Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Colby Carnival 2018

It's a cliche among New England skiers that January is always good for a thaw somewhere along the way.  I don't know if weather data backs this up, but in my experience it's certainly held true.  This year, after two weeks of beautiful skiing, we got one of the most intense thaws I've ever seen - two days of super warm weather with pouring rain and a nasty snow-eating fog.  Sadly, it happened right on the eve of our first carnival of the year, the Colby Carnival at Quarry Road.  Our first race had to be cancelled, but the race crew did an amazing job to patch up the course after things froze up again. We ended up with a nice 1.7k loop, which held up remarkably well for the 5/10k skate despite hundreds of laps.  Our team had a mixed day - some people really killed it, while others didn't quite have the snap needed to take advantage of fast and squirrelly conditions.  Elliot and Renae were our top skiers in 13th and 21st, respectively, with Gabby just outside the points in 32nd - very impressive start to their college careers!  Fiona scored a PR, finishing 51st in a large and deep field, and Cirque came back strong after missing almost all of last season, posting a 55th place finish.  We were 6th in the team scoring, which tied our best ever finish (2011 Colby Carnival) - pretty exciting considering that this was only an OK day for us.  I'm super fired up to see what this team can do when we sharpen up a bit!

We had a lot of enthusiastic supporters at the race, most notably a great group of parents who set up a fantastic post-race tailgate.  Every year I'm struck by how lucky we are to have such a supportive group of parents, and this year is no exception.  Thanks so much, Bowdoin Nordic parents!

Here are some photos courtesy of ski team friend Dan Strodel '20:

Now we're enjoying some great skiing at Pineland - they survived the thaw nicely, and a storm today has us back in good shape.  Looking forward to the St. Mike's Carnival this weekend!

Friday, January 12, 2018

US Nationals and Jan Camp (so far)

Bowdoin Nordic people everywhere have been busy since New Year's!  Here's a quick rundown:

We started up team practices on Jan. 2nd - Mary and Ian were the only hardy souls on campus for that first day, but others soon arrived, and we had a nice first week of training together despite the rather brisk temps.

There was plenty of snow at Pineland.  Conditions were fantastic right from the beginning, and they got even better with a mid-week refresher.
That weekend we traveled to Jackson for a very quick training trip - a cold afternoon ski, our traditional Thai take-out eaten in the halls of the Eagle Mountain House, and a classic time trial with UNH the following morning.  It was great to mix it up with one of the top teams in the East in preparation for carnival season.
Place First Last Team Total
1 Maddie Morgan UNH 26:29:00
2 Maddy  Pfeiffer UNH 27:01:00
3 Kaja Sandsten UNH 27:05:00
4 Lily Johnston BOW 27:33:00
5 Gabby Vandendries BOW 27:38:00
6 Annavite Rand UNH 27:48:00
7 Silje Wilson UNH 27:49:00
8 Ellie Hands BOW 27:56:00
9 Hannah Peterson UNH 28:13:00
10 Sara Nichols BOW 28:20:00
11 Kristine Keller-Miller UNH 28:29:00
12 Sarah Nadeau UNH 28:50:00
13 Fiona Ahearne BOW 29:10:00
14 Lizzie Martin UNH 29:38:00
15 Mary  Kretchmer BOW 30:04:00
16 Rachel Zafren BOW 31:19:00

Place First Last Team Total
1 Peter Holmes UNH 32:13:00
2 Tyler Smith UNH 32:35:00
3 Christian Gostout BOW 33:30:00
4 Will Bodewes UNH 33:40:00
5 Jake Adicoff BOW 34:00:00
6 Sean Cork BOW 34:15:00
7 Bryce Hartman UNH 34:48:00
8 Sam Shaheen BOW 35:02:00
9 Ian Culnane BOW 35:20:00
10 Russell Boswell UNH 35:46:00
11 Luca DeAngelis BOW 36:19:00
12 Casey Shannon UNH 36:32:00
13 Russell O'Brien BOW 36:43:00
14 Noah Eckstein BOW 37:36:00
15 Ben Allen UNH 38:23:00

