The morning of the 2017 Fogburn dawned just as its nickname suggests: foggily. Sadly, the source of the fog was not from some mysterious and exciting cave full of gnomes, but was from our beloved snow melting away in the 50 degree weather. A week of these scandalous temperatures had done great damage to our snow, but against the odds, the Bogburn was actually happening for once! This made me very excited, because the Bogburn course is one of my favorite places to race, and also the site of my first race.
Upon arrival, I was happily reunited with the rest of the JNT (except for our dear friends with the plague) under the blue ford sayre tent, where people were contemplating a rainbow of tubes of klister and blowtorches. Since this was a smaller race, the coaches set us an unusual challenge: waxing our own skis, with their assistance. This experience definitely made us appreciate the amazing job our coaches do every race weekend, regardless of whatever strange conditions the weather has thrown at us.
I chose my fate in the form of klister, going for something in a blue and red tube with silver in it, and headed out on the course with some others to preview. The course was very exciting, to put it mildly. Ranging in width from 1 to 4 feet, it was very variable, with a mix of icy patches, soft sticky snow, icy fast slush, slow slush, and a lot of pine needles and sticks. I was very excited to discover that my race was actually 7k instead of 5, because in my mind, more distance is more fun. When we returned, we had about 50 minutes until race time, in which we had to put our final race wax on, and warm up. I decided that my klister choice was working pretty well, especially with all the pine needles I had picked up, so I added in a little of another klister and went to warm up on foot. Very quickly, it was time to start, so I stripped down to my t-shirt and shorts, hoping I wouldn’t fall, and headed to the start.
The U16/Women’s race was haunted (riddled with ghosts), meaning I started a while behind one person and way ahead of another. I doubted I would see anyone during my race. At “go” I floundered momentarily, and ran up the hill, satisfied to find that my kick wax was working for the moment. The race seemed to go by very quickly for me, and successfully avoiding flying off into the woods on the first downhill corners, I found myself skiing across the dam at the bottom of the pond. Already? It seemed like I had started a few seconds ago. I heard familiar voices cheering from across the pond, and recalled that the next section was the long climb, my favorite part! I could just barely glimpse the person in front of me, and I decided that I would go for it and try to catch them. Up, up, up, thank goodness for the pine needles in my klister-I had pretty consistent kick the whole race, although I can’t say much for the glide. Near the high point, I finally caught the person in front of me, just as some very fast person from SMS came whizzing by. Finally, after a hair-raising and teetery downhill section, I came back out above the pond, and sprinted through the slush to the finish.
What a fun day! It may not have been the fastest race, but it certainly was different, and very exciting.
After a nice cool-down and a long time cheering for the Men’s race, where even more slush developed, and there were quite a few upsets, I returned home.
Souvenir of the day? Some lovely klister to scrape off, with an interesting resemblance to barf. This just goes to show that looks are definitely not everything when it comes to nordic ski racing.