Green Racing Project Blog Header Image

Archive for the ‘BKL’ Category

Home Fires Burning

5.Jan.2014 by Susan Dunklee

On a quiet morning in late December, my teammate Hannah and I unrolled a couple of shooting mats and unfolded the legs of an old spotting scope. We were setting up for biathlon practice along the back edge of Craftsbury’s lower ski stadium. 50 meters away, through a tunnel of trees, four black and white metal targets perched on rustic cedar scaffolding. A grid of cables suspended their reset ropes above a gully. This is our home training grounds. Although we both race on the National Team now, we love spending time at home, at the venue where we got our start.
20140105-095447.jpg
Our rustic shooting range. Photo: screenshot from WPTZ news.

After zeroing our rifles, we skied several loops around Lemon’s Haunt, a 2 km trail where I remember racing as early as six years old. During our interval workout, Hannah and I wove in and out around packs of local junior and youth skiers. We all wore matching uniforms of the Green Racing Project and Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club. We looked like one big team. As we pushed hard side-by-side to ski faster, we certainly felt like one unified team too.
20140105-094547.jpg
Craftsbury’s up and coming skiers, sporting their snazzy new uniforms. Photo: Callie Young

Later for my afternoon workout, I left my rifle at home and savored the longer trails that took me far from the shooting range. I packed a headlamp in my waterbelt because I usually finished after dark. I tried to go as long as I could without turning it on. I enjoy the challenge of skiing in the dark; it helps improve balance. Besides, I like to think I can predict every dip and turn of Craftsbury’s trails.

In the two weeks I was home, I went through several sets of headlamp batteries, but not simply because of the night skiing. On the Sunday before Christmas, northern Vermont awoke to an ice storm. The forest was coated in thick ice and looked like a crystal palace! All day long, we heard the gunshot sound of tree trunks snapping and the broken glass shatter as branches tumbled to the ground. Our team house was without electricity for five days as utility companies scrambled to repair downed lines across the region. We made sure to keep our wood stove well stocked. It took the Outdoor Center’s staff, plus loads of volunteers, several days to clear debris off the ski trails.
20140105-094839.jpg
View of the ice storm near my parents’ house in Barton. The storm and subsequent cold snap created perfect ice skating conditions on Crystal Lake for Christmas day. Photo: Stan Dunklee

August BKL Camp – Success!

21.Aug.2012 by Gordon Vermeer

Last week was the second week-long BKL camp of the summer, and I’m happy to announce we escaped without any casualties. In fact, one of the rollerski groups completed their session without any bloodshed! — a landmark accomplishment. Add to that the good weather, enthusiastic campers, and fun activities, and you can imagine that we all finished the week tired but happy.

Throughout the week, GRP skiers and rowers, coaches from the Center, and other Craftsbury athletes led about 20 BKL-ers on half-day sporting adventures. Like the first camp back in July, the first four days included mountain biking, canoeing, biathlon, soccer & games, bounding & agility, sculling, and rollerskiing. There was also lots of swimming, multiple times a day in fact. Pretty astonishing how much entertainment kids can draw from jumping off the dock into the lake.

I helped out with a few different sessions myself, including one rollerski morning where I got a glimpse of the East’s next wave of skiing talent! Some of those little rippers ride a better gliding ski than me, I swear. I also worked with Jeremy Nellis to do a morning of agility exercises.

Bounding exercises on the Upper Soccer Field. Photo: Gordon Vermeer

Bounding exercises on the Upper Soccer Field. Photo: Gordon Vermeer

The ladder hones agility, coordination, and speed. Photo: Gordon Vermeer

The ladder hones agility, coordination, and speed. Photo: Gordon Vermeer

The full photo album from that morning is posted on the GRP’s facebook page.

Friday, in a sort of culminating adventure, Dylan and Nils organized a multi-stage adventure race where the campers got to run around the Center doing all sorts of crazy things. It started off pretty tame with a swimming portion and a team log carry, but things started to get exciting when they reached the log bridge — attempting to walk across “Frog Pond” on a bridge of logs tethered to shore and to one another. It was extremely popular, so I imagine the log bridge will feature in future BKL camps. I tried the log bridge myself and fell in the swampy pond shortly after everyone started chanting “fall! fall! fall!” at me.

Rivaling the log bridge in popularity was the tire roll, where teams got to (safely, I assure you) roll tractor tires down a big hill. “Wait, we actually get to roll it down there?!” they exclaimed when instructed to do so.

