Well, our first two races are over, and some of us are really liking this year’s format, which has the two classic races being first, and then we coaches can put away the kick wax box and just concentrate on glide. Not having the Sprints the first race is also a plus, I think, because we had a chance to ease into the race scene before the utter craziness of a race day that lasts from 9 until almost 5 pm. Luckily, our wax team was on it all day, and there wasn’t a lot of waxing for me to do during the races, so my task was shuttle-guy (kids get bored and tired hanging out all day, and less than half of them had the opportunity to move on to the heats), pole-duty on the course in case of breakage, yelling my head off in encouragement when they needed it (or even when they didn’t), and taking some photos, a few of which I put on the Far West Facebook page.
We had some excellent results yesterday, including another win from Mr. Peter T. Holmes, making it a 2 for 2. We had 12 athletes move onto the quarterfinals, which is an excellent day for Far West. It was cold out there, but was tolerable for racing, and even standing around all day. I think my favorite photo of the day is this one of Peter and (I think) his grandmother. She was crying, it was the sweetest thing to watch.
As is usual, there was some successes, not-so great races, and average performances, but as coaches, it’s important to just encourage every single athlete out there, whether they skied to their own expectations or not. For some, not getting into the top ten is a disappointment, and they have to realize that these are the BEST athletes in the country out here. Not being “on” for one or two races isn’t a sign of failure. For others, beating a few other skiers and coming across the finish line is what’s it’s all about, as evidenced by this awesome photo of my boy Connor, from Mammoth:
That’s what it’s all about.
Today is a training/relaxation day. Looking forward to a little break before the back-to-back race days at the end of the week.
Hey everyone! As you all know, yesterday was our first race here in Stowe. It was a big deal for everyone, but for me it was something a little more crazy–it was my first Junior Nationals race ever.
Most races I do, I get super nervous for. But for the 5k classic yesterday, I wasn’t nervous at all. It was a different emotion taking over my body: pure excitement and thrill. The environment we were in before the race was incredible. The best junior nordic skiers in the country were right there around us, the boys were racing, there was cheering and music playing, there was glitter being spread onto the faces of athletes about to race, there were coaches waxing skis until they were absolutely perfect, there were hugs and people yelling to their friends, “You’re gonna kill it!” and, “Go for it! Go fast!” And then, before I knew it, I was in the start and watching the clock count down to 1. There were cheers for a minute but then I was out on the trails skiing as fast as I could go.
For me, these races were never about my result and only about me having a ton of fun and going my absolute hardest. And that’s exactly what I did. Skiing back into the stadium was incredible. People were clapping and yelling my name and it all pushed me up the last hill and made me smile. As I crossed the finish line I skied up to Claire who a had finished a little before me and I have her a huge hug and said, (while jumping up and down) “OH MY GOD WE JUST FINISHED OUR FIRST JNS RACE!!!” And from from here, let the adventure begin.
On Friday the 28th we flew from Reno to Vegas to Albany with various delays and ended up spending the night in NY and driving to Stowe. Later that day we went on a short skate ski to preview all of the courses for the week and the snow was super fast and perfect. The next day we went on a classic ski on the course for the next day’s race.
Monday, the day of the first race, I was able to sleep in a bit since my race didn’t start until 1:40 which was pretty nice. We arrived at the venue shortly after 12 to music playing and lots of people running around. The race was cold and hard, but still fun. I ended up in 44th which, for my first ever JNs race, I’d say is pretty solid. After the race we went back to our houses and rested up. Today we got up and went for a classic ski around tomorrow’s sprint course. Tomorrow we have the 1.3 kilometer classic sprint which should be a very exciting day for all of us!
It’s hard to believe we’re already four days into this trip. It feels like we just got here. The conditions are great here in Stowe, albeit a little chilly out. While the thermometer reading is already low, the added humidity makes for a freezing combo.
We’ve had a great couple of days despite that. After a long two travel days, we had a great, well rested ski yesterday followed by an amazing opening ceremony. We got to parade down the main street of Stowe with all the teams. For a few minutes we got to feel like the real Olympic teams in Sochi doing the parade of nations! We found an awesome flagpole in our basement and waved our California/ Far West flag high. We then walked back to the Ice Arena and got to hear the granddaughter of the recently late Maria Von Trapp speak, along with several other distinguished Stowe-ites and Vermonters. We even were entertained by Rusty, a native of Stowe portraying what he called “Old Vermont”. He entered the arena driving a zamboni and swigging maple syrup! Needless to say, it was quite the performance.
Today was the classic interval start race. 10 kilometers for the U20/U18 boys, and 5 kilometers for everybody else. The course is very hilly, starting off downhill, and climbing back up and descending twice, before going to the low point of the course. From there, its a roughly 1.5 kilometer slog back up to the top of the course and the finish. I was really excited for this race. I felt good and I knew exactly where I wanted to hammer the hardest. As it turned out, I took the first lap a little too hard and I ended up slowing down significantly on the second lap. Still, I left it all out there and even though I was pretty far off my results goal, I had a good race.
As always, there have already been some flag related shenanigans between us and the PNSA crew. With their three houses being less than 300 feet apart from our main house, it was only a matter of time. PNSA, however, made the mistake of leaving their flag on a low part of the roof of one of their houses. Skyler and I seized the opportunity and found a 16 foot long pole in our basement. We used this pole to knock their flag off of the roof and into our hands. As it stands, we are still in possession of the PNSA flag, and I’m fairly confident we still have our own flag.
More news from Stowechi will be coming soon
FAR WEST FAR BEST!
(Photo creds to Stacey Herhusky)
Made it to Stowe! And it is a very cool place — Vermont is beautiful! We woke up in Albany after a LONG day of travel, with multiple flight delays (who would think that everything would get delayed in Las Vegas because of rain), drove many confusing roads through upstate New York and Vermont, and finally arrived here in time for the athletes to get in a quick ski to check out the conditions and trails. Our lodging here at the Stowe Motel is very cool, with a large house and small house for the ladies, and a bunch of suites/apartment for the guys. And the incomparable Linda and David Dore to take great care of our gastronomical needs.
The area has really embraced JN’s, with lots to do for the spectators and parents and lots of discounts at many of the area merchants (Truckee, are you listening?) . And Vermont is REALLY cute, with lots of cool little towns and ancient buildings and some humorous local interest.
Now it’s time to get to bed to try to adjust to the time change, do a little skiing tomorrow, and the opening ceremonies. Here’s a quick shot of the team at the Birch Glen house waiting for our first team meeting of the week. Looking forward to tomorrow….