Peru Nordic’s Bryce “Heart of Darkness” Hartman has been steadily improving. His WAR ENSEMBLE efforts have put the old guard on notice, and he has been steadily climbing in the VHCS overall ranking. However, heads were really turned on Sunday at the Paul Smith’s VIC Chili Race when the young buck slayed the field of cagey veterans!!!
“It all started during the WAR ENSEMBLE Sprintervals,” said Jim Kobak, “Young Bryce was comfortable the pace on the opening seeding lap, and was in control during the sprints. Just like Anikan Skywalker morphed into Darth Vader, the apprentice is quickly becoming the master.” Bryce had a strong showing in Wednesday’s Sprints, easily defeating the old-timers who challenged him. But little did anyone know what was to come on Sunday with chili on the line.
The Paul Smiths Chili race was challenging. The one-lap 10 k course had a mix of terrain, and the weather was insane. High winds left the trail full of debris, and strong squalls dropped new cold snow over the old wet surface. Wax was a factor, and skiers like Chris Rose and Jim Kobak who were running a warm, wet wax combo were ground to a halt on the dry new windblown snow. Many nordiques were V1’ing terrain they would normally V2 alternate, and the spruce sprigs and twigs slowed the pace considerably. And, if that weren’t enough, the winds dropped at least two trees across the course which made for some truly interesting changes in technique.
Bryce managed to overcome all of the weather obstacles and sat in with the black train of pain through the first 4 km. Then, the accelerations came. Jon Santor tried to control the race; first dropping Kobak, then Kogut, then Rose. But he couldn’t shake the young’un. Finally Bryce made an amibitious move and the incredulous Santor could not respond. Bryce claimed a stunning 5 second victory over the reigning New York State Cross Country Skiiing Champion!!! The Skiing World is officially on notice!!!!
Now the field looks to see if Bryce can continue his hot streak in the bitter cold when the annual DEATHSKINADA LOPPET rolls into town on Wednesday. The DEATHSKINADA LOPPET has long been known as “The World’s Most Negative Race.” Death’s Head will be awarded as skiers tackle the now famous War Ensemble Sprint Course in Classic Technique. The weather should be a Gatineau-ish below zero at the start. Skiers will ski one full war ensemble lap, and will receive -5 points if they are under 12 minutes, -8 points if under 10 minutes and -10 points if under 9 minutes . Then they will ski the sprint course 3 times, the first lap must be under 5 minutes for -5 points, and each subsequent lap must be faster than the first, for -5 points each lap. The time of the last lap will then be added to the skier’s score. Finally, they must tempt fate by selecting a Deathskinada Tarot Card. Any racer who shows up with Swix Polar kick wax will receive and additional -2 points… lowest total score wins Death’s Head!!! Go Negative!
In honor of Bryce’s weekend victory, Arch Enemy’s classic “Heart of Darkness!”