Only a smidge. After a devastating one-two punch of driving rain and high temps on Friday, it seemed unlikely that Colby would be able to pull off the nordic portion of its Carnival over the weekend.
But with a sharp drop in temps on Saturday and the work of a talented grooming crew, Colby was able to salvage a 1.7k loop and host a 5k freestyle race for women and a 10k race for men on Sunday. (If you’re counting at home — that translates to three laps for the 90 women and six laps for the 100 men. Toss in a few warm up loops and you’re talking about 1,000 trips around…)
And for those of you that are unfamiliar with EISA — it’s the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association, part of NCAA Division One Skiing. On one hand, it’s a little “different” — member colleges range from scholarship powerhouses like UVM and UNH to non-scholarship schools like Bates, Colby, Middlebury, Harvard, etc. Add a perennially strong Dartmouth and you’ve got an interesting mix.
As a league and an experience, it’s second to none. Great coaching, an incredible vibe and truly amazing athletes. All three women on Sunday’s podium represented the USA at last year’s World Junior/U23 Championships. And even with the bigger schools, the smaller colleges find a way to compete. This year’s Men’s race winner was a Colby student.
All in all, great practice and a chance to get sharp for the trip.**
(* With apologies to Al Michaels)
(** Pro Tip : If you want to sharpen your xc skiing photography skills, shoot a race with 1,000 laps…)