by Hannah (photos by Emily)
Friday, the Real Nordic Ski Team in Centerra parking lot was much smaller than usual because half of our team was going to the New Hampshire series qualifier on Saturday, instead of the Eastern cup. We set off towards Craftsbury at around 1, with the thermometer reading 19 degrees, and stopped in Thetford to pick up our northern family members (Keelan, Malcolm, and Eloise), before settling into a longer than anticipated drive. Van activities mostly included sleeping (at one point 5/11 people in the van were asleep), and some music video making, including great shots of an unsuspecting sleeping Malcolm. The closer to Craftsbury we came, the further the thermometer dropped, passing zero, and heading down into the negatives.
We arrived in the late afternoon, as the sun was beginning to lower in the sky, and quickly skied a very cold course preview. I tried to visualize how I would ski each part of the course, what I would focus on, and the best line for the amazingly fun downhill sections.
Back at the house in Stowe we hastily made dinner, did homework, and ate a lot of delicious food while having some very interesting conversations, including Keelan telling stories about his great-great-maybe some more greats- grandfather who fought in the civil war and “was a pioneer in the undertaking business” (direct quote) among other hard to believe but true legends. If you ever have a chance, ask Keelan.
After some hanger-throwing (try to get the hanger to land hooked on the bar in the closet) which was shut down (I don’t blame him) by Evan – “What is all this hullaballoo in here?”- we all went to bed, U16s especially resting for the early start tomorrow.
I was super excited for this eastern cup, especially for the 5k classic I was going to race on Saturday. Have done a 28k classic (White Mountain Classic in Jackson, NH) and a 16 k classic (Craftsbury Marathon) in the past two weekends, my idea of pacing had been totally changed. I realized that for a distance person like me, I really didn’t need to worry about getting tired in a 5k, I basically just needed to ski as fast as I could the whole time, since I am very bad at going too fast 😜
It was about -13 when we arrived at Craftsbury Saturday morning, so we holed up in the lodge to work on glitter and face tape application, in addition to decorating hair, and Malcolm’s sunglasses, with ribbons – all thanks to Greta, our amazing team spirit cheerleader! 👏❤
Meanwhile, Scottie and Evan slowly froze outside as they valiantly waxed our skis- which had amazing kick!
After warming up on the course and doing some speeds on my race skis, I hopped around in the start with Eloise and Emily, before starting 15 seconds after Eloise. It was awesome having a teammate that I could see on the course. During my race, I mostly tried to stay focused just in the moment, going as fast as I could, and trying to use the best technique possible. The downhills were incredibly fast, and I hammered on the uphills, which are my favorite part of a classic race. However, it might have been helpful to put a little more energy into the flats- next time… Climbing Screaming Mimi 😭and the hills after it, I heard familiar voices cheering that made me super happy, and I strided up the final hill and double poled madly (or to the outside observer, slowly and laboriously) to the finish – probably my best Eastern Cup yet!
After cool down, we went home, where I lay on the sofa and stared at the ceiling for about an hour before starting my homework. Needless to say, I was very tired and very very happy😁🙃
(Because we shuttled athletes home after their races, we don’t seem to have photographic evidence of the boys’ presence or their great races!)
Race photos below by Dave Priganc