A Picturesque Shack next to Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin. I recommend Telemark highly.

Hot and Fast at Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin.

The snow was a bit warm: 25 F.

The trail was very firm: you can use your tiny baskets.

The crowd was amped: and who wouldn’t be?

Brian and I took a 5 km spin to check wax.

And the results were confidence-building. In a word: DIALED!


But let’s talk competition:


It is hard my friends… my readers.

But you must drive toward the thing that makes you anxious. You must do so in order to conquer it. Mastering that which seeks to crush is the way to heaven…or to the finish line. I am not fast, I cannot sprint, I barely know how to V2, and I don’t know how to start with that churning mix of V1 and whatever. But I did it anyway. I was not trying to win. I was trying to put the hurt on mine enemy: anxiety.

And I made the podium: Third out of a field of three.

The roar of the crowd was deafening.

Bouuuyah! Did I spell that right?

I love skiing.

See you skater fakers. See you tomorrow Korte pretenders. I love you and I will crush you… in a kind and loving way.




Birkie Time!

Well folks, it is now time for the Birkie.

Or, in my case, the Korte.

If I can’t win–and I can’t–then I will try to score style points this weekend. I might go for Tord’s low-rider-skier look:

Maybe this look helped Tord come in 28th place in the pursuit

Or, I might just go for the low-rider-slider look:

What kind of wax do I use?

Or, if you really want to meld Biker to Skier…and yet take athleticism completely out of the picture….then you might consider this soon-to-be-an-Olympic sport: Motorsnowcling:

Motorsnowclists always recycle their oil and wax

I hope to have fresh stories and pics and vids soon.

Pax and Super Flouro Ski Wax!


Raw Rib Report #5: A Skier’s Lyric, Plus Some Press-Citizen OPINION Page Love

A Cross-Country Skier’s Lyric

My ribs took a beating at Ashton last night,

And now they really ain’t right

So, give me buckets of ice and beer: ah, true delight.

My back is broken and bruised, but don’t worry about me,

Lookie here, I have some white pills you see.

Some for you, some for me,  just don’t tell the IOC!

Olympic Action:

Forget ski cross and snowboard cross. The nordic sprints ARE the original CROSS!

My Recovery:

I did not take part in the Iowa City Ski Race Series Tuesday night, but I did ski on the same near-Olympic quality course. Four painful laps on perfectly groomed snow. Each lap more painful than the previous. 48 minutes of wincing pain. Well, wincing pain is not really that bad on the painometer.

Speaking of pain. Check out Petra Majdic, who, like me, bruised her back during a fall in the classic sprints on Wednesday and had to fight through the pain.

Petra Goes Way Off Piste

Of course there are some differences between her fall and mine. First, I fell while walking to my car. Second, I fell on my computer. Third, my pain was my own pain, not hers. But there key similarities: we were both going to work. I was about to get into my car and drive to Kirkwood Community College, and Petra was going to work on her skis–which is her job.

Tonight I will try for 5 laps. This should be a serious test. I hope to ski a consistent 4 minuter per km. pace. Fat chance!

I’M FAMOUS!…. in a small town sort of way.

Why? I got an opinion piece on skiing printed in the local paper, the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

Watch our Krugman, Friedman, Krauthammer, Dowd, et. al.

On the cultural front:

My sister lives in Brooklyn and sends me information on the world of kick-assedness. She turned me on to a Brooklyn artist called Santigold. She is marvelous. She rocks, She raps, she definitely deserves to be called a “Street Theorist”:

Santigold's Newest Release

Santigold is so good, so unavoidably cool, that I am almost willing to give you, my readers, a money back guarantee. Almost.

Later Skater,


Back Recover Report #4: Olympics, Yourlympics, and Mylympics

Sidebar #1:

My friend and teammate on GRC–Goosetown Racing Club–has asked me to commit to racing a bike race series in March. That’s crazy:  I have only been on my bike once in 2010 (in the garage on my Elite Fluid Trainer…I know it sounds like a joke, but I actually did ride such a thing). But I don’t know if I can get out of racing considering that my team is organizing the series. I do like the idea of it: it’s going to be a road + gravel race. I seem a bit anti-bike right now because the snow makes me think of skiing and skiing makes me think of my back (more on that later).

