[The Gimpy Man in Black before the race at Eldora Resort. Photo: Cordes collection]
I’ve been loving ski touring, a.k.a. randonee, a.k.a. ski mountaineering – skimo for short. I love how stupid that name sounds, too. I’m not a skimo. You’re the skimo. The gliding motion is easy on my cankle, and allows me glimpses of that feeling I love more than anything: moving in the mountains.
Skimo combines mega aerobic demands – you skin uphill, sometimes adding-in a little easy climbing – with technical skill (skiing down). Pretty cool, and it fits a continuum through which I’ve long viewed climbing: from mountain running to mountaineering to technical alpine climbing to long trad routes to cragging to bouldering.
Anyway, so the costume – the
[Serious competition at the DOJoe. Photo: Kelly Cordes]
So I placed fourth, in just over 28 minutes. Out of 75, not too bad. And, I’m pretty certain, a clean sweep of the over-40 gimpy division. In fairness, I should note that the 75 number includes the kids’ division, men, women, tag teams (one person goes up, tags their fresh downhill partner), the snowboard division (people clomping to the top before strapping on their snowboards; I think I saw one guy on a unicycle…), and a crew wearing gorilla costumes.
Regardless of outcome, though, I’d forgotten the best thing about competition: the focus. Those times where everything else disappears. Seemed like it was a bad cankle day in the morning – I think my scar tissue traps nerves sometimes, and some days are good and some are brutal. It’s just how it goes. While warming up and taking a run or two, and skinning around, I winced hard. But once the race started, the pain simply disappeared.
These days, given my ragged body and the never-ending need to clear my head, and the love of movement in the mountains that still holds my heart, any day I can get that feeling is a good day. Granted, maybe I was just too busy staving-off lung explosion to notice anything else, but I’ll take it. Hell, I’d even do it in a gorilla suit.