What i pray to Impart to you…what i pray to Impart to my daughter, is that regardless of how much or how little ‘medal’ you bring back from a competition, what truly matters is the Light, the Chi, the Nobility that you radiate during the competition.

What i pray for you…what i pray for my daughter, is to receive  just one single correspondence like this one i received yesterday…

“Hey man,
I hope this note finds you safe and sound back in Durango.  It is always an honor to toe the line with an athletic legend such as yourself.  Your presence always lends so much more to an event…more than you are probably aware.  Let’s just say it’s been great having you there the past couple of years.

Again, awesome job this past weekend.  You’re an animal!

Can’t wait to read the blog!


Clay Moseley, 1994 National Time Trial Champion,  is one of my old road racing competitors and a hero of mine.  Clay, a beautiful father warrior, not only wins the Chama Ski Classic, he is responsible for making this miracle happen each winter in a remote, beautiful northern New Mexico nirvana…you must come.  The sweet madness of nordic racing in such a heaven-sent palace of white wildness is just too sacred for you to miss this lifetime…i dedicate this entry to Clay, Race Director Mary Ann de Boer, and all the unsung volunteers which keep the tradition of Chama Ski Classic alive heading toward it’s 4th decade of existence;  ilg is honored to be a part of this lifelong event of mine…enjoy this photo essay…


Remind me again why the hell i should NOT raise my daughter to be a nordic ski racer? futilely yet steadfastly chasing last year’s champion, Clay Moseley – a world class cyclist – during last Sunday’s 10k Chama Ski Classic. elevation; close to 10,000′. remember, this the day AFTER racing a 15k Freestyle race at the same elevation!  as you can see, i’ve at least manufactured a big gap between myself and third place…more importantly, i’m trying to put seconds between myself and anyone else in the King Of The Mountain (KOM) competition which goes to the fastest Classic 10k skier and 5k Snowshoer…as you’ll soon read, i would lose my KOM title by 40 seconds.  photo by Pat Hogan.


Darn!  There ain’t no glide in snowshoeing! 2 kilometers into my Snowshoe Time Trial which had to be started within 10 minutes of the finish of the 10k Classic Ski Race. At this point, i knew i had a pretty good lead from hammering my 2nd place overall Classic Ski race, yet, judging from the whippet-like physiques of at least two competitors which were in the KOM competition with me,  i knew i had to ‘sell it all’ on the Snowshoe Time Trial…sadly, without any interval training due to my sprained knee,  i would come up 40 seconds shy…ain’t it just soooo sad?!  ilg says this, “wait till next year, young ones!…King Ilg shall once again reign!” It is a great Blessing to be nearing 50 years old, a new daddy, and still be even considering competing for retaining an Overall Title in ANY sport, let alone two of the most brutal on the Planet; Classic Nordic Ski Racing and Sport Snowshoeing!  Thank you Wholistic Fitness™!    photo by Pat Hogan.


ilg breaks down…kilometer 4.  although i am still sOMehow managing to maintain a fast average speed, passing lapped racers, ilg is a broken warrior.  i know this (lack of) running form well.  i call it my “Grandma fading” mode. my spine is hunched…i’ve drawn within to deal with damage limitation. i’m working on a chakral level just to keep moving.  It’s my Bardo Training zone.  Here, my chronic back-pain has escalated from dull ache to barbed-wired intensity.  compared to the previous photo,  my poor Body Vehicle has utterly collapsed due to searing pain throughout my pelvis and lower back.  here, i draw upon Yogi Jesus’s strength and Light.  i invoke images of Him carrying His own cross to His rosy crucifixion.  if He can do THAT,  fuck yes, ilg can at least do THIS!   yet,  i’m willing myself not to stop…not to give up.  this is my Bardo;   i invoke everything; the Blessed Mantra, my Teachers, my Gurus, and most of all; YOU…my Faithful WF Sangha, especially those of you that have supported my Winter Sponsorship appeal.   May God’s love be with you all-ways for supporting my Noble Efforts to do whatever it is that i do.   Take this counsel from a lifetime of excruciating pain:   When your ego is screaming at you to, “Just STOP…just BACK OFF a little bit…STOP, STOP this torture!” please: recognize that Ego Screaming as a Higher Self Temple Gong…ringing clearly to bring you Higher toward your Enlightenment.  do NOT give up!   No matter how great the pain.  Pain is purification of the subtle anatomical self;  merge into It and accept it as Teacher.   Are you Listening?    Snowshoe racing is undoubtedly the most difficult endurance sport i’ve ever had the honor of achieving World Championship fitness in…especially for this broken-back yogi!  I hope you do what it takes to come to Durango and Toe The Start Line of my Winter Warrior 10k Snowshoe Race;  February 12th.  Email me for more info.  Be there, or beware!  photo by Pat Hogan.

