|Report By: Levi Hensel
Event: Eastern IRS Series Race #2
Distance: 10k Classic
Temp: 90 F
Conditions: Beautiful 2- Month Old Pavement for first 3k, Awful, Sticky, Nasty 3-HOUR Old Pavement for last 7k
Yeah, yeah, yeah...so, I know that this race happened on the 20th of July, and that its taken forever for a race summary to be submitted, but some of us have to go to this thing called "school" and we cant be professional full-time ski racers all the time, with our own personal ski racing websites (as nice as that would be..). We also have these things called "term papers" (those things that Cory never did...hence the wonderful proof-reading on xcskiracer.com...) which make the submission of race reports immediately after they happen quite hard.
Anyhow, the second installment of the Eastern IRS Series (Motto: " Where those who aren't wusses and/or Cory Smith and like dealing with interesting racing conditions come to race!") was a viscious duel of man vs man, woman vs woman, woman vs man, and skiers vs road crew. Once again, the Dartmouth Ski Team partook in one of their bi-yearly tests, the Dogford Time Trial (which alternates techniques every other race, this time being classical) and yes, once again Cory made up some bad excuse about busted ribs or something and never showed his mug. But, no one really minded cause they all knew that Scott Loomis was pulling up the slack by beating his butt out in Utah.
The Dogford race course starts on the out-skirts of the small town of Etna, NH, about a 20min rollerski from the Dartmouth campus. It winds its way, gradually rolling uphill for about 3k's before making a left at the Etna Graveyard (foreboding...i know...) onto Dogford Rd (a 'dog-leg' if you will..yuck yuck...) which it follows up-up-up for the next 7k's (with a small 400m downhill about half-way along). The field consisted of the classic master himself Brayton Osgood, myself (fresh off of my 1st Eastern IRS win!!!), the freshly healed (he's usually in that situation) Tom Temple, Scott Meek (Dartmouth's answer to Credit Agricole's Ginger Prince, Stuart O'Grady), Dartmouth alum Joran Elias making his debut after shirking on the first race, freshman Andy Hunter, Dartmouth Women's Ski Team Captain Sara Donahue (the absolute MOST important person of the day...see below), Sue 'Time Bomb' Kloek, Williams skier Hillary Hackman (actually making the race an NCAA sanctioned duel-meet), Mellie 'The only person to ever successfully use Rossignol Rollerskis' Gilder, and Ashley 'No really guys!! It just LOOKS like I have no clothes on!' Medin.
Due to the absence of anybody to acutally organize the race, the racers themselves took it upon themselves to run the timing system. Sue Kloek skied out a half an hour before the race was officially supposed to start and raced by herself so that she could be at the finish to record times (THANK YOU SUE!!). The rest of the field skied their warm-up, after which Joran, the official starter picked the starting order (with only minimal complaints by me.."'c'mon Jorrraaan, pleeeeeease let me start behind Brayton!!"...which were denied). The starting order was set at Mellie, Hillary, Ashley, Sara, Scott, Andy, Me, Tom, Brayton and then Joran.
Mellie had a fast start and was quickly chased after by Hillary. Ashley started hard, but faded a little and was passed by Sara, who was skiing at a dynamite pace. Fairly soon after, the chase was on!! Scott made up a lot of ground on Sara, but couldnt quite catch her. Andy had carved through all the starters ahead of him and was leading the pack around the corner after the graveyard. As soon as people rounded the corner onto Dogford Rd. they realized that the right lane was brand new pavement, and I'm talking BRAND NEW, still soft blacktop. The 90 degree weather did little to harden up the surface and those who didnt take the hint and immediately move into the left lane (which was as of yet, still old pavement) quickly found themselves slowing down dramatically as their wheels became sticky with tar and their poles went in as much as 4 inches. I rounded the corner with Tom and Brayton on me like flies on shit. I didnt actually realize they were there at the time, but apparently they were closing in fast. Joran was chasing hard from behind as well. I quickly picked up the pace a notch and was able to move by Sara (who was still foundering on the fresh pavement, but had a visible lightbulb go on over her head as I passed and quickly changed lanes) and then catch and pass Andy on the ensuing hills before the downhill and move to the front of the pack. Apparently, over the crest and heading down the hill, Brayton had already passed Andy, was going after Tom and had me in his sights. Luckily, I was able to make up a lot of time on the downhill and put some distance on over the last 3k's. Things got harder for just about everyone the closer they got to the finish, not just because the race is all uphill and frickin tough, but also because the closer to the finish people got, the worse the fumes from the fresh pavement got. I literally felt like vomiting from the fumes several times, and other people reported the same thing....probably NOT the best thing to be breathing during a race. Back in the pack, Sarah and Scott were battling it out and Hillary had moved past Mellie. I crossed the finish line and anxiously awaited everyone elses arrival. Sue was able to successfully score some cold water from the construction crew (who were pouring and steam-rolling RIGHT at the finish) and also reported that they had told her that the pavement came out of the machine at 300 degrees...hmmm....wonder why i wanted to pass out from the heat during the ski...Anyhow, people began streaming towards the finish, and despite skiing on the wrong side of the road for most of the time, no one got KO'd by any cars. The final order had Brayton edging me by 25 seconds and me getting Tom by 17. Joran was about 2 minutes farther back with Andy a minute behind him and Scott a little farther back. Sara dominated the womens field, taking 2 minutes out of Sue (who, granted, did have to ski the whole thing solo...), who was a minute ahead of Hillary. Mellie and Ashley were a little farther back.
Results are as follows:
1. Brayton Osgood 29:05
2. Levi Hensel 29:30
3. Tom Temple 29:47
4. Joran Elias 31:58
5. Andy Hunter 32:43
6. Scott Meek 35:12
1. Sara Donahue 34:06
2. Sue Kloek 36:03
3. Hillary Hackman 36:54
4. Mellie Gilder 39:20
5. Ashley Medin 41:44
Race post script should also be noted. Following the race, the road construction crew was only minorly pissed at the racers for tramping (ie. leaving HUGE ruts) in the fresh pavement in the finishing pen. The crew foreman said that he would only file a law-suit against Cory and the IRS Supreme Council which totaled less than 10 million. He also commented that if Cory wanted to donate his garage full of useless World Cup race videos to the cause, that he would reduce the suit to half a million.
The racers then struggled back to Robinson Hall where Sara Donahue redeemed her faux-pas from after the first Eastern IRS by producing the BEST DAMNED HOMEMADE CHIPWICHES IN THE WORLD.
Much jollyness ensued along with quite a few comments about how in the Western IRS they NEVER have actual HOMEMADE chipwiches, only crappy store-bought ones that Cory trades Solda wax for.
(Editor's Note: I'll stay out of this when Levi insults me, but when he insults my chipwiches, its war. The truth of the matter is that the IRS has had homemade Chipwiches as far back as 1999, when Cory made the biggest homemade chipwiches known to man. Many props to Sara for her efforts, but Levi needs to get his facts straight.)
And so finishes the second installment of the Eastern IRS.
The Third Race actually happened this morning.
The race council is still processing the results (Skibec was responsible for timing...)
Many questions now hang in the air.
Can Levi strike back and take another from Brayton, or are the Hips 'o Putney en fuego?
Can Sue make up time lost to Sara?
Will there ever be chipwiches that good again?
and most importantly...
Will I be able to turn in the next summary in less than an month....
Until next time, ski fast, and beat Cory any way you can.....
See the overall standings.