let's go skiing

Love my hOMetown paper…it still covers our local nordic ski series with as much vigor as most big city dailies give pro football.  i leave tomorrow as the injured King Of The Mountain, in what i plan to be at least a Noble Effort to defend my overall title at the Chama Chile Ski Classic;  3 winter sports over 2 days of racing.

I’ve raced the mountains, arroyos, mesas, and sun-bleached rimrock of my Beloved Southwest for over 30 years.  Each Start Line, be it a World Championship or a local race still sends essential spiritual shivers throughout my nadic byways.  Especially now – as any Conscious Father of a 3 year-old could tell you – my Race Days arise dreamily from what often feels like caged flight for someone who has lived a footloose life spent pursuing Sacred Sweat across the potentiality of one human’s body, mind, and spirit.  These days, just making it to a Start Line is the real victory.  In the old days, when i was writing books like The Outdoor Athlete and The Winter Athlete, each competition was a sonic journey through my chakral system; riveting me deeper into transpersonal performances designed to elevate my speeding ascent toward Enlightenment in this lifetime.

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Finishing Lap One of two at last weekend’s 15k Skate Race, where i finished 6th place in my AG.   My 2x Arizona Nordic State Championships from the past 3 years means nothing now;  cuz i’m back in Colorado.  And in Durango, that means even a little local ski race can field several former or current World or National Champions, as was the case last weekend.  just over 4 weeks on a severely sprained knee, i cannot be anything but stoked.  in my own race within the race, i had a great time keeping world-class cyclist and fellow Durangatang, Frank Mapel, behind me for 5-10 seconds the whole race…until..being the crit racing cat he is,  he gassed it hard on the final half k to beat me by 15 seconds.  You just can’t put a price on being my age and still be out there, duking it out with such amazing young guns like Frank.

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another racer skates the Race Course as the Twilight Peaks soothe the suffering of our scratches in the bejeweled snow.

Yet these days, my racing ambitions must simmer unwillingly in a pot of new Fatherhood stew.  Any moment now spent alone in training – or racing alongside so many gorgeous and talented Warriors – has seemingly multiplied in infinite dimension.  Even ilg did not realize how a lifetime devoted to sanctifying outdoor competing could transform simple races into Dewachen where Wind Sister and the smallest snow-scurrying creature transmits and sings the Dharma.

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Only at a Durango local ski race do you find a Nordic Hall of Famer and one of America’s pioneering outdoor athletes standing around waiting to take YOUR race bib!   This is Dolph Kuss who came to Durango in the spring of 1955 and became parks and recreation manager for Durango and La Plata County.  He served as cross-country coach for the 1964 U.S. Olympic team, the Nordic combined coach for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, and the Nordic coach for the U.S. ski team from 1963-72. He was also instrumental in the first Sports Medicine Organization in 1971 and was a longtime Fort Lewis College professor.

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Here, i’m using the Tribal Mantra to mask my cries for help as i attempt to finish hard in the first race of the Series; a 10k Classic Race, where i was only 2 weeks onto my injured knee. I finished 3rd in my AG…Tad Elliot won the race, just before going to Maine to WIN the National 30k Championship by….get this; .1 second!

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Chair Pose, nordic style!  By finishing 3rd in my AG in this race in December,  i snaked my way onto my 14th Podium of 2010.  This weekend, i’m gonna do my best – though injured – to nail down my first podium of 2011…and i’ll take my Treasured Sangha’s spirit with me!

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