“We like Sportz”

by Jennie
      Over the past couple weeks, I have enjoyed hearing, watching, and participating in sporting events that are different from my usual.

During training camp at Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI, I had the opportunity to meet a handful of wonderful women from the group “Ski and Tea”  who came for a ski walking clinic lead by the CXC Women’s Team. We did some mobility drills, intervals up Telemark Mountain, and yoga. As implied from their name and part of the group tradition, they gather afterwards for tea, coffee, and biscuits.

When meeting an athletic group of twenty for the first time, you never know what sort of stories will arise. Many ask questions, and most share their enthusiasm for training. At one time, I was discussing the pros and cons of reviving an old NordicTrack. The problem for serious skiers, is that it does not teach effective kick, and at most might address rhythm and arm motion. I suggested the Concept2 SkiErg as an alternative, since it is more specific for competitive training. This led to a discussion on rowing, which then brought up a whole new sport I knew nothing about, called Dragon Boat racing.

Lo and behold, the head of Ski and Tea, Linda Cook, is also a member of the Wiki Wiki Wahine Dragon Boat Team who won the Premier Women’s Division at the Dragon Boat USA Championships in Chattanooga, TN. Although many sports cross paths, each one has its own culture, so it was exciting to stumble across this diverse group unknown to me.  They are between the ages of 16-72 and made history by being the first women’s team in the 10-years of the Lake Superior Dragon Boat festival to take home medals from the Gold Division Finals. They are headed to the World Championships in Hong Kong July 4-8, 2012.

Did I mention that Wikiwikiwahine is Hawaiian for fast, fast, women? You gotta love witty names! Check them out at wikiwikiwahine.org. You can also read more about them on my future post at http://www.concept2.com/us/company/blog/default.asp.

My last day of our two week September training camp was capped off with an adventure – my favorite. I drove up to Duluth to partake in the Inaugural Northshore Rollerski Marathon race. What I didn’t know, was that there would be over 2000 people blading in the partnering Northshore Inline Skate Marathon (http://northshoreinline.com/).  My eyes were wide and mouth a huge grin as I watched the Elite inline skaters take off the start line followed by wave after wave of athletes. It’s an amusing cross between road biker attire and speed skating technique. I had no idea there even was a race culture of inline skating, much less carbon fiber soled skates.

Thank you SkinnySki for taking great pictures and video!

When I think of swimming, I picture sun, not sinking, and floaties… I usually avoid swimming in frigid water while it rains with people kicking at my face. This is the culture of triathlons. I love biking, and I love running, but swimming just ain’t my cup of tea. Sunday, I ran around the course and watched Lee in the “Last Tri” triathlon near Stillwater. I couldn’t help but to give my two cents and volunteer directing participants the right way on the running course, while people looked at me wondering why I was so jittery. I was more nervous then Lee was for pete’s sake. When spectating, many of you will empathize when I say I find it hard not to wish I were in the event. Other than having no aspirations to swim, I was basically warming up for my imaginary race the whole hour.

Before the start,the swimmers got to listen to the many young lifeguards shriek and holler as they had to wade into the cold water and float around without wetsuits. As I was thinking of how entertaining this was to watch, I remembered I occasionally sit in freezing water with floating ice chunks to soak my legs, and definitely make those exact same noises.

On that note, I leave you with this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4royOLtvmQ

                       Sunrise on Lake Superior in Duluth

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