Meanwhile, a small crew of Bowdoin skiers past and present were tearing up US Nationals in Anchorage.  Renae finished 79th in the 10k skate, 92nd in the skate sprint, and 27th in the absurdly short and crash-marred junior 5k mass start classic.  Elliot was 36th in the 15k skate, 76th in the skate sprint, and 6th in the 10k mass start classic - just one point away from qualifying for World Juniors!  We've never had anyone come so close to making an international trip - really an impressive showing that has all of us feeling fired up for the carnival season.  On the alumni side, Kaitlynn Miller '14 was on the US podium three times in four races - 2nd American in both the classic and skate sprint and 3rd American in the 20k classic mass start.  That showing puts her in great position for the SuperTour - 2nd place overall!  No photos of racing, but I did get this great shot of a Bowdoin Nordic alumni reunion courtesy of Nat Herz '09:

(from left:  Nat, James Crimp '13, Kaitlynn, Jackson Bloch '15, Wilson Dippo '12, Nick Crawford '09)

This week we've had everyone back from Nationals, and the temps have warmed up considerably.  We had a couple days of beautiful skiing at Pineland, including a great interval session with a mini sprint time trial at the finish - the team looked sharp.
Now we find ourselves right on the verge of another carnival season - Colby Carnival starts tomorrow!  Forecast is alarming - rain turning into ice, then sleet, then snow.  This could be one of those days that we tell stories about years later - can't wait!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fall 2017 Training Video

Happy New Year!  As we jump into 2018, here's a look back at some highlights from the fall of 2017 - enjoy!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

December Wrap

December is always a funny month for our team.  In a perfect world, we'd hit the training pretty hard, but in the real world we have a lot of things to work around.  Everyone's usually a bit worn after a long semester, and the academic load is pretty heavy in the final weeks of the semester, so we train as best we can and then send the skiers home for break.  Even so, there's always some good odds and ends happening in December.  Here are a few of our highlights:

- 15/20k not-race threshold session at Ridge Road.  This workout has become a tradition over the last few years - the goal is to get a feel for the full distance and pacing of a 15/20k race without taking it that last step and shouldering the full load of a long race effort.  The skiers are under strict orders not to turn it into a race, and these days they more or less obey, with perhaps a bit of gamesmanship in the final kilometer.  We had a beautiful day for this workout - sunny and crisp but not too cold - and the team had a really quality session.

- Aquathalon.  Eight or nine of our skiers joined the annual swim/run showdown between the swim and track teams - a fun outside-the-box chance to get some race prep.  I couldn't be there to watch, but by all reports the skiers held their own.  Sounds like most of our people flailed in the pool but kinda sorta made up for their lack of technique with sheer fitness and willpower.

- Return of the weight drag.  By popular request, we brought back an old workout that's become a bit of legend.  After a short session the skiers quickly remembered why we retired it.

- Quarry Road Opener.  Our last team session of the semester was a 5k skate race at Quarry Road.  Colby was there, of course, along with a good number of junior and master skiers.  The competition was made even more fearsome by the presence of Bowdoin Nordic alum and Colby assistant coach Jackson Bloch '15.  Undaunted, our men took 4 of the top 5 spots, with Elliot and Christian going 1-2.  Gabby led the women in 3rd, with Sara, Ellie, and Renae not far behind.

- Canmore Paralympic races.  While most of the team was racing at Quarry Road, Jake flew across the continent to compete in a couple of Paralympic races to officially qualify him for the 2018 Games.  Just barely off the plane, he managed a 4th in the classic sprint and a 5th in the 10k skate.

- SuperTour.  Kaitlynn Miller '14 won the classic sprint in the Sovereign Lakes SuperTour event.  She's currently 2nd in the overall SuperTour standings.

For the last couple weeks everyone's been off for Winter Break - training hard and enjoying the holidays.  It's quiet here on campus, but it won't be for long.  We'll start up team practices again after New Year's, and by the end of the week we'll have almost everyone back.  Can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Camp 2017

Another successful Thanksgiving Camp in the books!  This one went about as smoothly as we could have possibly hoped - good roads both ways, plenty of snow, and most everyone mostly healthy.  We even stretched our food supply for the full 5 1/2 days with no emergency trips to Stoneham!  Here are a few of the highlights:

On Day 1 we mostly stayed on the loop - good coverage and lots of good technique work, including a few exciting breakthroughs.  The senior/junior team set a high bar with their dinner:  chicken/eggplant parmesan, lemony kale salad, roasted veggies, homemade bread, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  Highly flavorful and an impressive exhibition of cooking skill.

Day 2 (Thanksgiving) was a mix of loop skiing and exploration - conditions on the roads got better and better due to steady small doses of snow.

