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App Gap Challenge 2017

Many skiers know that the sport is often all about climbing. It’s not unlikely to find Nordic skiers searching out the steepest and longest hills they can find, from Alaska to Wisconsin to Maine. Given their competitive nature, skiers are also likely to want to challenge themselves AND their friends to race up said hills.

So it’s no surprise that NENSA’s App Gap Challenge rollerski race, winding up the Appalacian Gap by Mad River Glen, drew almost 60 rollerskiers to duke it out. The course began with a winding skate leg that climbed up to the ski area, where everyone transitioned to classic equipment for a striding journey to the summit (nobody double poled this one…at least not this year…it may have happened but Adam Glueck was on a trip to Bend, Oregon and did not compete!).

MNC was well represented with what seems to be the biggest group size from a single club (Coach Adam’s goal for the team). Current Pugs Magda, Quincy, Will, Charlie, Eli, Ben C, Aidan, and Kai all raced the Junior event alongside summertime MNC skiers Conor and Greg. Adam, Sara, Kate, and Charlie Maitland all raced in the Sr division as well.

Pugs getting ready for the start (Dave P photo)

Magda and Eastern Cup winner Alex Lawson stride-for-stride (Dave P photo)

Kai with some smooth striding (Kat H photo)

It was a solid team effort from the MNC group, and while nobody really “blew the doors off”, the team seems to be in a good spot for July. The main consensus was that the Pugs didn’t quite have the top gear for racing yet, which is what we spend the fall trying to sharpen and hone in on with shorter, harder intervals and some increased racing.

We’re definitely ready for a little recovery this week as we prepare to put together a busy August to cap off the summer training season before school starts up!

Check out some more great photos from Dave here: App Gap Challenge Album

Check out results on the NENSA website here: App Gap Challenge Results

Sign of a busy ski day (Dave P photo)

 

 

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Skiing w/Ben Lustgarten

The theme for this blog post will be a little highlight of local star (and MNC alum) Ben Lustgarten. Ben skied for Burlington HS and trained with MNC in the summers during his years as a Junior athlete. As a collegiate athlete at Middlebury Ben scored a place at NCAAs all 4 years of his career, and achieved a top-10 at US Nationals before graduating and becoming a professional ski racer.

Ben racing for Middlebury College

After a few years racing with the Sun Valley Gold Team, Ben returned to his home state of Vermont last year to compete as a member of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. Needless to say, it was a great year as Ben skied away to a convincing victory in the 30k classic mass start at US Nationals in Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Ben Lustgarten claiming victory at US Nationals (photo by US Ski and Snowboard)

Along with a few strong Supertour wins and podiums, Ben was selected to compete at the 2017 World Championships in Lahti, Finland, as well as the 3rd and 4th period of World Cups in Europe and Quebec. Hard to not call that a best-ever season (so far!).

You can check out Ben’s team profile on the GRP by clicking HERE

So what is Ben up to right now? Well, since he is based in Vermont again Ben is nearby! Last week Ben shot me an email saying that he was in town and wondering what we were up to. As it turns out, both Ben and MNC were scheduled for a skate ski last Tuesday morning, so we met up at the Allen Brook School in Williston for a group workout.

After some warmup agility and mobility, Ben helped lead us in some drills and activation processes while going over some technique that he and the Green Racing Project had been working on. From there we took a tour of our favorite neighborhoods and chatted about all sorts of stuff. The group took turns skiing right behind Ben as we made our way around Southridge.

Enjoying a sunny day on the roads and bike paths

After the session Ben was nice enough to do a pass in front of the camera along the bike path, and then we each took a turn on the same stretch of trail to see how we could pick up on some of Ben’s best qualities. It’s always hard to ski relaxed when you know the camera is on you but it’s also great to ski right with the best. Some key things we need to keep working on are the ever-important 1-foot glide and weight shift, along with some more dynamic knee drive and forward body position. Luckily we are always looking toward drills, analysis, and more to help us get there.

In addition to the occasional drop-in at practice, Ben is also working to put together a rollerski clinic day with Mansfield Nordic and Skirack at the Range. So, although the official flyer has not been published (look for it from Skirack soon) we’re excited to announce that this clinic will take place on Tuesday, July 25th up at the Range! So as the schedule gets finalized we hope some skiers will check it out, whether you’re a Junior or Master skier!

Thanks for skiing with us Ben!

Group at Allen Brook School!

 

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Adam Terko named 2017 NENSA Coach of the Year!

We are pleased to inform you that Adam Terko has been named the 2017 NENSA Coach of the Year.  Adam joined MNC in 2015 as our Head Coach/Executive director and from the first day has embraced and embodied the core values of our club;  Excellence, Passion and Fun.

Through his tremendous level of dedication,  passion and playfulness  he has made significant contributions to our athletes, our club as well as the local and regional ski community.

We as a club are extremely thankful to have Adam, and are proud that NENSA has chosen to honor him.  Congratulations Adam for this outstanding achievement!

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Mountain Camp 2017

Yesterday afternoon a large group of skiers emerged out of vehicles in the Richmond park and ride, with a waterfall of rollerskis, poles, shoes, and backpacks cascading out of the car doors along with them. After four days of dodging thunderstorms, ticks, tornadoes (for real) and more, everyone emerged with some great training behind them.

We stayed in a large condo in North Conway, and had great access to all sorts of trails and roads nearby. Although it’s quite a tourist trap complete with tacky gift shops and a million different ways to make a dime off of the White Mountains, North Conway is a great place to have a training camp. Short drives to all sorts of adventures, ample options for large-group lodging, an alpine mountain for ski bounding just down the road, and a Hannaford a stoplight or two away.

