U16s Race Report I: Skate and Classic

by Johanna, Perrin, Sara, and Jack           |         Fort Kent ME – 3.13.15 & 3.14.15

Note: we apologize for the length of this blog post.  We needed something to occupy our 10 hour bus rides.  [Ed. note: post split into two… stay tuned for the sprint and relay reports!]

(For clarification, the heroes of the story are as follows: Jack, Perrin, Johanna, Sara, and Arturo)

The Five heroes

The Five heroes

DAY 1: Travel

Jack: It was once foretold that Four skiers hailing from a land known as Norwich and one from the land of Ascutney would complete an epic journey into the land of Fort Kent, controlled by the powerful House of Maine.  These heroes would join a powerful force, the House of New Hampshire, to compete in a series of monumental races in order to bring pride to the House.  These are their stories: The Fable of The Five.

To begin this adventure, the hero’s would again converge with a team from the land of Lebanon in the ocean of pavement know as The Centerra Parking Lot.  After our trusty van was loaded, the heroes and their brave counterparts rode to a new place, a place known as Fort Eddy Plaza, in a territory known as Concord.

A view from the bus

A view from the bus

The Five then loaded onto a bus for the second part of the voyage, making new friends and rejoining old alliances.  With the road beneath and the sky above, our heroes travelled fast and far, and stopped for lunch.  Finally, as the sun rested its head behind the mountains controlled by the House of Maine, they arrived, had dinner, and fell asleep, waiting to the chance to battle the other noble Houses.

DAY 2: 5k Skate

After a breakfast of absolutely disgusting oatmeal (not nearly as good as the JNT breakfast) and undercooked eggs (according to Johanna who likes her eggs like Colin likes his cookies – like a block of charcoal), we returned to the motel for a scenic and freezing jog through Fort Kent.  Frequent checks for frostbite were made to insure that we were all intact and without peeling skin by the time we made it back to the hotel to braid hair and plaster sparkles onto our faces.  We then headed towards the venue, and the girls and the boys were separated for the course preview.  We were finally able to convince our coaches that we were responsible enough to warm up on our own.

Sara: Today we arrived and got our first look at the venue, what we saw made us super excited.  There were bleachers and a huge stadium that we could just imagine would be filled with spectators cheering us on just like in the World Cups in Europe.  This first race felt really good for me. I really like this course, it has many uphills and downhills without many flats.  As the gun went off the 3 other girls in my heat went, I was the last out of the tracks-I should probably work on my starts- but I soon caught up to everyone on the first uphill and managed to get ahead of everyone in my heat.  Towards the end of the race I started catching up to the people in the wave ahead of me and was able to pass a girl right at the finish as I collapsed over the line.  I ended up winning my heat by over 30 seconds and got 21 overall which was the best I had ever done at J2’s.  Overall it was a good day, getting to cheer on some of my teammates and friends and at the finish having other friends come to hug me and congratulate me.  It was a good day on an absolutely amazing course.

Johanna: I was slightly nervous about missing my start given that I’d either missed my start or been seconds away from missing my start at the last couple of races, so I made an extra effort to be on time.  I haven’t been feeling great on skate skiing this year, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel.  Out of the start I tucked into 3rd in my heat behind Gabby Farrell and a mid-western skier, and stayed on their tails the entire time.  Despite the fact that we were in the middle of a race, Gabby was nice enough to keep yelling my name to make sure I was still holding on to them.  After some quick climbs and a few twisty down hills, we made it back to the stadium and I crossed the finish line, exhausted but happy that I’d been able to ski hard and maintain my position the whole time.

perrin skate start gs

Perrin starting the 5k skate (Gary Solow photo)

Perrin: Friday was the first J2 race of the weekend, and I was very nervous. I was in the first heat, so I was expecting to be at the back of the 5 person pack.  After a good warm up, I took my place and waited for the starter to say GO!  The course started with mostly uphill, and I was in the lead with a girl from the Midwest, who cheered for the rest of us for the whole race (I wondered how she had enough breath to cheer while racing).  Nobody really wanted to lead, so we were in a tight pack for the whole race.  I came in first for my heat, but soon the second heat had come in and we learned that they had been much faster than our heat.  I ended up getting 4th which I was very happy about.

After a dinner severely lacking in nutritious vegetarian options (to Johanna’s disappointment), we headed back to the motel where we had the honor of experiencing Arturo’s dancing firsthand.  We went to our rooms, excited for a nice warm shower, and were instead subjected to the frigid waters of Maine.

DAY 3: 5k Classic

Johanna: I woke up with a sore throat, and determined to feel better, I downed a glass of orange juice and some hot tea at breakfast.  I still felt bad during our course preview, and as soon as we started doing speeds in our warmup I started not being able to breathe.  I got to the start and was extremely worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish my race.  To my surprise, just before I was supposed to start, a random race official walked up to me and put a cough drop in my mouth.  I immediately felt better, and after spitting my cough drop far into the woods on the first hill, I forgot that I’d been feeling sick at all.  The wax was perfect and my skis were fast, and the Maine skier, the Midwestern skier and I moved as a pack as we made our way to the high point, alternating who was leading.  We caught a glimpse of Perrin through the woods making her way up the other side of the course, far away from her heat, as we sped down the downhills.  My heat finished the race close together, and I was very happy with my 7th place finish overall.

Perrin atop the podium (Gary Solow photo)

Perrin atop the podium (Gary Solow photo)

Perrin: I was very excited for these two races, because there was a classic 5k and a sprint.  My goal for the classic was to remember to race against the time, not just my heat, because I had learned from the day before that the second heat was very fast.  I double poled hard out of the start and was in the lead for the downhill out of the stadium.  I learned after the race that on that hill there had been a big crash of everyone else in my heat on that first downhill, and I was glad I had missed it.  I felt amazing during the race, and focused on going hard even though I had a lead on my heat.  I watched as the second heat came in, and Zoe, who was on the New Hampshire team as well and had gotten 2nd in the skate race the day before, had been .7 seconds behind me. I was shocked, and very excited that I had come in first; overall it was a very good day for the New Hampshire girls, and we had 3 in the top ten!

sara cl jb

Sara in the classic race (Julie Badger photo)

Sara: Today was the 5K classic and the sprint, although these races did not go as well as I wished they had (I fell 3 times throughout the course of the races) it was still a fun day to cheer on my teammates and watch the scoreboard to see how they dominated the rest of the field.

[Click to the website to see the photos below… and click any photo to see a larger version.]


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