Monday, March 26, 2018

You never know

I think I had just finished toddling around on a pair of "World Tour" fishscales  when someone sent me the preview of "Generation X-Ski" in 2002. A video made by some hot-shot a couple years my junior named Andy Newell.  Long before youtube and insta-tweets, and long before I knew my proper way around a nordic race.

I watched it over and over again.

And I was seething mad.

And immediately infatuated.

Infatuated with a sport that was made to look so badass, so hard, and so fun. This moment was my fall down the rabbit hole into the nordic lifestyle. Then came the videos; The world cup races; The dry-land drills; The camps; The training logs; The clinics; The long snowy drives to races; The cars-driven-into-snow-banks at races; The lost keys in the snow at races; The bitter cold races; The slushy puddle races; The hours of school skipped; The hours of work skipped; The coaching clinics; The wax clinics; The club teams; The amateur videos; The nonsense blogging;  Pinching pennies for skis; sacrificing beer money for better boots; buying stiffer poles than I really need. And nothing has changed since then.  And I still want more.

And I was seething mad because I was 20-something-whatever watching a younger genius on skis and I felt liked if only I had found this awesome sport earlier in my life, I would have been truly great. okay fine... pretty good at it. but still.  Thanks Obama. **

**for the record ... this was long before Obama.  It was more like "thanks mom and dad for knowing nothing about nordic racing." or "thanks, high school coaches for not knowing anything about real nordic racing and training". Either way....a truly childish and excuse-filled sentiment.        

So what is this rambling all about?  Two of my personal nordic giants are stepping away from The US Ski Team. Kikkan Randall with her unapologetic style and awe-inspiring strength, and the afore-mentioned Andy Newell.  Both are turning a page on great and inspiring careers and...

...they have no idea that they had any effect on me.

The real message here is for the young kids who read this.  You never know who is watching you.  It may be a young BKYSL skier who you share a passing hi-five with. Or a peer who sees you training insanely hard. Or a wannabe adult who admires your sportsmanship and selflessness around a teammate.  Inspiration is funny like that.  Sometimes you inspire someone you know and work closely with. And other times it is from someone who sees a glimpse of you from Alaska.  So for all the "real_nordic_skiers", "unreal_nordic_skiers", "surreal_nordic_skiers", and "fake_nordic_skiers"...keep doing what you do and be as creative, fun, unapologetic and awesome as you can.

You never know who is watching you send it.

Thanks Andy and Kikkan. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March FTW

So the NYSSRA points series didn't exactly end up the way HURT nation had hoped, but that doesn't mean that the ski season slunk away into a miserable-mud-fest-of-an-unskiable-and-unbikable-March as many of us had feared and anticipated. Quite the contrary.  Has there ever been a better March of skiing? I mean....ever?

From our extensive (3 minute) research the only potential candidate for better skiing in March was 1899 and Fischer's "carbonlite" game was not on point according to Thorleif Haug. And waxing technology was still in the "bear-grease" phase of development.


March. For. The. Win.

HURT athletes and coaches jumped in to the resurgent winter with the U16 Championships at Gore.  With a small but feisty group of HURT and non-HURT juniors, coach Brian Halligan and DPK shepherded the up-an-comers to some podium spots and top tens.  HURT U16's included Sam Bordeau, Lucas Jenkin, and Paul Lindsay; and they were joined with Saranac Lake skiers, LP skiers and a troupe from Rochester.  It was awesome to get to know everyone.  The three days were jam packed with a 5K freestyle, 5K classic, 1.5K "skier-cross" and mixed relay. Racing at Gore was at its finest. For the coaches, it wasn't always pretty, with quick moving temps, snow squalls and track variations, but everyone came away with big successes and big lessons...
When all else fails...spread it thin to win.
New York can own the top step...

Small is good, bigger is better (next year!)...
Relays rock at all levels...

and Gore can put on a show!

This past weekend, Coach Halligan led the biggest NY team in many years to Rumford, ME for the Eastern High School Championships.  The best of the best from NY stacked this event and skiers came back from JN's in Utah looking to bring a major finish to the NY race season.  A huge thank you to all the coaches and parents that helped NY get SOOOO close to fielding a full team of 48.  Once again, NY found podium spots and top 10's in a race field that undoubtably sported some future Olympians.  Brian Beyerbach, Alex Fragomeni, Mikey Halligan, Lucas Jenkin, and Bryce Beyerbach, Emily Atamanchuk and Annalise Beyerbach all went out from HURT country and the pictures tell a tale of racing at its fiercest and finest.  

Not to be totally outdone by motivated juniors...some HURT Masters, alumni, and friends, got in on some Loppet action in Lake Placid.  It is yet to be determined if they were there for the competition or the beer and fried chicken served afterwards.  Sightings were made of Pete Pedrotty, Chris Lamothe, Bernadette O'Brien, Richard and Sherry Dixon, DPK and Brian Chrzan at varying speeds, techniques and times throughout the morning.  Thanks to some handy pack placement and internet thievery (thanks Mt. VanHovenberg and SMS) we have these pictures for you to enjoy...
25K and 50K skiers started together which made from some interesting pacing.  Here is DPK employing the "well here is this talented SMS junior doing half of my distance, so let's go at this pace" strategy. 

Still employed at Russian Hill.  

Great fun and great chicken was had by some.  

Winter is going to be here for a few more weeks.  Even when snow leaves your yard you should remember that the great venues in our area are flush with the white stuff, and the mountains are buried.  And they will be through the end of the month.  We know many of your non-skiing friends, loved ones and social media acquaintances are hating it and potentially you.  But come May, you will be dreaming of this March.

Have fun.