Where were you when I broke the pole?

26 Mar

One of the defining moments in Norwegian sport history happened in 1982 when Oddvar Brå broke a pole heading for the win in the men’s relay in Holmenkollen. That gave rise to the epoch defining question “Where were you when Brå broke the pole?” / “Hvor var du da Brå brakk staven?”.

My pole break at 9:15 this morning was less significant. And far more ridiculous. I slipped and fell on a sheet of ice walking back home from my morning ski. Moreover, it was was one of those super-light, super-sexy and expensive carbon titanium jobbies.

But I was so happy with my ski tour I think only my dignity took a hit. I was in fact daydreaming about what I’d write here and not minding my feet when it happened. My intended title for this post was ski-o-therapy. It was that good.

But it didn’t start out very well. I went first to my home trail on the East side of the valley. Didn’t hit any speed records there because of the frilly lip shaped tracks left by skate skiers going right after the machine late last night. There’s something disturbingly anatomical about such traces. They had frozen into glide-eating, life-threatening obstacles. I call them “custard” tracks, after a mishmash of two perfectly fitting but unmentionable worlds. So in springtime please don’t be a “custard” and skate right after the machine at night. Wait for the morning when the trail prepper’s work has had time to firm up. It will be better for both you and me, I assure you.

But, as promised, the point of this post is not bitch bitch moan moan. Fearing all the while I’d get the more of the same, or maybe even a loathsome jogger who followed right behind the trail prepper, I crossed the valley to try the trails on the other side. But there it was perfectly virgin. And so firm I could barely see my own tracks on the return trip. Moreover it was rocket fast. Pure joy. I broke my  speed record without even trying.

I didn’t even think about going fast. I just enjoyed it. With no lips of death to trip me I could throw my weight onto the front of my skis and glide like mad. The thing that’s been working for me with skate skiing lately is to imagine I only have a front half of each ski. That trick keeps my butt up and lets me ride out the glide as long as I want to. Today it felt like flying. And at mostly over 20km/h, it was.

In comparison the ice patch incident was minor. I’ve already run to the sport shop to pick up a new pair. They were out of carbon titanium in my size, so had to settle for carbon only. The new ones are slightly heavier than the featherweight pair I broke, so hopefully tougher too.


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