Watching the yellow orange light of dawn was memorable. It chased the stark contrasts of light from the straight, dark sentinels of the deciduous forest with bluish shadows stretching across the fresh, polar snow across the valley, frozen lake and rugged Adirondack foothill beyond. It was a beautiful, but cold morning. Overnight temperatures were 27 degrees below zero.
Curt Schreiner had done a fantastic job grooming all the trails. Most of them had a classic track to the right and a wide skating lane on the left. Snowshoe trails were also tracked in by skis or snowshoe.
Most controls were hung by 9 am, so I, in my multiple layers of ski clothing, went back to the start area and started Beth Gurzler who had agreed to vet the red course. I set the remaining controls on the "house loop", helped Jim Schreiner sand the driveway hill to the parking lot and set up my car for the registration, start, and finish.
By 11 am it was zero degrees and Beth Gurzler was back in with no difficulties and on her way back to the southern part of the County. And the meet was on.
In hindsight I should have had at least one more person helping with registration, start, and finish. The whole event ran okay, but competitors had to wait to register and wait to start, all out doors. The open circular fireplace was "cooking" with a great bed of coals, but that only warmed one side of anyone trying to draw heat from it. There was little heat coming from the sun. With a second person (and a second watch) we could have rotated officials in and out of the warm vehicle.
The three hot soups that Betty Schreiner had on the concession stand menu were most inviting and warmed to the soul.
My gratitude to Phil Hawkes-Teeter who lent a hand during the crush of registrations that came near the end of the registration window. It allowed me to get out and try to restore my sanity, if not my circulation.
Many thanks to Mike George, Phil Grant, and Sue Hawkes-Teeter who helped collect the controls.
All Nordic skiers take the minus 20 degrees centigrade rule seriously. Saratoga Biathlon Club has a "house rule" that no competitor starts at a temperature below zero Fahrenheit. When the snow is this cold, it is difficult to glide on skis no matter how 'cold you wax'. This forces a competitor to work harder to maintain forward speed. Greater effort requires more oxygen to the lungs. At these cold temperatures the participant is at real risk of freezing internal tissues of the respiratory system.
One very valuable lesson I learned the hard way is, don't procrastinate so that you are forced to put out controls in below zero temperatures! Just because your body temperature is warm and toasty under many layers of insulating clothing, doesn't mean your extremities are getting the circulation. The plastic surgeon snipping away the dead, blistered skin the next Friday morning was most memorable! I offer this not for any sympathy, but in hopes that you will avoid the less pleasant memories of this meet director.
- Eric Hamilton
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--