Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Day I Felt My Age

Or My Adventures in Skijouring

I would like you to think back on your past.... remember tobogganing as a child?
The thrill of speeding down that hill, the wind in your face, snow being whipped up stinging your cheeks.
Those moments of hitting bumps and the sled tipping you face first into the soft frosty snow.
Do you remember the heart in the mouth moments when you hit speeds that you were sure were Mac 1?

Now imagine if you will, cutting two thin strips from that toboggan and strapping them to your feet.
You have to go down that hill staying in an upright position balancing yourself with two poles that you cannot lose... so don't let go!
Oh... I've forgotten something in this moment.  That you have two wild dogs strapped to your waist tearing down that same hill. AND that you are about 30 years older than that child you used to be!

Yup.. that was me as we started off on our skijouring adventure yesterday.
We had to go down a hill to get to the lake..... I ended up sitting on my butt the entire way down.
Now you have to picture this..... with me laughing the whole time... what a hoot.

Those of you who do not know what skijouring is, let me explain the craziness of this sport.
There is a belt that you wear around your waist.... attached to this belt is a rope that is then clipped to a dogs harness.  Hopefully the said dog(s) will then pull you along at a nice even speed while you help them wearing cross country skis.

This picture is of a facebook friend of mine and a young lady whom I've met many times at various races...  will demonstrate what it looks like as you ski across the finish line.

There are no pictures of me this year skijouring as no one has been around with a camera when I've gone... and yesterday although I brought a camera no pictures were taken... and I will now explain why.

Our dog sledding friend took us to the most beautiful spot in the Kananaskis area... well close to it anyway... the scenery was breath taking.  I love going to the mountains and always wonder why we don't go more often every time I'm there.

So after he left with his team of 7 pups and sled on the trail we would be taking, we proceeded to put our on our belts, ski boots and harness the dogs....

(The pups waiting for us to get ready)

I walked to the top of the hill, which at the moment didn't look too bad to me.
Then proceeded to put the skis on my feet while holding back two frantic dogs wanting to take off down the obvious trail.  While holding them back they decided to get all tangled up in their line... so standing on my skis I now attempted to untangle the two crazy dogs.... Penny and Hubba... my two fastest pups.

So now untangled and pointed in the right direction off we go and I immediately lose balance and end up on my butt sitting on the back of the skis... flying down the hill at what I'm assuming could only be the closest thing to a land speed record.
What else is there to do but enjoy... and that I did... laughing the entire way down.  It was so much fun.

At the bottom of the hill it was time to get into an upright position which I did quite quickly to only fall down as soon as the dogs took off again.  The second time getting up wasn't as quick as the dogs were now tugging at the line wanting to get going.  As soon as I was standing again the dogs took off to only have me fall flat on my ass once again... this time both dogs looked back at me as if to say "seriously?? Is this what we're going to have to do the entire time??"

(not exactly as it happened.. but it feels that way the next day!)

However... the fourth time was a charm and I didn't fall again... I spent the first few moments concentrating very hard on staying in an upright position that I wasn't aware of how fast we were actually going.

Now when I say upright I mean it was more of a bent over position.... like in a squat that you would do at the gym.  Holding on to the line pulled tight in front of me, poles tucked under my arms...... I would love to know the speed we hit.
Ray had the GPS which said his speed was about 14k's at some point.. but we were most definately faster than they were... so  one can only guess.

I became aware of the wind with the speed and at times had to grab my hat.  The snow from the lake was pulled up in mini blizzards around us as we lost sight of the trail from time to time... it was an amazing feeling. Very cool.
I also realized that I had yet to actually ski.  If I moved my feet I'm sure I would have fallen anyway.... but these two crazy dogs were pulling me at top speed not needing any help from me at all.  It helped that we were on a flat surface with no hills of any kind.  A perfect run.

It was at the half way point that Ray and I met up on the trail.  Now remember, our two girls cannot get within touching distance of each other or we would have a fight on our hands.  So the only way to stop is to fall.
Somehow in all of this Ray, Molly and Rocky ended up being ahead of us.... a big mistake.
Due to Hubba we were a speed machine, much, much faster than the pretty pups ahead of us.  So I had to keep falling to keep us from running over top of them.
At one point Ray had to pick up a poop.. put a ski back on.. untangle dogs... find his gloves... etc. etc. etc. 
I was laying on the trail trying to keep the dogs from heading in their direction... they were crazy... pulling the line by jumping.  Then somehow they turned me in the snow and ended up pulling me backwards.

Backwards being pulled on the snow. Picture it. Think about it.
How does a snowplow work?
Where does snow go?
Anywhere it gets pulled into.
In this case... my shirt.   I looked pregnant with the amount of snow that was stuffed up under my fleece jacket and shirt.
And let me tell you... it was cold!

This was the point I started screaming into the wind at Ray to let me take trail and go ahead of him.
However the wind was blowing my words away and he had no idea what I was trying to communicate.
So off his slower team finally went.  I waited a moment to give them distance before getting up.  It only took a split second to catch up at which time I had to fall  yet again to stop my locomotive of a team.
This time my screaming which was intermingled with some not so nice words made it's way to Ray... I'm not sure if it was my arm movements of trying to convey "move over" or the not so nice words that finally had Ray move off the trail.

We were finally able to fly by at break neck speed.

So now do you understand why a camera wasn't used?... thought of very briefly... but not used.

 This morning my poor OLD body is telling me that I am not a 20 year old anymore and every muscle below the waist is screaming at me.
Oh.. and I've also hurt my knee.. probably from one of the falls that happened out there.

Will I do it again?...... oh yes ... you bet!!


Mom said...

I hope more people read this - Shelley - you should join Brianne in journalism! Very funny! xoxo Mom

ainnirbard said...

What a great post! Glad you had a blast!