Monday, February 6, 2012

UVM/Eastern Cup Recap

Another eventful weekend, this time in Stowe for the combined UVM Carnival and Eastern Cup. Trapps got warm temps and heavy rains last week, but it snowed an inch or two on Friday night, making the waxing for Saturday's classic not so straightforward. We scrambled to come up with various klister and hard wax combinations and ended up with most people's skis working decently, if not perfectly. No showstopping results, but several good races, most notably Maren, Shelby, and Hannah, who had her second-best classic finish ever (32nd EISA). The women duplicated their team finish from last week almost exactly; they were just ahead of Williams, tied with Colby, and one point behind SLU - not a bad day. Unfortunately, we were missing some key skiers: Tyler tweaked his back at Jackson last week and is gradually easing back into training; Wilson, already slowed by a nagging back problem, reaggravated a shoulder injury during Friday's pre-race workout; and Spencer sat out in hopes of staving off an impending cold. The silver lining to this was that Wilson and Tyler were available to help with waxing - their efforts made a hectic waxing day much more manageable.

Sunday was a perfect day for a skate race - it was cold and sunny, and the firm, slightly transformed snow was nice and fast. With our new and improved waxing staff, we were able to get the wax dialed in nicely, and we ended up with fast skis. The women were solid, led by Kaitlynn with one of the best skate races I've seen from her - she finished as the 32nd EISA skier. On the men's side, Spencer finished 33rd - a valiant effort from someone who was clearly still under the weather. Kevin had a breakout race to finish just 4 seconds behind in 36th. He's been working hard to tweak his form over the last few weeks, and it paid off on Sunday - a very encouraging sign for the rest of the season. Several other skiers took a big jump forward on Sunday with their best races of the season: Sierra, Drew, Scott, and Alec. However, I was most excited about Dan's race - he was on fire (in a quiet, understated, Polasky sort of way). He looked super smooth and relaxed the whole time, V2ing up almost every hill and getting tremendous glide with each push. For the last 3 years, he's been training hard and working incredibly diligently on his technique, and he's seen big improvements in both his fitness and his form, but his last 2 seasons have been sabotaged by injuries and mono. This year, he's finally in full health, and on Sunday, we finally got the payoff - a great race that was 3 years in the making. May there be several more before the season's over.

We had a lot going on besides racing this weekend. The women's team stayed at the Miller household, and Kaitlynn's mom Deborah and sister Hannah hosted all of us for a huge pasta dinner on Friday night, featuring several loaves of Hannah's delicious homemade bread. On Saturday, we were guests once again, this time as part of an alumni potluck dinner organized by Andy Shepard and Chris Badger '93. It was great to see a handful of alums (including Martha Ryan '84, captain of Bowdoin's first varsity women's ski team), and also catch up with the Shepards. Also, this week we had a even bigger than usual group of parents at the races, providing the team with all sorts of delicious post-race food. Thanks to all of you for making this such a great weekend!

Lots of photos to follow when I have a bit more time.

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