Rain Rain Go Away: Harry Eldridge Memorial Race

The weather forecast was so bad, our wonderful motel landlady called to ask if we really wanted to drive north.  Fifty degrees and “rain… heavy at times” for Saturday’s Harry Eldridge Memorial Race in Lake Placid.

I checked with Laurel, and she still wanted to go.  Being snow-starved, I was definitely in.  Right after school on Friday, we headed out.

Saturday morning was cloudy but dry.  Hmmm, we might get the race in without rain.  We stopped up to the Colossus of Chaos’s place to torch in klister.  It would be an interval start, three times around the 2.6 km loop at the Intervale ski jumping complex at the edge of town.

Naturally, it began to rain as we went to collect our bibs.  Second trip to Lake Placid; second time we get torrential rain.  No time to feel sorry for the miserable start to winter.  Nuthin’ to do but do it.

The race loop started and finished in the outrun for the ski jumps, looping behind the grandstands, up a long hill.  You caught your breath with a short downhill and a flat, followed by a shorter grunt that flattened out to the high point of the course.  The return was a roller coaster with a lot of transitions.

Laurel skied with me as I warmed up on the upper section of the course.   There were icy and dirty sections; but given the weather, the course was in good shape.  The second time up the steep grunt, I had to herringbone again.  Blame it on the lack of on-snow time, maybe if I had another brand of klister?  Who knows.

At my start, I double poled hard out of the stadium, around an awkward corner, skiing along the outer edge of the grandstand.  At the base of the big climb, the course had turned into a huge puddle in each direction.  Throughout the race, ORDA employees shoveled like crazy to keep a slushy, narrow lane open in each direction.

From there, I had no kick going up the long climb, it was a herringbone run.  Then some kick and glide, and some more herringboning.  From the top, one skied a serpentine downhill to the flat alongside the parking lot, then one could tuck for a rest back into the stadium.  Except for that nasty puddle.

Three laps of that, redlining at the top of the big climb each time.  When the rain picked up a couple of times, I had to turn my head sideways so I could see where I was going.  Not exactly confidence inspiring.   Although I tired some on the last lap, it was a good effort.

In the men’s race, the rain was on and off.  The women had it worse, they warmed up and raced in a steady downpour.  In the photo set below, the picture with all the snow fencing was me huddling under the open tailgate of the Subie.  Not a great photo but it gives an idea of how hard it was raining.

In the photo set below, all the men’s photos except that of Jan Wellford were taken by Laurel.

The next day we drove back to Intervale, only to find that the weather had closed the place.  I was sorely disappointed, because I’d been looking forward to just skiing around with Laurel.  The disappointment was ameliorated by getting a couple of her photos published on FasterSkier.  I’m very proud that she got published.  All in all, not a bad weekend.