Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 5.59.08 PM

pic by Gunther Ott: your feeble teacher (the Peacock one above) navigating traffic caused by the shorter distance racers.
It’s a thing. Only racing experience increases the skill set needed to get around other racers on a narrow track filled with flinging limbs, long skis, and sharp-tipped poles!
S(om)e of you may know about – even have raced – Durango’s most respected winter endurance test piece, the Langlauf (German for, The Long Run or The Long Course) at the Durango Nordic Center. It’s 30k of lung-searing, thigh-withering, high-altitude hurt. This one race is second only to the Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon (75k) for historically putting feeble ilg into the Hurt Locker and unconditionally throwing away the key. So, why doth your feeble teacher of no-thing continue to Toe This Start Line which chronically dismantles me?
Because it’s there.
Yup, y’all may have heard that answer to the famous mountaineering question.  Well, as a former pro mountaineer?  The Langlauf for feeble ilg is as significant a mountain as Mt. Robson or the Grand Teton,  Assiniboine,  or DokoOsliíd.  Only difference is that the Langlauf is an inner mountain beckoning me each February to climb.   For a Warrior?  We must climb mountains.  It’s as vital to our Souls as is breathing.  For if Warriors do NOT climb mountains what happens?  We float downstream and end up in the mire and much of the flotsam with the rest of mediocrity.   Addiction to comfort is so predictably boring among the two-legged sheep.  Warriors focus on Rising Higher.  Those events, those peaks, those races which force us to turn the doorknob at 4a to ski or run before work?  They metaphysically function as spiritual barbells, making us STRONGER!

Last Saturday, racing in what was likely my 20+ Langlauf, hurt.   The waxing for a 30k race is categorically different than for a 5k or 10k.   This year’s edition proved very difficult waxing and none of the top guys felt like they nailed it.  I went against my own intuition, waxing colder on the counsel of a pro wax tech.  Doing so cost at least a few to several minutes.   Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.  My waxing philosophy is found in a quote by John Meynard Keynes, “It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.” 

If you ever want a solid challenge to solidify your mettle?  Amplify your character?   Skyrocket your sense of acc(om)plishment?

Train for and contest the Langlauf!  I’ll help you.  Yes,  you gotta respect the distance.  And the altitude (call it 9k).  Yet?  It’s the terrain that kills.  You see, Durango Nordic Center was created long before the wildly popular ‘skate’ technique appeared.  Back in the all Classic (aka; kick-and-glide or diagonal striding) days?  We could go up and down steep hills that were off camber and nearly scraping trees without a problem.  The comparative flinging and thrashing about of limbs inherent to the much more technique-forgiving Skate Technique equates to a Langlauf course that basically has no rhythm and keeps your legs pressured the entire time.  Factor in the negative recovery (means, the downhills go by so fast that your heart rate has little chance of recovering before the next climb) and no wonder so many of us see the Langlauf as a race of attrition instead of tactical racing.  Having said that?  This years Langlauf (benevolently designed by one of my old ski coach’s and local legend; Brent Brown) allowed us marathon distance racers to ski perhaps the most absolvitory terrain available at this beautiful venue.  LOVED IT!  So did most of the top guys/girls!*

The Langlauf Nordic Marathon.  A genuine test of courage and endurance for any true Durangatang!   See you next year, God willing!  THANK YOU, DURANGO NORDIC CENTER,  DURANGO NORDIC SKI CLUB, PINE NEEDLE MOUNTAINEERING, ALL OTHER SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE LANGLAUF!


head bowed,

feeble ilg

note; i finished 1st place 55+ and 15th overall this year and my vlog #98 on YouTube documents my suffering and joy!




*  Ilg votes to keep this Course as the new Langlauf Standard Course.  In an era where many athletes are #strava motivated?  It would be a great Course to standardize so times throughout the years could be measured, resulting in always wanting to better our previous time.  I think we would see more racers sign up as a result. 


Leave a Reply