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Juniors in the Valley

The transition back to school is still not fully normal yet…whether it’s a little bit of “zombie” status at training, or a general sense of chaos getting to and from sessions, it’s always a tough switch to get on a totally new routine after summer. We had a bit of a mini break that first week of school, and a medium week this past week. We are slowly building into more training this coming week. Important to take things gradually with a big shift, but that doesn’t mean a lack of hard work.

This past week we skated hard on Tuesday, stepped up our double pole towing game (towing 2 partners!) on Thursday, went bounding higher up the Honey Hollow road than ever before on Saturday, and a few of us even got to experience the amazing sights of rising fog in Pleasant Valley on Sunday.

Oh, and we’ve been putting up the iron in the gym too, working on strength at Dee PT on both Wednesday and Saturday evening/afternoon. When you add all that up, it does seem like more than a “medium” week…but that’s what it was, so you definitely start to get some perspective on how hard everyone is working to be fast this winter.

Here are some photos from our adventures…it’s going to be another big week ahead with Climb to the Castle on Sunday. It looks like we might get a chance to use the newest addition to the MNC Racing Arsenal…read through to the bottom to see just what that is…!

Timmy and Dakota pushing each other in some bounding intervals. 7 min L3, then 1 min of L4 at the end. Repeat 5 times…tough!

The little swimming hole off the edge of the road was a nice reward though, as St Mikes skier Ethan demonstrates

The scenery was pretty breathtaking in Pleasant Valley on Sunday…luckily Liam stopped by to capture it! Hazy fog lifted to gradually reveal Mt Mansfield as the ski went on.

Did I mention that Pleasant Valley is really beautiful?

Keep your eyes peeled for the new MNC Trailer on the roads around town. This baby can fit all the skis, tools, wax, and supplies needed for a race trip, and in a pinch it can even be a mobile wax unit. And it doesn’t even have it’s MNC logo and paint scheme yet!

Watch out Norwary, the Pugs are the newest trailer team on the circuit!

 

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MNC awarded Bronze Level Status by US Ski and Snowboard Podium Certification Program!


MNC has just received recognition as a Bronze Level program by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Podium Club Certification Program. MNC is the ONLY Nordic-specific club in New England to achieve this status. Along with Loppet Nordic Racing in Minnesota, Mansfield Nordic is one of only TWO Nordic-specific clubs in the country to be awarded status from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard certification system.

Below follows a press release from U.S. Ski and Snowboard:

The Mansfield Nordic Club has recently been awarded Podium Certification at the Bronze level by U.S. Ski and Snowboard. U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Podium Club Certification Program requires a rigorous, mission driven self-assessment and review of best principles and practices in eight areas of organizational performance. The Mansfield Nordic Club has demonstrated appropriate levels of performance in all areas and is recognized as an important partner of U.S. Ski and Snowboard and a leader among ski and snowboard clubs in the nation.

Statements:
Ellen Adams, USSA Club Development Manager
The Certification process not only recognizes club excellence, but also gives a clear roadmap for all clubs to become stronger organizations. This is a strategic part of U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s plans to support clubs, be a more club-based organization and better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist for clubs in every corner of the country. The process to achieve Podium Level Certification requires a commitment to excellence on behalf of a club and its constituents, and clubs have reported finding great value in doing the work necessary to complete the certification. Many clubs have found that the most positive impact was not necessarily the certification designation, but, rather, in uncovering the true opportunities they have to improve and continue to deliver sustained excellence. These clubs all set great examples, and are leading the charge for club improvement nationally.
 
Luke Bodensteiner, USSA Executive Vice President of Athletics
Working in closer partnership with our member clubs to recognize excellence and create a platform for continued improvement is the new frontier for our organization. Our clubs are our sport’s biggest asset to athlete recruitment and development, and working hand-in-hand with them will enhance their levels of achievement and will transform the performance of our athletes and teams at all levels.
 
Jon Casson, USSA Sport Education Director
The USSA Club Certification program is a valuable resource for all our clubs.  Our clubs all are working hard to be the best they can be and give all of their athletes a great experience in skiing and snowboarding.  The Certification programs give our clubs the resources they need to assess and improve their structure and programs to meet their organizational goals and the goals of the thousands of U.S. Ski and Snowboard athletes across the US.
MNC end of season party
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Signs of fall

The leaves remain pretty green at the moment, but if you’ve been outside on the roads and trails lately you can definitely feel fall starting to settle in. Each cold rollerski makes it harder for your pole tips to stick to the pavement, and every chilly interval session leaves your lungs with a distinct metallic taste.