I filmed the whole morning! There’s a highlight video of the race online — lots of good footage of falls into the swamp.

We capped off the week with a bike trip to the Dreissigacker’s camp and an afternoon of pizza-making and rope-swinging. Judy Geer took a bunch of pictures including the ones below, but check out the whole album here.

Watermelon and pizza with dough from the Center's kitchen. What more could you want? Photo: Judy Geer

Watermelon and pizza with dough from the Center's kitchen. What more could you want? Photo: Judy Geer

One of countless trips out over Hosmer. Photo: Judy Geer

One of countless trips out over Hosmer. Photo: Judy Geer

I look forward to seeing all these BKL athletes tearing up the trails this winter!

Adventure on Hunger Mountain

17.Jun.2012 by Susan Dunklee

While visiting my family for Father’s Day, I ran across an old scrapbook in my childhood bedroom.  One gem that I unearthed was a NENSA Newsletter featuring a story that the Sargent sisters and I had written together many years ago.  It brought me back to one of the most memorable misadventures from our Bill Koch League Days…

Adventure on Hunger Mountain
From New England Nordic News, late winter 1997-8

By Susan Dunklee (6th grade), Elsa Sargent (6th grade) and Ida Sargent (4th grade), members of the Glover-Barton Bill Koch League

A group of Bill Koch cross country skiers decided to take a hike up Hunger Mountain in Worcester, VT.  The group included Hazen, Luke and Danny Brodhead and their parents John and Gina, Susan and Eric Dunklee and their father, Stan, Ida and Elsa Sargent and their mother, Lindy, Ashley Maxwell and Sabina Schultz.  The kids charged up the mountain ahead of their parents to the top of the rocky mountain.  The Dunklee’s dog, Cinnamon, went ahead with the kids.  We didn’t stop to take in the views that our parents thought were wonderful.

At the top, we had a picnic lunch.  There were some little patches of snow so we had a snowball fight.  It was lots of fun.  Then we picked up our supplies and headed down.  Hazen, Luke, Eric, Susan, Elsa and Ida began running.  The boys ran ahead and waited for the girls- we passed them and kept on running.  It wasn’t long before someone mentioned that we weren’t on the trail.  Even the dog didn’t seem to notice when we lost it.

The first mistake we made was running down the mountain.  The second was instead of tracing our footsteps back to the trail, we just kept on going.  All we had for supplies were a few swallows of water, a jacket for everybody, and a first aid kit that included a pack of matches.  We found a stream and started following it.  We followed it for awhile and then we decided to split up into two separate groups and stay within seeing distance to search both sides of the stream.

There were lots of arguments along the way.  Half of the group wanted to go one way.  The other half wanted to go the other way.  Then one group would give in.  We had bushwhacked for over one hour and fifteen minutes.  We tried looking up at the mountain to judge where we were, we tried to find landmarks, we debated about following an old logging road.

One person was losing hope.  They were praying.  Everybody was on edge and nobody knew where we were.  We looked for tire tracks but all we found were bicycle tracks.  We went over a bridge that didn’t look familiar.  But FINALLY we came to where the trail began.  We looked in the checkout box to see if our parents had checked out but they hadn’t.  When we were walking back to the car, we found our parents.  They were overjoyed to see us!  We asked about the checkout box, and they said they had totally forgotten.  We shared our stories all the way home.

20120617-213503.jpg
Susan, Elsa and Ida during their Bill Koch League years

A Magical Morning

30.Oct.2011 by Susan Dunklee

When I woke up today, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.  I wanted to rush around the house and wake everybody up and show them the beautiful snow outside.  Unfortunately, there was no one to wake up except Emily, and I figured she’d appreciate being able to sleep in on her day off.  The first thing I did instead was to email out to the Craftsbury junior skiers to cancel morning rollerski practice and replace it with ski practice on the Center’s fields.

DSCN2851

DSCN2794

We convinced Lisa (one of the Center's rowing coaches) to put on some skis and join in the fun.

We convinced Lisa (one of the Center's rowing coaches) to put on some skis and join in the fun.

DSCN2838

These apples still taste amazing

These apples still taste amazing

DSCN2811

DSCN2815

DSCN2822

DSCN2827

A game of "cut the pie" on the upper soccer field

No need for kick wax

No need for kick wax

We ditched the skis for a short game of snow soccer

We ditched the skis for a short game of snow soccer

DSCN2837

By late afternoon, the snow was already beginning to disappear

By late afternoon, the snow was already beginning to disappear