After a morning full of cheering on my teammates and testing a plethora of waxes, I finally advanced with the other men to the start at 12:30. I was a couple of rows back in the field, and nervous about the race to come. The announcer said 30 seconds, then immediately after fired the gun. Everyone else started moving so I decided it would be a good idea to start as well. The course took a sharp left turn soon after the start where I was worried people would crash. Thankfully, I made it through without any broken equipment or time lost. I left the tracks and double poled next to them, allowing me to pass several people, before catching Russell Boswell. I followed Russell for the first lap. As we started the second lap I took a turn leading. Russell and I got close to Koby Gordon, who was slipping off of the lead pack, so I broke from Russell and started skiing with Koby. The course was exhausting, especially from about 1.5 to 2.5 km in each loop where there was a long steep uphill followed by a short down and another long steep uphill. I managed to drop Koby on the last big climb of that lap and got a nice lead over him from pushing into the downhill.
I could see a pack of super fast skiers ahead of me, so I tried to catch them. As we went through the stadium, I was holding even with the pack, but not catching them. My opportunity to catch up came soon in the third lap. At the top of a Crest, Forrest Hamilton, a skier from GMVS, stumbled at the back of the lead pack and I was able to catch up with him. By this point, I was in pretty serious pain, but was able to hang onto the back of the new pack and rest on the downhill. I tried to get a little glide running up the hill, and Forrest and I gained on the lead pack. I was barely hanging on to the pack, but most of my team was there cheering for me and they gave me the extra energy I needed to push through the pain.
Following this uphill was a challenging downhill with a bunch of S-turns. The snow here had been snowplowed away leaving deep snow full of treacherous ruts, and dirty ice studded with rocks. I went to the outside on the deep snow, then stepped in and crossed the ice. Forrest stumbled and almost fell, giving the opportunity to pass him on the inside edge. I solidified my lead over him on the next climb. Going into the final big hill of the race, I was dying but someone said: “that’s tenth place Adam!” I wasnt sure whether or not they were referring to where I was, or Thomas Rabon, the Dartmouth skier directly ahead of me, so I decided to try to pass him. I ran up the last big hill and flew by him, pushing over the top and into the downhill. As I glided into the stadium, I caught up with Conor Thompson, a Canadian U23, and Karl Schultz, an extremely fast junior from NYSEF who won the U18 individual start Freestyle last winter at Junior Nationals. As we approached the finish I managed to catch their group, but couldn’t outsprint them to the finish. I crossed the line in 10th overall, before drifting sideways and collapsing on the ground, completely devoid of both energy and the ability to stand. My race strategy had been to set an unsustainable pace and sustain it, and with fast skis, cheering, and a smidgeon of good technique, I was able to have a great race.
And a slideshow of Adam’s photos: