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Archive for March, 2010

In the County, Saturday morning

27.Mar.2010 by Chelsea Little

I was hoping to have some pictures to post of the racing so far, but I forgot to bring the cable to connect my camera to my computer, so I guess not. Anyway, here’s a little update from Maine, pre-sprint.

Ten of us, plus Pepa, are crowded into a five-bedroom house. There’s a lot of room-sharing, and I am living on a futon mattress in the laundry room, which turns out to be unheated (leave the door to the rest of the house open, or else your water bottle will freeze overnight like mine did). We have no internet and no cell phone reception, so we’ve been doing a lot of reading and watching terrible TV. My favorite show that we’ve found so far is “Ninja Warrior” and its accompaniment, “Unbeatable Banzuke”, which are Japanese and basically entail making contestants complete obstacle courses by running on logs, jumping on things, climbing ladders, etc. Usually they fall into a pool of water or have spectacular crashes on unicycles or stilts. It’s kind of funny to watch and makes me think that Japan might be a really strange place…

Luckily all of the lodges at the ski venues have internet, and we spend a lot of time there. For instance: this morning we arrived at the venue at 7:30. The sprint starts at 10. I’m pretty sure our whole team was here before most teams’ coaches even arrived! With ten of us to wax skis for, though, Pepa stays really busy and we need to give her plenty of time and help out with testing. So far we’ve all had great skis, which is quite impressive for a one-woman coaching staff – that’s probably part of the reason that Pepa was just named NENSA coach of the year!

I didn’t race the marathon on Wednesday, opting instead to help Pepa test skis and do the feeds. It was fun to watch and cheer for everyone – marathons can be pretty crazy and a lot can change over 30 or 50 kilometers. I learned that there is a definite technique to handing out feeds, and by the end I think I was doing a pretty good job of holding the bottles by the top so there was the least amount of spilling. It was interesting to see people’s different strategies: a few of the CXC guys even ate bananas out there! We stuck to various mixes of gatorade, flat coke, and coffee – the skiers never knew exactly what they were getting.

I think it was good I sat out the marathon because yesterday I felt terrible in the 7.5k. As has happened so many times this season, I felt okay in the beginning of the race (I even managed to avoid getting tangled in at least 3 crashes that happened in front of me), and then it was remarkable how quickly things turned bad. By 2.5k I was somehow completely bonked and most of the field had streamed by me. I dropped out of a race for the first time in my life, ever. While I had known that I probably wouldn’t do great in these races, I wanted to do them for fun – and yesterday, I was NOT having fun. It was frustrating but I’m trying to stay positive that at least one of the next two races might be fun.

The silver lining here, though, was that I got to see my teammates finish! Ida’s second-place finish was absolutely incredible and so exciting to watch! Go Ida! And then to see Hannah in 13th with a great race of her own, and Lauren and Kaitlynn in 37th and 39th, wow. I might have had a pretty bad day but they all did great. It was very cool.

We’re all excited for more racing on the fast, icy course today. I should probably go test my skis again so Pepa doesn’t yell at me!

Highs and Lows

14.Mar.2010 by Hannah Dreissigacker

So I was figuring I’d wait and do a final blog post on my Estonia trip once I’d downloaded my pictures.  But unfortunately my camera was in my ski bag and I don’t think I’ll get it for at least a few more days, so I’ll give a quick update on the end of the trip sans photos.

High Points:

  • The sprint race last Saturday: it was the one really sunny day of the trip, which always makes me happy.  And I had a good race!  I missed 3 out of 10, which isn’t great, but its pretty good for me, and I came in 38th.  I skied much more consistent splits too, and I finally felt like I was beginning to figure out this whole racing-in-Europe thing.  And did I say it was sunny out?
  • Eurosport came to the weekend races. It was crazy! While we were hanging out at the hotel the morning before our race, we got to watch the boy’s races LIVE on Estonian TV! It was SO cool!
  • I had fun doing the pursuit on Sunday, even though I missed 11 shots.
  • On my last lap of the pursuit, most of the coaches from other countries had cleared off the course, since their skiers had finished.  But there were a few still out there, and this one guy yelled at me in some sort of Eastern European accent: “It is not so bad! I like, I like!”  It reminded me so much of Pepa, I just had to smile and go faster.
  • I had fun getting to meet some skiers from other countries at the bar Sunday night.
  • On my way home, I got to see the city of Stockholm, and got a free night at an airport hotel and a free gourmet dinner!
  • I made it home eventually!

Low Points:

  • I had been really psyched for the pursuit, and for being able to ski around other girls during it.  But then I missed 11 shots, which put me pretty out of the competition…
  • On the way home, my layover in Stockholm was only an hour, and my bags couldn’t be checked through because the airlines I was using didn’t have a baggage agreement.  Then my flight got in a bit late, and by the time I’d claimed my bags and found the check-in line 20 minutes before my next flight, they told me I was too late.
  • The next flight I could get was 24 hours later.  So I stayed in Stockholm for the day, which wasn’t too bad, I as noted above.
  • My flight the next morning from Stockholm was canceled. So they routed me through Copenhagen first, and then to Newark.  In Newark, my bags didn’t come and I had missed my flight to Burlington.  So I waited in lines for 4hours, then another few hours to get a later flight.
  • My bags still aren’t here.  The rifle got detained at customs in Newark, which I can’t call until Monday, and they won’t give me my ski bag until the rifle gets released.

Despite the traveling on either end though, it was a great trip!  And maybe when I finally get my bags I’ll put up some pictures.

Keep Your Shirt On

10.Mar.2010 by Ollie Burruss

Seriously, just do it.


Derby Meister and 1st Biathlon Race

5.Mar.2010 by Lauren Jacobs

I left the BKL Festival early last weekend so I could get back to do the Stowe Derby. I’d never done it before so I decided to do the Meister (both to enable a better starting position and because it’s more hard-core). Luckily I had a wonderful mentor in Linda who explained all the considerably confusing logistics of trying to do the Derby Meister. I would have been completely lost without her!

Here’s the basic run down of the day:

Get up early, drive to Stowe and park at the Church (finish line). Leave bag of dry clothes hanging from a tree. Get a ride to the high school from Troy and Kimberly. Stand in line to sign the waiver (don’t look at the small print), pick up bibs and cool orange t-shirts. Ran into a friend from Gould! Chauffer Kimberly drives us up to the mountain. Take the lift up to the start. Luckily it was a beautiful, warm day so the ride was very pleasant. I was very spoiled for my first Stowe Derby experience. Start the skate race and commence “power plow!”

I'm amazed that I wasn't snow plowing this turn.

I'm amazed that I wasn't snow plowing this turn.

The scariest part of the course wasn’t the Toll Road as I expected, instead it was under the power lines by the Touring Center and then later at the end of the woods section there was a really icy shoot.

The flat/uphill portion of this course just keeps going and going...

The flat/uphill portion of this course just keeps going and going...

There was no time to waste after the skate finish. It was back in the car for another drive up to the mountain to do it all over again. There was a lot of discussion between Meisters about what to do for classic skis. In the end there was a little bit of everything; some were on klister, others crowns, some hairies or zeros and at least one guy went on skate skis and just double-poled or herringboned the whole thing. I went with zeros, which were fast but didn’t kick well in the woods (the only place on the course where you actually could use some kick).

See that guy behind me? He had a spectatular wipeout moments after passing me a little after this photo was taken. I witnessed a lot more carnage in the classic race.

See that guy behind me? He had a spectatular wipeout moments after passing me a little after this photo was taken. I witnessed a lot more carnage in the classic race.

You definitely should go to here to see some awesome carnage. I wanted to put a few of the choice ones in this post but decided that wouldn’t be very nice, so you’ll have to go look for yourself.

The classic race was my favorite part. I was a little more comfortable because now it was my second time on the course and the conditions were softer. After the classic finish we were able to take our time, change and head over to the Rusty Nail for awards and carnage videos. It was a great day and I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again next year!

Changing subjects a bit, after some convincing by John Maddigan I headed over to Jericho yesterday for the last of the Thursday night biathlon races. The crew over there is super friendly and they put on a great, fun event. Even though I’ve been doing some shooting, I hadn’t done any after skiing hard so the shooting stages were interesting. I dirtied the prone (missed all five) and almost did the same for standing but I calmed myself down, determined to hit at least one. Success! I hit the last target on standing. I had a blast even with my poor shooting and now I’m just psyched to get better at it!