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On the other side of the V-Boards

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone a winter without suiting up to compete almost every week. As far back as I can remember, winter weekends have always been spent either running gates, chasing jumping meets, or generally cruising around the northeast race circuits. This winter was no different, except for this time I wasn’t the one doing the racing.
My first winter of full-time coaching was a big learning experience. Jumping from the EISA to the USCSA level opened my eyes to what the other side of collegiate racing is like: wide ranges of attitudes and abilities, teams ranging from the lone Marlboro and WPI skiers to UVM and Clarkson rolling up with 20+ athletes every weekend, and a much more laid-back race organization that values effort over results and ritual.

That last bit is what took the most getting used to. Having raced EISA and USSA, we always took it as SOP to have fully marked courses, a maze of fencing and V-Boards in the stadium, and race officials around every corner. …

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