Saturday, November 21, 2009

Portable Bridge Construction: Day 1

Kikkan after her best distance skate race ever.

The morning we woke up to.  Sun!

XC Ski fans toasting marshmallows on the side of the race.

A few Swedish fans and their blow up doll!

Some days will not go as you planned.  In fact, most days will look a bit like Swiss Cheese, full of things that are unexpected.  What I have always done is simply try to avoid the holes as best possible, so as not to fall in.  However, what I should be doing is building a portable bridge that I can put down as soon as I see the hole and carry it with me to help get over the next one.  Today, I began constructing my bridge.  Today, I discovered a hole 1:30 before my race that I let myself fall in and once I was in, climbing out became even harder than missing the hole entirely would have been.  Let me explain.
We have been training in Beitostolen for 2 weeks now, and exactly one week ago we raced the same exact race that we raced today.  However, today, we woke up to a much different day than we have been used to here.  The tracks were icy, downhills fast, corners sketchy, uphills tough to get an edge on, but this was race day and this was a hole that was unplanned, as there almost always will be.  I skied scared and tentative and all of that overtook my head, so that the simple act of going as hard as possible was even blurry.  So today, I start building my portable bridge.  This is one race in the bag, one race to learn from, one race to motivate me.  
On every day there are those who persevere and those who don't.  Today was Kikkan's best distance skate race ever.  That is something to smile about.  Ben Sim cracked the top 30 for the first time in Australian xc skiing history (I think).  They will be jumping in the air for sure tonight.  The winner of the men's race today is a biathlete and his tears of joy were enough to take your mind off of your own race, good or bad.  Watching the men race after my own effort out there today was inspiring and a reminder that good days or bad, the sport that I picked is one that I love.  There will be more holes, and when I have built my bridge, I may need to build a rope tow to get over an unexpected mountain that may emerge in front of me.  Adversity is a given, learning to push through it must be the goal.

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