For the first time in two years, Rikert hosted our own Middlebury Carnival. We were beyond excited to finally race on the revamped race trail and showcase it to the carnival circuit. The crew up at Rikert did a wonderful job getting the course into pristine racing condition and organizing the whole event, so a big thank you to them!
There are so many things about having an actual home carnival that make it special and different from all others. For me, even just racing in front of my home crowd on my home course stood out because so many fans were cheering loud and proud and I KNEW the trail. I guess there is also this feeling that the race needs to be a good one no matter what; at home, there are no excuses.
Beyond that, Danny and Eliot were the announcers (getting cheered over the loudspeakers while coming through the stadium is awesome), some western parents visit and get to see the panthers in action (thanks for coming Peter and Elaine!), we get valet parking and our ski room to relax in, our close friends and fellow skiers help to make everything run smoothly, and last but not least there is a nice get together at Two Brothers to socialize and wrap up the weekend! So needless to say, I am a big fan of Middlebury Carnival.
Now, the races:
Friday brought the 5/10k classic and some interesting conditions to battle with. The temperatures were right around 35 with the sun consistently peeking out and then hiding again throughout the day. This made for some tricky waxing where mediocre skis were the goal. Andrew and Patty did a great job while, to quote Andrew, testing anything and everything. Our skiers excelled as well, with some impressive results. Annie claimed her first classic carnival win, and second on the season, in convincing fashion with a 20 second gap over 2nd place. Dmac had his strongest distance carnival race this season with an impressive 15th while Lusty stayed consistent and strong with a 5th place finish.
Saturday brought some interesting conditions yet again, as it was still pretty warm, but also snowing when the guys race started. I think everyone was happy to not worry about kick wax on this 15/20k skate mass start day. However, with the mass start and the snow-covered-ice conditions came some other interesting complications. The technical, turny downhills throughout the new Tormondsen race trail combined with some ice patches caused some carnage. No one was hurt, but some people definitely didn’t start out the race has they would have liked.
Our sacrificial lamb turned out to be Jack Steele, who on the first big corner had someone sprawl out in front of him. This caused Jack to shoot off the trail, slide out, graze a snowmaking pipe, and break his binding off. He got a new ski from Andrew at the bottom of the hill, but was well off the back to start the race. However, Jack rallied big time to finish in a solid 44th place. He said that the race went well other than that hiccup, as he was fueled with adrenalin and enjoyed picking people off throughout the entire race.
Ben had yet another great race, getting barely out-lunged for 3rd and ending up in 4th place, while Dylan showed friday was no anomaly, recovering from multiple falls to finish strong in 22nd. I also had a nice race, getting out with the lead pack and then holding on for 13th, tying my best ever finish in a carnival.
Then it was the ladies turn, where again, there was some trouble on the corners, especially at the back of the pack. Luckily, our girls steered clear of any serious pile ups and had some strong races. Annie was our top girl again in 8th, while Heather and Issy got inside the top 20 yet again with 19th and 20th place finishes respectively. All of us guys were lucky enough to get out and watch some of the action and to help fuel the cheering energy!
I know this was another long post, but Middlebury Carnival deserves it! We had a fabulous weekend at home and posted even more strong results. Again, a huge thanks Mike, Chaz, Chase, Andrew, Patty and the whole crew at Rikert for putting together such a successful event! These guys are the ones that make Middlebury Carnival happen, and they cannot be thanked enough.
Only one carnival left…
Thanks for reading!