My Elitism

Sidebar #2:

The writer Richard Ford keeps all his notes and manuscripts in the freezer, so that if the house burns down, he might not lose all his work. He also said: “Writing is the only thing I’ve ever done with persistence, except for being married.” I like this. If I were to re-write this sentence, I would add that, in addition to writing and being married with persistence, I persistently enjoy obscure endurance sports.

R. Ford

Olympic Ski News:

My hometown newspaper The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that later today NBC will show the “Men’s 15 km. biathlon speed skating event.” I would like to see speed skaters racing around a 300 meter ice rink while blasting away at targets: FUN!

While I am happy for Spillane for taking the silver in the Nordic Combined, I encourage him to work on his sprint. Watch the clip here: He must have been completely blown, for he did not exactly kick it into high gear down the home stretch. I think he actually went from V2 to V2 alternate in the last few hundred meters. Okay, folks, I admit that he could still stomp my gizzard.

And the final of the men’s 15 km. Skate: I love P.P. Cottrer! I think the Italian team has really timed their “peak” just right this season. And they have kick-ass hats with a tiny ball on top! Such style. Yes, I know that he didn’t win. Readers of this blog should know by now that underdogs and second-place finishers rule.

P.P. Cottrer

Norway: I heard, waxed their skis with a combination of ear wax, bees wax, and candle wax.

And the women’s final: Charlotte Kalla is fast. But click here to  watch how slow and controlled she is out of the gate. If you can’t watch this because of your cable connection, I apologize.

“Back” At It:

And lastly. My own condition is just a mish-mash of complaints. First, although my newish One-Way poles are nice and light, the straps are too confusing and not really comfy. My back hurts. My boots are getting stretched out. My side hurts. My gloves ride “down” after 20 minutes of skiing. My rib hurts. The area around my rib hurts. My rib muscle hurts. My rib tendon hurts. And my rib ligaments hurt. My new glasses ($9) are thumpin’ and my hat situ is nailed down tight. My skis are slow, but that is only because they are connected to my legs.

It is official. I am now racing the Korte. Sorry Birkie Freaks. Next year.

My goal for the Korte is to finish in the top half of my age category (40-44). So, in order to come around 25th out of 50 (last year’s number), I need to beat 5 minutes per kilometer. Sounds easy considering I did the Raw Race last month, and did those flat 12 km in 39:56 (which is 3:20 /km). Sounds easy! Ha. I’ve said that before!

Chow for now,




I have decided to downgrade my attempt this year to the Korte (25 km). The rib is better, but not better enough to take my sweet revenge upon the whole chimichanga.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t whip up a fury of ski-skizzle on the Korte’s wuu-whizzle. Some fans have inquired about the exact position of my rib “event”. So, in case there are any physicians in the house, here is a technical drawing that I made of an imaginary X-Ray of me skate skiing with my glasses and my hat on.

I'm not smiling here. Skeleton's don't have lips!

Okay readers, here’s the dealio: if I come in the top 50% of my age category for this year’s Korteloppet, this is the trophy that you must buy for me:

This trophy is both impressive and frightening, no?

And how ’bout those Olympics! The opening ceremonies? Who won that contest? Clearly the fiddlers!


Below is the image of the 2010 Olympic fiddlers.

I'll bet Lady Gaga is jealous of this act!

Can you get any tougher than this guy?

"One fiddle, slung waaay down low... a one way ticket...only one way to go."

I use-ta play the viola, but I never thought it was cool to play with horse hair oozing all around me. Fashion, just like artistic taste and the sporting life, is not a mystery easily solved.

