by Erik (photos by Dennis)
Finally, Friday was here, and I got to leave school early to take a road trip to Rikert Nordic Center to participate in the J2 championship as a part of the Vermont Team. When I stepped out of the car after the drive I felt the warm breeze pass over my body, and I had a feeling these would be some t shirt races. I went to collect my uniform, and jacket, and then met my team. I knew a lot of them, but some I didn’t know at all, and by the end of the weekend, I had made a lot of new friends.
Friday’s race was a 5k freestyle. I did my usual warmup, grabbed my race skis and headed to the start, which were waves of six guys based on your team ranking. I was the 3rd wave. I knew that coming into the weekend I was sick, and that can change a lot, but I put all that aside on the starting line and focused on how I could have a good race that I was happy with. I started out in 1st for the first 2k or so, and then I felt my body slowing down and it wasn’t just my muscles, I was tired. I started to get passed, but I kept on pushing. I managed to not get discouraged because I realized that I was definitely not 100%, and for me to finish at least in the top 20 was good enough for me. I came across the line 3rd in my wave, and I was disappointed to see my name on the results monitor as 18th, but I knew that would help my team with the points.
That night we stayed at a motorlodge, which was a lot better than what we all thought it would be. I had a good night sleep, and woke up the next morning ready to race. 5k classic. I was excited, but I also knew having kick would be important today with all the long climbs. I tested my wax, it didn’t work. I had 7 minutes before my start. I tested it again, no luck. I knew at that moment that this would be a double pole race for me. I burst out of the start, trying to get the biggest possible lead I could, before I would get caught on the hills. The first hill came, and my kick was nowhere to be found, I tried and tried, but I couldn’t seem to get any sort of grip between the bottoms of my skis, and the glazed tracks. I became very frustrated on the second hill (the A climb) and things went downhill from there. I was unable to stride up gradual uphills, and my arms were getting very tired from double poling EVERYTHING. I finished up in 54th place which didn’t surprise. That was a learning experience to say the least.
The sprint later in the day was pretty good, as I finished 13th. And the relay the next day went well, I skied a strong leg, and helped our team win the chamionship title once again. Overall, a fun weekend of racing, beautiful weather, and a great venue to race at.