EC 3 Recap - Doubling Down on a Double Header Day
February 7, 2023
Congratulations EMXC Juniors on an amazing showing at Eastern Cup #3 this past weekend! Quarry Rd Trails provided an awesome venue and supreme flexibility in the face of extreme cold temperatures. The postponement of Saturday's races to Sunday made for a unique EC experience...a double header day! Our EMXC athletes (and some amazing competition) showed up with high energy, enthusiasm and fantastic performances. For results, see here. Thanks to all the volunteers, families and returning alumni who banded together to make the long, but fun race day possible!
Here's a quick recap of the day's events, from Cate.
Sunday's races really got started on Saturday morning, at 8am, when the wax team assembled to prep athlete skis for the races. I'd budgeted 3 hours in the morning, and two additional hours in the afternoon for ski prep, but with 12+ wax team volunteers, we got through all the skis before 11am practice. This was awesome, and really set the tone for Sunday!
The morning started off with classic races. Because of the great work by the wax team on Saturday, we were all set to roll with athlete skis, and so the first racers arrived about an hour and a half before their start. U16s were up first, and the day started with course tours of the single-lap 5k course that both races would be held on.
U16 Boys race start. Lot of EMXC blue and red in that pack!
We had some great showings in the U16 Boys race, with a lot of EMXC skiers working together for large chunks of the race. Calvin and Jasper even skied with Ivan, who, might have been wearing his SMS suit, but still is an EMXC-er at heart!
Sid striding with a game face on.
Brendan with some nice striding while representing EMXC head-to-toe.
The course featured a lot of climbing followed by some tough S-turn decents, which, as demonstrated by Nathanael, our skiers handled beautifully.
Team scoring for the U16 Boys race put EMXC in third for the team score, demonstrating the power of racing as a team!
U16 Boys were followed by the U16 Girls, with only a 20 minute gap between them. Safe to say, this was a hectic turn-around for the parents and coaches -- hectic enough that we managed to not get a single photo of their race. Whoops...
Wax team looking cool under pressure.
Thankfully, there were a couple other photographers at the races, and they managed to get some good shots of our skiers.
Anneka heading out after the parade lap.
Polina descending. Tucking races have clearly been paying off!
Overall, our EMXC skiers in the U16 Girls race absolutely crushed it. Alex and Hannah both had personal-best results, with 12th and 16th, respectively. Frances and Leigh stuck with the lead pack, and Fran demonstrated that she's been taking her stretching homework seriously by seizing second place in a dramatic photo-finish.
The whole team's efforts resulted in a team finish of 2nd place, only 6 points behind Craftsbury. The only picture EMXC parents and coaches managed to get was of some finish line carnage, featuring Fran and Leigh looking relieved to have 1/2 of the day's racing behind them...
And, in a great demonstration of what it takes to be a good teammate, Jo came all the way up to Quarry Road to cheer on her friends, despite not being able to race herself.
Jo, Hannah, and Polina.
Next up was the Open Men's race, which featured our U18/U20 boys. These guys skied a single lap course, which, when combined with their "parade lap" totaled 7.5k. This type of course is getting more and more rare in New England ski racing, so it was very cool to see it happen this weekend!
Ethan changing tracks. Ethan, Luca, Tyler, and Mori all finished within 10 second of each other - train together, race together! EMXC took 5th place in the team rankings for the U18/20 Men, only 9 points away from a podium.
Mori on an S-Turn.
Luca and Tyler.
Sam descending. Sam finished the classic 12th overall, 3rd for U20s.
Gil making the EMXC suit look FAST.
Jonah leaning into a corner.
Nathan leaning into a corner.
Ian and Sam, probably laughing about their matching glasses. Or something.
The last classic race of the day was the Open Women. Caitlin Patterson, formerly of the USST, was racing, so that made for some fun spectating for the skiing nerds among us. And, it meant that the women's races went out pretty fast from the start.
EMXC hung tough though, and all our racers in the U18/20 Girls showed great starts to the day.
Chris cheering on Emily in the approach to the finish.
Emily and Elizabeth skiing together out of the starting parade lap (I think).
Evie chasing the lead pack up the hill.
The morning's races finished up with Sofia taking the second step on the overall Women's podium, Evie in fourth, Mirra eighth, Clara eleventh, and Emily in fifteenth. This secured the U18/20 Women's team win for EMXC, leading second-place MNC by 11 points.
Race organizers gave us a chance to catch our breath as they re-groomed the course. This was a very impressive turn-around by the groomers and organizing crew, and the courses were once again in peak shape for the skate race. It wasn't long before the racing was underway again with a return to the U16 Boys field.
Same course, so this time the field played a bit more of a tactical game. Or, as Will put it, "they agreed to go slow for a while." Not sure which it was, but either way, this was an exciting one to watch.
Dashiell and Levin descending.
James descending the S-Turns.
Overall, all 14 EMXC racers in the U16 Boys competition skied two strong races, especially considering that a number of them were recovering from colds. Impressive racing on all fronts!
Twenty minutes later, we were off again with the U16 Girls. I haven't managed to find any pictures from their race, but our skiers skied another gutsy race - Frances and Leigh finished 0.3 seconds apart, Polina won a photo finish battle against a skier from MNC, and as a team EMXC finished on the second step of the podium for the second time in the same number of races.
Some of the U16 girls even stuck around (blankets and sleeping bags in tow) to watch their teammates race later in the afternoon!
The U16 Girls were followed, again, by our U18/20 Boys skiers in the Open Men's race. If any race were to get the award for the most exciting of the day, it would have gone to this one - the top ten all finished within 30 seconds of one another, and a couple pile-ups on the descents resulted in a slew of broken equipment. Unfortunately, we had a few EMXC skiers take the brunt of the broken gear and some minor injuries, but fortunately, everyone made it out of the woods in (mostly) one piece, and managed to keep the race as a whole in perspective.
An EMXC train early in the race.
Ian had one of the most impressive races of the day, skiing his way from a seed rank of 42 to a 17th-place finish, 11th for U18s.
Andrew heading out after the parade lap.
Xander showing how to get some glide. Xander and Jared skied most of the race together, ending with a photo-finish.
Finally, it was time for the last race of the day - Open Women, featuring our U18/20s. Lots of folks stuck around to watch, which made for a great atmosphere, despite being a 4pm start with an almost-setting sun.
Emily leading EMXC-alum Isabella (now skiing for Colby) up the start of the final climb.
Sofia and Evie skiing together out of the start.
Sarah skied a great race, using her motto of "just keep smiling." She finished in the top-20 for U18 racers.
Overall, it was a great day with some amazing racing and seriously impressive dedication by race volunteers, parents, wax team, coaches, etc to make it all happen in one day. Not sure that this one-day format is the future of Eastern Cup racing, but it was awesome to be able to make it work so that everyone could get to the start line twice this weekend.
Next up, EMXC racers competing for their high school teams will race at state championships next week at Prospect Mountain. Then, we'll head to Dublin, NH for the Dublin Double, the final Eastern Cup weekend of the year!