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Lake Placid Camp Races

September 27, 2021
by
Simon Zink

We finished our week long Lake Placid camp with two rollerski races hosted by the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA). The first was a skate sprint, held at the recently renovated Mt. Van Hoevenberg, on its newly constructed 1.4km rollerski track. The following day, we headed east for a 15km individual start skate race on the rollerski track at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont. Having grown up and skied as a both a junior and in college out West, this was my first time competing in and experiencing the NENSA summer rollerski circuit. If there were a blueprint for hosting a summer rollerski race, this would be it. Justin Beckwith, head of NENSA, and his crew of volunteers run one of the most professional and well organized race operations, winter or summer, in the country. Orchestrating such a punctual and smooth race weekend, complete with match skis and professional timing, requires an immense time and financial commitment by mostly volunteers. This is not lost on me, and I greatly appreciate NENSA, Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Camp Ethan Allen, and everyone who invested their time and money into these races, and subsequently into my ski career - providing the environment and means for me to compete in a professional setting and improve as a skier because of it.  

NENSA providing a sweet set of match skis

 

As previously mentioned, the skate sprint was held at Van Ho, on their roller ski track that was just finished this year. The course features sharp turns, and both steep ascents and descents, making for high speed racing conducive to powerful transitional skiing. In the end, the name of the game was momentum conservation; maintaining the high rolling speed accumulated from the steep descending terrain, through the corners and into and over the tops of hills.

 

Reid warming up for his qualifier where he finished a solid 6th

Logan taking no prisoners out in his qualifier

Conservation of momentum is always the name of the game. However, it is especially important in oscillating terrain, where the absence of flat or distance between hills and a chance to regain any lost momentum, causes any initial loss of speed to remain and manifest into further lost speed up the next hill and over its descent, the lost time effectively compounding on its self the remainder of the course. This is effect is exacerbated in roller skiing as compared to on snow. Specifically at higher speeds, a rolling wheel encounters less friction than a gliding ski, resulting in roller skis holding onto this speed for longer, and any difference in rolling speed being conserved over a greater distance. The magnitude of this effect became evident by the speed trap, implemented by Bullitt Timing, on the long downhill into the biathlon range, before the final turn into a long finishing straight. The men and women who recorded the fastest speeds down this hill, consistently gapped the field through the biathlon range, this difference in speed carrying them all the way to line. Newell was adamant about this principle throughout the day, and the tactics our team discussed and executed were focused almost exclusively on the distribution of our power and positioning within a group in accordance with the terrain, as to best aid this conservation of momentum. We executed quite successfully, with Logan who qualified third and Lauren who qualified sixth, both making their way to the A final and finishing third and fourth respectively.

Lauren in her qualifier

Logan taking third place at Keys to the Castle

Start of quarterfinal with Logan and I

Both Women and Men competed in a three lap 15 km skate individual the following day on the rollerski track in Jericho, VT. Ironically, the limited amount of time I have spent in the East training and competing, has taken place almost entirely in Jericho, at biathlon camps and races based out of the Ethan Allen Training Site when I was younger. I wouldn’t have this any other way, as I absolutely love training and racing in Jericho, with their rollerski track being an invaluable resource to improving as cross country skier.

Finn charging through the lap

A 5km rollerski loop, designed specifically to emulate a ski course, with steep hills, quick transitions, and consistent working terrain, all components of a ski course which are often found on roads individually but rarely together, uniquely emulates and allows us to train in the summer, the technique and capacity demands required to ski fast on a winter race course. I love racing, as I get to push, test, and grow my physical and mental capacity as a human, by proxy of pushing, testing, and growing my capacity to ski as fast as possible. Simply put, the mechanics and the essence of cross country ski racing as human powered locomotion, enable the growth of, and the greatest potential in physical and mental capacity to anything I have experienced, and that is why I am in love with it. It follows, that in the summer, any time I get to come close to experiencing this, such as with rollerski racing, it is a true privilege. Finn, had a great race finishing 6th, despite crashing and Reid a solid 8th place. Mariah took our second podium of the weekend finishing 3rd with Lauren in 6th andHannah in 11th. An overall was also accumulated between both the sprint and the distance race for the weekend, and BSF PRO put two women on the podium with Lo taking 2nd and Mariah third.

Hannah in the 15km

Mariah on her way to a 3rd place finish in the 15km

We are currently back in Bozeman, finally enjoying some smoke free training, and will be departing for ParkCity for our final off snow training camp of the year next week.

- Simon