MK Battles to 5th Place in 10 km Skate

EvanMarch 8, 2012
MK skiing at the Dartmouth Carnival earlier this year. She was 5th in the 10 km OJ girls skate at Junior Nationals.

Mary Kate Cirelli took home 5th place in the OJ Girls 10 km skate on Wednesday. She skied with the lead pack for the duration, and weathered the storm when several girls made attacks near the end of the race, skating in through the slush to hold onto 5th place overall. I don’t have many details from the race, and I’m unfortunately not there to take photos, but it looks like the rest of the team will be gunning for improvement Tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll be able to scrape together some more info soon!

Dev and Hans showed they can crush it in the classic sprints. After a tough day yesterday, look for them to rip out there tomorrow!

Tomorrow our gang looks to match its strong classic sprint with some good classic distance racing. The distance is 5 km for MK and Katilin and 10 km for Hans and Dev. It promises to be fun out there!

On a different note, I got to go watch the Bill Koch Festival at Great Glen Trails this past weekend, which was a real treat and a throwback to my days as a young racer in New England. The kids—500 of them in all, more than are at JNs—represented the typical range of young skiers that BKL attracts. Some were super serious about the racing and some were along for the ride, more interested in the costumes, the obstacle course, and the general excitement of the festival. Regardless of mentality about the racing, everyone was having a great time. It is always refreshing to get back to the roots of skiing and remember why we are all in this sport.

I helped out in the finish corral on Sunday for the individual races, and got to pick up many of the racers after they hurled themselves to the snow in exhaustion after skiing their 1, 2, 3, or 4 km loops. After a lift up and some encouragement to breathe, almost all of them threw a big smile on their face and cheered for their competitors crossing the finish line. And every kid, when I asked them how it went, either said “fun!” or “awesome!” What a great perspective on the sport, one which I think we should recall whenever we go out and race. Skiing is exhilarating and fun: getting too caught up results can cloud the enjoyment that brings us all out to the trails.

And some of these kids can flat out ski! On the skate day especially, I was amazed at the fluidity and grace with which some of the BKLers moved around the course. The last 200 meters came down a steep hill and across a flat before turning and climbing gradually to the finish. Some of the kids moved so effortlessly across the flat that I could have sworn I was watching miniature world cup skiers. They skied with total abandon, relaxed at every joint, carefree in their arm swing and their expressions, and big—or as big as they could be at an average of 4′ 5″—in every motion they made. Skiing is not a sport founded on brute strength or raw power: it is founded on the joy of free movement, of speed gained effortlessly and momentum preserved by efficiency. Sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at the kids who just want to go fast.

Good luck tomorrow to the GMVS crew, and we’ll keep everyone posted on how it goes!

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