Monday, February 28, 2011

Skate TT in Sleet

Today we had a skate TT scheduled. The weather was not cooperating (sleet was falling at the rate of 1"/hr.) and the trails that had been perfectly groomed last night looked as if someone had laid a big white blanket over them.
All the better! Sometimes the weather isn't pretty, but nordic skiing is an outdoor sport and you have to deal with it.
Because of the 2-4" of sleet, ski flex and pacing became critical. Times for the team were all over the place. On the boys side, Skyler crushed it and no two boys were within 1 minute of one another. Then...on the girls side, Cam and Heather tied to the second. Go figure....
Regardless, it was a good hard workout for everyone. Here are some pictures.
Austin nears the lap lane.
Nick V2's up the hill..
Tyler won the J2 race handily.
Charlie charges the first hill.
Mac starts the 1 km downhill.
Brooke finishing strong.
Hallie hammers the last big hill.
Sometimes you just gotta do it...and besides...sleet is better than rain!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

BKL Festival

Here are a couple of pictures that Austin took at the BKL Festival today. Over 500 kids competed in the great event. Many thanks to Breadloaf and the great organizing commitee (including alum Barney Hodges and his wife Chris). The whole weekend seemed to go perfectly with great races, perfect conditions and smiling faces.
Tess had her best race of the season and finished in the top 10.
Mackenzie :)
Chloe battled hard.
Pip is amazing (she skied the whole race with her eyes closed).
Sophie had an excellent race.
Mackenzie hammers up the hill.
Alex was "in the zone".

Tess smiles after a great effort.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sprinting

We had an excellent sprint practice today. We were honoring the World Championships (where Andy got 10th!) and getting ready for Jr Nationals. The conditions were perfect and the weather was sublime.
After a warm up and some practice starts (pictured below) we ran a prelim and 3 heats.
It is always interesting to see how fast the kids ski in the prelim and the heats. Typically the pure sprinters do really well in the prelim and hang on in the heats while others may get faster in the heats. There was a day when SMS was known for our sprinters. Now that's not the case, we have kids who can do well because they are tough through the heats, but they may not have the pure speed. We do have 3 pure sprinters, but you can guess who they are?
Anytime we time a workout, it is easy to get all fired up and analyze the results. This can lead to twisted logic...here is some to help this old coach feel good... last time I raced Brooke, I whopped her. Brooke beat Heather in a couple of sprint starts today. Heather was 31st at Jr World Champs in the sprint. Skyler was 35th at Jr Worlds in the sprint. Skyler was 3rd at Sr. Nationals. Ergo.... I could have easily won Sr. Nationals :) Watch out Rob Bradlee, here I come!
Brooke spanks Heather off the line.
Tess and 'Kenzie.
Rachel and Cambria.
The Caldwell cousins.
Mac lays it down on Nick (who learned not to bring his rock skis to sprint practice).
Hallie and Issy.
Bridger pushed Skyler hard, but couldn't quite get him.
Charlie and Tyler.

Warm down chat.
As always, you can click on any picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Images From a BKL Practice

Click on any picture to enlarge. Thanks to Lilly for taking the pictures.

















Monday, February 21, 2011

Championnat Jeunesse

That's Canadian for BKL Festival, to which our younger group went this past weekend. But let's back up first...

Last week amongst numerous visitors, our BKL contingent was joined by an additional 5 girls for a 5 day camp. After Wednesday and Thursday at school, on Friday morning we perfected our V2 and V2Alt, waxed our skis, ate lunch, packed up the van and headed up to the great white north (although it was 50 degrees out). The trip was too easy (no problems at the border, no unplanned bathroom stops), until we got to Montreal just after 5pm. We hit a traffic jam that added about 45 minutes onto our 5 hour trip. Fortunately, a couple in the car ahead of us was still celebrating Valentine's day, and kept 7 young girls giggling and glued to the windshield....