Everyone teamed up to pull together a great Thanksgiving dinner.  There was some question as to whether the turkey would turn out OK, since our expert turkey handler (Mac) had graduated, leaving no heir apparent.  When Little Ian and Elliot stepped up to take over, there was much skepticism.  Fortunately, these fears were unfounded - these two did their homework and jumped into the task with confidence.  With some wise advice from Sawyer and a few prayers to the salmonella gods, they produced a magnificent centerpiece for our meal.  A few people even declared that this was the best turkey we'd ever had at camp - high praise considering some of the legendary turkey chefs that have come through this program.  I can't vouch for the accuracy of these claims - as a fake vegan, I've never eaten the turkey at a Bowdoin Nordic Thanksgiving - but I can say that I've never before heard such enthusiastic feedback from the team.

With more snow on Day 3 we skied mostly on the roads, but continued to do a number of quality technique sessions.  The afternoon highlight was our first Polasky Ball game of the season (won by Team Awesome, of course).  I'm happy to report that this year's crew is actually pretty good at Polasky Ball - a marked contrast to their ineptitude at basketball.  At dinner, the sophomores made their bid for glory with a chicken/tofu curry over rice, salad with pomegranate seeds, homemade naan, dill popcorn, and gingerbread - healthful, diverse, and delicious.

Day 4 was time trial day.  For the first time in years we got off the loop.  Instead, we did a 5.5k point to point skate on the roads - rolling gradual descent followed by a big climb and some more rollers to the finish.  Since the roads weren't officially open, they'd been minimally groomed, which made for rather sloppy skiing - this was a real test of who had good snow feel and a light touch on their skis.  Elliot was our top finisher in 4th, while Sara led the women in 12th - very impressive performances against a tough field that featured over half the teams in our league plus some fast Canadians and US juniors.  Like every other team we had some hits and misses - energy and/or speed wasn't there for some of our skiers - but overall it was a pretty solid day for our team.  People look strong and fit, and they're improving technically.  From what I saw and heard it seemed like everyone's race day process was sound.  Most of all, I'm happy about the effort - a good hard push across the line by everyone.  Definitely good to get that first on-snow race under our belts and figure out what we're doing well and where we need to improve.

After a pleasant easy ski through still more snowfall in the afternoon, we settled in for the youngsters' entry in the cooking competition:  super cheesy enchiladas with rice, tortilla chips with homemade salsa and guacamole (some of the best guacamole I've had in a while), spinach salad with goat cheese, and snickerdoodles.  Super tasty and filling if somewhat artery-clogging - just perfect after a long snowy day.

With lots of fresh powder on the ground, we decided to spend our final Foret morning on a long adventure ski.  We skied as far as we could on the groomed roads and then forged on through the powder.  It was slow going for a while until Sawyer went to the front and started breaking trail at a remarkable pace.  We climbed for a few kilometers up to a remote hilltop with gorgeous views before deciding it was time to turn around.  The downhill was outrageously fun as we tried to stay in our deep tracks at high speeds, with mixed success - some powdery crashes ensued but everyone was more or less whole by the time we got back to the shack.  A perfect way to close out a very fun and productive camp.

Now we've rejoined reality back on campus - as always, it's a bit sad coming back to dryland after good times on snow, but our crew has jumped right back into it with good spirits.  Still some adjustments to be made - everyone's hungry all the time now that they're not eating three lunches a day - but we're doing well and looking forward to crushing the last couple weeks of training before a quick sprint through exams and the start of Winter Break!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Storm Week and Lobster Roll

Traditionally we call the last week before the end of Daylight Savings "The Most Boring Week Ever."  It's a mostly tongue-in-cheek way of describing our very easy recovery week - we do short simple workouts close to campus to make the most of the fading daylight.  This year we had a little extra excitement in the form of a fierce windstorm that ripped through northern New England - downed trees and power outages everywhere.

Roads and trails everywhere were blocked by fallen trees - a good week to keep it simple and stay close to campus.  We did a couple speed sessions, easy runs, a short track workout, and our first basketball session of the year!  Our team is always pretty bad at basketball - this year's group is no exception.  I'd like to think that we made some good progress on our skills, though - hope so, because everyone knows that you can't be a truly great skier without being at least somewhat good at basketball.

We finished off the week with a nice adventure - a trip to North Haven Island for the Lobster Roll skate rollerski race.  This is always a fun time - a unique Maine experience and a great chance to mix it up with some tough competition.  Renae scorched the course to take 2nd; Sean led the men in 8th, with Ian right on his heels in 9th.  Good solid day overall despite some nagging health issues troubling a few of our skiers.  Thanks to Andy Shepard and OSI for organizing the event!

