Most of the team headed to Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec for a winter break training camp after Christmas. In Quebec, we trained as a team twice a day and spent most evenings together in the outdoor hot tub at the Chateau.
Shortly after returning from Canada, many of us raced at Senior Nationals in Craftsbury. Keelan, Hannah, and Kennedy traveled with Evan, Mia, and Dennis to stay in Craftsbury for the Thursday and Friday races of Nationals (some took day trips), and a larger contingent of the team joined them to race on Sunday.
After Nationals, we raced at the Bogburn (a traditional style classic race on narrow and roller coaster-like trails) and Ford Sayre’s home race, the Silver Fox Trot. Some of the seniors sported the chicken suits in the “exhibition” race.
After a few weekends of smaller races, we set out for our next Eastern Cup weekend in Lake Placid at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic trails. We had (or at least it seemed like) more JNT’ers than ever qualify for the classic sprint heats on Saturday. The grueling distance race on Sunday consisted of one, two or three laps of a 4km climb and the 1km downhill.
Finally in early February, we entered the last two Eastern Cup weekends of the season – the first one in Rikert and the second split between Dublin and Holderness. In Rikert, Ford Sayre rocked the double distance weekend with many season-highlight races and strong performances. Many skiers were also competitive at the college carnival level on Saturday during the skate race. During the winter break between the last two Eastern Cup weekends, skiers split between Craftsbury and Hanover for a week or training, resting, and recovering.
The Dublin Double race consisted of a 3km morning race and then a 1.5km sprint, only two hours apart. We don’t normally race twice in a day, so this was a new experience for many of us. The final Eastern Cup race, the day after Dublin, was in Holderness NH, Dennis’s favorite venue, for a classic distance race. The new snow, rain, and warm weather caused the kick waxing to be quite difficult.
Holderness was also the last Junior National qualifier race, so the New England team was named after the race. In Ford Sayre recent history, only two athletes have qualified to represent team New England at JN’s, and this year, Ford Sayre is sending 7 skiers to Anchorage, Alaska! Congrats to Sam, Jack, Evan N, Elsa, Greta, Kennedy, and Keelan. Andy, Dirk, Justin, Catherine, Caroline, Eloise, Hannah, Jacob, Nicoya, Spencer, and Tobin are all off to either Eastern High School Championships in Fort Kent, Maine, or U16 Championships in Bethel, Maine, or a combination of both! Eloise and Jacob are starring in Thetford Academy’s production of “Once Upon a Mattress” and Nacio is looking forward to the sailing season and to exhibiting his master chef skills in upcoming cooking competitions.
Everyone on our team is off to do great things! Congratulations to all!