warrior leaf

After finishing my Noble Effort to maintain my King of the Mountain title, yet intuitively knowing i had lost it,  i Let It Go…and you can only imagine how SWEET it was to see my Precious “Warrior Leaf” at the race!  In yet another exquisite twist of Brahmanic poetry,  i would finish just before my Kinlani (Flagstaff, AZ) shishya in the overall snowshoe race competition.  when the Student beats the Teacher?  then, and only then, does the Teacher truly become victorious.  Trust me,  Warrior Leaf will soon be beating the lycra racing suit off me with ease…and, thus i Pray!   GREAT JOB, Diné!    photo by; Mom Diné


After the two days of racing at high altitude?  PARTY TIME, baby!   Here i am with a Chama bro…name withheld to protect the party animal!   Note the medals dangling from our necks…yeah baby!  ilg is a dinosaur from the 1980’s: Race Hard, Party Hard generation. Some things are still hard to overcome…so why try?  Just release into the arms of the 80’s Angels…photo: i forget.  i had two beers by now and in such a purely trained Body?  two beers is a LOT!

high country

The High Country Restaurant…the only place in town to party and thankfully, a deeply rooted sponsor of the Chama Ski Classic.  check this pic out…doesn’t it totally look like the place Rambo blew the shit out of in Rambo III?  come to Chama;  find out that the Wild West still survives!

photo by ilg.


Partying after 40k+ of hard racing at nearly 10,000′ to the killer sound of Unstrung Heroes (please buy their CD! it’s GREAT!) from Taos, New Mexico.  Trust me;  it does NOT get better than this.   i say that having lived a luxurious lifestyle of a celebrity fitness trainer in LA with VIP privilege to the hottest clubs;  Chama, New Mexico is where it’s TRULY at, baby!

after more beer among my Chama bro’s and sis’s it was i that came up with a great suggestion:

“Let’s go ski  Cumbres Pass by moonlight!”

photo by ilg.


…so we did!   that’s Josh photo left…still in his Costume Competition.  Chris is photo middle; a local science teacher already pointing out constellations at the top of Cumbres Pass (10,022′ and -15degrees).  i only had access to my tiny skinny track racing skis and had to force my blistered feet from the snowshoe race into my fragile classic racing shoe…some would say this late night venture into the backcountry while  a bit tipsy after a long weekend of racing and little food and significant partying would be, uh, ill-advised.   i would say, it’s ‘ilg-advised”!   Life is short!   Take Chances and SKI UNDER GRANDMA MOON OFF THE TOP OF HIGH MOUNTAIN PASSES!

photo by already shivering ilg.


even though i was operating on less than 800 calories from the day of racing (most of them from beers people kept buying me) somehow i became leader of our intrepid group descending into the dankly lit abyss…because, according to Chama bro Josh, “Good God,  ilg is like a pro skier for God’s sake!”

and so, i led…following Vishnu’s guidance.  we followed the snow drifted Narrow Gauge train track (the only other Narrow Gauge Train still operating in the west besides the one in Durango) across trestles, bridges, and anal sphincter-tightening traverses through a dreamlike descent…

photo by freezing ilg.


like phantoms in the night…my followers crossing over one of several trestles during the moonlit descent.  i asked Chris, “What’s the difference between a trestle and a bridge?”

“About 30 feet,” he replied.

i was too cold to question it further.

photo by ilg.


eventually, after an unspeakably beautiful descent from the top of Cumbres Pass to Windy Point,  we arrived at Josh’s igloo…how friggin’ cool is THIS!?!?!    i mean, really,  how long has it been since you’ve won three medals in two days then moonlit skied to a freakin’ igloo in the backcountry…ON THE SAME DAY?!?!?!    photo by ilg.


after arriving at the igloo, our ‘back up party’ that was supposed to arrive to pick us up at the igloo was uh…well, still drinking down at the High Country saloon.  so…when in doubt?   More beer!  from L-R;  Josh, Chris, and Gayle.   eventually,  as hypothermia was just beginning to take root in our cells, our Chama Bro Rescue Party arrived bringing with them a…get this;  Disco Ball, iPod music, a Siberian Husky, a puppy, three girls, three guys and a WHOLE TON of FUN!  photo by ilg.

put it on your schedule for next January:  the Chama Ski Classic.   ilg promises;  it’ll be super Sacred Sweat!

Blessed be all who realize the fun of focused sweat,


4 Responses to “final Race Report From Chi-filled Chama: 3 Medals in 2 Days…a Super Sacred Sweat!”

  1. Roberto Crespo says:

    Coach Ilg,

    That may be your best post EVER! Great stuff, all of it, from the racing, to the internal dialogue, to the beer drinking….


    Yogi RC

  2. coach says:

    “Ever” ?!?!


    love and high mountain sweat,

  3. Wendy Cooper says:

    EC –

    i taf RC may well be right-on. this post captures the spirit of WF more completely than any other single post this feeble student has seen.

    inspired once-again.

    student coop


  1. (all access special!) 2011 Winter Warrior Results, Saturday, February 12 | Wholistic Fitness - Feb 12, 2011

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