Place Name Team Finish Time
1 Foss Kerker Colby 37:56
1 Parker McDonald Bates 37:56
3 Zane Fields Colby 38:49
4 Ian Liphart Colby 39:00
5 Caleb Streinz OSI 39:28
6 Gabe Forest Colby 39:30
6 Connor Gray Bates 39:30
8 Sean Cork Bowdoin 39:35
9 Ian Culnane Bowdoin 39:47
10 Anders Hanson Colby 40:08
11 Noah Eckstein Bowdoin 40:31
12 Ben Keener Bates 40:38
13 Jason Bartley UMPI 40:40
14 Mark Young Colby 40:43
15 Ben Theyerl Colby 40:51
16 Carter Hall Colby 41:11
17 Jake Adicoff Bowdoin 41:28
18 Nino Mazella UMPI 41:33
19 Connor Hyrnuk UMPI 41:34
20 Russell O'Brien Bowdoin 41:38
21 Sam Sinkler Colby 41:46
22 Graham Houtsma Bates 41:49
23 Sam Shaheen Bowdoin 41:50
23 Andrew Egger Colby 41:50
25 Carter Ros Bates 42:04
26 Luca DeAngelis Bowdoin 42:09
27 Forrest Hamilton Bates 42:41
28 Elliot Ketchel Bowdoin 43:13
29 Addie Sinkler Colby 43:22
30 Christian Gostout Bowdoin 43:28
31 Brad Ravenelle Bates 45:11
Place Name Team Finish Time
1 Kaelyn Woods Bates 45:18
2 Renae Anderson Bowdoin 45:50
3 Kirsten Miller Colby 46:34
4 Claire Waichler Colby 46:49
5 Annika Martell Colby 46:53
6 Lilly Naimie Colby 47:01
7 Skylar Tupper Colby 47:08
8 Madeline Rieders Colby 47:13
9 Talia Seltzer Colby 47:18
10 Meg Yoder Colby 47:22
11 Abbee Streinz OSI 47:40
12 Lily Johnston Bowdoin 47:49
13 Fiona Ahearne Bowdoin 47:58
14 Hannah Rieders Bates 48:26
15 Gabby Vandendries Bowdoin 49:06
16 Marin Colletta Colby 49:36
17 Samantha Pierce Bates 49:37
18 Zoe McKinney Bates 49:52
19 Annie Blakslee Bates 52:39
20 Vivian Hawkinson Colby 52:40
21 Rachel Zafren Bowdoin 53:10
22 Valentina Annunziata UMPI 53:11
23 Julia Lazzaroni Colby 56:47
24 Leinani Farnsworth UMPI 61:48

Monday, October 23, 2017

Split Squad Weekend

Two different directions for the team this weekend.  Ian took a group up to Fort Kent for our 2nd annual County Camp.  They did a 10k skate time trial with UMPI and a couple OSI athletes - good tough competition.  Sean was our fastest guy in 2nd place overall, and Rachel won the women's race - small but comptitive!  They rounded out the week with lots of good skiing on the 10th Mountain Division rollerski loop and some biathlon training - second time this fall we've practiced our shooting skills!  Walt Shepard would be proud.  Nice training weekend at a great venue - thanks to Seth Hubbard of OSI for hosting the team and Tim Whiton of UMPI for setting up the time trial!

The rest of us stayed home and did a time trial of our own - 10k skate at Lewis Hill Road on a bright sunny day.  Renae looked sharp and V2ed up just about everything - really nice high energy skiing and the fastest women's time.  Another bright spot was watching Lily hanging onto Ellie for the whole race after being passed around the 3k mark.  It's invaluable for experience and confidence when a skier can find the strength to stay with a faster racer and I absolutely love seeing it.  The only two men, Cirque and Luca, both battled hard, with Cirque slightly ahead at the finish.  Great to see these two guys coming back into form after injuries and illness compromised their seasons last year.  Really nice skiing overall.

A few members of the at-home group rounded out the weekend with a quick overnight trip to the Bigelow Preserve - a little camping on the shores of Flagstaff Lake and a nice hike up Avery Peak on Sunday.  Good times to wrap up a good week of training.  Now we just need to get a few people rested and healthy to get this team at full strength!