Blackjack Loppet and Ensuing Commendations

FasterSkierFebruary 28, 2011

This past weekend I took a trip back to Rossland, B.C. to participate in Blackjack Ski Club’s annual 30km Loppet. The weekend included a 10km classic race on Saturday and the 30km on Sunday and it was to be a good way to get some hard training in leading up to the last few SuperTours of the year in mid- and late-March.

With Scott still in Norway with Torin and no one in the Methow willing to take the plunge with me I opted for a bare-bones trip. I checked the forecast in Rossland for the weekend and seeing that it was supposed to be wicked cold I waxed up two pair each classic and skate skis with cold wax, threw in a horsehair brush and a few choice cold kick waxes and called it good. I found a hostel in Rossland for $25 a night and headed up.

The races ended up being really fun. They were true local events – parents and kids both raced each day, and after each race, volunteers and racers alike joined together to take down the course and trailside fencing. Before Sunday’s Loppet the starter announced that the overall man and woman would receive a brand new pair of Zeroes. I thought that’d make a nice gift for Mom for her birthday and decided to win. After I crossed the finish line the owner of Kootenay Nordic Sports, Dave Gibson, came up and asked me how much I weighed so he could pick the right pair of Zeroes for me. “Um…145?” I said cautiously. “Really? I’d figure you more than that,” he said. “How dare you!” I shouted, then relented. “Actually, I was hoping to get a size that would fit my Mom,” I explained. He admitted he only had one soft pair, selected for whichever woman won the race, and I would have to settle for a larger pair. No matter, I thought. Maybe they’d fit Dad.

I was anxious to get on the road home. The weather had been snowy all morning and didn’t show any sign of letting up, and I figured with the fatigue from the race I would be better to get driving the 5 hours home sooner rather than later. I stayed around for a bit talking with the local racers and organizers, who were all super-friendly and excited that there was some cross-border traffic for the races. I finally pulled myself away and put the pedal to the floor, pointing south.

Somewhere just east of Republic, WA I was cruising along nicely to some Nine Inch Nails, munching on a few odd jelly beans I found under my seat. Then the lights flashed in my mirror, red and blue. Curious, I pulled to the side of the road.

“You know why I’m pulling you over?,” the stoic-looking officer asked. “Well, no,” I said. “You were going pretty fast back there,” he said, still stone-faced.

“Geesh, thanks Officer. I mean, I don’t ski many 30K races but I really tried to put the hammer down on that second lap and well, it paid off! Do you ski too?”

“License and registration, please.”

“Sure thing. I mean, I could just write all that on a napkin if you want. If you’re that interested, we’ve got a blog and a websi…” He walked off, apparently too excited to have some tangible proof of my existence in his hands. I waited for a few minutes but started to get slightly peeved; he was taking his sweet time back there and I was wanting to get going.

When he finally returned I swallowed my annoyance and smiled politely. “This here’s a ticket for speeding. You can either mail it in or appear at the Courthouse on this date. Thanks for obeying traffic laws.”

Well, you can imagine how excited I was – not only did I get an odd smattering of prize wax and and a new pair of skis from the races, but now I had received a glowing commendation of my speed from an officer of the law, and a chance to be recognized for such at a district courthouse!

I called my mother as soon as he left to tell her the good news. She wasn’t as excited as I was; I suppose it just takes being a racer to really feel it.


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