the treadmill. Finally, in a timely manner, we all went to bed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB8cM2oDxsc

Greens OD

by Dirk and Justin

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

As we drove up the snow-covered path to Green Woodlands, the thermometer in the car read a frigid three degrees Fahrenheit. This was with the sun shining high in the sky as it was 12:30pm. After we parked the car, we hesitated to get out and brave the icy air. Yet after the sub-zero temperatures in Canada, we told ourselves this was mild. We grabbed our skis and jogged over to the trailhead. Popping on our race skis, we headed out to warm up with some others. The snow squeaked under the skis and caused them to stop short on the glide phase. We shuffled back and forth between the trailhead and the Black Bog trail and the parking lot a few times before convening and heading out on the trails.

We skied slowly up the Black Bog trail as a big group, chatting and trying to stay warm in the frigid, icy air. We talked about the exciting news that Jessie Diggins got 3rd in the Tour de Ski the day before.  The very persistent cold temperature had made the new snow very slow, and loud as our skis slowly glided along. The bright sun felt good on our backs warming us as we climbed the hills. We zipped down the back side and then cut over to do the short version of the Smart’s Mountain loop. The snow piled heavily on the tree branches, weighing them down low, where they glistened in the afternoon sun. On the downhills, the wind whipped our faces and froze our tears. We stopped for a quick second at a trail junction but then planned on going to the next warming hut far a snack and drink in the sun. When we finally stopped at the warming hut on wheels, the quick break and snack was a welcome relief yet the sun was hidden behind the only cloud in the sky. We then skied down toward the Carriage trail but decided to head back because we had been out for plenty of time. We passed many families and dogs out embracing the cold and having fun in the perfect snow. Everyone was ready to be done as we glided down the last hills on the Black Bog trail. We worked our way back to the parking lot and dispersed into our separate cars for the ride home. I was glad to put on some warm layers and enjoy hot tea for the ride home.

Fort Kent Weekend: Sunday Classic Mass Start & Travel

Races   by Andy

 

We stood in our start positions hearing “We are the Champions” over the loud speakers in the stadium. As the music stopped with one minute and thirty seconds to the start the GMVS boys began some sort of tribal call throughout the pack. Once we got moving we realized exactly how cold it was. Seconds later the gun went off and pack took off towards the downhill left-hand corner at the end of the stadium. According to John’s phone, the real feel temperature was negative thirty-two degrees. The tracks were some of the firmest I have ever raced on, even though four races had taken place in the course already that day. The course climbed up into the woods where it snaked through a hillside before descending back down towards the stadium. It was also one of the most beautiful courses I have ever raced on. The sky was cloudless and blue, and the sun lit up the snow that covered the trees and created sharp shadows and patterns on the tracks. The world sparkled as the race field stretched out on the first lap thanks to the hilly first 2.5 kilometers. On the descent back into the stadium the field strung out even more until people were skiing in small groups of three or four as we lapped through to begin our second lap. After reaching the top of the course I realized how close to the finish we were and dug deep to hold on. After going over the last two steep bumps on the outside of the stadium we turned left on a banked turn to open up into the final stretch. After crossing the line we hurried to find warm, dry clothes before we headed off to cool down.

Travel   by Perrin

We quickly packed up and immediately got on the road so we wouldn’t get home too late. The northern Maine hills rolled by outside the frosted windows of the van, and nine tired athletes dozed in and out of sleep as we drove closer and closer to the New Hampshire border. Our JNT playlist repeated itself over and over, and again we played “The Question Game”, in which we all ask each other deep questions to get to know each other better (and to just have some laughs). Night fell and on we drove, straight on a 70 mph highway, longing to arrive at our dinner stop: Whole Foods. At 7:00 we were wondering if we were close, and checked the map. We had passed the Whole Foods in Portland 30 minutes before. It was devastating. Our hunger and hanger grew, but Scottie saved the day by finding a Mexican restaurant in Portsmouth. When the van rolled up to Dos Amigos, we practically fell out of the van, and rushed to order several meals each.

Our stop at the restaurant also included the last of our nightly Menorah lighting; Malcolm and Eloise had brought a handmade cardboard Menorah complete with birthday candles, and each night they had said a prayer as the team crowded together for the ritual. We let the candles burn down, and then got back on the road to complete our long drive. It had been an unforgettable first weekend in a gorgeous and snowy Maine, but we missed having everyone there and can’t wait for the next Eastern Cup when we can have the whole team together at last!