It’s time for some harder workouts and tests that challenge fitness, strength, and speed. The Junior team had a miniature “fall break” from training this past week, with only 2 days of structured sessions. That was intentionally done to coincide with the general onset of zombie-fication that comes with the first week of school. But now things are gearing up again, and we’ll be on a pretty solid routine of busy workouts with a race about every second week. There are a lot of great events out there:

Burlington Invite Citizen’s Race

Climb to the Castle

NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic

The NENSA Fall Rollerski Classic is an event we are putting on with EABC up at the Range. You should DEFINITELY mark your calendars and plan to either race, volunteer, or cheer! We’re looking to make this the biggest rollerski event in the East, and hoping it can continue to grow from there.

Fall Rollerski Classic poster by Coach Liam

Between now and October 7th, we’ll be putting in plenty of work to make sure we can race fast and push hard during that event, and the others we have booked up this fall as well! We’re fortunate to continue our partnership with the St Mikes Nordic team: members of their team will be joining us on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays this fall to work together, and we’ve already gotten started with some skate rollerskiing on Thursday and great bounding intervals at Cochrans.

Getting the Knight and Pug squads together at Cochrans

Lots of new and awesome trails around Cochrans

If you haven’t signed up for our Fall programming, now is the time to head over to that page and check it off the list. Once there, you’ll also find registration open for our Climb to the Castle trip to Lake Placid, and Thanksgiving Camp 2017! This year’s Thanksgiving Camp will remain at Craftsbury, and although the duration and amenities remain the same we’ve been able to substantially lower the cost to $399 for the entire camp (over $100 less than past years!). Now is a great time to plan your Thanksgiving skiing…after two minimal-snow camps in a row, we are due for a big blizzard this time!

 

MNC Fall Registration forms

 

 

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Good surprises

For some it has already happened, but in general this coming week will mark the start of the 17/18 school year. There’s a lot of excitement and trepidation in the air, as you might expect. The school calendar is also a blunt reminder of the change from summer to fall, and of course invites reflection on the training done over the past few months.

In the car this morning I got to talk about that a bit with Kai and Aidan. We were en route to a long mountain bike ride in Pittsfield, Vermont at the awesome Green Mountain Trails…after Saturday’s session, we realized it would only be the three of us around for training the next day and so we made plans for a big, unique ride to cap off the summer.

Back to the conversation at hand and the summer reflection: the basic agreement, backed up by training plan and training log intel, was that we’d trained more than last year (total hours and number of sessions), trained harder than last year (more time at L4, staying in touch with racing), and also done a better job of coming into most sessions prepared and recovering well. The team is fit, and excited for fall races and challenges rather than dreading them.

Ben C doing some “scenic bounding” drills at the Round Church

Ben L getting some lactate tested by Coach Laurel

On Saturday we had a pretty intimidating workout planned: a hard effort “duathlon” workout involving skate skiing up the Bolton access road, switching to shoes and running to the top via the route of our uphill running test. Although we had a relatively small group for this one, I was surprised many times in this one workout…surprised in a good way!

It was great to see the guys working together at the start, and keeping the pace manageable so as not to blow up late in the ski portion. At the sugarhouse Kai made a breakaway and skied incredibly well: the best I’d seen him in 2 years and, for the first time in those 2 years, uninhibited by injury and pain. As I drove up and down to check on the progress of various skiers, I kept thinking I’d see Kai around the next uphill corner. Often though, he would be out of sight, already several switchbacks or turns ahead of where I thought he would be.

Ali worked her way up the mountain behind the guys, also skiing great…in fact, Ali skied up and then ran to the top on Saturday, when last year she did not even complete the ski portion! Huge steps up this year from so many of the crew.

Ali getting after that V1

Coming up to the top of the run was my next big surprise. As Ali and I started the run together, I was worried the guys (Kai, Ben, Aidan, Dakota) might already be on their way down. Instead, they had all stayed at the top to cheer on Ali so that we could all be at the summit together. Props!

What’s more, I learned that Kai, Aidan, and Dakota had all done the entire workout (ski, transition, and run) in under an hour. At the start, I had said it might be incredibly difficult to do that. Guess that wasn’t the case. Aidan even did the run in 15:45, only 30 seconds off his PR that he had set when he wasn’t skiing up a mountain beforehand!

Tyke was also at the top to support us, of course!

Back on the singletrack today in Pittsfield with Kai and Aidan, all of that excitement was hard to keep pent up. I had been thinking about it in my head during a long climb, and as we rounded an uphill switchback into another ascent I just blurted out “gonna be a big year for the Pugs!”

Huntington Boiz atop the Green Mountain Trails

2 hours and 45 minutes of riding later, we popped out of the woods and into a farm field, and headed in the direction of home, fall, school, and even faster skiing.

 

 

 

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