py summit taylor2011
There is a saying…“Judge not a Teacher save by the nobility of his or her Students…” Ready to be inspired once again by one of your fellow Wholistic Fitness™ Warriors?   Maybe next February,  YOU could do what it takes to yogi squat on the summit of this Sacred Pilgrimage of Wholistic Fitness™…. WF Shishya PY halfway through her recent solo 75-kilometer, 4-sport Sacred Pilgrimage at the one and only;  Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon…here is her own Race Report…buckle up!   photo courtesy of Julie “PY” Mueller. Coming up;  my own Race Report! – oh and YES DEFINITELY Shishya PY gets Yogi Squat of the Week for this pic!

Turquoise Mountain Race Report: 2/20/2011

GOAL: get my “feet wet”—FINISH. That’s it. Just FINISH by making the cutoff times.


The packing and the food preparation began early in the week—checking gear and making meals is EPIC for this race.

This is the gear for the race—more than I need for weeks in the Himalaya!


Gotta have chocolate soy, pomegranate juice and Synergies for the post-race recovery. Don’t forget the chocolate chip pancakes for race morning and the rice cheese and hummus for snacks on the drive home

The drive there is easy—beautiful scenery and blue skies

py@check in

(this photo by coach at Equipment Check In)

“Registration is chill”—as Coach said–what a waaaay laid back (and waaaaay hard) race.

After registration, I take my gear to a the local Fire Station for labeling—colored duct tape with my  race number—and of course Coach arrives at the same time! Which is perfect because I really need help deciding what to bring on the Sacred Mountain Pilgrimage.

Eat my baked tofu and noodles brought from home, and attempt to sleep. So grateful for the 9am start time.  Not surprisingly, sleep was elusive.


Wake at 6am for EMR and Medium Form.

Eat pancakes and watch the full moon set out of my hotel window, knowing this was a sign that the day will be EPIC.

For the intensity of the Pilgrimage ahead, it is the most laid back start line EVER! The start gun blasts, and we’re off.

Bike up: official time: 1:22, (although I had 1:17 clocked, this must include transition time).  Intense headwind with a gradual climb that turns into a steep climb, essentially Snowbowl* with a headwind.  Was feeling pretty good about the bike, I was clearly the most well-trained in this aspect of the race.

Run up: BRUTAL. Slogging slow—it feels like I am dragging a piano, however I just try to “take it all in” and keep my feet moving, one in front of the other, arm pump.  Many people are walking faster than I am running. They are tall men with long legs.  Next year I gotta do this faster—however this was one leg where I don’t know how I could have gotten more speed without getting anaerobic. 1:22. Yikes. Get to see coach at the run/ski transition!! Horray!

Ski up: way easier than I thought it would be! Although looking at my time of 55 minutes, I could have done this faster.  Skiing is just so new, and once again, I was just not sure how much I could give for each part, and generally I was making it up faster than I thought I would, so I just kept it steady.  I saw Heartbreak Hill and thought—I have had way more heartbreak than this!  It was easy—with my BC skis and skins, that is. Coach flew by me on his way up—I shouted after him “you are my Hero!”

Shoe up: okay, I would have liked to do this faster than my reported 39 minutes, however there were 80mph winds up there. Seriously! Much more effort would have blown my lungs. And I knew I had to make it down and that the hardest part was still ahead.  SA! What a VIEW! Coach flew by me on his way down here—I was simply glad I had started the shoe before he finished.

Shoe down: did not anticipate the shoe down to be so sketchy—I must have fallen 5 times into ruts (where presumably another person had fallen as well and left a ditch the size of me).  It was super fun and hilarious. I was able to run the flatter part and that felt great! I also had a big smile because I knew I was way ahead of the cutoff time and even if the ski took forever, my chances of finishing without getting kicked off were looking good.

Ski down: Absolutely ridiculous. I fell within the first yard. I looked like a clown!!! Then I fell 20 times within 400 yards. It took me 1 hour and 27 minutes to go 2 miles. I grew up in North Carolina.  I had only worn skis of any type 5 times in my life before this.  Luckily, I had my rain pants on, and I was so desperate to make headway (it is illegal to take your skis off) that when I would fall I would deliberately slide on my butt to gain ground! Giggling. Finally, a woman skied by (actually an Angel of Mercy) while I was standing just looking at a hill ahead of me muttering to myself. She told me to try putting my skins back on. So I did—I put my skins and slid and skidded and poked my way down.  For the record–snowplowing is TIRING.  So is falling and getting up again and endlessly again…This is truly for expert skiers.  Next time I will wear my skins the whole time, as I believe it will be years before I am skilled enough to really smoke this, if ever.

Run down: I cried when I got to the ski/run transition because I was so happy to take my skis off. The volunteers couldn’t believe it because the ski is supposed to be the “easy part!” The run was slower than I would like because I was running against a Hanuman wind, and at the finish of the run it started hailing.  This took 1:04, however I am pretty happy it was faster than the way up given how destroyed I was from the ski—and running against the wind! There’s a song about it—Bob Seger?

Bike Down: a ride into 50mph headwinds with hail, then sleet, then rain. Nothing to do but to keep pedaling, although the 59 minutes it took me to get down would have been 39 in better conditions.  At that point, all that mattered was staying on the bike come hell, hail, heaven, the Bardo…  The clouds parted and the wind was reduced to more manageable speeds toward the end of the race.  The mOMent of clarity was with 5 miles left—after a day of such intense wOrk: heat, wind, hail, spills in the snow, pain, beauty.  Everything is so blurry when you’re riding into the wind and rain.  And then—the clouds part for a mOMent, the sun shines through, and It All is so Clear.

8 hours, 11 minutes, and 30 seconds** after I started, I crossed the finish line and wept.

Total up: 4 hours and 19 minutes

Total Down: 3 hours 52 minutes.

It takes most people half the time to get down as it does for them to get up.  We think I may hold the course record for longest downhill ski without a DNF or DQ.

Then I got to spend QT with EC at the awards ceremony and dinner! What a Blessing and what a Radiant Being He is.

* PY’s local hillclimb in Flagstaff, AZ…about 6 miles at 6% topping out at 9,200′

** Last year, you may recall the inspirational solo effort at Taylor from WF Student “Fit Kit” Johaneson (see Archives) who finished in 8:21:41 in the 65-69 Age Group.

4 Responses to “Shishya PY; Turquoise Mountain Race Report: 2/20/2011”

  1. Hew Suet Fong says:

    PY, You’re my Hero!!!

  2. Robert Owen says:

    Wonderful Effort! I sit hear with tears in my eyes humble, and proud to be so inspired… Well done. Rando

  3. Kit Johaneson says:

    Dear PY. Isn’t that downhill ski wonderful. I tried to tell Steve to suggest touring skis with a fixed heel for the descent. Great job in tough conditions.
    Fit Kit

  4. py says:

    it is a true Pilgrimage–especially the downhill ski.
    take all of your difficult races and epic training days, put them together, and add a few hours. then you have Taylor.
    the Kachina Goddesses have a sense of humor :)
    may They Bless us all.
    i bow in gratitude to your support.
    see you there next year!
    feeble py

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