Per usual I awoke to the sound of several alarms; the sheets, still tucked on three sides, beckoned for me to stay asleep but nothing was keeping me down today. It was the last day of Rikert’s eastern cup weekend featuring what was soon to become my favourite event: the 15K individual start Freestyle race. I got packed and dressed quickly and joined the growing population of race ready JNT members in the kitchen. The usual was awaiting us in the kitchen: three perky coaches, an array of eggs, oatmeal, and yogurt with appropriate toppings, and near total silence. Soon members of the other house joined us for breakfast and in no time we were packing the vans and heading to Rikert.
After Friday’s van incident it was decided that the weekend van would get packed with the more dense athletes, with my body mass occupying the middle spot of the back row between the other two heavyweights of the JNT Adam and Grant. To make matters more interesting we decided to add up all of our weights. For no other reason than because we could. As it happened all 11 occupants totaled 1525 lbs with over a third of that weight coming from the back seat. I guess we know who uses the long skis. The snow was spotty on the way to the venue but upon seeing the yellow buildings we were graced with the sight of a very pleasing amount of snow coverage on all parts of the field/stadium. The morning sun poking its fingers through the low lying clouds only added to the scene; imbuing the mountains and snow in a soft energy that only made me more ready to race.
I, like most of the “men” on the JNT, had many hours to wait until my start, and for me to sit idly for those hours was close to the hardest thing I had to do that day. But my patience paid off. In no time I was halfway through my warm up and testing my race skis. I’ll take the time now to thank the coaches for all their support this weekend. They were truly a force to be reckoned with as far as making sure we were all ready and happy come our race. Now back to the skis. They were fast, but not so fast that I couldn’t control my own technique. In my opinion that is what made them perfect. Naturally I started my race with a slip because I couldn’t control my technique but I recovered quickly and got to the bottom of the first hill as quick as possible.
Before I knew it I was on my third lap going up the first climb. At this point I had found Andy on the course, and he was looking great 400 meters after his start. I tried to mimic his light technique on the steep kicker on the first climb but quickly decided to just power up it instead. Two laps later I was chasing my brother(John) up the big climb. I had already started my kick and was planning on catching him on the bridge at the bottom. Turns out I caught him a little sooner than expected. I flew around the left hand turn at the bottom of the big hill riding the berm, the one with the ice patch on the left side of it, and in the blink of an eye John appeared in front of me. He had just fallen on that very corner and was in the process of getting back on, unfortunately he was standing on the berm I was riding when I saw him and to spare his life I fell. You’re welcome!
Fast forward to the ride home and we find our next adventure. The caravan pulled off the road in what I believe was the town of Rochester and in no time I witnessed about five skiers pushing the rental mini off the road. Another one bites the dust. All in all I would say the team had a great day. That’s about it. Goodbye.