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Thursday, February 22, 2007


I feel as though I am at a standstill as far as my journey towards competing in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon Championships. I am just not putting in the effort to reach such a goal. It’s been an effort just to do any training at all. I guess after putting in 4 hard years towards the goal its time to slack off a bit. I guess that is why in the upper right hand corner of my blog I called this my journey. Any journey worth taking is bound to be filled with delays, detours and other obstacles. This is apparently what is happening to me now.

I refuse to completely quit though. I am going to do enough training to at least get me through this year’s IMLP. I am going to place no expectations on myself whatsoever. I am not going to care about my time. I am not going to worry about lining up in front of the swim, only to get my ass kicked during the start. This will be strictly back of the pack kind of stuff. Who knows, maybe I will surprise myself.

I guess I have come to this conclusion while skiing with my family this past Presidents Day weekend. I took my family up to the Berkshires and took my kids skiing for the first time. My wife was very worried that this would turn out to be a disaster of a trip. She was afraid that the kids would just be complaining about the cold, not liking skiing and generally complaining the entire trip. Nothing could have been further from that. The kids not only enjoyed the skiing, they really excelled at it. I can honestly say that I was very surprised. I thought they would have a lot of trouble, but after a short lesson they were both skiing down the slopes with carefree abandon. Neither my wife nor I could keep up with them.

The first day skiing we spent at Bousquet. We liked that place a lot. They were very efficient, helpful and attentive when it came to fitting you with rental skis and getting you on your way. They clearly knew how to get you sized for boots and skiis and it was completely painless. The instructors were very nice and spent a good amount of time with you. It was a great place to go for beginners. I just wished they had a few more and longer beginner trails.

Our second day skiing was a bit rougher. This time we went to Butternut. We had to wait over an hour to make it through the ski rental place and the equipment we received had clearly seen some hard use. It was also much older equipment. The rental area was very congested and chaotic. It was a major relief to get out of there and out on the slopes.

Once we got skiing, we started off on one of the small hills. We just wanted to warm up and make sure the kids remembered the basics. After a couple of these easy trips, we decided to take the Top Flight lift to the tallest and longest beginner course on the mountain. Stupidly on the way up on the life, I dropped my glove. I wouldn’t have even realized it if it weren’t for the people behind us yelling out to let me know.

Taking the tallest lift was a mistake as my son suddenly forgot how to keep his pace slow by going from side to side and instead kept barreling down the mountain until he made himself fall because he was going too fast. After a couple of times of falling he refused to ski anymore and just wanted to walk down. We couldn’t coax him to continue on and I finally had to get help so the ski patrol could bring him down the mountain on a sled. My wife and daughter then skied on and I went down a more advanced trail in search of my fallen glove.

Fortunately, I found my glove (it was really cold outside) and even more fortunately, I found my son sitting in the Ski Patrol lodge eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate. Eventually my wife and daughter joined us to complete the family reunion.

I then took my daughter on some of the bigger trails, while my wife took my son back to the small slopes. After practicing some more on the small slopes, my son rebuilt his confidence enough to try a bigger hill. He figured it out this time and all of us spent the remainder of the day skiing down the Cruiser trail. We would have kept this on all day, except it started to get late and they closed down the lifts.

On our third day the weather turned really cold, getting up to only 12 degrees. We decided to go Snow Tubing back at Bousquet. My son wanted to form a big train of snow tubes going down the mountain and got several other people to join us. It was a wild ride down. We spent 4 hours tubing before we finally got hungry, called it a day and went out to get lunch. We ate lunch at a small place in Lenox and then went to Pittsfield to do some shopping for new ski jackets.

We went to a store called Ski Fanatics, which was having a clearance sale. My wife and I both bought new ski jackets and my son got a snow skate – basically a skate board for the snow. While we were in the store, you could hear some sort or racket going on from above. I don’t know how the people who worked there could stand it, but they said that they don’t even hear it anymore. It turned out their upstairs neighbor is a candlepin bowling alley. This is some strange form of bowling where you throw balls the size of Skeeballs down a bowling alley that has 10 thin white pins. It is much harder than regular bowling. You had to manually reset the pins by pressing a button, which meant that we could take 3 turns (or more) to try to knock down the pins. I wound up with the high score of 83. We finished off the day by going to a nice restaurant called Dakota. It was very crowded, but the food was very good. Fortunately, the people at Ski Fanatics recommended we make reservations. After dinner we spent a few hours in the pool at our hotel – The Yankee Inn. A very nice place and moderately priced.

On our last day we went back to Butternut Mountain. It was in the direction of how we had to drive home, so we figured that we may as well go back to it. My son remembered his lessons this time and had no trouble going down the bigger hills. Soon he was asking to go back up Top Flight to do the really long trail that he couldn’t do a couple of days earlier. He liked it so much this time that he insisted on doing it several more times. We all had a great day. I alternately skied with just my son or daughter or the whole family together. In each case, my son was the first one down the mountain. I just couldn’t keep up with him. Perhaps he will be an Olympic skier.

After a while my wife and son had enough and just wanted to rest. My son played with his ski skate while my daughter and I finished off the day skiing. It was very nice having her just to myself. We skied for so long that we were literally the last people off the ski lift before it closed. As soon as we got off the chair the lift stopped and the attendant confirmed that we were the last ones. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day, getting in the last run of anyone for the day, just me and my girl.


Blogger Todd Colby said...

Go here sometime and listen. You'll be moved:


10:07 PM  

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