|Hensel and Kloek Dominate New Hampshire's First IRS Race
June 25, Hanover, NH
Report By: Levi Hensel
Course Conditions: Old cracked pavement, littered with pine needles and cones, a 2ft dirt pavement break, gravel, a parked construction truck, a dumpster.
There are many historic hills spread across the United States, and yet, strangely, not many people know about one of the more painful ascents around. This hill is Tuck Drive. Tuck Drive is not that long, its not even that steep, and yet those brave souls who have pounded up Tuck Drive on a pair of rollerskis, know, that, well, if pushed, it really really hurts. Tuck Dr., formerly connected the Ledyard Bridge and boat houses of Dartmouth College on the Connecticut River with the main body of the Dartmouth College campus at the top of the river valley. The road is still there, but it has since been closed to thru-traffic because of campus construction. In some cases, this closure makes it an easier place to rollerski (less cars whizzing by) and in some cases makes it harder (strategically placed construction vehicles, dumpsters, pavement breaks.....and, of course, by 'strategically' i mean, designed to kill you because your rollerskis have no brakes). Tuck Dr. is where the Dartmouth Ski Team usually does its morning specific strength workouts. It is also where several famed alums (ie. Carl Swenson, Nina Kemppel, and Cory Smith) have fine tuned their double-pole strength, and, it is where, four times a year, a very small, but very painful time trial is held.
The first event of the IRS Eastern Championships was held on Tuck Dr. recently. The event field had already suffered major casualties before the race even started. Recent Dartmouth alum Joran Elias, upon asked whether he would drive down from Maine to challenge the sophomore class on Tuck Dr. muttered something about, "I'd rather scoop my eyeballs out with a spoon!" and declined further comment. Dartmouth skier and New York skiing terror Tom Temple was out with a recently sprained ankle. Internationally legendary ski cheering mad-man (see top 5 cheers...in Cory's lists) and Dartmouth skier Jon Shea had "physics class" (whatever THAT means). Finally, the largest blow to the field was dealt by IRS poster-boy Cory Smith himself, who, despite vowing to contest some of the Eastern IRS, said that, "I'm sorry I can't make it, I have to go get a haircut, manicure, and facial before this year's Nordic Equipment cover shoot, otherwise they're going to ditch me for Stange or Loomis, and well, really, we all know that I NEED that cover in order to pick up foreign skier hotties at the Olympics next year."
So, despite big words during the winter, Smith bailed when the heat was on. (He would later make up some lame excuse about being miss-informed and coming at the wrong time, because he assumed it would be at a certain time and then later it wasn't....Well, guess what Cory, as Ruff likes to say, when you assume, all you do is make an ASS out of U and me.) At any rate, the field had been substantially reduced. Only Brayton Osgood, Putney, VT classic skiing phenom, myself, freshmen in residency Andy Hunter, and 3 time Connecticut State Champ. Scott Meek remained to round out the men's field. On the womens side, in her third consecutive year of summer training with the Dartmouth team, Sara Donahue was out to show the sophomores how to rule the hill. Following her, fresh from terms away from campus around the country and around the world, were Sue Kloek, Ashley Medin, Sarah Garner and Jessica Smith-Blockley. Rounding out the women's field was Mellie Gilder and Ingrid Overchuck.
The idea is simple. You double pole as hard as you can from the bottom to the top. The starting order was rather ambiguous and had me starting first and Brayton second, followed by Scott, the womens field and then Andy last (because he had to start everyone and also needed to use my skis). I asked Brayton if he'd like to switch, cause I wanted someone to chase, figuring that he was gonna ski over me if I started in front of him. He agreed and we traded places. Brayton bolted out of the start like a madman on his V2 920's. I started 30sec. later and chased as hard as I could, but felt as though I'd gotten crushed because I slowed down significantly and felt fatigue set in quite quickly. I held out hope though because Brayton reported feeling the same way at the top. As everyone else headed up the hill, Scott Meek looked like he was on his way to a PR, Sara Donahue and Sue Kloek looked locked close together, and Ashley, Jessica, Mellie and Ingrid were also quite close, fighting one another to the finish. Sarah Garner arrived late and missed her start, taking a penalty at the beginning from which it was hard to recover.
In the final standings, I narrowly prevailed on my superior skis (YEAH Pro-Ski C3's!...I'm slightly anti-V2 this week as one of their wheels severely melted on me a few days later), which are admittedly slightly faster than Brayton's. Brayton narrowly beat Andy (my skis take 3rd too!) by a second for second and Scott Meek took 4th, and got his PR. In the hotly contested women's race, Sue Kloek (we should all take a lesson and train in France for 10 weeks) took the victory, followed by Sara, Ashley, Jessica, Ingrid, Mellie, and Sarah.
Dartmouth Coach Ruff Patterson often tells us before strength workouts on Tuck Drive that, 'The legend' (Cory), used to punish himself by single-sticking up Tuck Dr. 3 times in a row. I've tried it. I think its not possible. I was looking forward to Cory showing up and showing us what he's made of. I guess we'll never know, now will we Cory? Finally, Sara forgot the chipwiches, which was probably a good thing, because it was so damn hot they would have melted anyhow.
Cory stated that he really felt bad that he chose modeling over rollerskiing. He then issued the following press statement to the IRS race committee, "Although I do feel shame at missing the first event of the Eastern IRS, I stand by my decision to get my uni-brow plucked. I WILL BE MR. Nordic Equipment! I WILL HAVE MY VENGENCE!" Cory's fraternal twin, Pete Sampras, also defended the Solda Stallion, "Cory did the right thing. If I hadn't just lost at Wimbledon, to a teenager, and wasn't so depressed, I'd come to Utah and give him a hug. He deserves that cover."
1.) Levi Hensel 2:37
2.) Brayton Osgood 2:48
3.) Andy Hunter 2:49
4.) Scott Meek 3:20
1.) Sue Kloek 3:54
2.) Sara Donahue 4:12
3.) Ashley Medin 4:45
4.) Jessica S-B 4:50
5.) Ingrid Overchuck 5:07
6.) Mellie Gilder 5:11
7.) Sarah Garner 6:18
See the overall standings.