Mt. Washington Cup

by Colin     [race reports by each athlete]           |         Mt. Washington Cup at Bretton Woods – 3.8.15

Everything had been going according to plan.

Out of the bus, bibs collected, ski boots on, training skis ready.  I myself exhibited what I feel was a pleasantly sunny disposition.  The course, as we had had it explained to us, was a 10K skate made up of two 5K loops.

“Good!  Great!  We’ll ski it for our warm up”, I determined, my team of U16’s having never warmed up for such a long race (HA!).  It was up to me to show these novice distance racers the ropes of racing outside the safe, cushioned world of 5K’s.

Off we went, looking to hammer out a nice shorter warm up.  Over the flats we went and then into the trees, gradually climbing up, up, up.  I glanced out and my keen and agile sense of direction told me we were unusually far from the Inn.

“I don’t like the look of things Erik”, I remarked. Something felt wrong.

We pushed on, skiing through the woods with no signs of the trail wrapping up.

Suddenly, I checked my watch. 9:50. Holy cow! 10 minutes to start.

“Something is DEFINITELY wrong.  Guys….I think this might just be a 10K loop.”

Terror coursed through the Ford Sayre pack.  This trail was not ending anytime soon.  Great scott, we’d been shanghaied into missing our race.

Lonely (fast) skis waiting for their racers

Lonely (fast) skis waiting for their racers

Erik, panic and confusion dancing in his eye, made his choice.  He bolted like a Gazelle on the Serengeti, a lust to race driving him to the finish with inhuman speed.  As for the rest of us, we scurried along, trying to understand how such an unfortunate turn of events could have seized us.  As we came to a bend in the course, it was 10:04.  As we stood together, nervously accepting that we’d missed our start, along came the race.  The front pack shot past and then came the rest of the race.  Moments later, Erik, panicked and cramped on the trail full of racers, double poled past, scrambling to gain on the field.

Once the hubbub had died down and the racers had disappeared, we picked up the pieces of our shattered ski dignity and resolved to hold a time trial.

“We came here to race a 10K, and gosh darn it, we’re gonna race it!”

Back we flew to the starting line, trying to find where our race skis were.  With the race 17 minutes in, we tumbled to the start line.  Scottie and Dennis were waiting and no one needed any more motivation than that!  We jumped onto our race skis, lined up, and the timers, kind and selfless, permitted us to go out as a wave.

The race would happen!  I had not failed in helping my teammates race.  Success was sweet, even if it was being served cold and 17 minutes late.

The Ford Sayre wave (plus "Johnny Late")

The Ford Sayre wave (plus “Johnny Late”)

Perrin: I was a bit disappointed that we had missed the exciting mass start, but it was fun to have the course all to ourselves.  The trail was very gentle, and I followed Malcolm at a good pace for most of the race. it was extremely helpful to have someone to follow.  I sprinted the down hills of the last 3k, which was really fun!  Malcolm and I sprinted to the finish neck in neck, after having skied together the whole race.  It was a fantastic day and we made the best of our confusions about the start.  By the end of the day, I had done my first 10k race!

Erik: I always love skiing at Bretton Woods, with the beautiful Mt. Washington Hotel in the background as you ski smoothly along the flat terrain of the open golf course and then disappear into the rolling, and fun trails in the snowy woods.  But there’s no better way to top that off then to race all of that!  I led our group into the woods as we begun our warm up around the race course, but the truth is, none of us really looked hard at a map of the trails, so we all thought we were on our way around a 5k course.  It didn’t take long for us to realize that it was a bit longer than that.  As 10:00 crept closer, I was panicked and when my watch struck 9:55, I turned to Colin and said, “I’m going for it.”  The first thing that crossed my mind was our race skis, because I knew that even though we all would probably miss the start I still wanted everybody to be able to ski on their race skis, which Scottie and Dennis had topcoated with something very fast, knowing them.  I sprinted hard, and finally I came out of the woods onto the golf course.  I looked across the way, and saw a whole group of racers lined up, ready to race.  I sprinted once more over to the start, and all I could hear was “30 seconds everyone!”  I spotted Scottie and saw that she had brought all of our race skis over!  I tore off my jacket and pants and snapped my skis on.  The race had already begun and I followed the 120 racers, still putting my gloves and pole straps on.  I weaved in and out of people, double poling as I went.  I must have double poled at least a fifth of the race!  I passed Colin, Perrin, Johanna, Malcolm and Sara, and they cheered for me as I frantically passed more people by the dozen.  It was fun!  Finally, I had passed everyone except for the lead pack and so the last 2 or 3k I skied by myself, which was nice.  It felt really good, and after the race, I quickly put on my clothes so I could cheer on my teammates, who I knew would be coming in soon.  They all looked awesome as they came out of the woods and on to the final stretch.  Even though everything didn’t go as planned, we still made the best out of It, and it ended up being really fun.

Malcolm: My form was a little weird for a lot of the race, but I felt strong throughout the race (especially on the downhills, where my form was really weird, but it seemed to work).  Perrin and I were right with each other the whole race, and had a pretty intense photo finish (except no one was taking a photo.  I guess it will remain a mystery forever.)  When we were racing, the course felt so empty; it was really nice.  Overall, I felt strong, had a great time, and gained at least a little bit of experience with a 10K race.

Johanna: I arrived at Bretton Woods prepared for an exciting one hundred or so person mass start, so it was only slightly surprising when I found myself standing at the start line with only four other people.  The start was rather anti-climactic.  After the countdown, we took off and had enough room between the five of us to ski without worrying about crashing into other people like Colin had warned us all about.  After about ten minutes, I found myself completely alone, with no other skiers in sight.  I had to keep reminding myself that we were racing, and not just skiing the course at a leisurely pace.  There weren’t many steep uphills, so most of the course was V2ing a gradual up, and then a really fun transition section for the last 3K.  When I finished, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t as tired as I usually am after a 5K race, but I quickly realized that I was exhausted after our 20K (which was supposed to be 15K) ski.

Satisfied racers + coach

Satisfied racers + coach


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