After unpacking our gear and checking the radar, we headed out for the first workout of the trip: a low-key hike up Kearsarge North mountain. Though it wasn’t sunny, we did get in a view at the top and got to check out a sweet fire tower.

Atop Kearsarge North, before we met up with Charlie and Timmy

Once we returned to the condo we got started on dinner, welcomed Charlie and Timmy, and began looking at the radar for the next day.

Pugs making sure to refuel for the training ahead

Friday was our hardest training day, and a few sessions that everyone who attended the first Mountain Camp had been talking about for about 365 days: The Kanc Roll and the bounding intervals. In the morning, the group toured the scenic Kancamagus highway by double poling to the top of the pass over the course of about 2-2.5 hours. The road starts gradual and flat along the nearby river before really spiking up at the end for more good views and a rewarding accomplishment.

The older, pink-shirted men’s group which you may have heard referred to as “Men-N-C”

Magda, Ali, Sammie, and Henry near the summit. Not a bad road to ski!

Made it!

The thunderstorms held off in the afternoon, but the humidity did not as we headed back out the door for a now-legendary workout: the Mountain Camp Bounding Intervals. Last year’s edition was held at Attitash, and this year we went right own the street to Cranmore. After a warmup jog and mobility, we did 2×5 min L3 skiwalking to get our climbing legs moving. From there it was on to 10×2 minutes of all-out uphill power!

Last year I inadvertently started the tradition of making a speech before the harder section so I once again tried to motivate the crew to dig deeper than ever. What was really interesting this year was that I felt like less of a loud, aggressive speech was needed. In fact, that was the theme of my speech: everyone in this club has done such a good job of supporting each other, and even moreso over this very week of Mountain Camp, that I only need to encourage and facilitate that support rather than force it or demand it.

Each night, Ben L had us go around the table and share a “high point” of the day and give a “kudos” to someone else, after which everyone would give a round of applause. That’s the sort of thing Sara or I could have sat everyone down and instigated, but it happened organically from the group and it happened every night, and even as everyone got out into the parking lot on the last day.

That’s not to say my talking points didn’t get heated at times…and I’ll leave it at this: we’ve been getting buzz as “up-and-comers” in the ski world, and this year we’re poised to show everyone that we’re done with the “coming-up” part. As I phrased it, “it’s time to be the club other people try to come up TO!”

And with that we were off up the mountain. Sweaty and gross, we only got one photo thanks to the kindness of the summit lift attendant. I think the fatigue is plenty evident:

Not only can you see the fatigue, you can almost see the humidity hanging thick in the air

On Saturday it may have seemed like a reprieve to have only one session, but when it’s a 5-hour loop that leads to the top of Mt Washington and back, it carries the weight of a few training days. On the way up we found SNOW in Tuckerman Ravine, and even passed two guys hiking in with skis to get their monthly turns in since it was July 1.

Snow in July!

Top of the cog railway above the clouds at the summit

We once again managed to hit the weather perfectly, getting a view at the top before only getting engulfed in rain during the last hour of the hike down. After we got back it was time for some much-needed rest. With tornado warnings on the radio and buzzing on all of our phones, we figured it would be a fine afternoon for some ice cream. We put on our rain gear and headed across the street to Lickety Spliz ice cream shop and had the place to ourselves given the forecast.

On our final day, we woke up and did an immaculate cleaning job to get the condo in better shape than we found it. But we weren’t done training! Like last year, we made a trip up to Santa’s Village for an out-and-back rollerski on a nearby country road the wound its way toward Lancaster. Different groups skied for varying amounts depending on how they were feeling, from 1:15 all the way up to about 2 hours. It was a nice sunny day and everyone put in a great final workout. After the camp, as Ben’s watch showed, it’s time for a lighter week!

Time for some recovery

It’s worth noting that a few of these workouts were the same ones as last year. Everyone crushed these particular workouts faster and with better technique than last year. We’ve got veteran skiers taking new strides, younger skiers embracing the sport and training lifestyle like never before, and even new friends from Brattleboro who we were psyched to have along (thanks Sam and Henry!). Already looking forward to Mountain Camp 2018!

More photos (Flickr album)

DP video edit:

 

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Junior DP test

Note: since my computer is not having success uploading photos I am going to stick to video for this post. Sorry!

The Pugs are rolling! We started off the first week of summer training with some reintroduction to rollerskiing, some new strength training concepts and exercises, and the infamous double pole test. We saw some big efforts in the tests, and a lot of skiers were putting up great times even though it’s our first real week at the Range. What gives?

Basically, the thought is that because everyone is doing SO MUCH double poling this year, the strength is carrying over to the spring and summer with greater ease. Lots of great progress that compounds year after year is what we’re going for in anything ski-related, after all.

In the morning session we have some new and returning test-takers, and in the PM session a few more arrived to give the test ago, including Greg who was just 1 second shy of the course record. We’ll have to see how Greg stacks up tomorrow against the rest of the New England REG kids when they do their own double pole test!

Here is some video from the day taken by coach Laurel. As you can imagine, setting this test up is a little complicated but we’ve got a good system…Adam and Sara sync watches. Adam starts the test with a head start to get to the top and record times. Sara sends the skiers off based on the start list, and then starts herself. Laurel picked out a spot to film on a flatter transition. So somehow between 3 coaches we have a nice official timing crew and videographer!

Here is the Test Archive, including times from this recent event

 

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