Alum Update: White Mountain Classic

Colin’s 2¢ (which was more like $1, so it is split into two posts)

Thursday, I speed walked across Kingston, Ontario, to make a bus, in order to catch a train, to meet my father and secure a car ride home to Hanover for the weekend. I had a job interview to attend on Friday here in NH , but that’s a whole lot of legalese and nothing anyone reading this blog would take an interest in. With that over, my weekend plans were more wide open than me with my fly down!

Well, when in Rome one does as the Romans. Holding that timeless adage in mind, I stood motionless in my house for an eternity of 30 seconds before spotting some V30 sitting on the coffee table. Ah yes, but of course, “tout suite”, to the waxing room! In no time at all I was downstairs in the darkest corner of our basement, the conventional waxing room for most families, bent over and sweating as I gave my classic skis the kind of nurturing care and finessed compassion seen only between mother & infant. Waxing is truly an art to marvel at.

Things happen quickly! 3 hours after waxing (still on Friday, mind you) I was piled into the family Volvo with Mama Bear & Papa Bear, hurtling up the I-91 North at 19:30 and bound for Jackson, NH. Our futures held the exciting prospect of racing the White Mountain Classic 30K, nestled in the southern foothills of the White Mountain National Forest. It is truly a picturesque place and I encourage anyone to find their way over there on a quiet weekend for some lovely Nordic ski tourism.

Saturday morning, 7:00, I was up with the Chickadees and every Nordic skier in a 20 mile radius. After a solid breakfast of yogurt, granola, and an omelet, I was ready to rumble! (However, nothing can beat the Eastern Cup tradition of oatmeal, orange juice, and scrambled eggs with cheese & salsa to get you going in the morning)

Conditions were….barren, but still amiable after ‘The Longest Autumn’ we just lived though. I waxed for it too, with a base binder and green ironed in and two layers of blue to top it off. Lining up among the ranks at the mass start, I felt an age gap of a father to his son around me aside from the Dartmouth men gunning for it in the front row. Stripped down to my Ford Sayre tights, I felt naked and anxious to get moving while all around me Masters skiers chatted and laughed merrily, immune to the chill.

(Don’t worry, I got my warm up in. If I’m to race for the JNT, I ought to do it properly)

Start of the White Mountain Classic… Keith in the old NH suit, Colin somewhere amid that sea of Dartmouth green…  (photo from Jackson STF website)

Start of the White Mountain Classic… Keith in the trusty old NH suit, Colin somewhere amid that sea of Dartmouth green… (photo from Jackson STF website)

With the half-heartened honk of the bullhorn with a low battery, our race was afoot. Off around the golf course we looped, climbing up through the woods and out to a bigger loop the circled expansive, wind-swept tundra and then shot up and through some of the most wild, lumpy forest I’ve seen. The Dartmouth team lead the race, a blob of green bodies bobbing furiously out front. It was a grand time and though I was royally whooped by a seventy-something year old Czech man, I was just in ecstasy to be back and racing among familiar New England faces from my days on the EC circuit. I think we can all hope to live our lives with purpose and motivation as to still have a good race in us by our mid-seventies. Conditions? Jackson did a wonderful job marking and hosting this classic race, but no snow in the last few weeks was beginning to show as “boulders and stumps”, the words of my father, began to poke through as we all ceaselessly tore around that course. The Jackson Grammar School even hosted a post-race meal and a small army of confident 8 year olds served us pasta, soup, and vegetables. I felt like a giant…

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