Last night the team returned from a weekend trip to Waterville Maine for NENSA Eastern Cup #2. Overall the weekend was a great success and the energy was high in the van during our return drive. As with any group we had some good results and some not so good, but lessons were learned and the crew is hungry for more! 
The whole weekend of racing was originally scheduled to be held at Chisholm Ski Club (Black Mountain) in Rumford Maine. Mother Nature threw a kink in that plan but the team at Quarry Road stepped up to host instead. Given the last minute move, they did an excellent job putting together a busy weekend of competitions.  
Quarry Road, the hosting venue, sits close to Colby College, just on the other side of I-95. It’s not often we race so close to highways here in New England so we couldn’t resist a group shot where the access road passes right under the interstate. All smiles after a big weekend of racing! 
Day 1: Skate Individual Start 5k/10k Races

Justin, our wax tech and former GMVS coach, has been teaming up with Nick Mahood of Woodstock Nordic to get some really fast skis coming out of our trailer. Here’s the view early Saturday morning before the skate events got underway.
Saturday’s Men’s and Women’s 10k and 5k events were combined with the second day of the EISA Bates Carnival. This combination has been happening for a few years now and is really exciting because it allows younger athletes a chance to test themselves against the college fields that most aspire to compete in down the road. 
Saturday’s course was a 1.5 kilometer loop of manmade snow. The U16 boys and women completed three laps for a 4.5k race and the men’s field did six laps for a 9k. While counting these laps can be tedious, it allows for some great pack skiing and the spectating can be really exciting with so many athletes on such a short loop at once. Mother Nature added her own special touch, dropping  fluffy snowflakes on us all day. The early fields (U16s and the first half of the women’s field) had firm tracks but as the snow accumulated the course became a bit less firm. 
Forrest (#394) skiing in a small train that included racers from Dartmouth, Stratton Mountain School and Colby. Forrest had a strong performance on Saturday, finishing 39th overall (including the college field) and 2nd in the U18 age group. 
Carl raced up in the U16 age group this weekend and skied to a solid 17th place.
Elliot skiing solo on his way up the big hill. Elliot did a great job working with and through several groups of racers during his six laps around the course. Elliot finished 92nd over (college field included) and 14th for U18s. 
Tanner pushing hard up the big hill. The U16 field was smaller so the boys had to ski on their own quite a bit. Tanner finished less than a second behind Carl in 20th place. 
TK in just his second weekend of Eastern Cup racing action. He skied a strong race, finishing 25th in the U16 boys field. 
Lizzy climbing through snowflakes. She had a tough weekend, battling some breathing issues but learned some valuable lessons that should help her feel better during intensity going forward. She finished 128th in a deep women’s field (college field included) and 34th for U20s. 
Walker looking strong and focused. He skied a smart race, logging negative splits and working efficiently with the skiers around him when he could. Walker finished 53rd overall (college field included) and 5th for U18s. 
Day 2: Classic Mass Start Distance 5k/10k Races

Day two greeted us with clear sunny skies. It was beautiful! Quarry road opened additional terrain to lengthen the course to 3.3 kilometers of perfect classic tracks. 
Garrott and Justin getting ready to head out for some early morning ski testing in their matching Gumby jackets, patriotic Toko gloves, and Leki poles….there’s no better way to start a race day for a couple of coaches!
The U16 boys kicked off the mass start races. They did one 3.3k loop and one lap around Saturday’s 1.5k loop for a 4.8k race. 
Tanner and Carl skied much of the race together, pushing one another while chasing down their opponents. 
TK with great technique in just his second classic event ever. 
Garrott cheering Carl and Tanner into the finish….they had a four way sprint for 17th place which Carl won by throwing out a great lunge across the line, just like we’ve been working on in training. Tanner took 20th, crossing the line just two seconds behind Carl. 
Garrott cheering TK through the final meters of his race. TK managed pass the skier to his left (in red and black) and threw a perfect lunge at the line to tie finish times with the skier in front of him here (in blue). 
Lizzy had a classic race that she’d probably rather forget, but that’s part of racing and the experience will help her learn valuable lessons for the future. She did a great job pushing through her race, being persistent right to the finish line, and then talking through the race with Kat to make the most of it. Her race also brought out the loyalty that runs deep on this squad. Tanner, TK and Carl were right there when Lizzy was struggling and made sure to check in with her and her parents after she finished. Her little Gumby brothers are pretty attached after just a few months! 
The men’s 10k mass start getting underway. They skied three laps of the 3.3k course for a 9.9k.
Forrest skied a smart race, staying very relaxed and working with his competitors to find a smart pace on each of the three laps. He finished 12th overall (no college field on Sunday) and 4th for U18s. 
Walker working with one of the SMS boys through the stadium area. Walker and Elliot both found themselves in a bit of traffic at different points of the race. Both skied smart, working on aspects of classic technique that we’ve been focusing on in training, and finishing well in their age group. Walker was 20th overall and 7th for U18s. 
Elliot striding big out of the stadium. He finished 25th despite a big fall on his first lap (11th for U18s). 
Full results from the weekend can be found here
We have two weeks in the Mad River Valley before our next Eastern Cup weekend in Lake Placid at the end of January. This coming weekend Charlie (and maybe Kat) will put on a bib at Ole’s for the Valley Cup classic race on Sunday. Come ski with us then! 
Thanks for reading! 
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