Late starts for the win. I think this past weekend of racing in Vermont has been one of the most relaxed race weekend's of my life, especially considering we were waxing our own skis. Being able to roll out of bed at 9:00 and still have time to eat, pack, clean, wax, drive, unpack and wax again before even starting to warm up is a luxury I have rarely enjoyed.
Day two of the UVM Carnival in Stowe Vermont dawned as a chilly, blustery day with the odd snowflake falling here and there. After making an educated guess on what to wax with for the 10km individual skate race the night before (with the remote help of waxing magician John Suuronen) we set about testing structures and powders once we hit the race site. After deciding what we had on was good, there was nothing left to do but race!
Karl on his first lap
The depth of the field in Stowe was above and beyond all but a few races I have done in Canada. With over 220 starters in the open men and 160 in the open women there was a steady stream of starters for over two hours. With the women starting first, Megan finished before we even arrived, turning in an impressive 6th place finish in the women's race.
Colin at the 2km mark
The men started shortly after the last of the women crossed the line, with Karl heading out first, Colin second, Kyle third and Lee last. Just before my start a gust of wind howled across the stadium and slowly toppled an L.L. Bean tent that had been sheltering a few course marshals. As it fell, the enclosed top caught the wind like a sail and sent the tent tumbling. It went head over heels across a field, through a crowd of people and over a road before getting caught in a tree. In retrospect, it's pretty lucky that no wind shields got impaled by the metal legs and no people were hurt.
Kyle following Andrew Stewart-Jones (Nakkertok)
Colin following Steffan Loyd (Nakkertok) who finished 8th
The course in Stowe is an interesting one, and I still haven't decided if I like it. The stadium is the high point on the course and you descend for a kilometer and a half before starting to climb. With three significant climbs on the 5km lap it is not an easy course, but everything is skiable with no really steep pitches. After fighting our way through the course and pushing our way up the painfully long uphill finishing sprint, the times started rolling in. Karl finished in 19th place, just over a minute off the lead, Colin placed 43rd another minute back, Lee was 89th and Kyle finished 101st, only 10 seconds off of Lee.
Etienne Richard - top Canadian in 6th
After cooling down on some wicked fun trails, the van was off in a blaze of glory to the Ben and Jerries factory just down the road. Four pints of incredibly rich ice cream later we were on our way home to Ottawa. In all it was a great weekend of racing and Vermont is definitely worth a look if you happen to be passing through. There is another big race down there in two weeks time, the Middlebury Carnival happening on the 26th and 27th of February. If you have a free weekend and are looking for some racing you could do a lot worse than these.
See full results at http://nensa.net/results/index.php?io_view=events&top_event_id=552&season=