Kavik is my Ilg-given Tribal Name.  Nickname, if you will.  It is the Inuit word for Wolverine.  As you read the following report, it will become clear why I have been given this name. 😉  It is an honor.

This has been a winter of many firsts for kavik.  Firsts in a long list of adventures to c(om)e.

Blissfully, Southwest Colorado/San Juan Mountains/La Plata Mountains/The Four Corners have received stunning amounts of snow in 2018/19, creating prime conditions for all sorts of winter sports.

Since working with Coach Ilg, kavik has progressed fr(om) being a fairly single-sport cyclist to exploring a multiplicity of sports.  Armed with the strengths developed through Wholistic Fitness®, kavik has the confidence to dive into new sports and toe the start line at races she would’ve never dreamed of a couple years ago.

The Twilight Race Series, held at Purgatory Ski Resort on four Wednesday evenings in January, lays a great foundation for winter racing.  C(om)petitors have their choice of racing on snowshoes, skate skis, or fat-tire bikes. k raced twice on snowshoes and once on skate skis.  Many thanks to Durango Nordic Ski Club, Purgatory Ski Resort, Durango Running Company, and Mountain Bike Specialists for organizing these races–your efforts are much appreciated!

On January 12, k raced the second in the Coke Series of races at the Durango Nordic Center:  5k on snowshoes.  2nd place overall! Snowshoeing is one of the toughest sports k has experienced (the other is Nordic skiing), awarding the racer the c(om)bination of lowest speed with highest heart rate.

k’s first Nordic Ski race, on Classic skis, was at the Chama Chile Ski Challenge on January 20.  She raced for Princess of the Mountain, skiing 6k Classic into 6k snowshoe.  The course provided a beautiful, challenging experience at 10,000+ ft. elevation.  k finished 2nd in her age group in both disciplines (5th overall in the ski), and 2nd in the Princess competition. The support and camaraderie amongst the Chama race organizers and racers is remarkable–super-fun folks!!!

On February 2, kavik had the Go(o)d fortune to race in the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon in Crested Butte, CO.  This was her first trip to Crested Butte, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!  It is a truly special mountain hamlet.  kavik raced the 21k on Classic skis.  Nice and cold:  12 degrees at the start!  This race provided the opportunity to race in a large group of remarkable athletes.  The race started in downtown Crested Butte, looped out around their terrific Nordic Center, and passed back through the streets (alleys) of Crested Butte, then out for another full loop.  Though her eyes were crossed fr(om) the effort most of the time, kavik recalls really creative costumes and h(om)es along the in-town course offering encouragement and libations!  kavik raced as hard as she could, and learned a lot, hopefully absorbing s(om)e of the greatness around her.  kavik finished 5th in her age group, 13th woman overall.  The awards ceremony provided a great place to meet and hang with this special, supportive c(om)munity of Nordic racers.

The Winter Warrior Snowshoe/Snow Traction Race, which we thought was taking a year off, experienced a last-minute resurrection on February 10!  Thank you, Shawn Burke and Brett Sublett!  After spending a few hours the day before st(om)ping out track for the race, kavik raced the 5k.  The trail consisted of a large portion of single-track as well as s(om)e wider track.  It was a classic, bluebird Colorado day!  kavik finished 1st woman, 2nd overall.  Thanks to all who c(om)peted on short-notice.

The Noble Tsidool (Mt. Taylor) THREW DOWN for the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon on February 16!  Beginning in Grants, NM, this event takes the racers up (and down!) the highest peak in New Mexico:  11,301.

Here is the course description:

This epic race begins in Grants, N.M., with a 13-mile bike ride meandering through town, then away from buildings to sights of high desert cacti and ponderosa pines, continuing to the end of the pavement on Mt.Taylor, an 1,800 ft. climb.

Then, the race continues on foot with a 5-mile run on a gravel path that gives way to packed snow, while rising 1,200 ft. in elevation. 

The next 1,200 ft. climb is tackled on skis, during a 2-mile portion of the race that includes Heartbreak Hill, a barren and exposed part of the mountain, which comes at the end of this leg – making it that much more intense.

The 11,301 ft. summit of Mt. Taylor is finally reached via snowshoe, after gaining 600 ft in elevation over a mile. There, c(om)petitors will c(om)e upon a vast and majestic view, where you can see for over 100 miles on a clear day, before turning around and snowshoeing, skiing, running, and cycling back to town.

At the completion of the Ultimate Challenge, you will have conquered 4,900 ft of elevation gain, and 43 miles and s(om)e change in exhilarating and agonizing bliss.

Yup.  “exhilarating and agonizing bliss” sums it up well.

The race organizers, volunteers, and c(om)petitors were truly tested this year. Snow storms, constant wind of 20-30+ mph, temps and wind chills 12-25. kavik would have never believed she could complete this race in these conditions!

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kavik finished 2nd in her age group, and at 57, was the oldest female solo competitor.

On Saturday, February 23, kavik raced the 4k at the Durango Nordic Center’s Langlauf (German for Big Party), and came in 6th.  Whew!  The centerpiece race of the day was the mighty 30k, the fourth of four races in the Southwest Nordic Race Series.  Upon c(om)pletion of the 30k, Coach Ilg WON the series, including a slick new pair of race Rossingnol skis!  Way To Go, Coach!

In conclusion, kavik now understands why there are races every weekend for Winter Sports:  Winter is too short!!!  kavik is so very thankful to have started her journey through this magical new (to her) world. 

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