I have been working on my starts but it is still a little lacking and I take a little bit of time to get going. Going out of the mass start I slowly dropped from my spot near the front of the pack. After about 100 meters, I got hit with the back of a ski then stabbed my boot and finally fell. Two people piled on top of me and all of our equipment was tangled. After 30 seconds of struggling to try to get untangled we got up. By this point the rest of the field was out of sight. Luckily there was no broken equipment and I kept skiing. I decided that I would catch the lead pack. I had watched Krueger do it in the olympics and thought I could do the same. Pushing as hard as I could go I slowly caught the field and passed people. After passing 20 or so people I started to get into the sparse zone where there were few people. I passed about 5 more people before gaining sight of the lead pack in the distance. Only having a 5k to catch up, I knew I had to go fast. Passing Elvis, a skier who I have been highly competitive with, I was in to 5th with a long way to the lead pack. I hadn’t lost hope yet. As we skied along the rolling top of the 5k at lake placid I was slowly catching up. Finally we got to the downhill. I lost sight of them. Coming around the final bend and through the stadium I just saw them finish. As I skied across the line I thought “how did I do that.” I surprised myself by pushing so hard and recovering after a hard setback. Now I know that the race is never ever over until the end and just because you have fallen or had a setback doesn’t mean you can’t come back to do well.
Spencer: Our team has had some great debates (purely because we’re all so comfortable together that we’re all fine challenging each other’s ideas). These have ranged from debates stemming from our collective nerdiness. The more memorable of these were things like “Is it okay to apply mathematics to dating?” and how to resolve certain logical paradoxes, along with a good amount of riddle exchange. Other debates were a little less nerdy, but people were just as involved. Particularly interesting ones included “How to put a sandwich in a bag properly” and, of course, “The Great Sock Debate.” It’s great to be able tell someone they’re wrong without suffering the consequences. On our team, we’re all just happy to be doing what we’re doing, with others who enjoy the sport equally. It’s just a great atmosphere!
Elsa: The moments that I found the most fulfilling and inspiring this year were those spent cheering on teammates during races– whether into the finishing stretch of the Rikert Eastern Cup, or up the longest hill on the Lake Placid distance day. Letting my voice go hoarse from the combination of earlier races and intense cheering in the moment was one of the best parts, preceded only by watching in awe the battles that each teammate was fighting out there on the course. I’ve loved rooting for you guys every race, and am so excited to watch everyone crush it during championships!
Dirk: The highlight of my season was probably all of the OD’s at Greens as a team. From the crisp cold mornings on a few layers of polar, to the warm and sunny klister days. It was fun to explore the new trails in the beginning of the season, especially the very long Dorchester Connector. The beautiful sunny mornings on the glistening powdery snow made me realize why nordic skiing is such an awesome sport. Nothing beats a 4 or 5 hour ski in perfect conditions with lots of nice people. I am looking forward to continuing to ski later this season, after the championship races, as well as next year spending many hours skiing on these beautiful trails.
Caroline: Each eastern cup weekend, I always look forward to the meals, not only because of how hungry racing makes me, but because of the conversations that form around the table. During one extra special dinner at Craftsbury, the power went out, leaving us to scramble to conserve water to be able to stay hydrated and cook the pasta. This resulted in drinking “starch water” in which pasta had already been cooked in multiple times, giving it an uncustomary flavor. Catherine went as far as making “starch tea” which made all of us gag. We ate our low-water meal surrounded by candles and laughing teammates who have since taught me what an amazing group JNT is.
Catherine: My favorite memories come from all of the van rides to the races. All the laughing and singing completely distracts me from the fear of racing. We are comfortable enough not to care about singing out of tune and sounding awful (except for Eloise because she always sounds amazing!!) I am going to miss the dancing and singing that I have had with this incredible group of friends! Couldn’t ask for a better team!
Eloise: Night skiing at the Greens was such a magical experience. I am glad to have been doing my intervals with Hannah because of her amazing eyesight, her watch, and because of the wonderful person she is! The excitement of this kind of adventure motivated me to push even harder in my intervals and it made the familiar interval workout seem new and thrilling! It made me think about the other sports I am involved with and how lucky I am to be a part of this one. I went home inspired and in great gratitude of all my teammates and coaches. Although it is hard to pick one moment from the season, this one felt particularly special.
