Wait...There Are Other Sports Besides Cycling?

3:32 AM

Last Sunday’s epic conditions at Badger Cross made for a terrifying ride home.  What should have normally taken four hours turned into a six-and-a-half-hour, white-knuckle drive through wind, snow, and dark on the deteriorating interstate.  As we neared the Twin Cities the number of cars in the ditch increased with each mile, and the snow just kept coming.  Monday morning we woke to a good twelve inches of the white stuff.

The upside of the bad roads, icy sidewalks and dreaded shoveling duties?  Nordic skiing!  You can’t live happily in Minnesota without having at least one true outdoor winter sport in your rotation: hockey, fat-bike riding, alpine skiing, skijoring, ice skating, broomball, snowshoeing...if you aren’t motivated to do one of them, what is the point of enduring the darkness and cold?

And, no, I do not include ice fishing in the list of winter sports – sorry, but to all appearances ice fishermen are just looking for an excuse to drink.

Thankfully, I live in a state where Nordic skiing is beloved.  By Monday there were already trail reports up on Skinny Ski, and various parks and recreation departments got their trail grooming equipment up and running.  I spent Tuesday evening getting my skis ready – a new coat of base wax and a couple of layers of blue Fast Wax.

We hit Battle Creek on Wednesday – definitely not the best course for the first ski of the year with all of the hills, but it is close and well groomed.  The first ski of the year is always one to just get through.  You are guaranteed to be completely uncoordinated, fall unexpectedly, and the fronts of your shins will be screaming because you forgot what good form is.  I took one nasty tumble going down a hill – the Spouse was so traumatized by watching my contortions that he fell three times in getting down to me – and I now have a wrenched knee to remind me of my first day out.

Still, I love skiing – it is so very different from the bike.  You can never feel more fully physically engaged in an activity as you are when skiing.  While the first few moments are awkward, it doesn’t take long before you are skating through the forest, the sun at a low angle on the horizon, and all your worries and nagging thoughts have been replaced by one simple idea: shift, glide, shift, glide, shift, glide…

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