The Key to JN’s by Marcus
As mostly everybody on the ski team knows Marcus went to California over March break for Junior Nationals. I asked Marcus about his experience before he left and when he came back.
Why do you think you made it to JN’s?
I learned how to deal with a higher level of pain than I thought I could and I just stopped thinking about little stuff and tried to have fun on skis.
Why did you stop thinking about little stuff?
Because the stuff that I was thinking about didn’t work and made me frustrated, so I stopped.
Why did that stuff make you frustrated?
Because it caused me to get 21st in the first Eastern Cup.
What kind of stuff would you be thinking about?
Like technique, specific strategy’s, worry about what kind of pace I was going and that it was going to kill me, and worrying about how I was feeling… And then I was just like whatever, I feel how I feel.
Why do you think you were worrying about that stuff?
Because I wanted to do very well, and I thought that it would help me do well. It kind of just had the opposite effect and made me very worried.
Are you excited for JN’s?
Are you nervous?
Where did you go?
Truckee California for Junior Nationals. It’s in the Sierra Nevadas at 5200 feet, but where we raced was at 7200 feet above sea level.
How long were you there for?
What races were you in?
One sprint, although I didn’t go all the way through and got knocked out in the quarter finals, which was pretty surprising. Two days after that was the 5k freestyle, which was interval start, then two days after that was the classic mass start race, and I think it was between 65º and 70º for that race. It was yellow klister and I was racing in a T-shirt. The day after that was the classic relay which was a three by 2.5k, so three legs, we each did 2.5k.
Which race was your favorite?
The mass start, because I got to the last 700 meters and I was in 30th and I passed eight or ten guys I don’t know what places they were in. I got to the last hill and Will Sweetser, my coach from MWSC, was yelling at me telling me to turn it on. I just let it hurt for a while and I got to the end of the race and the coaches carried me to the end of the racing area. I was so out of it and I had oxygen deficiency, so I had no clue where I was. When Will got there he said it was an amazing race and I think he also asked me how much have you had to drink because I was so woozy.
What was the hardest race for you?
The sprint. I wasn’t really a sprinter, although when I came back I found out I could sprint. It’s kind of ironic. At altitude you have to train really slow and then with speed. It was slush instead of snow, because the snow had all melted down so we had two inches of slush.
What was your favorite race?
It’s a toss up between the classic race, just because of the finish. I blacked out at the finish, which was so cool and such a high. But, the classic relay was fun because you could just hammer.
How did you place compared to the other New England Skiers?
In the sprint I was 5th out the New England skiers. In the skate race I was third and then in the classic I was 5th or 6th for the New England J2 men. In the skate race it kind of flipped and Walker was second overallnand I beat him all season. I was kind of like “what! How come that wasn’t me?” I also beat a lot of the guys that I had never beat before.
How did you place overall if you averaged all of your race results together during JN’s and gave yourself a ranking?
Now that you’ve come back what is one story that you keep telling?
The fainting one and the blue hair.
What was the blue hair story?
We went into this drug store and spent a hour and a half looking at hair dye for what we thought was dying Russell, Adam, and Walker’s head. The rest of us were just going to watch and laugh when it came out bad. And then we get back to the hotel and I was in my room with Adam Glick and they came pounding on the door and dragged us up to their room and dyed our hair for the sprint. So we all had blue hair for the sprint and it was hilarious. Walker went completely smurf, so he had his whole dead dyed and the dust got on to his face and neck so he was completely blue for the sprint.
What’s one story that you haven’t told?
Probably just how we would get up and go for a walk. What was called a jog, but because of altitude we just walked. A couple mornings Adam and I got up and jogged and we would just talk about skiing, and where we are, and next year. It gives you a cool sense of where you are in the world, at least it did for me. I got a sense that it was just a cool morning walk for him. It’s really cool to be out there and your walking and the pinecones are the size of your head and being like “oh wow, I’m here… I’ve made it”.
Your probably seen as a role model now that you’ve done this. For example in a couple years maybe there will be a really committed freshmen when you’re a senior and someone will say something like, “Marcus did it so maybe you could do it.”
I really hope that there will be someone who is willing to take their skiing to that level.
Do you think that will change your behavior as a skier and as a person?
I don’t know. I think I’m going to keep trying to do my best individually and be looking to go as a first year J1 to JN’s, which would just be amazing. I’m looking forward to the hard work. As far as team wise, in Canada, I would like to ski with more people and maybe help them figure out what they need to do and what they need to think to make it. Because I have this feeling that anyone form Gould is going to be the underdog and that’s a really tough mental state to get yourself into, but once you do you have nothing to lose and you can just hammer until your poles break.
What was the worse moment?
It was so amazing, I don’t know if there really was a worse moment. But if there was it would be going to the awards ceremony and everybody going up on stage and you watch as your whole team accept for you goes up and grabs a top ten. And you’re sitting there and thinking “dammit I really wanted to beat those guys, it should’ve been me”. The worse part of it is realizing that you shouldn’t be thinking this way and you feel badly about it because you’re just there.
Why do you think those walks resonated with you so much?
Because they gave me time to think. When you’re racing your focused on the race. Afterwards you’re focused on what did I do well, what didn’t I do well. The other days it’s a trainning day and you’re focused on the next race. That was the only time that I had to realize I’m in California, “like what’s up with this?”. It’s awesome to be in that environment where it feels like a world cup, just with younger people.
Anything else you would like to add?
Nothing about me, but I would really like to see Gould send someone from now on. I think that Andrew and Caleb have a really good shot at it. I can’t wait for next season.
Sprint Heat, Marcus is in the left back