We cruised into Joliette, Quebec and found our Boston Pizza restaurant. Boobs had recommended this chain, and he was right, it's a great place to grab some pasta or a pizza when in Canada.


After dinner we headed to our hotel - the Joliette High School! In Canada their "Midget Championships" are more of a club deal and parents don't come, or stay somewhere else. Each team is assigned a classroom (or a gym - if you have a large team). It is quite the scene, and most likely a germ factory - especially at this time of year. After we got settled in our room, my first coach's talk was about sanitation - wash, wash, wash your hands, and no picking your nose.



That big blue mattress is Tess'. You can see the other girls vying to sleep on it as well. She obviously won the award for the most plush sleeping accessory. Pippen and Katherine remembered extra blankets, and Carly her bear and her Clifford blanket. I had the best pillow.


So off to bed we went with a plan in hand for the next morning - breakfast at the school at 7:30, drive to the venue at 8. Here we are on our way Saturday morning - notice the team headbands - courtesy of Abby from NENSA. Thanks NENSA, and Abby! They are great.


We arrived in time to preview the course -which was a good thing! It was pretty icy after the temp dropped from 45 degrees to 10 degrees overnight. They also shortened the course from 4k to 3k as a downhill on the outer section was deemed too dangerous for the conditions. And to be honest, the conditions were pretty rough. It reminded me of why we sometimes ski the snowmobile trails - to work on our balance and coordination. But as a great coach once said, "Hey guys, guess what, it's the same for everyone. So let's get on with it."

At these races, your class is only comprised of kids the same age - 12 yr olds vs 12 yr olds. No J3's, J4's. So there were 8 separate races (10-13 yr olds, boys and girls). Results for day 1 skate race were:
13 yr old girls (38 racers): Katherine 5th, Tess 13th, Pippen 17th
13 yr old boys (48 racers): Koby 3rd
12 yr old girls (28 racers): Chloe 1st, Mackenzie 2nd, Sophie 5th
12 yr old boys (40 racers): Scott 2nd
11 yr old girls (25 racers): Carly 6th


The dynamic trio (Chloe, Mackenzie and Sophie) after having stormed their first race.

We quickly packed up after the races - headed to a great grocery store where we discovered they will make panninis and pasta to order. Jim Levins (who was brave enough to come along on the trip) and I enjoyed an excellent lunch of pasta covered in tomato sauce and freshly sauteed veggies right from the frying pan. The girls were busy stocking up on snacks and Kinder Eggs.


The cafe at the Grocery store in the tiny village of Saint Gabriel Quebec.

That evening we had a pasta dinner back at the high school and an awards ceremony. Through the coaches meeting (in french) Jim picked up on the fact that you were supposed to bring a bottle of wine to the pasta dinner (coaches only). Ah yes, we were in the French part of Canada. Jim ran out and got us a bottle.



Next year we'll have to come better prepared for this tradition.... we had to use Tim Horton cups - these guys brought their own wine glasses....



Onto day 2 of racing. Classic races, waves of 5 racers every 15 seconds (seeded by times from the day before), 5 minute gap between age groups. This is a really fun way to run a race, and really great for spectators. Jim was just awesome with the wax! We had an excellent green klister/base wax combo, then a hard wax cover on top of that. All our kids had great kick.

Results from day 2:
13 yr old girls: Katherine 3rd, Tess 14th, Pippen 20th
13 yr old boys: Koby 2nd
12 yr old girls: Chloe 1st, Mackenzie 3rd, Sophie 9th
12 yr old boys: Scott 1st
11 yr old girls: Carly 4th (and I want to mention that the 3 girls in this category in front of Carly were all about 18 inches+ taller than her. They were huge. But for everything they had in height, she has in fight!)


Carly bringing it home...


Koby skied a smart race and brought home the silver.

I wish I had more pictures. We had a super time! It's really a great experience to race in another country (that speaks another language) and see how you stack up. This was a great tune-up for the BKL Festival this weekend. We'll definitely put it on our calendar for next year.