If you are a Bob Dylan fan, you should understand the title of this blog post. The photo given immediately below reflects the sunrise I saw this morning from the frozen Lake Superior shoreline, and 100 yards off the famous Highway #61. Perhaps views such as this are just one of the many reasons Bob Dylan decided to immortalize this road in song!
Birding opportunities have been limited over the past week as I fine tuned my conditioning level for the Mora Vasaloppet Nordic Ski Race. Yesterday I joined 665 of my best friends and raced across the countryside of central Minnesota. For all the folks on the East Coast who are bemoaning some cold weather this morning, the temperature at the race’s start yesterday was -8F (-22F), and then I was out skiing for 40 kilometers (3 hours, 30 minutes).
All did not go as planned for me in the race. At the 24 km mark I hit a bare spot on a downhill turn. The law of physics demanded that my body continue downhill, but the same law of physics required my skis to instantly stop on bare ground. My crash was impressive, and resulted in a broken ski. By the final lap race officials were in place at this particular spot warning skiers.
Now a broken ski normally requires one to give up. For a few minutes that was my intention, but after shaking off the pain from the fall and walking a short distance I told myself: “Self, stop feeling story for yourself!” Thus, I inspected my broken ski and decided that if I were real careful and babied/ nursed it I might be able to ski remaining 16 kilometers to the finish. Double polling on all flats, and mild uphills was now required. My right ski would not hold up if I tried to kick hard off that leg (a normal activity in classic skiing). When the terrain demanded “striding”, I restricted myself to kicking only with my left leg. The result was slow and definitely not graceful, but it worked. The ski held together and when I climbed the last steep hill 1/2 km before the finish I was pumped! Letting out a war whoop I double polled to the finish line.
Perseverance in both birding and life in general can be a good thing. While I have a very sore left leg from overworking yesterday (the right leg is fine … it was just along for the ride!), in the end I enjoyed yesterday’s experience more than many races, and I still beat almost 1/3 of the field. Go figure, not bad for someone who is one month shy of his 60th birthday!
Me and the Broken Ski
Molly and Yours Truly Post Race: Molly raced 58 kilometers … the oldest woman to attempt and complete that distance. I am very proud of her! (read her blog)
A view of the start as people start to assemble and reserve spots. The race begins and ends of the main street in the small town of Mora, Minnesota. Their actually two kinds of races, classic and skate. You can see the classic tracks on the right.