Bright Ideas

The 2017 American Birkebeiner is still well over a year away but the possibility of being the 9,999th skier in the pack of 10,000 is a bit daunting. So to be kind to my wife — who’s bright idea it is to ski the Birke next year – I’ve entered us in a pre-qualifier event in hopes to move us up a few waves. The pre-qualifier event is the Alley Loop 21 and 42K in Crested Butte, CO on February 6. She’s skating the 21K and I have an unknown desire to ski the 42K classic.

This momentum caught hold pretty innocently about 4 weeks ago. We had just finished a hike up a local ski mountain (Buttermilk) and ran into a few Nordic friends who had skinned up. It was our first hike up the mountain since our now 20 year old daughter was in the kids ski program back when she was 4. We’re glad to see our friends and the chat turned to one of them mentioning he was skiing the Birke in a few weeks and how both of them had skied the Norwegian Birkebeiner too. Long story short, the wife thinks skiing the American Birkebeiner next year would be “Fun!”(Please notice the exclamation point which is supposed to represent her enthusiasm when she said that three letter word).

Why wouldn’t I agree? It’s an old ski bums fantasy to have a wifey-pooh (sp) that wants to go on a ski adventure. Right?

So I enter us in this pre-qualifier event that has some handicap percentage for all these events which are supposed to help you move up in the waves – somehow. I don’t understand any of the handicap process.

So I set up a last-minute 3 week training program for us so she/we might survive the Alley Loop. She’s never skied more then 15K, unless you count the Backcountry Valentines Day Death March Tour on the Government Trail before we were married. …I better not go there.

The training program was set up with a few distance days (2.5-3 hours) and some ski days with verbal emphasis on the importance of rest. She’s feeling great but I didn’t follow my advice and feel tired and drained.

The romanticism I have with ski marathons, I’ve realized, was from a time when I was single and young and teaching xc skiing full time. I’d forgotten that there was nothing else except skiing, training, chasing women, buying fitness toys and hanging out with others that were just like me! Now it’s go to work, get an hour of skiing in then be too lazy to do much else when I get home, except for tricking hugs out of my 16 year old daughter (she’s not the most cooperative).

I’m also having some deja-vu about a few of those marathons. It wasn’t always fun, but mostly fun, I’m pretty sure, fun, kinda. I must fall into my Child Birth Philosophy. It goes like this: There is pain in childbirth and during the process I don’t think there is much desire and anticipation to do it again – ever. But after time the memory of pain goes away and the process for a new baby begins, all over again.

So why did I decide to classic 42Ks? A voice in my head is telling me to and it feels right somehow. Why ski 42Ks? I used to have a lot of fun doing it and it’s a great excuse to set me on a path to a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight. How do I dress for an event when the start time is predicted to be about 5 degrees? I have no idea.

Gotta go wax my our skis…

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