We had beautiful conditions for the 15/20k mass start classic - firm tracks and fresh snow. We were also lucky to have Rachel helping with testing and Steve DeAngelis on application - so nice to have a wax crew! The women did a nice job of putting themselves in competitive positions out of the start. Gabby was her usual tenacious self - she stuck with the leaders from the beginning and held on for 11th. Renae was right in with the lead group as well, but unfortunately a skier crashed in front of her and she couldn't avoid going into the powder and losing a ton of time - always a bummer, but she kept fighting and moved up remarkably well to finish 21st. She told me afterward that she was basically sprinting for 13k trying to make up lost ground - perhaps a moral victory and a confidence boost there, knowing that she has the fitness to hold a fast pace for a full 15k. Lily closed out the scoring in 29th - three skiers in the top 30 is always a good day! The men held up their end of the deal - Christian 25th, Sean 26th, and Cirque with a huge personal best in 28th! Christian had a similar experience as Renae, unfortunately - right in with the leaders for 8k before a crash dropped him well back. Again, it's at least good to know that he can ski at that level - just need to keep him on his feet! Cirque's race was one of the best performances I've seen from a Bowdoin skier in a long time. Before the race he told me he had a plan that was probably a bad idea - go out hard and see if he could stick with the fast guys long enough to finish top 30. Of course I told him to go for it - he's been skiing great all season, so why not take a chance and try for a home run? He got himself solidly in the 30s in the early going before gradually skiing away from his pack and moving up place by place to score a huge PR. It was pretty inspiring to watch - it's not easy to pull off a jump to the next level, but he skied his plan and made it happen. I love seeing our people skiing with well-earned confidence - it makes all the difference in the world!
Overall a strong finish to the weekend - it's not often that we've had all 6 of our scorers in the top 30. This showing was particularly notable because Elliot was out sick for the weekend - can't wait to see what we can do when our team is back at full strength! Now we're fully into the second half of our season - off to Hanover for the Dartmouth Carnival this weekend. Everything we've done for the past several months has been built around skiing fast in February, so now's the time to cash in!