Hannah: I loved the Holderness race, it was beautiful and wonderful and amazing and one of my best races ever, except I accidentally went off the jump at the end and ate it in front of everyone a few hundred meters before the finish. But I’m not going to write about that. I think the most important race of the season for me was the Vermont Qualifier – actually 2 races. I’d had a great start to the season skiing at Craftsbury in the eastern cup and nationals, and probably the best race of my life at the Bogburn, but since then, I’d been feeling pretty awful, mentally and physically. After a couple of difficult races that left me feeling disappointed and discouraged, we had a weekend off from racing, and then the qualifier. Going in, I really didn’t know what to expect anymore. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it onto the team, given how bad I had been feeling, but I decided to do my best and see what happened and try to focus on just having a good race without thinking about results or goals not met or anything like that. I was super duper nervous before the first race (thank you Eloise for grabbing my hand and dragging me outside skipping and singing to cheer me up! You are amazing:), but somehow getting out and skiing made me feel calmer. Going into the second race, I felt like my bouncy BKL self again, hanging out with Eloise waiting in the start line, watching people already on course careening around the corner and crashing through the fence, and being psyched for an exciting and fun challenge. It was wonderful. 3k skate is basically a sprint for me, and I felt fast and strong and happy again, and even managed to pull off a finishing sprint, which has been a challenge for me. After that race, I didn’t really care whether or not I made Easterns, because I was just so happy to have finally felt good in a race again. And then I made it, which was a bonus. But mainly, I got myself back into happy race mode, so that then I could go have a blast at Holderness, accidental jumps or not.
Keelan: The highlight of my season was the 10km classic race at Holderness. I felt that something clicked and everything was just working and working in overdrive. This season, as a whole was incredible and I wish it would never end. This team is a truly incredible group one who I am proud to spend time with. This is group who I can share my triumphs but also my disappointments with. There is always something interesting happening whenever the team is together, from games of three or four dimensional tic tac toe (I still have not figured out how to play) to impressive piano performances it always lightens my day. This has been an incredible season and I am so proud to have shared the experience with everyone on the team.
Andy: My favorite memory from the season was the Bogburn. I am a big fan of the the narrow singletrack trails up on the hill and Pomfret. This year’s race did not disappoint! Although it was much colder and a stable kick wax race for once compared to my preferred Bogburn of choice (a sloppy 40º klister day), it was still a blast. I am looking forward to hopefully coming back in the years to come to race the Bogburn again!
Greta: The highlight of my season was my carpool to practice. Spencer, Catherine, Caroline, and Elsa never failed to brighten my day with uncontrolled laughter, hilarious jokes, and perplexing riddles that made my head spin. Most days, I couldn’t believe the positive energy in my car! It kept me smiling on tough days. I loved watching you guys laugh! I also appreciated how much you care about each other and how hard you work all the time. I tried to be the best driver I could, and I hope you enjoyed rides to practice as much as I did. I wish I lived in Hanover so I could drive you home! I can’t believe I only have a few more car rides with you.
Justin: The highlight of my season was definitely the people. I could not imagine a better group to spend time with. Everyone was so caring, compassionate, and just friendly. While Nordic skiing is an individual sport, I am always astonished by how much everyone looks out and cares for one another. This is modeled by the unbelievable array of coaches that we have, whose leadership and mentoring experience go far beyond skiing. I really enjoyed just talking and sharing my thoughts with everyone this season. This made practices, van rides, and especially OD’s so much more enjoyable. There were some OD’s at Greens this year where the snow was perfect, the air crisp, and being surrounded by this group of people made me know for certain that this was the perfect place and moment. The place where I really felt I belonged. I know that I will miss this no matter where I end up next year, but I also know that I will be able to come back and hopefully share some more time with this wonderful group.
Kennedy: The highlight race of my season was the 10km classic at Senior Nationals. I had been sick for multiple weeks before, and finally got the antibiotics I needed a few days before. This was the first race of the season where I was healthy, and finally was able to remember why I enjoyed racing so much (it turns out being able to breath helps a lot when you race). I skied most of the race among college skiers and friends that I have been racing with since BKL. I was able to push myself to stay with people I normally consider faster than me, and it finally felt good to go hard. However, some of my favorite memories from this season are not from the race course, but from the time we have spent together as a team. Spending Sunday mornings at Greens with some of my closest friends is pretty amazing, and those competitive Speedball games before practice always cheer me up. I will definitely miss our team dinners, contra dancing, movies, and gelato runs next year, and most of all, I will miss all of my amazing teammates.
Jacob: I know all my teammates well as skiers, but this season, one of my goals was to spend more time with the team outside of practices or competitions. As I have worked towards this goal, I have gained new respect for our sport and our team. During the team dinners that Hannah and Elsa and Greta hosted (which were, by the way, so much fun–without thoughts of an impending Eastern Cup in the back of everyone’s minds, laughter and carefree conversation abounded), along with contra dances and gelato and movies, I have come to appreciate the eclectic mix of interests and opinions and aspirations we represent. Although we are very different people, our shared love of skiing has made us such a tight-knit team and–dare I say?–friends. That’s pretty neat. Love, Jacoobydoo