The Rainy Sprints

by Colin (photos mostly from Adam)                     “… a bit of an essay, but that was the weekend …”

The morning was Oatmeal and Eggs, a classic for the JNT.  We hit the road with killer timing at 7:30 and arrived at the Craftsbury venue for 8:00.  There was a slow drizzle that we received from the start, a combo with warm weather that gave the morning races a feeling of skiing in a temperate tropical bog.

Erik in the U16 (J2) semis

Erik in the U16 (J2) semis

(Erik) braved the elements, stripped down to his race suit, threw on #78, and headed out to show the world his prowess as a distinguished J2 competitor.  He came across the line with joyous victory in his eyes and adrenaline in his blood stream, having raced well against the competition.  He was proud to have made all the J2 heats regardless of his last place in each one.  He left his mark on New England as he finished the B finals for J2’s.

Adam was next to walk the plank, so to speak, and went out to enter back into the fray after his hiatus from it all.  He pulled on #140 after a long warm up that would put many of us to shame and went for it.  He deigned to speak with us for a few short seconds and confided that he was deliciously happy with his race, having finished with a faster time than he’d anticipated being able to pull off.  He also let us in on the scoop about his goals.  Technique had been a solid for the sprint and his one trouble was that fatigue was quick to set in and he didn’t quite feel the energy he wanted to have felt near the end.

Rain continued to fall down upon us as the day drew on and Colin’s sprint time approached.  The clock counted down from ten as he stood on the line, realizing, to his fear, that the nuts, bolts, and muscles that make him tick were feeling a little colder than they should’ve.  The course had been pounded well and long by the hoards of angry, wet, aggressive sprinters charging round the 1.3K loop when Colin, near the very end with no points and #208 for his first ever J1 race, finally V2ed out into the race.  He had on Atomic skis that he’d bought off Dennis for a shiny penny and knew were like rockets.  With so little skiing under his belt, the game plan was to ski as best as he could on flats and use his his hill technique that he’d been practicing on roller skis to cut time he’d lost.  His endurance felt a little rusty in retrospect, but he knows he’s only getting better from there.

Sara on the home stretch!

Sara on the home stretch

Sara could be seen warming up in the sloppy farm fields away from the race course.  She had a plan in her mind and skis on her feet.  This would be her second race in the Eastern Cup series after a Trapps skate race last year that got her toes wet in preparation for JNT racing.  The biggest, steepest hill on the course was were she wanted to high-tail it and her other goal entailed “slingshotting” herself around the final hairpin turn before the lay up towards the finish.  She declined to comment or reveal her deep feelings on the outcome, but she was happy to declare that she’d done much better in the results than last year.  Take it as a compliment that no one was surprised at that!

Chelsea surprised herself by making the ski-downs!

Chelsea surprised herself by making the ski-downs

We had Chelsea along with the team as the snow got slushing, that rain got heavier, and the temperature began to dip down with the Winter Solstice sun.  She came back from Europe and dropped in with no points to try her hand at some good old New England racing.  It turned out that she had some kick and emerged from the very end of the roster to race well in the quarter-finals.

It was a long, rainy day for the team and Sara spent so long spectating that she looked like a soggy, dripping pillow in her down jacket by the end.  Enriqué evidently fared the best out of us, moving and staying warm with his productive racing day.

Sam was one of several JNT alums racing - he hit the Junior podium - a great early-season sprint for him!

Sam in the Junior quarterfinal – he was one of several JNT alums racing

Solstice dessert!

Solstice dessert

pasta sauceWe returned to our farm house in Barton for a slow Saturday evening.  Colin and Dennis led a supper of continuous laughter (Kids these days…lying on the table and eating food, pointing for the milk, putting peanut butter on cheese) the conversation was mostly Colin giggling at Erik giggling, Dennis pounding like a gorilla and demanding “Erik! SIT UP!!!”, and Colin pounding and pointing at everything that he wanted like a savage.  The spaghetti and salad was “delish” and sated our appetites just long enough to allow dessert to finish cooking.

The team meeting was thorough and welcomed a whole flock of new JNT racers into the league under the wisdom of Colin the big, bad 6’1″.

Colin presiding over dinner

Colin presiding over dinner

Now Ford Sayre is once again in the van, rolling home along the icy highways of New England as the evidence of a horrendous ice storm falls away behind us.  We missed our second day of racing to Colin’s monumental disappointment as well as the rest of the crew, but we lived through a zinger of a storm and will live to ski another day all too soon.

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