Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Thousand words

Ever since I read "The Short History of Nearly Everything" I have wanted to witness for my self the massive caldera of a supervolcano. Last weekend I found my self standing in spandex with 100 other racers getting ready to race up the southern flanks of Yellowstone's caldera in Jackson Hole Wy. Although scientist's have measured the earths gravitational forces to be weaker in and around Yellowstone it didn't seem to help on the first climb! Greg Ruckman an Olympic rower and top notch Nordic skier set a cracking pace that had us all wondering if this could go on for 8000 feet. Getting a feel for the pace I decided to fall back a little and conserve some energy for the later parts of the race.

After a couple smaller climbs and descents over a couple ridges I found my self in second pacing off Brendon French. He reminds me of a terminator showing no signs of breathing or distress as he powers on ahead. On our way to Corbetts couloir Pete Swenson and Luke Nelson took the lead, Luke with a quick transition and fast pace lead the way up to the top. Once on top all I could think of was how the heck I could get off this mountain as fast as possible! I knew 4 thousand feet of variable skiing was going to take its toll but at this point in the race the first to the last assent was going to have an very valuable edge.

Skiing fast I found myself first to the bottom so I took some extra time to make sure I had good skins for the last technical assent and once again the 4 of us headed up separated by only seconds. Polls punching through and skins slipping it was a tedious technical assent and at times I would look back wondering if the others were having as much trouble. Feeling surprisingly good I just put my head down trying not to think of the terminator hot on my heals. Maybe out of fear of having to race the last descent I found my self with just enough of a cushion to take the win. The awards ceremony was very well done with copious amounts of prizes. Pete Swenson gave a great speech on the future of the sport comparing it to the NORBA in 1982 and then we were all off to get some rest to race the next day in Targhee.

Video 1 - Video 2

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