OLYMPIC MOMENT: We must face it. NBC will not show more nordic skiing events unless the skiers wear transparent racing suits. I guess the lycra is not revealing enough. But all that said, let’s try to see which media outlet can help us the most. I rather like this minute-by-minute site called: More Than The Games. It reminds me of the live play-by-play at

TRAINING UPDATE:  Yesterday I did three laps at Ashton, felt okay, but not great. I think I went a bit too fast (4 min per km.) at that rate I doubt I would win my trophy. But I ain’t ready to quit.

More Tomorrow,


WAIT…..THIS JUST IN. My friend Finn just finished the Mora Vassaloppet. Here’s his brief report: “Skiing is a contact sport. Two crashes, nailed the wax, cooked at 30 k, was 49th.”

Way to go Finn!

Birkie/Back Update

TRUE, MY BACK IS NOT BROKEN, and I won’t die from the pain. But, and this is an important but, it is MY PAIN. And sometimes owning your pain means that you have to complain.

It has been 19 days since my fall.

My fall looked very different from this image below, but if you squint, and if you imagine that I am not doing a yoga pose, and if you imagine that I am not a woman and not that thin, and if you imagine that she is on the snow, then this imagine is purdy close:

This is not me, but still, I landed just like this.

And I landed on one of these babies:

My MacBook Inserted Itself Betwixt My Ribs

And here is my broken MacBook screen…

…A demonstration of my pain and frustration.

Since the fall, I re-injured it….twice. First, I sneezed on the fourth day of recovery and almost blacked out. Start over.

Second, I went for a long ski at Lake MacBride Nature Trail near North Liberty, Iowa, and I went a bit too hard. Start over.

I got smart and went to a chiro. That started me on the path to recovery. When Jason B (my doc) asked me to describe how my ribs felt, I gave him this picture:

I Am My Rib

This pic is of a William Morris glass sculpture titled: “Massai Woman” (2001). Morris is, by the way, the best glass artist in the world. He makes Dale Chihuly look like a second grader making “stained glass” using plastic beads.

My back feels better and now I plan to go for my third ski in a row. But only 3 easy laps at Ashton (9 km). Sadly, this meant that I missed Thursday night’s race at Ashton-at which my training partner Finn squished ’em like bugs.

Finn and Grant Col' Lampin'

I have decided to give up my 50 km Birkie dreams and shift to the more reasonable 25 km Korteloppet in Hayward, Wisconsin. Yes, I will go and blog and swear and ski and brag and whine.

But whatever!  I smirk at the Birk! I have less than two weeks, and so, and so I will keep you all posted on my progress. And thanks for the vote of confidence Jeff B. Keep those comments a comin’. Now I will focus on Friday’s Citizen Sprints in Hayward: sure my back hurts, but I can rip it for 200 meters–no breathing necessary.

Speaking of progress, I have been working on my form, especially V2, now that I have to go slow and not push it. Maybe I can turn my lemons into lemon meringue.

Later Skater!



News Flash:

I fell on the ice exactly two weeks ago and I have been to shame-ridden to admit it.  I didn’t just kinda fall. I really fell. I did a Charlie Chaplin fall. Walking to my car and right where the driveway is at its steepest, a fresh layer of snow hid the ice. Both feet went up to just about where my head usually is. I was, like, horizontal.

And you know… and you know, it wouldn’t have been so bad except that my computer bag was underneath me. And landing on a bag is not always the worst. What is the worst is landing on the point of the computer, breaking the freakin’ new macBook , and breaking MY FREAKIN’ BACK.

But luckily, I did not break my back. After a hospital visit, it was announced (a useful use of the passive here) that I have a deep tissue bruise and also/possibly a deep muscle bruise. Simply put, I have a bruised rib, even though as any fool with an MD knows, you can’t really bruise the bone, but you can bruise all the crap around the bone.

For the past 15 days, I have wondered if I can do the Birkie this year. I was on track to pulverize last year’s time. But now. Maybe I will have to sell my spot.

More later.

Don’t weep for me…yet.