Monday, December 18, 2017

Fort Kent Eastern Cup report

The first EC of the season kicked off up in the way far north, pretty much Canada, at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center. They received a nice dump of snow midweek, followed by some days of chilly temperatures, so the conditions were pretty much perfect. Saturday was a skate sprint, which means everyone did a qualification race, and the results of that race seeded people into heats.

The bossman and his sidekick testing wax on a bright sunny Friday afternoon, basking in the warmth. Or something like that. Was certainly a shock to my system to ski at below-zero temperatures!

The women raced first, and Laura, DXCer Lily, and Coach Alex slid into the open heats. After the top 30 open racers, the next fastest 12 U18/U20s get pulled out for semifinals/finals, which included Madeline and Kate. Then the next 12 fastest U16s go into heats, where we had Shea, Eva, and DXCer Aggie. Francesca, Amelia, Phoebe, and Elizabeth didn’t go quite fast enough to qualify for the heats in this competitive field. They got the advantage of resting up for the next day, and started the mental preparation for it.

In the open heats, both Laura and Alex ended up third in their heats, with bib numbers not low enough to make it into the semis as lucky losers, and Lily finished just behind Alex. In the U18 heats, Madeline skied a really smart semifinal, tucking in behind a gal from GMVS and cruising through in 2nd, and then blitzing the final for the win! Kate did her first skate sprint heats, and ended up in the B final, where she skied a smart race and ended up 3rd in the heat, learning a lot along the way. For the U16s, Eva and Aggie got bumped to the B final after a brave semifinal, and then skied a smart race, with Aggie winning the race and Eva ending up third in the heat. Shea absolutely crushed her semifinal, and then ended up in third place! Awesome work, ladies.

 
Madeline on the top step of the U18 podium, and Shea in the bronze medal position for the U16s. 

The men had a great day too. We qualified three for the open heats: Oliver and Jackson qualified in 15th and 16th, and James landed in 22nd. The next 12 U18/20s were tight, but Alex B landed in that group, with Jacob just missing the heats by 1 second! So close. Linden and DXCer Quinn qualified for the U16 heats comfortably. Coach Rob had a blistering time in the qualifier, winning the master’s field. Ben and Henry didn’t qualify for heats in this tough field.
In the heats, Jackson and Oliver were in the same quarterfinal. Oliver led it out hot from the start, but tangled with a competitor and crashed. Jackson came up the wax-cabin hill in a comfortable 2nd place, but didn’t quite have the finish he wanted, ending up in 3rd place. His bib wasn’t a low enough number to make it through as lucky loser. James was in the next heat, and he was in third place coming through the rolling hills behind the stadium. Then he used great skis and a finish kick to out-lunge eventual winner Daniel Streinz at the line, getting into the semi-finals. He landed in the B final, where he had a good finish for 4th, and 10th overall. 

In the U18 heats, Alex got bumped to the B final, and then duked it out for 5th place in the heat. In the U16 heats, Linden also got bumped to the B final, where in an exciting race, he was fighting for the lead coming over the camels humps, and the three leaders lunged across the line in an all-out sprint. Unfortunately for Linden, his split wasn’t quite good enough, and he was third in the heat, which was still a great result. Quinn fought hard for a fifth place finish (I need to check on this – right now the results aren’t up for the U16 men).

The fun thing about sprints is that anything can happen. Sometimes, that anything works in your favor, and sometimes, it works against you.

Proof that teenagers now only communicate via pictures.

Sunday dawned chilly, but sunny, with really great conditions. The waxing was straightforward, and nearly everyone had great skis. The course was fun, starting with some long hills and then coming back down to the stadium with a couple little kickers along the way. Mass start races for everyone, 5k for U16s and the women, and 10k for the men.
The U16 men went first, and our boys had great races. Linden ended up fifth (fourth American), and Ben 10th (and sixth American). Our DXC buddy Quinn had a breakout race, in 12th. Great skiing gentlemen! The U16 women were next, and Shea and Eva both had really good races, with Shea in fourth (third American) and Eva in 6th! Just behind them were Aggie and Francesca, skiing really nicely in 10th and 11th, and Amelia just behind in 13th. Elizabeth had a really nice race for not getting on snow much yet, in 26th and right in the mix with a pack of other girls.

Next off was the open women’s 5k mass start, which was, as one coach predicted, completely chaos. There was some aggressive skiing in the start, and a crash shortly thereafter that definitely affected the outcome of the race, as half the field was caught behind it. Laura skied a great race despite coming from the middle of the early crash, and ended up in 13th as the sixth U18. Kudos! Just behind was Coach Kathy, in 16th. Next was Madeline, with a solid race, in 21st race, followed by coach Alex in 23rd, and Lily in 30th. Pretty good showing for the top 30! Schuyler (from DXC) had a great race, skiing really smart to get around lots of other racers to end up in 39th, followed closely by Phoebe in 45th with an excellent race. Kate had a rough day out there, which are the only days you can really learn from.

The men’s 10k was next. James and Oliver led our baby blue pack, coming in for 11th and 12th, with Oliver right on James’ tails. Not far behind them was Jacob, showing his classic specialist colors, in 26th place. Jackson had a solid race, putting some classic distance demons behind him, ending up in 37th. Henry had a little trouble with his skis, ending up in 60th, and Alex had a good first lap but then faded a little in the second lap, ending up in 71st. Connor had a rough day, breaking his binding off of his ski, but he managed to get the binding back on the ski and still finished!

New Wax Team leader John Buchheit absolutely crushed it this weekend. Skis were fast, classic skis kicked like a dream, and there was zero panicking. His faithful followers were solid and dependable, churning out fast skis all day long. Kudos!

Great work to all the racers. This is an incredibly deep field that we’re racing against, so it’s hard to sometimes get the results you want. But it’s important to remember that every race is a practice for the next one, and the smart racers are the ones who are learning from each race and each mistake, figuring out what they can do better next time, and celebrating the small process successes (for example – I remembered to bring boot covers, and my feet were warm!). Fantastic weekend up in the County. Thanks to all who made it so fun!

Kathy and Alex took Rob to an Asian fusion restaurant for dinner on our way back south. Rob is skeptical, and claims to prefer the potato-based food from the County. 

Related Article

Fort Kent Eastern Cup report
4/ 5
Oleh

SUBSCRIBE

Enter Your Email For Update Articles..