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Fort Kent Weekend: Saturday Skate Sprint

by John

*EHHH EHHH EHHH EHHH*, we woke with a start in the apparent attic of our temporary housing, the time was six o’clock and brisk it was at that time. The boys awaited the eventual call to arms by their numerous alarm clocks, but for a while they stayed there hands and pretended to sleep for just a bit longer. The night had been long and surprisingly eventful for a train had passed right next to there home and woken everyone, except andy… However today was a new day and our band of adventurers got up and got ready for the first eastern cup race of the year.

After joining the females in the group for a hearty breakfast they set out into the frigid morn, in search of glory and victory. Upon arrival at the venue after a rather long ride by motorized carriage they split up and got down to business. The girls went in search of some place to warm up for there race and the boys relaxed a bit longer before they followed the girls out for their warm ups as well. The race that day was to be a skate sprint around a course that offered no rest and a variety of things that would challenge all who happened upon them, strategy and fitness was the name of the game that day. At nine o’clock sharp, they all raced quite well, with four of the five of them making heats, three of those four making open heats. Then the boys went off and not quite up to par with the counterparts not a single one made heats. However they all raced well and, one of them almost made heats falling a mear three people short… less than a second! After cool downs had been had by all the girls started to warm up for there afternoon race. Hoping for another successful race they set out and did their best, and they all did admirably yet again but alas all but one of them did not make finals. That one person by the skin of their teeth held on and raced yet again, for the joy of the sport and the pure elation that it brought her to race along those groomed trails in paradise… if paradise was a consistent -2 degrees fahrenheit. While our brave amazon raced around the course her one last time, the rest of us went back to the house for some R&R.

The time at home was indeed relaxing as many of us found time to do homework or play card games, and some of us even slept. Once our final racer and our coaches came back home dinner was started, and it was pasta. It took quite a while to cook but it was an enjoyable experience to all, as greta and andy had a seemingly great time cooking the brownies, and we got to hear some of Greta’s great piano playing skills. Once dinner was upon us, we sat down and dug in, and with Dennis missing dug is a very appropriate word for what we did. Manners were out the window for this dinner.

Woodstock Time Trial

by Hannah

Saturday morning at Centerra dawned cold and frosty, although we knew our friends up in Fort Kent were probably colder and frostier. Excitement was somewhat visible above the many layers of coats, especially among the five 7-8 skiers who had come to join us five JNTers in our timetrialing endeavors. I wish I, the sleepy teenager, had as much energy as the 8th graders, who spent the morning trying to balance on the toes of their boots, throwing snowballs, and stealing hats.

When we arrived at Woodstock, the first thing we noticed was the snow. THE SNOW!! The entire golf course was covered in an immaculate blanket of sparkling powder, freshly groomed and waiting for us to ski on it. Honestly, they should have just held the first Eastern Cup at Woodstock.

After traipsing into the nordic center to change in unusually luxurious locker rooms (the women’s has several armchairs), we leaped out onto the snow and skated happily across the gently rolling terrain, while Keith and Welly tried to figure out where on earth the course went. Once that problem was resolved, we previewed the course, which was for the most part rolling, with some lovely sections of tuck-skate downhills, and wended its way through a very muddling maze of trails. Guiding us through this maze, we had only the map Welly had drawn on his hand (described by him as a fish with a straight tail that bent a little). Fortunately, during the actual time trial, the course was clearly marked, or some of us would never have returned!

Speaking of actual time trials, I suppose you want to hear about the actual time trial, not just me rambling on with setup. Very well, here goes…

photo: Woodstock Inn Nordic

We started in 30 second intervals, with Dennis all alone running all of the timing. I don’t know how he managed to keep track of all that! All I can say is that it was very humbling to have Jack Lange blast past me about two minutes into my race 🙂 I mostly focused on the technique pointers people had given me, and for the first time in a lot of races, I actually was not terrified by any of the downhills on the course. On the other hand, there was a universally hated uphill, after a very long glorious rollercoaster ride of downhills, that I am pretty sure was steeper than Murterbachen! (I know I spelled that wrong)

Anyway, fun was had by all, and that’s all I have to say 🙂