There are tools that the Ancients have bequeathed us to keep us tapped into the present….such as Conscious Breath and Posture (the first of my 4 Lifestyle Principles).  When racing, when loving, when driving, when being?  Just do this, okay?  Trust the Breath…and all will be better than okay. pic;  ilg after crushing another Course Record and a 5k Overall Win at the Pagosa Nordic Winterfest age nearly age 50.

“The real journey of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust

Fighting the biologic impulse to outwardly shiver and allow my teeth their orgasmic chattering within the 14-degree air, i drew deep Ujjayi* yogic breaths to warm myself within.  Like a thousand times before,  i slowly skied toward a frigid Start Line etched by – of all things – Gatorade™.  Ilg’s advancing age, being within an easy ‘campus dyno’** of 50,  did not seem to matter to the collective ski racers.  They ushered me to a front spot on the Start Line.   I caved into this peer pressure,  where we all proceeded to shudder like so many chihuahua’s due to the numbing cold.  I’ve come to know and respect deeply these nordic peers which congregate in our little – yet potent – corner of the Uni-Verse.   Bunny hopping atop my zen-waxed Fischer skis,  every cellular morsel of mine wanted to close the membrane shutters and deflect the cold.  After an involved opening ceremony and picture taking,  my toes numbed from my tight racing boots.  My feet looked like and had as much sensation as black hooves.  Couldn’t help but think we all must have looked like shivering, just-shaved sheep.

Ilg was ready to race.  Mysteriously?  My peer’s respectful actions sOMehow allowed me to relax into the violent effort ahead of us.  There ain’t many efforts more brutal than than Classic Nordic Ski Racing in a paralyzing cold.  Let’s do this thang!

One of the many great things about the Warrior Tribe?   We honor and respect ages beyond that of the silly Gregorian Calendar.   Warriors know by direct, battledance experience that chronological age differs categorically from physiologic age.  Think here of Ned Overend (56+), Kent Bostick (58+), and Walt Axthelm (78+)…still contesting and beating young guns several decades younger.   I pattern my own Practice from these Elder Warriors as well as the Ancient Yogis whom, well beyond age 80, exhibited a degree of wholistic fitness far superior to that of most 20 year-olds today.  Many youngsters these days appear old and impotent, postures bent like old people, senses addicted to the iPods, iPhones, iPads – whatever; the “i” stands for Ignorance.  It’s like our increased embrace of high-tech produces a by-product of  diminished chi radiance.  So, really, what is “old”?

I’ll tell you what is not old…a relaxed athlete.  My precious Sensei Kishiyama (God Bless His Soul) used to always say, “Whenever you can relax, you will perform better.” A relaxed athlete is the most dangerous.  The relaxed athlete has somehow, someway drawn the most dangerous, lethal arrow in any competitive athlete’s quiver:  Confidence.  If thou art racing against a Being brimming with self-confidence?   You best bring your most humble yet powerful A-game.   For example;  Male Elk Beings often preserve life-saving calories by doing “early season” eating to grow their antlers higher, stronger, and more formidable than their peers.  During rutting season, other Elk males take one look at the massive rack that the other Elk Being has and submissively allows the greater antlered male Elk to “attend” to all the other willing Elk Female Beings without so much a fight.  Molecularly?  It’s all about Calcium retention.  Outwardly?  It’s all about Chi-ability.  Radiance.  Relaxed Awareness.  Whenever you bring a relaxed confidence to a Start Line?   The amplitude of individuated confidence tremendously matters.   Race Day confidence is born from training.

Thus, i found myself among 25 other near-hypothermic lycra-clad nordic warriors upon a raw,  cold horse field turned nordic venue beneath the heavenly spire of 12,550′ Pagosa Peak.   This precious Peak has bequeathed me with tremendous efforts and multi-sport podiums over the years.  It’s that Proust-thing for me whenever I come here…I see that Peak with new eyes each time and every minute spent here is a minute of self-discovery.  It seems that within these sacred mountains?  Even a feeble mountain yogi as ilg has landed some claim to siddhi’s (yogic powers).  Deep was my desire today to add to my resume of air-fire-wind*** within my most precious h(om)eland…

The Start Gun went off  mercifully to our freezing bodies.   Hauling off the Start Line,  I found myself instantly thwarted by a congestion of slower skate racers  which were unwittingly staged in front of us Classic skiers.  My arising anger (the anger fuse is infinitesimal to us Germanic Barbarians) propelled me out of the classic ski tracks onto the skate track…

“Ilg!  that’s the skate track!” i heard in a Bardo-like manner from someone behind me…

I did not care…acting, thinking outside the box has been my life theme and so it was here; the critical point in the final podium arose not 5 seconds out from the Start Gun and i Sensed it.  Racing is like life;  you first gotta learn to Listen and then TRUST your inner Listening.   Demonically, I jump double-poled within the skate track, passing like self-guided missile the clutter-f*&k of  skate racers  (think here of sperm swimming upstream and you’ll get my still-lower-chakra-motivational-energy).   Within a 60-second high-intensity effort,  I had produced a several second gap from the classic racers.  I was off the front and was not going to look back.  Catch me if you can…It’s such a spiritually scintillating feeling being off the front in a race.  I felt young again as a pumped my engaged core up-and-down, piston like across the carpet of grooved snow.

In spiritual training, there is a saying, “Some doors cannot be opened until they open first in us.” So it was on this day beneath my Sacred Peak of Pagosa that yet – amazingly again – those doors opened and your feeble yoga teacher flew across the pine-studded white apron of snow within an alchemy of wholistic conditioning and personal karma playing itself out.  Along the rolling course, I virtually double-poled the entire course at a frequency rate and intensity which caused my triceps and core to be sore for 3 days afterward!  The shorter the race, the more violent the effort.  I crossed the Finish Line in 16:45, a new Course Record.  The next racer was 2+ minutes down.  I retained the title of ‘Classic King.’

This race, for this broken-back yogi, was special.  Any Overall Championship is huge for me – or I would imagine any 50-something athlete – and this winter racing season I’ve had two, having won the 7.5k Freestyle Race earlier in the winter at the Chama Ski Classic.   Nutritionally speaking, we are only as old as our cells.   That’s why Nutrition remains one of the 5 Noble Fitness Disciplines in my work, and includes reliance upon MAP Aminos, ASEA Sacred Water, and SUNRIDER Whole-Food Herbs.  Beyond the cellular and physical levels, however,  winning this race? Felt surreal…like it was dakini-driven and the inner essence of all that I’ve come to love just fell into place.

I would like to offer my Victory to all of you, my Treasured, Noble Sangha…and especially to those of you who chose to and continue to contribute a Temple Tithe to my racing… May Go(o)d Bless Your Practice and Performance…

From all doorways Higher,
your feeble racer of no specialty and devout teacher toward wholeness


* a basic yogic breath which alchemically transforms incoming oxygen into prana-vayu or life-force enhancing intakes

** basic sport climbing term;  means a highly intense mid-air lunge for a rock or sport-climbing hold that could not be reached by static climbing techniques.

***air: spiritual fortitude
fire:  tapas/personal strength of steadfast practice
wind: cardio fitness

2 Responses to “ilg retains the “King of Classic” title; wins Overall Classic 5k!”

  1. padma says:

    you are my hero.
    head bowed,
    ( )

  2. Awesome report…simply awesome!

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