[lots of photos in this post that won’t go by email… see them here]
As our fellow Vermont teammates enjoyed a few more luxurious hours of sleep, we, the brave New Hampshirites/Vermonters who go to school in New Hampshire, dragged our tired bodies out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:30 AM to prepare for a day of racing. Our departure from Centerra was swift and we managed the two hour trip with only two stops: one to pick up the Lyme residents and one to relieve our very full bladders in the woods. Upon arrival at Bretton Woods, emergence from our beloved mother ship was slow and it took a great deal of nudging from our patient coaches before we materialized in full ski gear to preview the course.
Sara and I skied together, noting the slightly monotonous terrain. The course began with a very large amount of double poling before we glimpsed our first steep hill. Thrilled, we began our ascent before quickly realizing that the climb was not as large as we’d hoped. From the top of the first summit came a long gradual climb which was clearly designed for kick double poling. Suddenly grateful for Friday’s practice (a large amount of which was dedicated to kick double poling), we made our way back down the hill, over a small (but steep) bump, and across the last flat to the finish.
By the time we returned to our trusted van, the boys were nearly ready to commence their DANCE (as Tim Caldwell explained) through the 5+ kilometer race. The girls’ warm up unfortunately began as soon as the first boy departed so we were unable to provide moral support from the side of the trail, however, we heard that congratulations were in order as nearly all were pleased with their races. Adam certainly raced his hardest as his “triceps are slightly unhappy” today (which is VERY uncharacteristic).
My warmup flew by, and before I knew it, I was back to the wax tent to pick up my race skis from the expert waxers (thanks to Sarah Torkelson Stickney, a JNT alum, for driving over to help us out!). Soon it was 11:20:30, time for my start, and I leapt off the line with the four other girls in my heat. My pacing was slightly funky — I felt a little burnt out by the first hill (oops) but the cheers of teammates on the hill kept me moving in the right direction. I somehow felt a little rested by the top and was able to pick up my pace before maneuvering past a few snowplowers on the icy descent. I soon found myself at the finishing stretch and sprinted the last hundred meters across the finish line where I convened with Perrin to discuss our races while we waited for the other three girls to finish. We were relieved to see that all of us managed to avoid injury and (thanks to Tim’s advice) dodge other skiers while managing to stay on our feet.
Here is a report given by Perrin about her race: “After grabbing my skis from the wax tent I ran to the start. I had a quick chat with a Holderness girl beside me, and then I heard the gun and we were off. Throughout the race I tried to catch people in the heats before me as I skied along the extremely flat course. My kick was not excellent but I somehow managed to flail up the hill and then double pole a long flat section before the downhill. A short but very steep uphill followed by an icy downhill was the only technically challenging part of the course, and the icy downhill managed to create numerous crashes. I cleared the uphill and downhill without falling and double pole sprinted to the finish. The race had flown by, and I couldn’t believe it was already done. It had been a fun race overall and was thrilled to find out that all of us girls placed in the top 20.”
Adam’s pics of the girls racing (click any photo to see a larger version):
Now back to the day’s report: We headed back to the course to throw on layer after layer so that our internal temperature did not reach equilibrium with our very cold surroundings. We anxiously checked the results and were pleased to see that four of the girls, Kennedy, Perrin, Sara, and Greta were in the top twenty. As for myself…I somehow managed to escape the list entirely. I vented my worry to Perrin and Sara. Had I been disqualified? Had they not seen my finish? Unsympathetic (and rightfully so), they dragged me out of the van on a cool down.
Upon return, I found Ashley and my dad who had been timing. The three of us went to the timing van to resolve the problem. I was told my result and returned to the Gertrude to aide our departure.
Before long, Mount Washington was at our backs as we began the journey back to the Upper Valley. Our festivities, however, were not over. Cheers erupted from the rear of the van as Scottie announced we would be stopping at Chutters, “the world’s longest candy counter,” on the way home. After emptying our pockets of money and filling our stomachs with sugar at this heavenly store, we returned to the van and finally found ourselves pulling into the familiar Centerra driveway.